How to create a Page Pillar and rank for keywords major search volume

One of the ways to increase ranking opportunities for high-volume keywords on Google is to create pillar pages and topic clusters.

Although this is not a new concept, with the latest changes to Google's ranking algorithm and the introduction of AI, it has become more important.

One of the characteristics of a pillar page (also known as a long article, content pillar or platform content), differentiating them from regular posts or blogs is that they are comprehensive, often larger than long words and they cover one theme specific (not a single keyword) in detail.

In this tutorial, you'll learn what pillar pages are, why they are important for modern SEO, and the 10 steps to follow to create pillars for your site.

A Pillar Page is a long content page that covers a specific topic in detail. It gives users everything they need to know about the specific topic and links to related resources for further exploration.

A Pillar Page can stand alone or be part of a topic cluster. The Pillar Page is used to target high volume topics and top keywords.

The main characteristics of Pillar Page are:

Look at the diagram below to better understand this.

Page pillar

What is Pillar Page

On the left, you can see what a Pillar Page structure looks like and on the right is an example of how a pillar page of ‘content marketing’ will look like.

We will see below, in the ‘how to create Pillar Page’ section, the process of choosing the right topic, title, page title, URL and link for the pillar page.

Why are Pillar Page important for SEO?

There are many reasons why Pillar Pages are so important for your content marketing and SEO efforts. The most important thing is:

They provide both users and search engines with the content they want - For some topics, it is more convenient for users to have all the information they need on one page instead of browsing through different articles. .

This is also more convenient for search engines because it helps them serve users with satisfied results.

They can help you achieve featured snippets - How to structure Pillars Page makes it easier for search engines to crawl and meet all the requirements to appear at the top of search results in the paragraph box. Featured extract.

It's a great way to prove your expertise on a topic - Google's search ranking factors are heavily influenced by EAT (Expertise, authority, trustworthiness) and quality Pillar Page High is a great way to show users and search engines that you are a trusted source for a topic.

Combined with some quality backlinks, you can also set your site up as an authority for a specific topic.

They can help you rank highly for competitive keywords - Pillar Pages are often long content pages and this allows you to naturally include relevant keywords in content that increases the relevance of the owner. to lead to higher rankings.

In addition, the Pillar Page is more likely to attract natural links from other websites and mention on social media networks that lead to increased Google trust leading to higher rankings.

How to create a Pillar Page

Here are 10 steps to follow to create a Pillar Page:

  1. Decide which topic to target using the Pillar Page
  2. Decide which format to use (Pillar Page or topic cluster)
  3. Do keyword research
  4. Create a content outline and write the content
  5. Name your parts
  6. Add internal links to different sections
  7. Page format
  8. Advertise your page (internal and external)
  9. Write content for support pages
  10. Add internal links back to the pillar page

1. Decide which topics to target using pillar pages

google trending topic

Find content topic ideas for pillar pages with Google Trends.

Obviously the first step is deciding what topics your pillar page should target.

This depends on the niche you participate in and the topics / keywords that have been targeted by your existing content.

Some guidelines to follow:

Choose topics that aren't too narrow - if a topic doesn't have many subtopics then it might not be ideal for a pillar page. A blog post for these topics might be enough.

Choose topics with high search volume - Creating pillar pages takes a lot of time and effort and is not worth going after low-volume keywords.

Choose the right theme for your audience and business - Choose the right theme for the content your audience can read and be able to generate more conversions for your business.

Research your competitors - A great starting point is to analyze your main competitors and find out which topics they have pillar pages and which topics they may have pillar pages but they don't. do.

These are great candidates to start with because they will create a competitive advantage for you.

Avoid duplicate content - Before choosing a topic, make sure you don't have an article on the same topic published on your website.

The last thing you want to create is confusion about search engines and duplicate content issues.

If you have pages that target identical topics, you might consider improving your existing posts and turning them into pillar pages, creating new content and redirecting old pages to sites. New pillar page (use 301 redirects) or choose to go by topic cluster (more on this below).

