Pillar Pages: Why and How You Ought to Add Them to Your Content material Technique

The writer’s views are completely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not at all times replicate the views of Moz.

In a recent study, we discovered that our pillar pages are magnets for hyperlinks, natural site visitors, and e-newsletter subscribers — particularly in comparison with common weblog posts. Listed here are the outcomes that each varieties of web optimization content material generated over the course of a 12 months:

Do these outcomes imply it’s best to ditch your weblog technique in favor of pillar pages? Not precisely.

Right here’s the catch: You actually can’t have one with out the opposite, and all of it comes all the way down to content material mapping. I’ll clarify precisely what I imply on this article.

What’s a pillar web page?

A pillar web page is a chunk of content material that comprehensively covers a broad matter. Pillar web page — additionally generally known as hub and spoke — content material weaves collectively a variety of related subtopics (spokes), organizes them multi functional place (hub), and successfully showcases your material experience for the broad matter.

Pillar web page content material ought to be simple to navigate for readers trying to study — at a excessive stage — a couple of specific matter, however also needs to supply related sources for them to dive deeper. 

Instance of associated sources discovered on a pillar web page.

It’s type of just like the choose-your-own-adventure of content material advertising and marketing.

Topical authority: why it’s necessary

With regards to content material creation for web optimization and digital advertising and marketing, you don’t wish to create content material round any outdated matter. As a substitute, you wish to reinforce your model’s topical authority with each new piece of content material you create (be it a weblog, a pillar web page, an eBook, and so on.).

Let’s put it this fashion: If you happen to’re within the enterprise of promoting mechanical keyboards, it doesn’t make sense to publish a weblog article about one of the best recipes for a summer time BBQ. Except you’re recommending that your prospects grill and eat their mechanical keyboards, which is (extremely) unlikely.

As a substitute, it’s extra useful to your model — and your viewers — when you cowl matters associated to mechanical keyboards, like:

  • What’s a mechanical keyboard?

  • Mechanical keyboards vs. common keyboards.

  • Customized mechanical keyboards.

  • The right way to transition to a mechanical keyboard.

  • Professionals and cons of a mechanical keyboard.

By masking as many matters associated to mechanical keyboards as doable, you’re constructing a basis of informational content material that tells search engines like google and yahoo: “Hey, I do know lots about mechanical keyboards!”

And the extra content material you will have that begins to rank for necessary search phrases associated to mechanical keyboards, the extra probably searchers will see you as an authority on the topic. Ideally, they are going to begin coming again to your content material when they should study extra about this particular matter.

Pillar pages + blogs = a match made in content material advertising and marketing heaven

A well-executed and arranged pillar web page is without doubt one of the greatest methods to showcase to your viewers (and search engines like google and yahoo) that you’ve topical authority in a particular space. Weblog posts enable you to obtain topical authority by permitting you to cowl a variety of related subtopics in nice element, and pillar pages manage all of that content material into a pleasant, user-friendly package deal.

Let’s check out this tactic in motion.

We constructed our content marketing guide as a pillar web page, which allowed us to cowl a slew of subtopics associated to the broader matter of content material advertising and marketing, multi functional piece of collateral. 

All of those subtopics are organized into sections on the web page, with a hyperlinked desk of contents on the prime to permit readers to select and select precisely what they’d prefer to study:

Then, all through the web page, we provide readers the chance to go deeper and study extra about every subtopic by linking to related weblog content material:

What’s content material mapping?

A pillar web page is a nice tactic when you’ve bought quite a lot of current weblog content material all targeted on a specific mother or father matter. It’s certainly one of our favourite methods at Brafton to repurpose and repromote our blogs.

However it’s also possible to create a pillar web page with all brand-new content material — it’ll simply take extra analysis, planning, and manufacturing time to finish.

Enter: content material mapping.

Content material mapping is the method of assessing your audience, understanding what they’re attempting to realize, and helping them along that journey with branded instructional and industrial content material. Its scope can span everything of your content material advertising and marketing technique or a single piece of pillar web page content material.

