Users encounter an abundance of information, but it is usually scattered. They may find a satisfying definition on one website but in-depth information about subtopics on others.
As an SEO professional, it is your job to ensure your target audience finds everything they need in one place so that they come to your site whenever they want information on similar topics. Doing this will showcase the expertise of your website, establish authority for the topic, and build trust with your audience.
Isn’t that what every SEO professional strives for?
Pillar pages address this challenge by clubbing related topics under a single topic cluster and providing detailed information on each in one place. Also known as content pillars, these are detailed long-form content pieces that cover a specific topic cluster with links to all related subtopics on a single page.
In this blog, we will help you understand the basics of a pillar page, with a special focus on three main types of pillar pages and different ways to create pillar page content.
What is a content pillar, and why is it important?
Content pillar pages are a comprehensive resource of descriptive and actionable information about a specific topic. The goal of content pillars is to attract people from all three stages of the sales funnel: the top (TOFU), the middle (MOFU), and the bottom (BOFU).
TOFU visitors look for basic information to understand a topic. MOFU visitors, on the other hand, want more comprehensive information than just the fundamentals.
BOFU visitors look for highly actionable information that either solves their problem or convinces them of the existence of one.
That is a lot of different areas to cover. But the rewards of creating such differentiated content in one place are worth the effort. Content pillar pages help websites attract, engage, and satisfy the target audience, which almost always results in better business.
For a better understanding of pillar pages, refer to this in-depth Scalenut blog on what is a pillar page and how it helps with SEO rankings.
Types of pillar pages
A pillar page can be both a standalone web page or a blog post.
For instance, if you are a SaaS platform looking to increase your subscriptions, you could create a web page for your content pillar with strategically placed CTAs. On the other hand, if you are a service provider looking to nurture a sales funnel, you may want to stick to a blog post format.
Depending on the use case and the available resources, you can choose any method that pairs well with your marketing strategy. If you’re looking for some inspiration, this Scalenut blog on pillar page examples may be of help to you.
Whether you develop a separate web page or publish a blog post, there are three main categories of pillar pages to choose from —
- 10X content pillar page
- Resource pillar page
- Service pillar page
Let’s understand each pillar page type in detail.
10X content pillar page
10x content pillar pages are as the name suggets. They cover a given topic 10 times better than the competition.
Suppose you are creating a 10x content pillar page on digital marketing. Then, you would want to cover every topic in the "digital marketing universe," like SEO, social media, blogging, link building, content marketing, and others.
Here is an example of 10x content created by Brian Dean of Backlinko.
Brian's pillar content helps visitors understand all about outreach emails by sharing the findings from a study of over 12 million emails. It has images from actual campaigns to support his conclusions.
This type of pillar page is usually an ungated, in-depth, and exhaustive knowledge resource (mostly long-form blogs) that links to relevant topics from the cluster for further reading. The idea is to help visitors completely understand a given topic, share direct links to relevant content, and eventually start ranking for the focus keywords.
When building a 10x content pillar page, focus on quality over quantity. Cover every important topic, answer common questions, and share step-by-step procedures.
However, do not fall into the trap of an extreme level of detail. If a topic is extensive, you might want to generate a separate blog for it and put a link to it on your pillar page.
Resource pillar page
A resource pillar page covers a detailed list of useful resources on a topic. Resource pillar pages can be blogs or website pages. These could include internal links to blogs that cover subtopics in detail or external links to blogs on other websites.
The goal is to give the browser an in-depth introduction to the topic with an extensive list of reference material and more information on subtopics.
For example, look at this resource pillar page by UX Mastery that shares over 200 UX tools for designers.
The page covers a brief description of every tool with important information, such as the type or tool category and the pricing.
It's important not to confuse a resource pillar page with generic resource pages on websites that only act as a menu for in-depth blogs.
A resource pillar page takes a step further from acting as a menu and provides definitions, instructions, and descriptions for every topic. It shares the basic information right there on the page and links to other pieces of content for further reading.
Service pillar page
Service pillar pages explain your service in detail and help your site visitors understand the service and appreciate its benefits. They are an ideal way to build trust and credibility with customers at all three stages of the sales funnel.
For example, Ahrefs has created a service pillar page for its website authority checker. Apart from acting as a landing page, the page also provides detailed information about website authority and how Ahrefs calculates the domain rating.
An in-depth, well-structured service pillar page has the power to guide visitors who are casually searching to seriously consider your products or services.
While the ultimate goal remains to convert visitors into leads, the approach of a service pillar page is to educate the visitor first and then nudge them towards becoming leads with strategically placed CTAs.
How does a service pillar page differ from other landing pages?
Conventional service landing pages on websites are a collection of attractive banners and CTAs with maybe a short, two to three-line description of the features, use cases, or benefits of the service.
