Content marketing

7 Pillar Page best practices for your content marketing strategy

- October 20, 2022 5 MIN READ
Young writer using laptop in cafe

What is a pillar page, and how do they help your website content rank better and gain you more business? Digital growth guru Nick Brogden explains.

What is a pillar page?

A pillar page is the foundation of your content marketing strategy. If done correctly, it should provide a detailed overview of a particular topic while providing room for more in-depth discussions of related topics — often target keywords — in cluster pages.

While your pillar page should provide enough information to answer your audience’s standard questions, it should keep people curious enough to dig deeper and click through your cluster pages.

A well-done pillar page is comprehensive, relevant, and considered a one-stop shop for learning about your chosen topic.

Read on to find some best practices and strategies to build an effective pillar page.

But first, what are cluster pages?

While your pillar page is considered your core topic/content, your cluster pages are your supporting pages that provide more in-depth coverage of concepts you touched on in your pillar page.

For example, if your pillar page discusses creating a brand identity, you can have a cluster page that discusses building your customer persona.

Your pillar page should link to cluster pages and vice versa. Doing this can strengthen your page’s authority and improve your page ranking.

Pillar page best practices

You already know that pillar pages are essential for boosting SEO, but what exactly does the ideal pillar page look like?

Let’s start by understanding the anatomy of a perfect pillar page with some examples to inspire you.

1. Break it down into chapters

Your pillar page should be a comprehensive guide to a specific topic, meaning your audience looks at 2,000-5,000 words. Including chapters allows them to jump to the topic that interests them quickly.

Having chapters makes your page more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Allowing your page visitors to skip ahead to a topic eliminates endless scrolling and ensures that your bounce rate is kept to a minimum.

Besides, you can’t expect every page visitor to want to read the entire content.

pillar pages - atlassian scrum example

Image source: https://www.atlassian.com/

Software company Atlassian’s pillar page on Scrum has a table of contents conveniently placed on the left side of the page, making it easy for visitors to find the precise information they’re looking for immediately. The page even has an ‘Up Next’ button if you want to skip ahead.

2. Take note of the text hierarchy

Using appropriate headings (H1, H2, H3) helps readers understand the hierarchy of information on your page. Headings make it easier for visitors to locate sections of your page and automatically enhance its readability.

From an SEO perspective, having standardised headings can help improve your page ranking because it indicates a high-quality page.

pillar pages - saas example

Image source: https://www.oracle.com/au

Oracle, a computer tech firm, uses headings to define sections of its pillar page about Software as a Service (SaaS).

3. Utilise colours and visuals

Pillar pages are infamous for having endless blocks of text as it’s supposed to cover a topic in length. However, that doesn’t mean you should keep your page black and white. Remember that humans are visual people, and adding more colour to your page instantly makes it seem more engaging.

Adding visual elements can also create a break from blocks of text and make it more shareable. Infographics and videos are also helpful tools that can help you keep readers on your page longer.

You can also use tools like Ahrefs to find out what your competitors are doing and then look to create better linkable assets (content that is easier to link to and organically receives links) — by entering a domain into Ahrefs then clicking on ‘best by links’ to see which pages are getting the most backlinks.

pillar pages - ahrefs example

Image source: Ahrefs

Using Canva as an example, you’ll notice that their font pairing ultimate guide has received the highest number of links in the last 30 days.

pillar pages - canva example1

Image source: Canva

Not only is the guide easy to read. It is also pleasant on the eyes. It contains a lot of stunning visuals like:

pillar pages - canva example2

Image source: Canva

4. Consider the customer journey

It’s essential to build your page to match your customer’s journey. This means you must cover the basics first — including definitions and information needed during the awareness stage.

Once you’ve answered all essential questions about your chosen topic, you can introduce additional material and subtopics (cluster pages). Here, they can access more in-depth blogs or case studies. At this point, your page visitor is in the consideration stage.

Now that you’ve equipped your lead with all the information they need, you can begin introducing your product/services as a solution to their problems.

Think of your pillar page as a hub of information — don’t make the mistake of selling immediately. Structuring your pillar page after the natural customer’s journey will ensure that you provide your audience with value and the proper knowledge to make an informed decision.

5. Highlight important quotes and information

Aside from using images to make your pillar page’s content more shareable and engaging, using pull quotes is a great way to capture your audience’s attention.

pillar posts - qualtrics pull quote example

Image source: https://www.qualtrics.com/

6. Add internal links

Link internally to cluster pages and related blog articles, as these will pass on link juice to key pages you want to rank.

Internal links help Google to understand your website better, and it also shows Google which pages are essential to your brands.

7. Always keep updating your content

Ideally, your pillar page should be the go-to resource for anyone looking to educate themselves about your chosen keyword or topic, and the content should be evergreen. By evergreen, I mean the topic should be something people search for every year.

Here’s an example of an evergreen URL vs a non-evergreen URL:

  • Non-evergreen URL: https://www.example.com/christmas-ideas-2022
  • Evergreen URL: https://www.example.com/christmas-ideas

In the above example, the first URL targets the keyword ‘Christmas ideas 2022’. Because it has ‘2022’ in the URL, the content is not evergreen because after 2022 the content may not be relevant.

The second URL targets ‘Christmas ideas’ and doesn’t contain a year. The content is evergreen as it targets a topic people will search for every year. And a site targeting this keyword can choose when they want to update the page.

Summing up

A pillar page is one of the best ways to attract organic traffic and tackle difficult keywords. Plus, it’s a great way to climb up the ranks on Google without spending a fortune.

Think of how you can provide more value to your audience and start building from there. Lastly, don’t forget to promote your content!


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