Pillar pages help you establish topical authority for relevant topics that your target audiences love. It is the most SEO-friendly method for nurturing a community of potential customers around your brand.
As an SEO professional, you know how difficult it is to tie content creation efforts with measurable results. Publishing content on different topics in silos won’t work. You need to find engaging ways to establish the relationship between various content pieces on your website.
Creating content pillars is a great way to do that.
In this blog, we will look at some of the best practices that can guide you to creating amazing pillar pages that are loved by all visitors and search engines.
What are pillar pages and topic clusters?
Before we start with the best practices, let’s quickly recap the basics of pillar page content strategy.
A pillar page content strategy aims to create highly informative pieces of content that talk about every aspect of a broad topic and provide useful links to more in-depth blogs on individual subtopics.
The goal is to cover a set of related topics known as topic clusters with every pillar page.
What this does for your website is create a well-defined structure of broad topics and sub-topics on your website. It simplifies the flow of information for search engines and creates an easy-to-navigate experience for your website visitors.
For a deep dive into pillar pages and topic clusters, you can refer to this exhaustive Scalenut blog on what is a pillar page and how they help with SEO ranking.
There are many types of pillar pages you can create. You can refer to this comprehensive blog on the types of pillar pages you can create to boost traffic for more information.
Now that you have a fair understanding of pillar pages and topic clusters, let’s look at 16 crucial pillar page best practices to achieve maximum results.
Pillar Page Best Practices
1. Ease of access
If you’re creating a pillar page, it is crucial that you make it easily accessible. It could be in the navigation menu on your homepage or any other high-traffic web page. Make sure that the title of the pillar page is clearly visible and clickable.
2. Setting the right expectations
Visitors generally do not have the time or the patience to scroll through the entire document only to find it was not meant for them.
A good way to maximize user experience is to set the right expectations by starting your pillar page with sections such as “Who is this for?”, “What is covered in this guide?” or “How to use this guide?”
The goal is to help your visitors understand the utility of the information that lies ahead.
3. Sharing author credentials
If you’re reading something, you will want to know who has written it. Therefore, if possible, always share the author's credentials on your pillar page. It establishes trust and assures the readers of the credibility of the information on your pillar page.
4. Update the content regularly
The good thing about pillar pages is that they are a one-stop shop for every kind of information about a topic. To ensure that your pillar page is as comprehensive as possible, regularly update your pillar page with the latest content.
Additionally, include a “Last Updated” line on your pillar page to show the readers they are referring to the latest information.
5. Giving quick access to the table of contents
Just as you ensure quick access to the navigation menu of your homepage, pay equal attention to the accessibility of your table of contents (TOC).
A pillar page is a long document. Your visitors should be able to skip the parts they already know and get to the most important information for them.
There are many ways to do this. You can place the TOC at the top, or any of the sides, in a pop-up menu or simply include it in your content with a ‘back to top’ hovering button on the side.
6. Starting with the basics
Kickstart your reader’s journey by sharing important definitions right at the start. This will increase the chances of social sharing and becoming a featured snippet in the Google SERP for the target keyword.
7. Include videos
Videos are the most engaging form of content. Users love to watch videos instead of reading long paragraphs of text. Wherever possible, include videos about sub-topics or complex ideas on your pillar pages.
If you cannot find a video-worthy topic, simply create an introductory video explaining what you’ll cover and who this pillar page is for.
8. Create shareable infographics
One goal of pillar pages is to get as many backlinks as possible, and infographics are a great way to do that. Create infographics for sections of your pillar page and make them shareable. This way, whenever somebody is thinking of discussing the ideas you talked about on your pillar page, they can easily share your infographic.
Alternatively, people writing about something related to your broad topic can use the infographic in their content and link back to yours as a source.
9. Using short paragraphs
Long blocks of text are tough to read, and visitors lose interest. To keep your readers engaged, break your content into small paragraphs of text, no more than 5-6 sentences long. This increases the readability of your pillar content and motivates visitors to read till the end.
10. Include a progress bar
Another way to keep your readers engaged is by including a progress bar in your UI/UX. It will help visitors keep track of the progress they have made and how much more information your pillar page has to offer.
11. Add relevant internal links
Many SEO professionals think they can interlink anything if the anchor text is right. Random internal linking will misguide your visitors into jumping off to another topic altogether. Always make sure that the blog or piece of information you’re linking to is relevant to the broad topic.
If you include statistics in your content, integrate external links to credible sources to increase the trustworthiness of the information.
12. Include CTAs sparingly
A pillar page has an educational goal. It aims to share information and help visitors understand a topic better. While including CTAs is a necessity, we must do it carefully.
Ideally, you should include a CTA at the end of the pillar page content. But if you want to use multiple CTAs, make sure they conform to the flow of information. Include CTAs only when you see a plausible angle to mention your products/services in the flow of content.
13. Conduct a comprehensive keyword analysis
While identifying target keywords for your pillar page, conduct keyword research based on a comprehensive analysis. Keywords play an important role in creating subheadings. Ensure you target as many keywords as possible while maintaining priority for the ones that address your broad topic.
14. Highlight important information
Whenever you want to emphasize a particular piece of information, use pull quotes to differentiate them. Also, offer social sharing options to popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to increase the chances of getting social mentions.
15. Provide a resource list
Include the most credible resources that you’ve referred to while creating your pillar page at the end. It helps readers verify your information and do further research on the broad topic.
16. Follow SEO best practices
You have created an amazing pillar page. It has everything and links to all the possible cluster topic blogs. Now the final step is to optimize your content for SERPs.
From the URL to the heading tags, ensure your blog post or other form of content is keyword-optimized. Define the structured data for your pillar page, and monitor the page performance for SEO improvements.
We hope these effective pillar page best practices help you create the best pillar page for your website. If you are looking for some inspiration, here is a Scalenut blog on content pillar page examples to help you get started.
Scalenut is here to automate your pillar page strategy
Manual research for creating topic clusters can be difficult. Tools like the Topic Cluster generator by Scalenut can help you create research-backed clusters with minimal effort.
Simply enter your target keyword and location, and the tool will produce a detailed topic cluster report with related keywords and individual keyword search volumes. You can use this information to finalize the central topic for your main pillar page and cluster topics for the supporting blogs.