TIP: You can read the How to find new content topic guide. Step-by-step guide on how to perform the topic finding process for your pillar pages.

2. Decide which format to use (Pillar page or topic cluster)

Cluster topics

Cluster topics

The next step is deciding which format to use for your pillar pages. There are two ways you can reach pillar pages.

Single pillar page

The first way is to have all the content on one page, broken down into sections.

This is similar to the example presented above. The main characteristics of this method are:

  • You have a page targeting a high volume topic.
  • The title of the page is generic and contains the main keyword, which is the complete Content Marketing Guide ‘.
  • The URL of the page is an exact match of the main topic keyword. For example: Eating / marketing content.
  • The page URL appears directly after the domain name ie com / content-marketing
  • At the top of the page, you have a table of contents. Each item points to a section on the same page.
  • Each section is marked as H2 or H3 title tags.
  • This page includes everything you need to know about a particular topic.
  • It has sections with related links (or ‘Resources to learn more’) that point to other pages on the same page or external pages, including a more specific sub-topic.
  • Sub topic pages link back to the main page using the main keyword in the anchor text.
  • The page may have a different structure and format than your ‘normal’ articles. This is optional and not a requirement.
  • The page is updated regularly to remain relevant.

Cluster topics

The second way is to go with the cluster approach. With this method you have:

  • The main page serves as an introduction to the topic.
  • The main page has a list of sections (subtopics) that point to other pages on the same page.
  • Each subpage covers a detailed topic.
  • The URL of each subpage includes the URL of the main page (see diagram above)
  • The sub pages have a Breadcrumb menu menu that allows users to easily return to the main page.
  • The subpages link to the main page and vice versa.
  • Each subpage has the structure and other characteristics of the cylinder as described above.

What approach to use, single pivot pages or topic clusters?

Both methods work well but I personally prefer to follow the unique pillar page approach. It is not as complex as topic clusters and it is easier to maintain and update.

If you select a topic cluster and then you realize that you have selected the ‘wrong subtopics’ it may be more difficult to update than having all the content on one page.

I also believe that single pages (well organized) are also more useful for users. They can stay on a page longer, print it (if they want), bookmark it and share it more easily.

Here are a few examples of the unique pillar pages I have on my site that work well on organic search.

  • SEO checklist
  • SEO strategy
  • SEO guide

A good way to find out which approach will be used is to search for your topic ideas on Google and check the type of content they rank in the top positions.

3. Do keyword research

Once you know which topics to target with the pillar page and format to use, the next step is to research your keywords.

The purpose of keyword research at this stage is to find the exact keywords to target in your pillar pages or topic clusters (whichever approach you choose, the keyword research process). the same).

Your keyword group should include your main keyword, long tail keywords and LSI keywords.

You can read ‘How to do keyword research’ for step-by-step instructions on how to find the best keywords.

For the purpose of creating pillar pages, you need to be ready as follows:

Your main keywords - Example: ‘content marketing’, ‘email marketing’, ‘light dieting’, ‘make money online’. "Starting an online business". Et cetera.

As explained above, this will be used in your page's URL and page title.

Related keywords to use as a section - Each main keyword has a number of keywords (often also mass keywords) that are closely related to the main topic.

They will be used as section headers (for single cylinder pages) or as separate page headers for the topic cluster.

TIP: Great candidates for sections are the keywords that Google shows up in the ‘People also asked’ and ‘Related queries’ sections.

Long tail keywords - Long tail keywords are keywords that are related to the main keyword with a lower search volume but with a higher purpose.

These keywords can be used to make your content SEO friendly and also a great candidate for creating support articles.

In other words, you can use long tail keywords in your content and create standalone articles that you can use to link back to the main pillar page.

4. Create a content outline and write the content

The next step is to create a content outline and write the content.

Create Content Outline

Creating a content outline is optional but highly recommended. I personally keep track of this process before writing a new pillar page or blog post.

I find that taking a moment to think about the content and structure of your page before you start writing, saves you a lot of time and makes writing easier and faster.

