For good reason, pillar pages have made their way into the digital marketing zeitgeist. Pillar pages are an ideal format for organizing content. They help drive website Search Engine Optimization and make for excellent UX (user experience) as they consolidate information on a specific topic in one convenient location.
Search engines “love” pillar pages for the same reason. For example, Google recently updated its ranking algorithm, prioritizing “helpful content” over commercial messaging. As a result, editorial and educational information will be the primary driver of website ranking and organic traffic, making pillar pages as essential as blog content.
It’s important to note that you’ll frequently see pillar page and topic cluster mentioned in the same context. And while they are separate concepts, each depends on the other to drive maximum value for users. We’ll explore more on this topic later in the article.
Pillar Page Anatomy
A Pillar Page is a standalone webpage that focuses on a single broad-based topic, supported by blogs, articles, landing pages, and other content (the topic cluster) via an internal linking strategy.
Pillar page examples:
Topic clusters focus on a single keyword related to the overarching topic. So, for example, if your pillar page is focused on wealth management, cluster topics could range from portfolio management, estate planning, retirement strategies, life insurance options, etc. Generally, pillar pages exceed the average webpage or blog post length covering every aspect of a topic in an albeit general way. Linked cluster content provides the detail should readers choose to read more.
Pillar pages “tease” each element of a broad subject while the cluster content offers concise information. Longer than a standard webpage, pillar pages are frequently between 2000 and 4000 words. Longer pages tend to rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages.
Pillar Page Construction
Rather than building your copy around specific keywords, as with other web pages, you’ll focus on broad topics. As a rule, topics should be expansive enough to generate related topics within your content creation, yet not so general that it becomes cumbersome.
For example, “financial planning” might be too broad in scope. However, a key topic, such as “retirement planning,” could be more custom-made for a specific audience. A pillar page should be comprehensive enough to cover all relevant answers on the pillar topic. Internal links to other related articles or landing pages will allow more extensive research.
How Pillar Pages Drive SEO
When a person enters a search term into a query, they are looking for specific information. Search engines have evolved in recent years in terms of delivering the precise information a user is looking for using metrics known as search intent. As a business owner you want to attract highly qualified leads by delivering the specific content searches are looking for.
This means you need to satisfy search intent. If your pillar pages answer search intent in a broad sense, your business will have a much higher likelihood of getting ranked higher in search engine results pages and get your message in front of the right people. Cluster topics linked to from the main pillar page offer enhanced search engine visibility. Search engines like Google recognize pillar pages and topic clusters as they are perceived as a more efficient way to answer a search query.
Subject matter can be easily organized using topic clusters. They’re cleaner, deliver a better user experience, and provide faster, more relevant answers. Pillar pages and cluster topics offer the following SEO benefits:
- Topics are linked together in an enhanced User Experience format resulting in improved rank
- Page content is relevant to the search query
- It streamlines blog content and organizes it into focused clusters
- Pillar pages don’t compete with the other pages on your website
- Pillar content answers a topical question, which is better for voice search
- Content linked from the pillar page improve the user’s ability to find what they need
Topic clusters help business owners identify the gaps in content performance. Generating new content brings value to your pillar pages and enhances its reach.
Pillar Pages for Financial Services Firms
The financial services industry is highly competitive in achieving a top 20 rank in search engine results pages. As a result, most firms have developed client and lead engagement strategies that combine PPC (pay-per-click), SEO (search engine optimization), and content marketing. When engineered correctly; pillar pages can lead to higher search engine ranking, thus increasing organic traffic and reducing your pay-per-click budget.
Pillar pages are a relevant term and a good way to characterize them—they are a content-based architectural feature that search engines recognize and reward with greater visibility, strengthening your foundations at an intrinsic level. Our collective search habits have changed dramatically over the years, and pillar pages are one of the ways to align your overall website content to how we search for and consume information.
Successful pillar page creation begins with selecting a broad topic, and the right keywords and phrases, then utilizing hyperlinks to relevant topics featuring specialized content. It’s a more streamlined way of introducing content that aligns with search engine algorithms and creates a more straightforward path for users.
If search engines can determine the content structure of your material and how those elements link together, you will achieve a better ranking. Conversely, if your web content is disorganized, difficult to navigate, poorly connected, or linked in an irrelevant manner, you will not rank well at all.
Delight Your Customers – And Attract New Ones
Content marketing fulfills more than just the need for search engine optimization. Well written content that aligns with user intent educates, informs, entertains, and helps to position you and your brand as a subject matter expert. Pillar pages enhance your marketing strategy by organizing your content around broad terms and topic clusters.
Think of your pillar page as your home and a topic cluster as your neighborhood. Each cluster content piece has something unique to say, but its message always circles back to home in the end.
We love pillar pages and topic clusters for many reasons. It’s a strategy that’s easy to implement, and it simplifies the way we organize and manage content. It supercharges SEO, and there is plenty of data to prove how much website visitors appreciate it. Perhaps best of all, and unlike many SEO practices, it’s a concept that’s easy to understand and implement. You’ll start seeing results almost immediately, and your customers will love you for it.
Need help getting started with pillar pages and cluster content? Contact Us Today!
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