As users input longer, more specific terms to search for content, Google has adjusted its algorithm to help them find what they’re looking for.
If you’re wondering how to keep up with these changing dynamics, consider incorporating pillar pages into your website. Pillar pages provide a comprehensive overview of a broad topic, always keeping keyword strategy in mind. In turn, hyperlinks on pillar pages guide users to more specialized information (aka cluster content) that all connects back to the broad concept on the original page.
Here Are 10 Reasons Why Pillar Pages Help Your Website SEO
1. If you blog like most companies do, you probably focus on creating many short posts (300-500 words) that are each written with specific keyword ranking in mind. You may not know that this method doesn’t maximize your site’s performance. It does little to boost your SEO rankings on Google.
According to HubSpot, the result of writing these shorter posts, “is disorganized, and hard for the user to find the exact information he or she needs. It also results in your own URLs competing against one another in search engine rankings when you produce multiple blog posts about similar topics.”
2. Try writing longer posts, instead. If you reach 1,000-3,000 words or more on your pillar pages, it’s a lot easier to write with some depth and authority on a topic.
Numerous supporting data points also show that longer content performs better across many key metrics.
As stated in this Forbes article, “When you need to generate search traffic that converts to signups, long-term relationships, and larger amounts of organic traffic over the long term, long form content is often more effective.”
At 11outof11, we find that’s what most of our clients want.
3. Do your research. When you perform some SEO investigation before you begin writing, you’ll gain clarity as to what people are searching for in relation to your particular topic. Try to infuse those keywords into your pillar page to direct as many users as possible to your website. You can take advantage of the free Google Keyword Planner tool for this.
All writers of highly-effective pillar pages do this sort of homework. Check out HubSpot’s very successful Instagram Marketing Guide. They hold the number one rank for an Instagram marketing guide on Google—clearly they know what they’re doing.
4. Express yourself! Pillar pages are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your unique take on a topic. If you generate nuanced content on a familiar concept, you can teach users something new. A fresh perspective is always a good thing, whether it’s an account of your own experiences, a differing viewpoint, or a new problem-solving technique.
Take a look at Matthew Barby’s Customer Acquisition Strategies page. He takes the well-known topic of customer acquisitions and uses his expertise to craft strategies that can apply to a truly wide array of businesses.
5. Encourage users to reach out. Once you demonstrate thought-leadership in your writing, people want to talk to you. After all, you’ve just shown your expertise! Be sure to include a call-to-action or two throughout the piece to generate more leads.
Typeform’s Customer Success Guide does just that, as it invites users to try the company’s templates as they navigate through the guide. This well-designed, user-friendly form is the perfect platform for inviting users to take advantage of Typeform’s products.
6. Share! Once your page is up and running, compile a list of partners, clients, or anyone else that might be willing to share your post. Reaching out allows you to rekindle some relationships, and their eventual shares will benefit your website’s SEO ranking. Making your page relevant, interesting, and compelling will render it all the more shareable.
HubSpot’s Battle of the Bots does a lot with this concept. This page takes somewhat dry, difficult topics and turns them into an easily digestible sort of story. It demands to be shared!
7. Take action and send your pillar page out to your email audience. Create more buzz and provide value to the people in your database. Watch as they re-engage with your website and become potential customers once again! A new look and new approach to content goes a long way in generating business for your company.
If you design a beautiful, user-friendly page like HelpScout’s Acquiring Customer’s With Email, dormant customers can’t help but re-engage with your site. It’s too good to ignore.
8. As with many endeavors, if you put in the time, you will reap the rewards. Pillar pages take more hours and more effort than those shorter individual posts mentioned above. Not everyone has the knowledge or the will-power to invest in this kind of work!
If you want to take your pillar pages to the next level, consider the skyscraper technique, in which you focus on a popular trend or topic and add a twist to it.
HubSpot advises: “Once you've created a new and improved piece of content, reach out to the folks that have already linked out to similar content to put your piece on their radar ... and hopefully earn a link.” Their links will drive more traffic to your page.
9. Update your content over time. It’s normal for the usefulness of your amazing piece of content to decline. But with some love and attention, its effectiveness can continue. In this age of information, other sites will publish new content on the topic, the industry will change, and new alternatives will arise.
GoodUI’s Evidence is a very successful page that keeps itself relevant by providing up-to-date data, which it compiles from the results of user conversion experiments. Fresh data like this will keep your customers coming back to your page.
10. The rankings speak for themselves. Pillar pages often become the #1 ranking page on a website, after its homepage! The research, time, and hard work are well worth it to make your site the best it can be in this every-changing digital age.
If you own a smaller business and are worrying about the resources needed to create such wonderful pages as those above, don’t lose hope! It’s mostly marketing and tech firms who are most significantly making use of this new concept.
If you’re part of another industry, you can still make waves by adopting this new technique before most have had a chance to do so.