You can use content outline to:

  • Specify your title
  • Select existing pages on your site to link to as additional resources.
  • Decide what each part will include and what keywords it will target
  • Your findings from analyzing your competitor's pages
  • Other ideas you may have about the design on the page
  • Images / research you will use to make your content more interesting

Content writing

Now it's time to write content for your pillar or subpage.

Content length - Although content length is NOT a ranking factor for google, a pillar page is expected to have a lot of content as it covers a wide range of detailed topics.

There are no definite guidelines on time (in terms of words) to make your content. It largely depends on the subject.

A few tips to consider:

  • Search Google for related topics and check the content length of the pages that appear on the top positions.
  • Don't forget that users don't want to spend hours reading on a topic. If that's the case then it's better to write a book or an online course to give them all the details and use pillar pages to give them the most important points.
  • Do not write more content than you need for SEO. I repeat that word count is not a ranking factor. Write enough to answer users' questions or give them what they really need to know about a topic.

Optimize your content - Follow the on-page SEO and content SEO best practices to optimize your content so that search engines can better understand it.

TIP: You can read and copy my 10 step process to write SEO friendly blog post

Introduce your expertise - I mentioned above that one of the benefits of pillar pages is that they allow to show your authority and expertise on a topic.

This is reflected through the quality of your content. If you are an expert on this topic, make sure that you tell users about your experience and recommend any information that can prove your expertise.

These simple elements make the content better and create trust between you and your users.

Research research and original data - One way to create content that will attract links from other websites is to back up your requests with research or, preferably, include original data.

For example, a pillar page of 'content marketing' that includes content marketing statistics from recent studies is more likely to attract users' attention than a pillar page that doesn't include data evidence.

10x better than your competitor - I've mentioned many times so far that looking at competitor content is a good way to understand what kind of content will create.

What is more important is to make sure your content is 10 times better than published content. If you create something similar to existing content then there is no incentive for users or search engines to like your content.

When we say, make your content 10 times better, we mean:

  • Careful and more informative
  • Little bias
  • There is a different angle to the topic than the current content
  • Better design
  • Faster
  • With better visual elements

5. Add visual elements

The next step is to add visual elements to your pillar page to make the page more interesting and easier to read.

Visual elements may include:

  • Video
  • Picture
  • Podcast
  • Infographic
  • Graph

To take advantage of visual elements for SEO purposes, make sure you include relevant ALT text for images and schema markup for videos and podcasts.

Also, don't forget that many images and videos will slow down the page loading speed (especially on mobile devices.

It is highly recommended to use image compression plugins to optimize the size of images and also a lazy loading plugin or wp-rocket to ensure that image elements will not negatively affect speed.

6. Optimize for featured snippets and sitelinks from Google

Now that you have your content ready, there are two more tasks to complete before publishing.

The first is to optimize your page to qualify for a Google sitelink and featured snippet and second to work on page format (step 7 below).

Optimizing Google's featured snippets is an advanced SEO technique, however, it is easy to implement.

What is Google's featured snippet?

The top position of Google search results is sometimes occupied by one or more featured paragraphs instead of regular listings.

A featured snippet dominates and occupies more real estate in search results making it appealing to users.

For example, if you search Google Google How to become an SEO expert, chances are you'll get a list like this that shows you a list of steps to follow.

List of posts in Google Featured Snippets

List in Google Featured Snippets

If you search for technical SEO, you'll get a featured snippet that looks like this.

Example of a featured snippet from Google

To make your pillar page eligible for a featured snippet, use the following tips:

  • Add listings in your content using tags
    • HTML
    • Keep list format simple (no custom bullets, arrows, or other designs)
    • Add a relevant title for each listing
    • List title format is H2 or H3
    • Add the list (s) at the top of the page when possible

    Optimize your pillar pages for sitelinks

    Besides optimizing your pillar pages for featured snippets, you should also optimize them for sitelinks.

