Pillar Pages: Why and How You Should Add Them to Your Content Strategy

The writer’s views are completely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and might not all the time replicate the views of Moz.

In a recent study, we discovered that our pillar pages are magnets for hyperlinks, natural visitors, and publication subscribers — particularly in contrast to common weblog posts. Listed below are the outcomes that each kinds of search engine marketing content material generated over the course of a yr:

Do these outcomes imply it’s best to ditch your weblog technique in favor of pillar pages? Not precisely.

Right here’s the catch: You actually can’t have one with out the opposite, and all of it comes down to content material mapping. I’ll clarify precisely what I imply on this article.

What’s a pillar web page?

A pillar web page is a bit of content material that comprehensively covers a broad matter. Pillar web page — additionally typically referred to as hub and spoke — content material weaves collectively a variety of related subtopics (spokes), organizes them multi functional place (hub), and successfully showcases your subject material experience for the broad matter.

Pillar web page content material needs to be simple to navigate for readers trying to be taught — at a excessive stage — a few explicit matter, however must also provide related sources for them to dive deeper. 

Instance of associated sources discovered on a pillar web page.

It’s sort of just like the choose-your-own-adventure of content material advertising and marketing.

Topical authority: why it’s essential

When it comes to content material creation for search engine marketing and digital advertising and marketing, you don’t need to create content material round any previous matter. As an alternative, you need to reinforce your brand’s topical authority with each new piece of content material you create (be it a weblog, a pillar web page, an eBook, and many others.).

Let’s put it this manner: In case you’re within the enterprise of promoting mechanical keyboards, it doesn’t make sense to publish a weblog article about the very best recipes for a summer season BBQ. Until you’re recommending that your prospects grill and eat their mechanical keyboards, which is (extremely) unlikely.

As an alternative, it’s extra useful to your model — and your viewers — for those who cowl subjects associated to mechanical keyboards, like:

  • What’s a mechanical keyboard?

  • Mechanical keyboards vs. common keyboards.

  • Customized mechanical keyboards.

  • How to transition to a mechanical keyboard.

  • Professionals and cons of a mechanical keyboard.

By overlaying as many subjects associated to mechanical keyboards as doable, you’re constructing a basis of informational content material that tells search engines like google and yahoo: “Hey, I do know so much about mechanical keyboards!”

And the extra content material you could have that begins to rank for essential search phrases associated to mechanical keyboards, the extra probably searchers will see you as an authority on the topic. Ideally, they’ll begin coming again to your content material once they want to be taught extra about this particular matter.

Pillar pages + blogs = a match made in content material advertising and marketing heaven

A well-executed and organized pillar web page is likely one of the greatest methods to showcase to your viewers (and search engines like google and yahoo) that you’ve topical authority in a selected space. Weblog posts enable you obtain topical authority by permitting you to cowl a variety of related subtopics in nice element, and pillar pages set up all of that content material into a pleasant, user-friendly bundle.

Let’s check out this tactic in motion.

We constructed our content marketing guide as a pillar web page, which allowed us to cowl a slew of subtopics associated to the broader matter of content material advertising and marketing, multi functional piece of collateral. 

All of those subtopics are organized into sections on the web page, with a hyperlinked desk of contents on the prime to enable readers to choose and select precisely what they’d like to study:

Then, all through the web page, we provide readers the chance to go deeper and be taught extra about every subtopic by linking to related weblog content material:

What’s content material mapping?

A pillar web page is a nice tactic for those who’ve obtained lots of present weblog content material all centered on a selected guardian matter. It’s certainly one of our favourite methods at Brafton to repurpose and repromote our blogs.

However you may also create a pillar web page with all brand-new content material — it’ll simply take extra analysis, planning, and manufacturing time to full.

Enter: content material mapping.

Content mapping is the method of assessing your target market, understanding what they’re making an attempt to obtain, and helping them along that journey with branded academic and commercial content. Its scope can span the whole thing of your content material advertising and marketing technique or a single piece of pillar web page content material.

