Content Pillars and SEO: The Ultimate Guide
With search algorithms improving as the day goes by, your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts have to keep up. If you're thinking of using a content pillar strategy to do so, you're in the right place.
In this post, we'll dive deep into content pillars and how they can help improve your SEO game. We'll also go over how you can make helpful content pillars.
What Is A Content Pillar?
A content pillar is a stand-alone page exploring a topic or theme. On this page, readers can get everything they want in one place. Hence, a content pillar can be dissected into various cluster pages and repurposed into smaller content that enhances your content marketing efforts.
You can think of it as a link roundup but more on the content side. Given this, your cluster pages should interlink on your content pillar page. Its purpose is to explain a topic most understandably by having an all-encompassing, holistic coverage of the main topic.
For instance, you have "Keto Diet" as the main topic. You can break it down into subtopics (AKA cluster topics) like "What to Eat and What to Drink During a Keto Diet." Then, you can explore "Keto Recipes" and "What to Avoid During a Keto Diet." In this case, every cluster topic supports the main topic.
Creating a content pillar improves your SEO efforts. Choosing a topic your brand has deep authority on lets you rank on search engines better. This model also keeps your audience engaged, builds strong internal links, and makes it easy to create content.
Why Are Content Pillars Important to SEO?
Content pillars are one of the most critical pawns in the SEO game. Here's why:
People submit longer, more conversational queries.
Picture yourself before entering a Google search. If you were trying to find a place to eat kimchi, would you look for "restaurants" or "Korean restaurants near me"?
If you'd go with the latter, you're among the majority of searchers: 64% of people whose searchers contain four words or more. The number is growing, with people being more conversational when looking for information. Plus, this percentage will rise with Siri, Alexa, and Google.
However, voice search isn't the only reason you should have a content pillar. For one, quality outweighs quantity in the eyes of search engines. People do more detailed queries to sort the junk and get the information they need faster. Searchers also skim content more― relying on Google's featured information or headers to get answers quickly. As a result, search engines serve the best, most accurate results possible.
Search engines are getting better at giving what searchers want.
Google helps searchers find the most accurate information possible, even if it's different from what they're looking for.
Exhibit A: if you're looking for "robes", Google will also show results for "graduation robes" This means that bloggers need to create better content and organize it.
Topic clusters give better answers, helping you rank.
Most blogs feature individual posts that rank for specific keywords. However, a content pillar makes everything much better for you and your readers.
Creating content based on specific keywords related to your pillar topic gives you more search engine authority. It also helps searchers get better answers since you're covering more cluster topics.
Onto the juiciest part: creating content pillars that will help you rank.
How to Create Content Pillars
Here's how to create content pillars for your website:
1. Find the main topic.
First, grab a pen and paper (or laptop). Then, brainstorm ideas for content pillars.
What's your niche? What problems does your target market want to be solved? Many topics should come to mind if you're familiar with your niche.
For instance, if you sell wine, you can think of many topics for pillar pages (e.g., how to drink wine and types of wine). You can also use SEO tools to look for keywords.
Just make sure your main topic has the following:
Informational intent: people using the keyword must be looking for information, not wanting to buy. You can verify this by Googling the topic. The topic likely has informational intent if most of the results are blog posts or other informative content.
Search traffic potential: look at the topic's traffic potential to ensure people search for it.
Broadness: the topic should be broad enough, so you have subtopics to talk about. However, it shouldn't be too broad that your pillar page has 50,000 words or more. As a general rule of thumb, look for topics with 10 to 20 subtopics.
2. Figure out the subtopics.
The subtopics are the things you will talk about on your cluster pages. You can find them through your expertise, search engines, and by analyzing your competition.
From your expertise
You likely know what to cover if you're an expert or familiar with the niche. For example, if you're a fitness coach, you likely already know the different types of exercises beginners should master first.
From search engines
Of course, you can ask the Internet for subtopics. If your topic exists on Wikipedia, it likely has a list of subtopics organized for you.
For instance, Wikipedia has a page called "Aerobic exercise," where different aerobic exercises are arranged in a table.
From the competition
Just like analyzing competitor backlinks, you can also look at the current top pages and see what they're talking about.
For example, the top-ranking page for "aerobic exercise" covers the types and benefits of aerobic exercise.
3. Create your content pillar.
Once you're done with the research, start creating your content pillar.
Remember, you must give readers a jump-off point, so they become more curious about the topic. Hence, you don't have to go heavy on the content.
Don't say everything about every cluster topic. You have cluster pages for that. Just stick to what people have to know.
4. Build your cluster pages.
When you're done with your content pillar page, it's time to create the rest.
With the subtopics laid out, you already know what you need to write about. Note that it will take time and a lot of work, so don't pressure yourself too much.
But if you have the budget for it, we suggest hiring an SEO writer so you can get things done faster and better.
Do you want to build a strong backlink profile for your content pillar and propel it to Google's first page? We're here to help.
Tribu LinkBuilding is an experienced link building outsourcing agency helping business owners get backlinks through white-hat strategies that Google won't penalize. Plus, you only have to pay after we get live links. Contact us to jumpstart your link building success now!