What’s one of the most important aspects of SEO? Most digital marketers would tell you it’s content. Without high quality content, you can’t utilize SEO tactics and integrate well throughout different online platforms.
Content is important. But you can’t approach it willy-nilly and expect to get noticed. That may work in obscure niche markets, but if you have competitors all around you, you need structure to compete.
And that brings us to the topic of keywords and content clustering, and how they are used to design pillar pages.
What are pillar pages?
Think for a moment about the main keywords for your business. What do people search for when they think of your business? What are the main categories of your business model?
An easy way to visualize this is by listing out your products or services in wheel format. What are your core business products or services? They would be at the center. Then you can branch out from there.
For example, a plumber might have a core product and service of water heaters. From there, it can be broken down into repair work, replacement, traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters, and so forth. The pillar page would be based on water heaters. And it would have a variety of content built around it as support – topic clusters that build form on more niched concepts and ideas.
Pillar pages are designed to be that core page on your website. They are designed to attract attention to main topics people search for, and provide a wealth of information to viewers who land there.
Pillar pages should include:
- Content about the main topic. This should be the focus of the entire page. It can include both copy and video, but should be thorough on everything a reader needs to feel well informed after they move through it.
- Links to supporting content. While a pillar page should be thorough, it should also feed out and link to various resources throughout your site. This gets viewers digging deep, which is important to help raise up your web presence for SEO purposes.
- A call to action. Every piece of content you create should have a purpose in mind. What do you expect readers to do as they read through your pillar page? What is your ultimate goal? Be sure you have goals on both the pillar page and every page it’s linked to.
The more complex your digital marketing strategy gets, the more focus you should be on building content the right way. The three main components are:
- Pillar pages
- Content – topic clusters
If you think about this strategy with every idea, product, or service you create, you’ll have an in-depth recourse that people love once they find you.
Why pillar pages are an important part of every digital marketing strategy
There are two reasons to upgrade your approach to content creation and start including pillar pages in the mix.
1. It helps organize your content, so it makes sense to your visitors.
2. There are long-term benefits for your SEO.
Let’s start with organization, and refer back to the example of a plumbing service for illustration.
If we used the wheel approach to determine what niches our plumber targets, we can use keywords to define what he does. Drain cleaning, water heaters, leak detection, and sewer repair may be his top niches. These are the keywords he uses to build his online marketing around.
These topics would be at the hub of each topic cluster on his site.
Google loves keyword focused data. But it loves topic clusters even more.
While keywords are general – water heaters – topic clusters narrow down and are specific. They branch out from keywords to key phrases. And because we’ve turned into a sophisticated audience when we search, it can be narrowed down even further into complete sentences.
Topic clusters built around water heaters may include:
- What water heater is best for a single family home?
- Are tankless or tank water heaters more efficient?
- How do tankless water heaters work?
- Will I save money if I upgrade to a tankless water heater?
The more you write, the more you create, the more content you have, the deeper your pillar page can grow. And when you focus on it, you understand just how valuable it can be to someone looking for what you do. When you develop it right, it can be the perfect lead generation tool on your site, educating visitors and getting them to take action, moving to the next step in your sales process.
What kind of pillar pages are there?
One of the most common formats for pillar pages is the 10x pillar page. These are in-depth content pages that cover the topic at hand in great detail. Think of it almost as a book, folding out in a variety of “chapters” as people dive deeper and deeper into your content.
As people explore a 10x pillar page, they are encouraged to click links to explore the top in different ways. This allows people to pick and choose where they are comfortable with basic information, and where they choose to go deeper for a more thorough experience.
In some cases, 10x pillar pages can be so thorough, people convert them into books for greater marketing tactics. You can use them as free resources for lead generation where you exchange the “book” for a valid email. You can have them printed and use them as calling cards when you’re out networking.
These are valuable pieces of information.
Of course, the 10x pillar page structure is just one of many.
How about a list pillar page, where you describe something in list format? “Best of” series are often created in list format, and they can be incredibly effective at bringing people in.
How about a “how to” pillar page. “How to” is one of the most frequently typed phrases in Google, combined with whatever the searcher is looking for. If you can create a valuable resource based on a common “how to” in your business, it’s a win/win for everyone.
Or how about a “what is” pillar page. This is where you define your concept in great detail using all kinds of links and media. If video benefits your cause, use it to showcase steps, benefits, or features.
Where do you start?
Start at the very beginning, one post at a time.
While creating pillar posts takes time, you can get started now by mapping out a content marketing strategy, and start creating valuable content your prospects are searching for.
If you aren’t sure how to structure that into your already busy days, we can help.