Why content material mapping issues in content material advertising and marketing

The planning (or content material mapping) of a pillar web page is simply as essential because the analysis achieved to select the proper key phrase to goal for your online business.

Pillar pages are sort of just like the books of the advertising and marketing world. In case you have been an skilled birder, for instance, you wouldn’t set out to write a e book about bird-watching with out doing any analysis. Particularly for those who’ve spent lots of time writing and publishing articles about bird-watching in your weblog. You’d need to perceive a number of issues earlier than beginning that e book, like:

  1. Which of my weblog posts generated essentially the most curiosity from new and returning readers? (i.e. pages with essentially the most new and returning guests, as seen in your net analytics instrument).

  2. Which blogs saved readers coming again for extra? (i.e. pages with essentially the most publication subscriptions, or the very best publication subscription charges).

  3. Which blogs did my trade friends discover most helpful? (i.e. pages with the best variety of high-quality referring domains and backlinks).

These questions might be answered by trying by way of your net analytics instruments, similar to Google Analytics and Moz Professional.

Instance of content material evaluation by prime linking domains.

You’d additionally need to perceive what the competition looks like earlier than you spend dozens of hours writing 1000’s of phrases to fill a e book.

You’d need to reply questions, like:

  1. What do my opponents’ books on bird-watching appear to be? (i.e. the kinds of bird-watching subtopics the web page 1 outcomes cowl).

  2. What does Google assume searchers need to see once they seek for bird-watching? (i.e. the kinds of content material which are discovered on web page 1 in your goal key phrase — and shock! it won’t be books).

  3. How lengthy and detailed are my opponents’ books? (i.e. the extent of complexity and comprehensiveness of the content material rating on web page 1).

These questions might be answered by manually reviewing related SERPs and using TF-IDF instruments like Clearscope or MarketMuse to perceive the breadth of subtopics and kinds of content material rating on the primary web page.

Instance of guide SERP inspection.
Instance of TF-IDF content material evaluation.

When you perceive which of your content material performs greatest and which content material Google and different search engines like google and yahoo want to rank extremely in your goal key phrase, you can begin piecing collectively a plan in your pillar web page.

A observe about inner linking

Earlier than we dive into the how-to portion of this piece, we must also acknowledge the significance of inner linking to this entire course of.

And I’m not simply speaking about throwing in a hyperlink to a associated product/service on the finish of the web page and calling it a day. The interior linking construction of your pillar web page is actually the glue that holds the entire thing collectively. It helps readers simply navigate to associated sources to proceed studying out of your model. And it helps search engines like google and yahoo perceive the connection between your pillar web page content material and the extra content material you’re highlighting on the web page.

However when it comes to inner linking, there is such a factor as an excessive amount of of a great factor.

Together with too many inner hyperlinks all through your content material may cause a irritating consumer expertise or look spammy, so use warning and be certain that the one inner linking you do on the web page is extraordinarily related to the guardian matter.

In case you’re uncertain whether or not or not you’ve obtained too many inner hyperlinks on the web page, you possibly can run it by way of Moz’s On-Page Grader tool, which routinely counts the variety of hyperlinks in your web page and flags for those who’ve obtained too many.

Tip: Remember the fact that this instrument will depend ALL hyperlinks discovered on the web page, together with these in your fundamental navigation and footer, so the “Too Many Hyperlinks” warning may very well be a false optimistic.

As Moz explains: Google recommends you don’t go over 100 inner hyperlinks per web page, as a result of it may dilute the search engine marketing worth despatched from the pillar web page to the linked pages, and it may additionally make it tougher for customers and crawlers to navigate the entire content material.

Two data-led methods to map out content material for a pillar web page

There are a few other ways to strategy the development of any such content material, however they every depend on natural search knowledge to paved the way.

