4 Steps to Build a Pillar Content Strategy for SEO

A pillar content strategy for SEO allows you to boost traffic while making your website a key industry resource for your customers.

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In today’s world, search engine optimization, or SEO, is all about building a website that is a comprehensive resource for your customers.

To do that effectively, you must predict what your customers need to know as they navigate the buyer’s journey. Then, organize all that info in one easy-to-find location.

As you repeat that process for all your main product and service categories, your customers will never have to look far for answers to their questions.

So, how are you supposed to get that done? With a pillar content strategy for SEO, of course! Do it right, and you’ll get more traffic to your site while positioning your brand as an industry expert.

If that sounds like just what you need for your brand, use this guide to learn how to use SEO pillar content to your advantage.

    What is Pillar Content in SEO?

    Pillar content in SEO allows you to create layers of helpful content for each product or service category you offer. 

    This digital marketing approach centers around using a main pillar page to provide a thorough overview and then diving into each section in more detail through cluster content.

    Your efforts in creating pillar content allow customers to easily find all the info on a topic on one page. 

    If they want to go on a deeper dive into any of the sections, they just have to follow the internal links for more information.

    Main Content Pillar Pages

    When it comes to marketing, the two most popular types of SEO pillar pages are:

    Explainer: The explainer pillar page goes over all the basic, evergreen info readers need to know about the topic. Queries that may lead to this page include ‘what is a landing page,’ ‘beginner guide to electric RC cars,’ and ‘quick guide to intermittent fasting.’

    Tutorial: A tutorial pillar page goes through the steps on how to best achieve a particular goal. Example queries are ‘how to drive a manual car,’ ‘steps to creating content pillars,’ and ‘the best way to organize the pantry.’

    You can combine these pages as well to create a guide pillar page. 

    This page should provide a broad overview of the topic plus actionable steps on how to achieve the goal in question.

    Pillar Content vs Cluster Content

    Pillar pages should provide a broad overview that answers the query in full but leaves room for the cluster content to work its magic

    The cluster content supports the info on the pillar page by going even more in-depth about its sub-topics.

    In short, pillar content jumpstarts the educational journey, while cluster content is the next level of learning.

    As you link the cluster pages to the main pillars, it creates layers of helpful content for your readers. 

    If they need to understand the sub-section content better, clicking the links lets them instantly learn more.

    State of Marketing Report 2024

    4 Steps to Building a Pillar Content Strategy

    Creating a pillar content strategy might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple to get this smart SEO tactic to work for you. 

    Just follow these four easy steps to get the ball rolling and start seeing results.

    1. Ask What Your Customers Need

    Do you understand what your customers need to know as they move through the buyer’s journey? Do you have your finger on the pulse of what they want from your brand? 

    If not, you need to know the answers to these questions before moving forward. Think beyond your product and services by asking yourself:

    • What problems do my products and services help people solve?
    • Why would customers feel hesitant to buy my products and services?
    • What questions do people ask while buying items similar to my offerings?

    If you’re unsure, consider completing competitor research or asking your customers directly with a survey. 

    Alternatively, you can look at the data from the search bar on your website or use a keyword research tool, like Answer The Public, to see what people want to know.

    2. Select Your Main Content Pillars

    Step back for a moment and look at the big picture to select your main content pillars. Select just three to five main pillars to start. You can go even further if you decide to scale your content production.

    For the best results, base these pillars around your main product or service categories. 

    If you have an auto repair shop, for example, you might choose maintenance, repairs, aftermarket upgrades, and fleet services as your main pillars.

    3. Complete Keyword Research

    While using your customer insights and main pillar topics as a guide, complete keyword research to find the search terms and phrases you want to rank for. 

    Your research will also help you figure out what subtopics to include in each page of content.

    Select a nice mix of short- and long-tail keywords to cast a wide net and help the most people find your content. 

    Use related phrases as well to help search engines better understand the purpose of your page and rank it appropriately.

    4. Create an Editorial Calendar

    Your editorial calendar will help you schedule the creation of your pillar pages and cluster content. 

    Create a content brief for each one to assign keywords, develop a linking strategy, and build out your outlines. Then, add them to the calendar with a strict deadline.

    After that, you just have to use the subtopics in the outline to plan out your cluster content. Go through your list of keywords to find relevant search terms and create an outline. Assign deadlines for the clusters and put them on the calendar, too.

    As you create each page, link the cluster content to the pillar page under the related subheading. Then, find places to add relevant internal links within the cluster content to help readers find all the info they need to move through the buyer’s journey.

    Need Help with Your SEO Pillar Content Strategy?

    Your SEO pillar content strategy has the power to transform your brand into an industry leader—but it’s going to take a bit of work to get there.

    If you simply don’t have the time, you can cruise toward excellent results by bringing in talented freelancers to help you create a strategy and write winning content.

    Ready to make that happen? Sign up for the 14-day free trial from WriterAccess to get the support you need on this journey.


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    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

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