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Nov 14, 2022

What is a pillar page and how can it help boost SEO rankings?

Scalenut
What is a pillar page and how can it help boost SEO rankings?

Contents

Hello and welcome to our pillar page on the topic “pillar pages.”

We live in the golden age of accessible information. Everything you need to know is just a search away. There has never been a more exciting time to be an SEO strategist.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Yandex, and Bing connect millions of businesses with billions of customers at every stage of the sales funnel. With the right approach to content structuring, internal linking, and search engine optimization for SERP algorithms, you can effectively increase organic traffic and do wonders for your brand.

Pillar pages help people; they prioritize user experience. 

That’s why we have a table of contents with jump links for every important section on the top left.

We just want to help you with every pillar page question you might have.

If you haven’t already jumped to a section, don’t worry. You will have a table of contents on the left side all through the post. We will also share some amazing blogs and downloadable resources further on in this post. 

A pillar page content strategy helps SEO strategists, content marketers, UI/UX designers, and performance marketers drive business results with a uniform approach to content creation. 

The idea is simple. Create an ever-expanding universe of helpful, interlinked content that helps people find what they are looking for and come across to search engines as an expert, authority, and trustworthy source of information on a topic.

What is a pillar page?

Visual representation of how a pillar content is related to cluster content via hyperlinks

A pillar page is the single most comprehensive source of information about one specific topic. It is a hub of knowledge that helps users find insightful and actionable content on a specific subject.

Irrespective of what searchers are looking for, you should be sure that this webpage will either explain it in detail or link to detailed blog posts on various related subtopics. The related blog posts are called cluster pages. 

A cluster page is an independent content piece on a subtopic related to the pillar page. If you further decide to create more blogs that discuss different aspects of a subtopic, those content pieces are called supporting blogs. 

For this blog post, for instance, we have created many in-depth cluster pages and supporting blogs to explain various subtopics of pillar pages. 

Here is an example of a pillar page in action. 

Screenshot of a pillar page example from doyouevenblog.com
Source

Pillar pages are an amazing source. Whether you’re thinking about blogging or already have a blog and want to learn how to make money from your blog, this Doyouevenblog pillar page about blogging is an amazing source for everybody.

Look at this one about WordPress blogs by isitWP.com.  

Screenshot of the index of a pillar page about WordPress blogs by isitwp.com
Source

We had to zoom out to 33% of the normal size just to share a screenshot of the index.

Pillar pages are comprehensive. The key to making pillar pages that work is to organize the information and make it easy to find. 

Screenshot of the index of a pillar page about WordPress by isitwp.com
Source

This is the same guide at normal zoom (100%). Observe how the right side has a drop-down menu and a shorter version of the table of content. 

Just like our front-loaded jump link index, it makes information accessible with a defined structure. 

This detailed blog is a helpful guide to pillar page examples that can give you ideas for more pillar page examples. 

How long a pillar page and cluster blogs should be?

There is no standard length for pillar pages. However, most run anywhere between 2000 and 5000 words. The length of your pillar page depends on the broad topic you choose and how you wish to organize information. 

For example, a pillar page on a topic such as “digital marketing” will be at the far end of the word count spectrum. As the topic is very broad and has a lot of subtopics to be covered, it might even exceed 5000 words when you get to writing the content. 

Ideally, keep your pillar pages around 2500+ words so that people can finish reading your pages within 10–15 minutes. The goal of a pillar page is to give backlinks to every piece of content on that topic with a solid interlinking strategy. 

As far as the individual cluster pages go, a content piece of 1000 to 2000+ words should be enough to explain a sub-topic in detail. If your cluster pages have their own supporting blogs, you can target a word length of about 800 to 1000+ words. 

Word count for pillar page, cluster content and supporting blogs

The logic is simple; the deeper you go into a topic, the thinner your content becomes. Every pillar page must have a few subtopic cluster pages or supporting blogs to link to. 

While creating your own pillar page, select a broad topic that has between 6 and 9 chunky subtopic cluster pages that can have their own set of supporting blogs. 