1. Planning a pillar web page and associated sources (all from scratch)

Let’s faux you don’t have any prior content material created a few explicit matter. You’re mainly ranging from scratch. Let’s additionally assume the subject you’ve chosen is each core and commercially helpful to your online business, and that your area realistically has an opportunity of rating on web page 1 for that key phrase.

Let’s say you’re a pet meals firm and certainly one of your fundamental merchandise is cat dental treats. When you’ve decided that that is the precise key phrase you need to goal (“cat dental treats”), it’s time to begin your analysis.

Step 1: Manually examine SERP to perceive searcher intent

First, we’ll begin by manually inspecting the primary SERP for this key phrase, and answering the next questions:

  1. What kinds of content material are on the primary web page of outcomes?

  2. Why are individuals looking for “cat dental treats”?

By answering these two questions in our SERP evaluation, we’ll make it possible for our plan for making a pillar web page to rank really is smart and it’s what searchers need to see on the SERP. We’ll additionally higher perceive all the explanations behind why somebody may search this key phrase (and we will then handle these causes within the content material we create).

So let’s reply these questions:

Query 1: What kinds of content material are on the primary web page of outcomes?

Reply 1: The primary SERP consists of quite a lot of product advertisements, a Individuals Additionally Ask part, and a number of natural blogs and product pages.

Forms of content material discovered on the SERP for “cat dental treats.”

Query 2: Why are individuals looking for “cat dental treats”?

Reply 2: From a fast evaluation of the SERP, we will deduce that folks need to know why and how cat dental treats are essential to a cat’s well being, and additionally they need to know which cat dental treats work greatest. Maybe most significantly, it’s extremely probably that they plan to buy cat dental treats for his or her furry companion(s) within the close to future.

Step 2: Choose associated key phrase concepts for weblog content material

Because you don’t simply need to create a pillar web page for simply the first key phrase, you additionally need to pinpoint a number of associated subtopics to be written as weblog content material.

For this a part of the method, head over to your key phrase analysis instrument, plug in your goal key phrase and (with a watch for subjects that you just’re well-suited to cowl), jot down a listing of key phrases and phrases.

Right here’s our checklist of potential weblog subjects:

  • Greatest cat dental treats.

  • How do cat dental treats work?

  • What to search for in cat dental treats.

  • Do cat dental treats work?

  • Can cat dental treats substitute brushing?

  • Vet beneficial cat dental treats.

  • Grain-free cat dental treats.

Step 3: Select subtopics to cowl in your pillar web page content material

Subsequent, you’ll need to overview the subtopics talked about within the prime rating outcomes. Whereas this course of might be achieved manually (by clicking into every end result on the SERP and jotting down the subjects talked about), a TF-IDF instrument like MarketMuse makes this a part of the method a lot faster:

These TF-IDF instruments analyze the highest 10-20 outcomes in your goal key phrase and routinely current the widespread subtopics talked about in each bit. This offers you an excellent understanding of what you’ll additionally want to cowl in your piece to compete for a top-ranking spot.

Right here’s the checklist of subtopics we’ll need to cowl on this pillar web page, based mostly on our MarketMuse knowledge:

Step 4: Create your define and plan content material

Now it’s time to join the dots out of your analysis. One of the simplest ways to do that is to begin by structuring your pillar web page define, and then going again in and filling within the areas the place you need to create supporting weblog content material.

Right here’s an instance of what the top end result may appear to be:

H1: The Full Information to Cat Dental Treats: For a Recent-Breath Feline Buddy

H2: What are cat dental treats and how do they work?

  • Subjects to cowl: Cat dental treats
  • Weblog publish to assist part:
    Title: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Wants Them)
    Key phrase: how do cat dental treats work

H2: What are the advantages of cat dental treats?

  • Subjects to cowl: Clear enamel, contemporary breath
  • Weblog publish to assist part:
    Title: Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Work? (Right here’s What The Consultants Say)
    Key phrase: do cat dental treats work

H2: Are cat dental treats a suitable different to brushing?