A service pillar page moves away from the conventional method and shares a detailed description of the finer aspects to help visitors understand the inner workings of the service.
Landing pages are designed with a single purpose of converting visitors, whereas a pillar page has an added goal of educating visitors and acquiring more traffic. In terms of design, a landing page is full of visual elements with minimal text, whereas a pillar page is text-heavy.
This Scalenut blog on ‘Pillar Page vs Landing Page’ can help you understand the differences better.
Now that you know about the three types of pillar pages, let’s look at the different kinds of content you can create for each type.
Types of content you can write in pillar pages
Creating content is subjective. What is good for one person might not be the same for another.
However, there are a few content types that tend to be equally attractive to everyone. The following are the four main types of content you can develop for successful pillar pages.
Note: These content types can be used for all kinds of pillar pages (10x, resource, and service).
A how-to pillar page shares the step-by-step process for an enormous and confusing task. These pillar pages address a specific need of the audience.
For example, on-page SEO is something that every website owner wants to do, but there is no standard checklist for this practice.
A how-to pillar page for on-page SEO would address that need and present the reader with a detailed step-by-step checklist covering minute details of on-page SEO.
If you want to create a how-to pillar page, the best place to start is by identifying knowledge gaps in action-oriented subtopics that your audience is interested in.
Here is an example of a how-to pillar page from Backlinko.
This pillar page covers everything there is to know about writing a blog post, from finding topics to writing the conclusion and strategies for promoting blog content.
Whenever we come across a new term, product, or service, we tend to search for it by adding the phrase “what is” to the topic.
A what-is pillar page helps readers understand everything about a topic in great detail. It covers definitions, examples, comparisons with similar terms, and step-by-step procedures.
For example, if you wanted to know more about video SEO, a what-is pillar page would share the definition of video SEO along with examples and steps to follow to optimize your videos for maximum search engine visibility.
The idea is to help visitors develop a thorough understanding of the topic and share actionable information.
Look at this example of what-is pillar page content on wines created by Wine Folly.
The page covers everything about wines, from the definition of wine to different types of wines.
The pillar page also links to various subtopics such as ‘Port wine’ for further reading.
Not every topic can be covered as an in-depth how-to, what-is, or guide content piece. Some topics are so new or rare they may lack the depth and breadth required for creating pillar page content.
Best-of pillar page content is ideal for covering “thin” topics in great detail. All you have to do is create a list of the best facts, tips, examples, products, or services that address a given topic.
Here is an example of best-of pillar page content on the topic of email subject lines created by OptinMonster. This pillar page covers everything about email subject lines and follows that up by giving 164 examples for inspiration.
Best-of pillar page content is easy to skim and draws people who don't have time to read long text. You can identify best-of pillar page ideas by looking for action-oriented topics with high search volumes.
Guides with chapters
Guides are an amazing way to create pillar pages that establish you as the authority for a topic. It could be a ‘beginner’s guide’ that introduces readers to the topic or an ‘ultimate guide’ that enhances the understanding of the topic.
The goal is to meticulously create a piece of content with links to topic clusters blogs that leaves readers with no need to look for more information on the topic.
If you are creating a guide pillar page, ensure you cover all the subtopics as chapters, share actionable steps wherever required, and answer all the questions your target audience may ask while reading.
Here is an example of a guide with chapters about champagne by Wine Folly.
Visitors can quickly skip to the content they want to read first and explore the rest of the pillar page at their convenience.
Are you ready to create a pillar page with Scalenut?
Scalenut is an all-in-one SEO and content marketing platform that can help you create great pillar pages.
From creating topic clusters for pillar pages with a Topic Cluster Generator by Scalenut to empowering your content creation process with an AI-powered SEO Hub, Scalenut can help you with different stages of content creation and marketing.
For more information, refer to our comprehensive knowledge pool of Scalenut blogs on SEO tactics.
Frequently asked questions
Q1. How do I select a topic for my pillar pages?
Ans. To select a topic for your pillar page, the best way is to identify broad topics from your industry niche with high search volumes. Create a topic cluster for that broad topic with subtopics, which you can cover in separate blogs. Topic Cluster Generator by Scalenut can be your guiding light here.
A topic with a large number of subtopics is ideal for a pillar page.
Q2. What is the best way to interlink subtopic blogs in pillar pages?
Ans. While there is no standard technique for interlinking for pillar pages, an ideal way to do this is to create a subheading for each blog you want to link and give a CTA for that blog at the end of the section.
You can use engaging lead-ins for the CTAs, such as ‘for more information,’ ‘dive deep into this,’ followed by the blog title.
Q3. Can a topic cluster have two pillar pages?
Ans. Yes, a topic cluster can have two or more pillar pages. There are many subtopics that require a pillar page of their own. For example, if you are generating a topic cluster for digital marketing, it can have many pillar pages on topics such as PPC, social media marketing, SEO, etc.