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How to Create Powerful Pillar Pages that Drive Massive Traffic

How to Create Powerful Pillar Pages that Drive Massive Traffic

By Carrie DagenhardNov 14 /2019

In 2017, HubSpot published a popular article explaining the magic of pillar pages. Since then, brands have been clamoring to fit this content type into their strategies — even if they don’t always understand what they are or how they work.

After all, in a time when algorithms change by the nanosecond and search engines are more saturated than ever, any chance to stand out and earn more traffic seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

But why are pillar pages so effective? And how can you make sure your pillar content yields the results you want (instead of putting time and effort into a bunch of resources that go nowhere)?

To help, here’s a quick breakdown of the concept, how to drive success and three pillar page examples to get you inspired.

What is a pillar page, exactly?

While the term “pillar page” has only surfaced within the past couple of years, the concept is nothing new. (In fact, in 2007, Copyblogger published an article about what founder Brian Clark called “cornerstone content” — which is basically the same thing.)

Essentially, a pillar page is an in-depth piece of ungated content that covers all aspects of a given topic — a topical linchpin that unites your “cluster content,” or blog posts and articles that deep dive into elements of that topic.

For example, let’s say you run content marketing for an organization that provides cybersecurity software for small to mid-size businesses.

You know you want to rank for the term “small business cybersecurity,” so you create a pillar page titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Cybersecurity.” This meaty piece of content covers everything from the sorts of threats small businesses face to common mistakes companies make and proactive measures that reduce risk.

Within your pillar page, you can link to relevant articles that dive deeper into more specific concepts. For example, you might link to posts like, “9 Malware Attacks that Target SMBs” or “How to Protect Your Connected Devices From Hackers.” Each time you publish a new relevant piece, you should link back to that pillar page.

In other words, like the pillar of a building, your pillar page serves as foundational support for a key topic about which your brand has significant expertise.

Why pillar pages should be a part of your SEO strategy

The No. 1 reason to create pillar pages is that they help your audience browse your site and quickly locate and consume the information they need.

The second purpose, and likely the reason you’re here, is that this content type offers tremendous SEO benefits.

As you already know, there’s a ton of content online. Much of it is mediocre or poor quality, but search engines want to serve the highest quality and most relevant results to their users. And the simpler you make it for search engines (and human beings) to crawl your site, the better you’ll be rewarded.

Pillar pages help you organize your content into logical flows with sensical hyperlinks and a clear hierarchy. Furthermore, a combination of lengthy, well-written and comprehensive pieces linked to shorter, more narrowly focused articles shows search engines you’re a subject matter expert.

Elements of a successful pillar page

So what sets a great pillar page apart from an unsuccessful one?

Here are the five elements you need to include:

  • Primary topic definition: Be sure you define the topic you’re covering in a way that’s straightforward and easy to understand. For example, if a healthcare organization’s pillar page is titled, “How Nurses Can Succeed with Patient-Centered Care,” they’d want to define the term “patient-centered care.” Not only is this useful for your audience, but it can also help you earn a spot in the coveted Google featured snippets section.

 

  • Primary keyword: It’s crucial you focus your pillar page content around one keyword phrase. Make sure you’ve used it in the title, meta description, URL, subheaders and at least a couple of times throughout the body copy.

 

  • Internal links: Link to popular, high-performing pieces on your site at relevant places throughout the pillar page. These links should lead readers to a page where they can access more in-depth information about a given topic.

 

  • External links: It’s also beneficial to link to trustworthy sources outside your website. This boosts your credibility (to both people and search engines), and helps you validate your claims. For example, if your pillar page is about the tech skills gap, you might link to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the number of unfilled tech jobs.

 

  • A logical and general overview of the primary topic: Your pillar page should provide a comprehensive overview, but it’s important you don’t get too in-depth. Not only can being overly exhaustive wear out readers, but it gives them less incentive to click on linked pages and engage further.

 

3 Powerful pillar page examples to inspire you

Here are three examples of pillar pages that exemplify the elements above:

  • iOffice: iOffice is a facilities management software platform designed to support the modern, digital workplace. This pillar page, titled “What is IWMS software?” drills down on what integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) do, why an organization would need this tech, benefits these solutions offer and a few things to keep in mind while evaluating IWMS partners.

 

  • StayOnline: StayOnline manufactures and distributes specialized cables and power cords for a wide variety of uses, including industrial markets, data centers and more. Their pillar page, “The Key to Choosing the Right Power Cord Provider,” breaks down the four areas buyers should examine when choosing a provider, including metrics to consider.

 

  • Kuno Creative: As an inbound marketing agency, SEO is critical to the strategies Kuno Creative builds and executes for its clients. This pillar page, titled “Search Engine Optimization: What You Need to Know,” sums up what SEO is, how search engines work, factors that impact ranking and tips to improve. Throughout the page, Kuno has linked to a variety of other useful and relevant resources.

 

While pillar pages may seem like a simple concept, they pack a powerful punch — simultaneously improving your SEO results as well as your site’s content experience. By using the above tips and examples to guide your strategy, you can create effective pillar pages that satisfy search engines and keep your audience engaged.

Boost Your Traffic in 2018

 

The Author

Carrie Dagenhard

Carrie is a seasoned content strategist who worked as a department editor and music journalist before making her foray into inbound marketing as a content analyst. Carrie works hard at crafting the perfect content strategy for clients and using her hard-hitting journalism skills to tell your brand’s unique story.
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