  • Subjects to cowl: Cats dental well being
  • Weblog publish to assist part:
    Title: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: The whole lot You Want To Know
    Key phrase: can cat dental treats substitute brushing

H2: Do vets advocate utilizing cat dental treats?

  • Subjects to cowl: Veterinary oral well being council
  • Weblog publish to assist part:
    Title: Vets Suggest Utilizing Cat Dental Treats — Right here’s Why
    Key phrase: vet beneficial cat dental treats

H2: One of the best cat dental treats to strive

  • Subjects to cowl: Purina dentalife, Feline greenies, pure components, synthetic flavors.
  • Weblog publish to assist part:
    Title: 5 Of The Greatest Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them
    Key phrase: greatest cat dental treats
  • Weblog publish #2 to assist part:
    Title: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats
    Key phrase: what to search for in cat dental treats

Creating an overview for a pillar web page isn’t simple, however as soon as laid out, it helps us perceive the content material that wants to be produced to convey the entire thing to life.

Right here is our checklist of content material to create (based mostly on our define):

  1. Pillar web page: The Full Information to Cat Dental Treats: For a Recent-Breath Feline Buddy

  2. Weblog #1: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Wants Them)

  3. Weblog #2: Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Work? (Right here’s What The Consultants Say)

  4. Weblog #3: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: The whole lot You Want To Know

  5. Weblog #4: Vets Suggest Utilizing Cat Dental Treats — Right here’s Why

  6. Weblog #5: 5 Of The Greatest Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them

  7. Weblog #6: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats

One of the simplest ways to sort out this checklist of content material is to create and publish the six weblog posts first, then as soon as they’re stay, you possibly can write the pillar web page content material, putting hyperlinks to the supporting weblog posts immediately within the copy.

2. Planning a pillar web page from prime performing content material

For this subsequent technique, let’s say you have already got a ton of revealed content material a few explicit matter, and you’d like to reuse and repromote that content material inside a pillar web page devoted to that matter.

All the steps within the earlier course of apply, however for Step 2 (Choose Associated Key phrase Concepts for Weblog Content), do the next:

First, you’ll need to perceive which of your present items generates essentially the most curiosity out of your viewers. Let’s use our net analytics knowledge for this. On this instance, we’ll take a look at Google Search Console knowledge as a result of it reveals the precise search efficiency of our web site content material.

Let’s use the subject of “content material creation” as our desired pillar web page key phrase. Seek for the question in Google Search Console (select the “Queries containing” choice): 

Pull the entire pages presently producing impressions and clicks from phrases containing your matter, putting these with the very best clicks and impressions on the prime of your checklist. Right here’s what this may appear to be: 

As you possibly can see, many of the content material we’ve created that additionally ranks for key phrases containing “content material creation” is weblog content material. These can be extremely helpful as associated sources on our pillar web page.

Now, return to your TF-IDF instrument and choose the subtopics associated to “content material creation” that you really want to cowl in your pillar web page. Instance:

  • Social media content material

  • Content creation instrument

  • Content creators

  • Content technique

  • Content creation course of

Lastly, map your present weblog content material to these “content material creation” subtopics. The preliminary mapping might look one thing like this:

You is probably not in a position to map every weblog completely to the subtopic you’re overlaying in your pillar web page, however that’s  OK. What’s essential is that you just’re offering readers with related content material (the place relevant) and that content material, as you’ve seen in your Search Console knowledge, is already confirmed to carry out effectively together with your natural search viewers.

Pillar web page planning templates and sources

Pillar pages take an unimaginable period of time and planning to execute, however they’re price each penny.

Right here’s an instance of the success we noticed after producing certainly one of our more moderen pillar pages, “How to Rank on Google:”

Development of referring domains and hyperlinks to the web page since its launch in April 2022.

Right here’s a template of the define used to convey the web page to life (and you should use it in your personal pillar web page). Simply make a replica and off you go. Good luck!

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