How pillar pages help in SEO 

A pillar page is an SEO masterclass in itself. It helps you target a broad range of related keywords on a single page, increasing the chances of your content appearing on SERPs. 

Search engines like Google crawl and index websites to understand the keywords in the text and the relationship between various web pages on a site. A pillar page also tries to answer all kinds of questions about a topic and links to blog posts on related sub-topics. 

It’s literally a win-win situation. 

As your text covers all the different variations of a keyword, search algorithms will automatically put your website in the right category as a reliable source of information for the target keyword and all related user searches. 

The following are a few key benefits of creating pillar pages:

  • Increase search engine rankings
    Pillar pages help you rank for all the keywords related to the broad topic. Since you are able to target multiple keywords on the same page, pillar pages increase the chances of ranking for those keywords in search engine results pages. 
  • Improve crawling and indexing by search engines
    They help you create a search engine-friendly information structure for your website. A pillar page gives you plenty of chances for internal links to related blogs and enables you to create a well-defined content structure for your website.  
  • Share SEO juice with other pieces of content effectively
    They share the SEO juice with other blogs on your website and increase their rankings on SERPs. Once your pillar page starts ranking well, with the help of do-follow links, you can share the SEO juice with cluster pages and supporting blogs. 
  • Increase visitor dwell time
    They engage visitors for a longer time, increasing the dwell time and further cementing your position in the SERPs. The sheer depth of information around a topic offers visitors many informative pieces of content that further increase the time they spend on your website. 
  • Avoid keyword cannibalization

A pillar page helps you to avoid keyword cannibalization between different blogs on your website. It defines the relationship between them and helps prevent the possibility of two content pieces ranking for the same keyword. 

These are just a few of the many benefits of pillar pages. To get the most out of your pillar page, it is important that you follow the best practices. You may want to read this blog on the pillar page best practices. 

Now that you know the basics, let’s look at the different types of pillar pages you can create for your website. 

What are the types of pillar pages?

There are three main types of pillar pages:

  • 10X Content Pillar Page
  • Resource Pillar Page
  • Services Pillar Page

10X Content Pillar Page: A 10X content pillar page is a piece of long-form content that is 10 times more comprehensive in covering a topic and links to many internal sources of information on subtopics. 10x content pillar pages are usually in the form of ultimate guides, ebooks, or in-depth blogs. We have covered this topic in great length in this Scalenut blog on 10x content pillar pages.

Resource Pillar Page: A resource pillar page is a collection of the best sources of information on a topic. Think of a resource pillar page as a glossary of internal and external links to credible sources of information on a broad topic. Resource pillar pages can be independent webpages or long blogs with a list of useful sources of knowledge about every subtopic of a broad term. 

Services Pillar Page: A service pillar page is different from a landing page because it has more content. It does not simply push the visitor to make a purchase; rather, it educates the visitor about the specifics of your product or service through strategically placed CTAs throughout the webpage. 

Service pillar pages are separate web pages on a website. Here is a more in-depth explanation of pillar pages vs landing pages. 

Marketing professionals can choose to create any of the above-mentioned types of pillar pages. Whichever kind you choose, make sure that you have the required resources for creating that type of pillar page. 

For example, a service pillar page would require help from developers for UI/UX enhancements. On the other hand, a resource pillar page will require a lot of research work, so the writer involved might not be able to do anything else at that time.

To know more about the different types of pillar pages, refer to this in-depth Scalenut blog on types of pillar pages with examples. 

How to create pillar pages 

Visual representation of the pillar page creation process step by step

The end goal of a pillar page is to establish topical authority. You must ensure that your pillar content strategy covers everything on the topic and more. Simply creating a long-form piece of content with many backlinks will not be enough. 

When it comes to creating a pillar page, it can get overwhelming. Not to worry, here is a  process of creating SEO pillar content. 

Identify main topic and keyword

The first step is to figure out what the main topic of your pillar page is and do a lot of  keyword research. The topic you choose should be broad enough to have a few sub-pillar pages and supporting blogs but narrow enough to be an achievable content writing task. 