    The website link appears below in the search segment below the meta description. They look like this:

    Posting sitelinks in Google Search results

    Posting sitelinks in Google Search results

    Follow these tips:

    • Each subhead of your page must have a title wrapped with H2 or H3 tags
    • For each title, add an attribute
    • Add a table of contents on top (as in this article)
    • Add internal links to different sections from your table of contents

    Look back at the first diagram for a visual illustration.

    7. Page formation

    The last thing to do before hitting the publish button is to review your page.

    This step is optional, it's up to you to decide whether you want your pivot pages to have a different format from the rest of the page. I like to use the same format on all my pages because it's easier to manage but you can follow a different path.

    An example of a single-format pillar page is this page from typeform

    Pillar page Format examples

    Pillar page Format examples

    Regardless of the design format you choose to track, you need to ensure that:

    • Pages load quickly and beautifully on all devices (especially mobile devices)
    • It's easy for those who like to skim
    • Your titles for different sections are formatted differently from the rest of the content
    • All images or videos are properly optimized (alt text, schema, image compression).
    • This page has a default featured image and it looks good when shared on social media networks.

    8. Advertise your page (internal and external)

    Once you get to this point, congratulations! You are ready to press the PUBLIC button and provide your users with a remarkable piece of content.

    Publishing your pillar page is not the end of your work. Now you need to promote your page both inside and outside. Let's see what this means.

    Advertise your page internally

    As soon as you publish the page, the search engines will be notified via your sitemap and in a few hours, they will index your new page.

    To help them understand the importance of your page and make it easier for your users to find it, you need to:

    • Add a link pointing to your pillar page from your homepage.
    • Add a link pointing to your pillar page from the main page of your blog
    • Add your pivot page to your sidebar (if you have a sidebar)
    • Add your pillar page to your main menu and footer
    • Find related articles on your site and add internal links to your pillar page

    Don't skip this step, it's important to give relevant signals to search engine spiders to let them know that this page is very important to your site.

    Advertise your page externally

    You also need to promote your site on the Internet and try to attract the attention of other bloggers with the ultimate goal of getting links and mentions.

    This is part of what is called off-page SEO and can positively affect your rankings in the short term but also in the long term.

    Follow these tips:

    • Send a newsletter and notify your subscribers
    • Publish your page on Facebook and use Facebook ads to promote the page to your current audience (retargeting) and to the new audience
    • Advertise your page on Twitter (many times) and through paid advertising on twitter
    • Advertise your page on other social networks relevant to your niche (LinkedIn, Pinterest)

    If your pillar page includes case studies, studies, or original data that can get press attention, you can also write press releases and distribute it to all major networks.

    If you have added external links on your site, make sure you contact the site owner and let them know about it. They will probably share this page on their network and some may even link back to it.

    9. Write content for support pages

    While waiting for Google to rank your pillar page (which can take two to six months), you can use the time to publish content that has related and support His pillar page.

    For example, if your pillar page is about 'content marketing', you can write articles on topics that are not part of your pillar page like 'SEO Copywriter', 'Content marketing tips'. ',' Content ads' and link back to your pillar of the page.

    This will help you a lot with SEO because not only will you have the opportunity to rank for additional keywords but you can also consolidate your pillar page by showing more internal links from highly relevant pages.

    Great candidates for support articles are long-tail keywords identified while performing keyword research (step 3) above.

    10. Track the performance of your pillar pages

    Last but not least, you need to monitor the performance of your pillar page. You've spent a lot of time (and possibly money) on creating the page, now it's time to find out if it's worth the effort.

    The most important KPIs to track are:

    • Views - The number of times your pivot page was viewed
    • Bounce Rate - Percentage of people who visited the site and exited without visiting the second page from your site. The lower the number, the better.
    • Email subscriptions - How many people subscribe to your email list because of the pillar page
    • Lead / convert - How many leads are generated from pillar pages
    • Organic traffic - How many people have visited the page from search engines
    • Ranking - for the keywords that your page is ranking on Google and other search engines
    • Visits from social networks - Analyzed on each network
    • Social interaction - how many people like, share or comment on your page

    You can use Google analytics reports and Google search dashboard to collect this data and add them to spreadsheets or, better still, Google Data Studio reports.

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