Successful content marketing relies on the consistent generation of original and valuable content. However, just the thought of this can be overwhelming — especially when you’re simultaneously focused on your more immediate business objectives.
One method for generating a significant amount of high-value content? Content pillars.
Here’s a closer look at this effective content marketing strategy, along with how to use it to fuel content creation.
What Are Content Pillars?
We’re all aware of the value of publishing blog posts and other content for connecting with your customers and boosting your SEO. However, many marketers mistakenly assume that any content is good content, and end up churning out a body of uninformative posts that do nothing but make noise. The reality is that churning out lackluster content for content’s sake can lead to diminishing returns.
Enter content pillar pages. A content pillar is “bedrock content” as it is comprehensive and substantial, covering a specific theme or topic that can be broken down into many smaller articles.
Search engines value pillar pages and may reward you with a better ranking in search results pages. Why? Because there is already a lot of clutter online. Using pillar pages to group the articles you write helps to create a clean website structure.
As a result, it is easier for search engines to understand what those pieces of content are. The easier it is for search engines to understand your content, the higher they rank your website.
Typically, pillar content stands out in three ways:
- It answers a question, solves a problem, or addresses a pain point with the most comprehensive and accurate information possible.
- It’s more comprehensive in both scope and detail than other content.
- It checks all the boxes for good content: It’s useful, interesting, and credible.
Another way of looking at it? Pillar content is foundational content in your niche, which forms the basis of related cluster pages. In providing important knowledge for your target audience, your pillar page and topic cluster become a go-to resource for users while maintaining value, remaining relevant, and achieving high search rankings. Meanwhile, its user-friendly structure and organization is appealing to visitors.
Here’s a real-life content pillar example for a plumbing business. The pillar page may be “The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Your Home Plumbing,” while cluster page topics could address specific home maintenance issues; offer best practices for care and maintenance; and provide instructions for when to call in a pro.
Types of Content Pillars
There are several types of pillar pages. These include:
- “Ultimate Guide” pillar pages: long-form articles comprising a parent topic and detailed subtopics
- Product/Service pillar pages: similar to Ultimate Guide pillar pages, but focused on products and services
- Resource pillar pages: comprehensive list of resources for your target audience, including tools, case studies, examples, statistics, and other reference materials
5 Benefits of Pillar Pages
The immediate benefit of a pillar page is that it provides users with the information they need on a particular topic in one central place. However, pillar pages also have value for businesses, including the following:
Visitors will spend more time on your website.
Because pillar pages are longer, they take more time to consume. They also use backlinks, which means longer sessions because visitors will be clicking around your website.
You’ll have a decrease in bounce rate.
Pillar pages aim to provide everything users need. If done right, visitors won’t need to return to Google to find another source.
They’re shared frequently.
Social sharing is a major boon for your business, and pillar pages get tons of shares.
Their value is ongoing.
Pillar content is evergreen, meaning it will continue to produce results for the lifetime of your website.
Higher rankings in search results pages
Search engines love how pillar pages organize content, thus reward the website with better SERP rankings.
Tips on How to Create a Pillar Page
The first step in creating a pillar page is to determine your parent topic. This will usually pertain to a main topic of your business or to a core product or service you offer. Keyword research can help you hone in on a parent topic and related keywords.
You’ll then choose a pillar page type. This depends on your business type, as well as your content strategy.
Next, you’ll be ready to create your pillar page. To ensure its quality, it should have the following characteristics:
- Plenty of visuals
- Data references
- Examples and case studies
Generally, you will create one pillar page at a time, so allow ample time to create the best possible resource.
Once you’ve completed your pillar page, it’s time to determine your secondary target keywords. There are SEO tools available to help you identify these, which will usually relate to questions and topics spun off from the pillar page.
Finally, you’ll be ready to create your cluster pages. These are shorter and more standard blog posts which go into further detail while being optimized for SEO. Every cluster page should link back only to the relevant pillar page.
Now here’s the genius of pillar content: Cluster page creation is continual. You can continue to spin off cluster topics in perpetuity. You can also add new internal links, as appropriate. (Plan on regularly revisiting both pillar pages and cluster pages to identify these opportunities.)
While pillar content isn’t new, businesses are increasingly realizing its value when incorporated into a comprehensive content marketing plan. The pillar content concept has also evolved since its inception in accordance with changes in the market and to SEO.
If your business isn’t yet using pillar content, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to improve your SERP, boost customer engagement, and more. At The Light Digital, it’s our mission to keep up with the latest digital marketing trends, and to translate our knowledge and expertise into results for our clients. To learn more about how our team can help you reach your goal through pillar content and other digital marketing initiatives, contact The Light Digital today.