Do not select a topic that is too broad to be covered all in one place or too narrow to have separate interlinking cluster content. Create a healthy mix of short and long-tail keywords to maximize the effectiveness of your pillar page. 

Do content audit to identify gaps

The second step is to look closely at the content that is already on your website. If you have been blogging for a while now, chances are that you have already covered a few subtopics. 

Find all the blog posts related to your topic and look for opportunities to do the following:

  • Upgrade existing content to match the competition.
  • Combine thin content pieces and create a comprehensive blog post.

By combining your existing content on a topic, you can get a realistic idea of how much work it will take to make a pillar page. 

Check out your competition

This is an obvious step in the pillar page creation process. As the goal of creating a pillar page is to be the best source of information on that topic, it is important that you have a fair idea of the depth and breadth of content your competition has published on similar topics. 

If your competitor’s blog has a search box, try searching for your broad topic and analyzing all the content in the results. This will give you a fair understanding of the depth of your competitor’s content on the topic. 

The goal of the first three steps is to help you create a topic cluster for your pillar page content strategy. From identifying topics and finding keywords to analyzing the competition, every step helps find related topics and create a successful cluster that covers everything. 

Build your pillar page content strategy

Once you know the competitive landscape around your topic, the next step is to define your pillar page content strategy. Make a topic cluster with content outlines, target keywords, and timelines for each step of the content creation process. 

Here is a helpful Scalenut blog on pillar page content strategy for more info. 

Start creating cluster pages and interlink

Once everything is set, start creating your cluster pages first. By creating cluster content first, you can cover subtopics in great detail. If you don't, you'll end up with a pillar page with everything on it and no room left for creating cluster content. 

As you keep creating cluster pages, highlight the parts that link to support blogs and the pillar page. This will make it easier to link to other pages when you are publishing the pillar page. 

We have a detailed article on this step too. Read this blog on a pillar page template with a downloadable resource for your use. 

Optimise your pillar page for SERPs 

Once you've made all of your content (the pillar page, the cluster pages, and the blogs that support them), the next step is ensuring your content is search engine friendly. Refer to the keywords you chose in the first step and ensure they come up naturally in relevant content sections. 

If your content has images or videos, give them meta tags like title, alt text, video transcription, subtitles, etc., that are clear and to the point. 

To make the most of interlinking opportunities, ensure that you always use the same anchor text while linking a specific blog. This will help search engine crawlers understand the relationship between a keyword-loaded anchor text and the content piece.

Publish and promote your pillar page 

The last step in this process is to publish and promote your pillar page as much as possible. But should you publish all your content at once or in a phased sequence over a few weeks? 

The answer is to publish one piece of content at a time. 

To ensure that you’re doing that, create an editorial calendar to help track the progress and publishing sequence of your pillar page and content cluster. 

Here is a useful Scalenut blog on How to plan your editorial calendar for pillar page and topic cluster with a ready-to-use downloadable resource for your reference. 

Start by sharing it on your social media handles, community forums, emails, and business groups. Later, you can build a content marketing strategy around your pillar page to get your hard work in front of as many people as possible and have it reach the right people. 

The goal of creating a pillar page is to rank among the top results for a topic on search engines like Google. To do this, make sure that your content is easy to understand and that your website's UI/UX is easy to use. 

Ready to kickstart your pillar page content strategy? Here is a handy downloadable pillar page checklist to get started and ensure that you have everything you need to create a successful pillar page. 

How Scalenut can help you with pillar page strategy 

At Scalenut, we are all about content and the different ways it supports businesses in their online marketing strategies. From social media copies to creating in-depth content, Scalenut has a use case for every type of content. 

When it comes to successful pillar pages, Scalenut can help you create topic clusters based on keyword search volumes, competitive content briefs, and research-backed long-form content for your pillar pages, cluster pages, and supporting blogs. 

For example, our topic cluster generator is an easy-to-use tool that produces multiple lists of topic clusters based on a keyword and a target location. 

Try the Scalenut Topic Cluster generator and see for yourself. 

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