Your Pillar Page Guide: What They Are, Why They’re Important, and How to Create One

Pillars by definition are tall, vertical structures made of stone, wood, or metal, and are most often seen in architecture as support for roofs and upper floors of buildings.  Much like the structural help pillars give to buildings, your business’ website pages  require similar support to feature your best content—and help it stand out from your competitors. 

This is where developing strong “pillar pages” can really help you and your business.

What Is a Pillar Page?

When it comes to your website, a pillar page is a web page that outlines a highly specialised and comprehensive overview of your business’ niche topic. Interrelated, a “topic cluster” is a collection of interlinked articles and websites that fall under a central overarching topic. Pillar pages link to these topic clusters, and the clusters link back to the pillar pages. 

Your foundational pillar pages are designed to showcase your website to visitors. They should showcase your site and guide visitors to a central page that captures all the basic and essential information about your topic in one page.

This page should act as the central pillar that holds up the rest of your website content. To help ensure this foundational page covers everything you need to support your site, aim for your page to be around 2,000 to 3,000 words long. Use this article to hit all your key subtopics and introduce related topics that you’ll explore in future articles, too. 

For example, let’s say you are an avid musician and run a blog. In this blog, you teach music theory concepts and related topics. A successfully deployed pillar page can address the whole music theory topic itself. Or, you may have several pillar pages that extend to include various, supporting pillar pages—like pages that introduce and explain notes, chords, scales, harmonics, and much more. Your pillar pages should act as a good go-to resource for anyone who may be interested in the services you offer and your business’ unique niche. 

Having one or more pillar pages is necessary for your website to succeed, and can help boost your Google rank and SEO. But, pillar pages aren’t like your average web page. They’re not simple posts, and instead, dive deeper into specific topics to present topics in more complex ways.

What Is Your Topic Cluster? 

While running any content-related blog, you must have a strategy and a well-designed website. However, not all aspects of design are code related. A topic cluster is a prime example. It is essentially a group of pages on your website that are related to your head term or main topic.

Topic clusters can help you easily rank for a variety of keywords related to your niche and also provide a positive experience for your website visitors. 

What Are Subpages?

A pillar page is like an index to other pages that discuss a detailed aspect of the topic or be related to the topic. The pages are called subpages and are hyperlinked on your pillar page to keep your website organised.

What SEO Value Do Pillar Pages Offer?

Now that we understand what a pillar page is and where the term comes from, let’s take a look at why pillar pages matter to your website. A few important ways pillar pages can help boost your SEO:

  • Get your site ranked for more keywords. When you are discussing a variety of subtopics on your website you can get an audience from a wider range of keywords. 
  • Build website authority. Using pillar pages can help you develop your website’s authority. If people from your niche find your pillar pages helpful and informative, you will start to get recognized. Authority is all about being credible and nothing looks more credible than the use of pillar pages.
  • Improve your site’s user experience. A good pillar page should help your visitors find information easily and effectively. This can help them save time and enjoy a better user experience. 
  • Land your site more backlinks. Having a pillar page also allows you to gain more backlinks when other sites link back to your website if you have a pillar page. 
  • Establish better and more numerous (E-A-T). Pillar pages are directly related to authority sites, and they frequently make use of such resources. Having a pillar page gives you a slight smile from Google as this happens to distinguish between average websites. Pillar page content will help you build a strong E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) rating as more websites use your resources.

Much like building an encyclopaedia of your content and targeting it towards solving a specific problem, Google ranks pillar pages higher. Especially if they have a good E-A-T ranking, which can lead to better search engine results pages (SERPs).

Bottom line: When you’re able to provide pillar pages to your visitors through quality, easy-to-access information—Google will reward you with better traffic and SEO, and higher ranking in search.

How Can I Create a Successful Pillar Page?

The internet is immense, which is why retaining a good Google search rank is essential to get seen by potential customers (and getting ahead of your competition). Having a good niche subject and researching your topic is essential. 

To help walk you through building your page, consider the following steps. 

1. Pick a Main Topic or Niche

Your targeted topic should be specific to your industry and help you sell your services or products to a chosen audience. Aim to select a topic that’s not overly saturated (even better if you don’t find much market share, at all). Evergreen topics with a moderate market size are a good target to shoot for. You can then break out subtopics to be timely or drill down into more specific related topics. 

Things to take remember:

  • The pillar page topic keyword should not be too long. Instead, look for good conversational strings with concise language. Pillar pages don’t work well with long-tail keywords. 
  • Extended-tail keywords are not good SEO assets for your pillar web page. And, having a dead pillar page will cost you a lot more than you might think. So, be sure to avoid both extended-tail and long-tail keywords to help prevent you from making this mistake.   
  • Your web page’s main topic target should leverage a small niche and feature trustworthy content. Don’t market your pillage age using questionable or illegal topics, or plagiarised or stolen content. This will only land you in trouble. 
  • Discussing many aspects of an extensive subject matter is a good way to strengthen your web page. 
  • Normally pillar pages only feature two to three strong keywords. But, don’t be too broad either. For example, your niche content should not be generic like, “advertising and marketing”. This would make it far too difficult to comprehensively cover your topic cluster effectively. 

