SEO and content marketing have changed drastically over the last few years, so much that marketers have even begun to wonder if SEO is dying? But the truth is that, changing algorithms mean content marketers have to contend with ever-increasing SERP features that can impact organic traffic.
So how do you create great content that can still draw traffic to your website?
One of the most effective ways to secure your position on the world’s favourite search engine is by creating powerful pillar pages that catapult your website traffic. Pillar content is a comprehensive piece of content based around specific topic clusters.
A topic cluster is essentially a technique that goes after topics rather than focusing on just a set of keywords. With this technique, you can choose broad content themes that you want to own and create multiple blog content around it.
With Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing, creating topic clusters ensures you cover numerous semantic keywords that cannot be done otherwise. Until recently, content marketers were creating individual blog posts that rank for a particular search term. However, most broad themes have multiple topics, which means your own URLs are competing against each other.
For example, if you are a real estate developer with an active blog page that covers a wide variety of blog content, then creating a pillar page that ties a certain broad theme can boost your search rankings.
Scroll down to see how!
A pillar page (also known as cornerstone content) is the base for the topic cluster model. It is a consolidated page on your website that acts as a pillar but has enough room for more details in the cluster blogs which are hyperlinked the pillar.
The topic is broken down into chapters and covers all the aspects of a particular topic to increase the chances of ranking on the first page of Google. As mentioned before, all these sub-topics are interlinked to the main blogs on the website, where the concept is explained in much more detail.
For example, on our website, we have blogs on real estate marketing, YouTube marketing, Facebook ads, etc. So, writing a pillar on these topics is the ideal way to go because we have enough clusters to interlink too as well. Featured below is our pillar page titled “A complete guide to digital marketing for real estate”. The objective of the page is to rank for anything connected to digital marketing for real estate. It taps all the aspects of digital marketing from the lead generation strategies involved to an in-depth case study on how a real estate company grew via digital, providing readers with a one-stop solution to all their queries related to the main topic.
Another example is a pillar we have on YouTube SEO tips. This pillar covers everything relating to YouTube SEO and tips to grow your organic subscriber base. It is broken down into chapters and links to other clusters connecting to the main topic.
The in-depth nature of pillar pages helps it rank for a variety of keywords making it much more powerful than a blog, tool, quiz or any other type of content that typically shows up on SERPs. However, it’s not just about keywords and ranking! Since a pillar page has versatile types of content, including videos and other forms of interactive pieces, readers spend more time on the page which is again a great ranking signal. To add to that, the page is interlinked to many other content pieces on your website keeping the SEO juice within your domain. Last but not least, pillars also help in lead generation, making it not not just a great tool for brand awareness and consideration but also for conversions.
For example, we created a laptop buying guide as a one-stop destination for users looking for the perfect laptop. It covers all aspects of the buying process from the laptop specifications you need to look for to where you can buy your laptop from. The pillar also includes an interactive laptop finder tool that readers could use to find the ideal laptop. Through this pillar, we were able to generate more than 170 organic leads, out of which 50 consumers visited the nearest laptop store and bought a laptop. The revenue generated via the pillar leads resulted in 18X ROI for the brand.
While it is a good idea to write pillar content for all topics that you want to rank for, you also need to start by looking at how much content you have on your site. Since pillar pages act as a central traffic signal that drives visitors to other web pages, it makes sense to first check if you have enough pit stops to divert your audience towards. Start by checking your blog database and see if you have enough number of diverse topics that cover all aspects of the main topic.
As explained in the flowchart above, the first step of creating pillar content is to find a high-volume keyword that you intend to rank for, do not have content on and want to explain in depth. With all these three criteria in place, your pillar page is guaranteed to get you a high rank on Google.
A pillar page consists of the following elements:
- Topic clusters designed in the form of chapters: Since a pillar page is a middle ground between a blog and an e-book, it is usually designed with chapters for easy navigation. Each chapter is explained with different types of content from infographics to interactive tools. The chapters are diverse and cover all the other semantics of the pillar topic, to increase its chances of ranking. Needless to say, each chapter is optimised with a unique set of keywords of their own.
- An enquiry form: Leads are the fruit of digital marketing that produces freshly-squeezed ROI juice. Keep track of your visitors and nurture them into customers by placing an enquiry form with an appropriate call to action on your pillar page. Featured below is the pillar page created for Casagrand, one of India’s leading real estate giants. The page opens up to a form, along with a sticky tab for easy access from anywhere in the page.
The page titled “An ultimate NRI guide to buying property in India” covered all topics from documents needed to invest in India to the types of properties NRI’s are entitled to buy.
- Share buttons: Keep the tunnel of communication open between your pillar page and your target audience with sticky share buttons. From social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to networking sites like LinkedIn, choose the forums that make sense for your brand. You can also pick sharing platforms used by a majority of your target group. After all, you do not want all that content to go unread!
- A well-designed UX: There is no doubt that UX can make or break your business sales or revenue. A well-designed page with easy navigation helps in increasing the time spent on the page and reducing the bounce rate. Additionally, with all the interlinked in-depth content, it is only a matter of time your page ranks on the first page of Google, attracting organic traffic like a moth to a flame.
To know more about SEO strategy for your brand, check out our Video on Pillar content for organic traffic and leads.
Now that you know how pillar pages work and the effect they have on your website traffic, it is time you level-up your SEO game with this promising trend. Whether you are an FMCG brand, B2B organisation, Financial giant or a leading real estate developer, boost your brand visibility with pillar pages and make your organisation stand out in the digital hemisphere.