Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving. New tech continues to emerge and people are changing the way they find answers online. According to HubSpot, users are submitting longer and more conversational search queries, with 64% of searches four words or more – thanks to the girls Siri and Alexa (and of course, talking into the phone...we all do it). In response, search engines like Google and Bing are beginning to analyze content and generate results differently, making it that much more difficult for online businesses to rank. This shift in search behaviour is changing the way we produce digital content: what used to be a keyword-based strategy has transitioned to a topic-focused strategy. Meet the new SEO tactic: pillar pages.
What is a pillar page?
A pillar page is a long piece of content that lives on your website as a single page that covers all aspects of a particular topic. The goal of a pillar page is to provide a broad overview of a topic you want to rank for that answers the most common questions a user would have about that topic. Previously, keywords were the main focus for improving SEO. Now, pillar pages focus on the topic with long form content that increases the chances of showing up in a search query and ultimately generating better search engine authority.
How is a pillar page different from a blog?
A pillar page is longer and more broad than a blog – blogs are typically more detailed and are aimed at addressing a topic based on keywords. While pillar pages have become a major focus for online businesses, blogs still play a key part. Every pillar page should link to related blogs, and blogs should link back to its relevant pillar page. We know...blogging hurts. It can be expensive and difficult to generate an outcome worth the effort; using blogs as supportive content for pillar pages however drives page-churn, improves SEO and addresses additional concerns, questions or pain points a user may have. What used to be an overzealous blogging strategy (amounting to weekly blogs produced at a hefty cost) has become a simplistic approach that values quality over quantity. Cut your costs and produce content that really matters.
How should content be structured?
Think of a pillar page as the “Topic Umbrella” and a blog post as the “Deep Dive.” For example, if you own a travel company and you want to rank for the topic “Ocean Travel,” your pillar page should broadly cover this topic with content such as how to plan a cruise and packing tips; a blog post is a more in-depth view of a sub-topic related to the pillar page (think: small-ship river cruising in Europe). If you’re in an industry such as real estate and your goal is to reach new home buyers, try starting with a pillar page on purchasing a new home and offer related content such as maintaining your home in winter; or maybe you want to reach online users who are looking for more information about senior living communities that provide memory care: your pillar page could broadly cover memory care in senior living communities and a blog post could do a deep-dive into a topic such as tips for coping with parent who has dementia or how to safely move a loved one with dementia.
The benefits of pillar pages:
- A better branded, more professional piece of content that makes information easier to find and simpler to navigate. A better user experience for all.
- By living as a single page on your website, pillar pages allow users to access more accurate information that addresses their pain points, and faster. Quality information accessed with ease.
- SEO! By broadly covering a topic in your pillar page in length, you are automatically ranking for more keywords than a blog would be able to. And by linking between pillar pages and blog posts, your blogs covering similar topics no longer have to compete. SEO value + higher search authority.
- Longevity: Content is no longer dated or loses value over time. Better return on the effort.
- Be seen as an expert in your field. Pillar pages establish your business as an industry leader that provides knowledge about topics relating to your business. Become an industry leader.
HubSpot Pillar Page Best Practices:
- Start by choosing a topic that you want to rank for and that relates to your industry. A good place to start is with a topic that you feel knowledgeable about and comfortable writing.
- Organize content in clusters that makes sense for your business. Broad topics first (these are your pillar pages), then cluster content second (these are your blog posts).
- Link to relevant blog posts from your pillar page, and back to the pillar page from blogs. This creates a seamless flow between the broad “umbrella” topic and the “deep-dive” detailed pieces of content related to that topic.
- Leverage content you already have! Many businesses have pillar page and blog content already written and ready to go. Do you have profiles for liquor brands that include tasting notes, history and important information about the distilling process? Do you have several white papers on a particular topic that can be ported onto a web page? Compile your assets first to see what types of pillar pages can be produced from content on hand.
Out with the old, in with the new. Being a part of the digital world means adapting and changing with technology. SEO tactics will continue to change with time – it’s up to you to stay with the trends and optimize your site accordingly for better rankings, lead generation and overall user experience. At Lux 9, we know what it means to be in tune with the latest digital trends – we’re always looking for new ways to improve search and the overall impact of content in a way that meets your goals and provides a return on your investment.
Great pillar content = better SEO = leads. Get in touch today to see how we will get you powered up with a strategy that will generate more leads and increase revenue on web.