Most websites serve one (or more) of three main purposes:
- to connect individuals based on a common interest;
- to sell or create awareness about a particular product or service;
- to inform, educate, or entertain users.
Whatever the purpose of your site, effective Content Marketing matters if you want to succeed. In this article, we’ll look at one specific, important aspect of a good content marketing strategy: the pillar page.
What is a Pillar Page?
A pillar page is an extensive informational resource webpage that links to other related pages on the same domain.
Also known as a power page, the pillar page covers the overall topic at a top-line and then links to other resources as needed, allowing visitors to seek further information connected to the main topic. You might consider it a “hub” of sorts.
Here’s an example: let’s take the topic of “Digital Marketing”. The pillar page will discuss the concept and related subcategories in its broadest sense. It will then link out to other, more concise pages that cover different aspects that fall under the umbrella category.
So you might have a page on email marketing, a page on pay-per-click advertising, a page on social media, and so on.
This centralized information hub helps organize a website clearly and elegantly, which is good news for both human users and search engine crawlers.
It also adds value, by providing a thorough and exhaustive resource on a particular topic of interest to your audience.
This pillar page is from Hubspot, and centers on productivity apps. It details the various products on the market and the use cases for each; then provides links out to other content — both internal and external — where visitors can find out more.
Kinds of Pillar Pages
The concept of pillar pages has already evolved. They can take many different forms, and each company and website owner uses a slightly different format.
Overall, though, pillar pages can be categorized broadly into three types:
Resource pillar pages are pages that mainly serve to collate links and resources on a shared topic.
This page type is usually lean on information and instead serves up a selection of links that the user can visit to gain more information on the subject matter.
Importantly, a strong pre-existing backlinking strategy is crucial to the efficacy of resource pillar pages. Without one, they are unlikely to rank well by themselves.
Product or service pages
The product or service pillar page will list all of your products and services (or at least your flagship offerings) in one location.
The goal is to make it easier for users to locate exactly what they’re searching for. Moreover, they can browse your catalog at a glance to compare prices, features, or functionality.
An e-commerce website might use a product pillar page to highlight different product categories, enabling customers to buy more quickly and easily.
10x pillar pages feature ungated content that is more in-depth and explains every aspect of a particular topic, concept, or idea.
In essence, it serves as a topical anchor that ties together the entire subject, and uses external links as an add-on rather than the main event. The above example from Hubspot could be considered a 10x pillar page.
A website may feature just one pillar page or multiple different ones on various topics. It all depends on the business or site owner’s goals and objectives for the website.
Why Should You Use Pillar Pages?
Search queries on the internet have evolved to be longer, more complex, and more specific.
Therefore, search engines like Google have had to update their algorithms to accommodate users’ search intent.
The chief benefit of using pillar pages relates to SEO. There’s an enormous amount of content online regarding any given topic that you can think of.
If you want yours to be favored by Google, using comprehensive and well-written pillar pages must form part of your content promotion strategy.
Pillar pages help bloggers and content marketers fill in informational gaps and keyword gaps that might prevent Google from serving their site to searchers for a particular query.
Well-organized pillar pages also make it easier for search engines to crawl your entire website. As SEO experts know, the quicker and more easily a search engine can navigate and index your site, the higher your content will rank for relevant queries.
Another significant benefit to using pillar pages relates not to search engine algorithms, but to serving your human readers.
It makes your website more easily searchable, helping people find exactly what they’re looking for quickly. A well-organized pillar page is also scannable, meaning users don’t need to spend an excessive amount of time trawling through your website for the right information.
This will make them more likely to stay on your site for longer, visit again in the future, and share your content with others in their network. All of this can only be good news for your lead generation and for improving your conversion rate.
As we’ve seen, pillar page implementation is a simple concept that can pack a serious punch in terms of marketing effectiveness. If you’re not using them already, I highly recommend that you start doing so.
Things that Set a Great Pillar Page Apart
For a pillar page to be deemed as high quality, it needs to possess the following attributes:
- a precise definition and summary of its primary topic;
- a set of relevant and useful internal links;
- a similar set of relevant and useful external links to authoritative resources;
- strong optimization for a primary keyword;
- clear organization, including subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, and short paragraphs. Do not overwhelm your readers with a wall of text.
It is optional, but you can significantly boost your pillar page’s performance if you include video and visual content as well as text.
The trick is to remember that you’re writing for both search engine crawlers and human users. Don’t focus on just one at the detriment of the other, or your pillar page will not achieve its goals.
Pillar pages are now a standard aspect of SEO strategy. They are a helpful tool with which marketers, bloggers, and business owners can use to increase their websites’ reputation and search ranking.
They are particularly useful because they enable you to satisfy user intent and solve visitor pain points through one central resource hub.
Ready to take your site’s performance to the next level? It’s time to start using pillar pages to satisfy both your website visitors, and those all-important Google search algorithms.
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO and co-founder of 3dcart, an e-commerce software to build SEO-friendly online stores. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.