2. Create and Compare Consumer Personas

If you’re hoping to run a successful online business, you need to define who your customers are. Research can help you determine your commercial enterprise’s specific customer personas, problems, and needs. 

It’s essential to take any opportunities to explore and find your clients’ biggest challenges. This can help you better address your customer’s service and content needs. Consider what information they regularly search for on the internet, what their problems might be, and how you might better support their needs. 

Getting to the heart of these troubles and offering relevant, academic information on your pillar page is what will ultimately keep your SEO going.

3. Expand to Multiple Subtopics

Develop a list of subtopics to help you establish your topic cluster. You can use Google to find related subtopics by searching your main keywords. After you find out what phrases and questions fall under your essential subjects, you should repeat the process with some keyword variations, to ensure you’re finding similar topics to effectively cover.

You can also use publicly available resources like SpyFu, Ahrefs, and for researching your potential subtopic keywords. Use these tools to gain valuable insights into your keywords and search intentions. 

As you’re researching subtopics, consider the following key questions:

  • Are they specific?
  • Are they relevant?
  • Do they answer important questions about your topic?
  • Are they distinct to your subtopic page topics and strong enough to stand on their own? 

While you’re creating a sub-topic for your pillar page you can also use existing content that is well-written, if it falls under specific subtopic categories. 

You’ll then need to compile a list of links you intend to include in your pillar page. If some topics are not yet written, you can fill in the gaps on the pillar page, as you build out your content strategy in the coming months. It’s essential to keep your pillar page updated and fresh, to boost your site SEO.

4. Build Content for Your Pillar Page

It is important to understand that writing content may sound simple, but there is a lot of research and attention to detail that goes into the content. It is not for everyone—and that’s OK! Pillar pages should be well-written, without grammatical or spelling-related mistakes. Content that’s plagiarised or poorly written can negatively impact your website’s quality, reputation, and SEO ranking.

Apart from keyword research, your content should be top-notch. Creating a content plan based on your target keywords and topics can be time consuming. That’s why outsourcing this task to a company like Topcontent can save you significant time and resources.

Your pillar page content and structure should be easy for your readers to find and access. Visitors will want to find and read your topic content easily and efficiently, without having to spend a lot of time. 

To help draw visitors and reach or maintain your conversion goals, consider the following process: 

  • Start with an introduction and define your pillar page topics.
  • Provide an overview of what visitors will locate on the page.
  • Integrate at least 20-30 interlinks.
  • You should also hyperlink to some outside sources like industry leaders, new research, and studies, that will add credibility.

5. Revise and Enhance Your Content Page

After completing your site content, you’ll need to still regularly revisit and revise your pages. This will help keep your content fresh and aligned with the latest Google algorithm updates and SEO tactics.

Successful pillar pages that are frequently maintained with new information will help them rank higher and land better SERP positioning. This can also help strengthen your pillage pages, ensuring they’re the most valuable content hubs on your website.  

6. Publish Your Pillar Page

After you’ve finalised your content and links, you can begin designing a pillar page and optimising it. Your pillar page should be easy for Google to crawl and also shouldn’t employ any paywalls. 

If access to the pillar page requires users to fill out a form to access your page, it won’t get ranked. You should also be sure your pillar page is in a downloadable PDF format. This will help further enhance your users’ experience.   

Here are a few things you should include in your pillar page to make it effective and scannable:

  • Header tags are very important for establishing easy-to-follow navigation and helping to get your pages ranked. To get all the good benefits H1-H6 HTML heading tags offer, be sure to:
    • Use an H1 (title) tag that contains your main keyword.
    • Add a few H2 tags in the main sections of your pillar page.
    • Include a moderate amount of H3 tags for additional sub-topics.
  • An anchor-linked table of contents (TOC) is a great way to help guide your users through the main topics of your pillar page. Anchor linking should be near the top of the webpage and work like the table of contents in a book. Your  TOC should also be integrated with hyperlinks to each head tag throughout your pillar page. This allows your site visitors to move seamlessly to a specific section of the pillar page without having to scroll through it.
  • Be sure to have a core topic definition. This is a clearly defined overview of the most essential part of your pillar page topic cluster. 
  • Have lots of Internal links from relevant sources on your website, like some top-performing articles, but they should be relevant to the subject.
  • External links to sources that can prove your claims or the authenticity of your content which can boost credibility.
  • Some supporting images that go with your content, and can provide visual aids to your readers. This helps include alt texts in your pillar page, so it is easier to find.
  • Landing page elements, like forms, allow you to still convert using your content.
  • Call-to-action buttons that encourage readers to act are a wonderful way to engage your visitors and encourage them to contact you, reach out for questions, or download something for your site. 

What Else Do I Need to Know about Pillar Pages?

Pillar pages are very important for your website’s design, content, and ranking. Pillar pages may not be a ranking factor, but they do help you establish a better E-A-T rating. Pillar pages can help with SEO by boosting your rank for related keywords, building authority, and improving the user experience. Plus, they provide real value for your customers.

People want to quickly find the information they need, all in one convenient spot. Google understands this, and that’s why a successful website with well-maintained pillar pages can be so helpful for your potential customers.