Why content material mapping issues in content material advertising and marketing

The planning (or content material mapping) of a pillar web page is simply as necessary because the analysis accomplished to decide on the proper key phrase to focus on for what you are promoting.

Pillar pages are type of just like the books of the advertising and marketing world. If you happen to have been an knowledgeable birder, for instance, you wouldn’t got down to write a guide about bird-watching with out doing any analysis. Particularly when you’ve spent quite a lot of time writing and publishing articles about bird-watching in your weblog. You’d wish to perceive a number of issues earlier than beginning that guide, like:

  1. Which of my weblog posts generated essentially the most curiosity from new and returning readers? (i.e. pages with essentially the most new and returning guests, as seen in your net analytics device).

  2. Which blogs saved readers coming again for extra? (i.e. pages with essentially the most e-newsletter subscriptions, or one of the best e-newsletter subscription charges).

  3. Which blogs did my business friends discover most helpful? (i.e. pages with the best variety of high-quality referring domains and backlinks).

These questions will be answered by wanting by your net analytics instruments, comparable to Google Analytics and Moz Professional.

Instance of content material evaluation by prime linking domains.

You’d additionally wish to perceive what the competitors appears like earlier than you spend dozens of hours writing hundreds of phrases to fill a guide.

You’d wish to reply questions, like:

  1. What do my rivals’ books on bird-watching appear like? (i.e. the varieties of bird-watching subtopics the web page 1 outcomes cowl).

  2. What does Google assume searchers wish to see once they seek for bird-watching? (i.e. the varieties of content material which are discovered on web page 1 on your goal key phrase — and shock! it may not be books).

  3. How lengthy and detailed are my rivals’ books? (i.e. the extent of complexity and comprehensiveness of the content material rating on web page 1).

These questions will be answered by manually reviewing related SERPs and using TF-IDF instruments like Clearscope or MarketMuse to grasp the breadth of subtopics and varieties of content material rating on the primary web page.

Instance of handbook SERP inspection.
Instance of TF-IDF content material evaluation.

When you perceive which of your content material performs greatest and which content material Google and different search engines like google and yahoo choose to rank extremely on your goal key phrase, you can begin piecing collectively a plan on your pillar web page.

A word about inside linking

Earlier than we dive into the how-to portion of this piece, we also needs to acknowledge the significance of inside linking to this entire course of.

And I’m not simply speaking about throwing in a hyperlink to a associated product/service on the finish of the web page and calling it a day. The inner linking construction of your pillar web page is actually the glue that holds the entire thing collectively. It helps readers simply navigate to associated sources to proceed studying out of your model. And it helps search engines like google and yahoo perceive the connection between your pillar web page content material and the extra content material you’re highlighting on the web page.

However on the subject of inside linking, there is such a factor as an excessive amount of of factor.

Together with too many inside hyperlinks all through your content material may cause a irritating person expertise or look spammy, so use warning and ensure the one inside linking you do on the web page is extraordinarily related to the mother or father matter.

If you happen to’re uncertain whether or not or not you’ve bought too many inside hyperlinks on the web page, you’ll be able to run it by Moz’s On-Web page Grader device, which robotically counts the variety of hyperlinks in your web page and flags when you’ve bought too many.

Tip: Take into account that this device will depend ALL hyperlinks discovered on the web page, together with these in your major navigation and footer, so the “Too Many Hyperlinks” warning may very well be a false constructive.

As Moz explains: Google recommends you don’t go over 100 inside hyperlinks per web page, as a result of it may possibly dilute the web optimization worth despatched from the pillar web page to the linked pages, and it may possibly additionally make it tougher for customers and crawlers to navigate the entire content material.

Two data-led methods to map out content material for a pillar web page

There are a few other ways to strategy the development of such a content material, however they every depend on natural search information to prepared the ground.

1. Planning a pillar web page and associated sources (all from scratch)

Let’s fake you don’t have any prior content material created a couple of specific matter. You’re principally ranging from scratch. Let’s additionally assume the subject you’ve chosen is each core and commercially beneficial to what you are promoting, and that your area realistically has an opportunity of rating on web page 1 for that key phrase.

Let’s say you’re a pet meals firm and certainly one of your major merchandise is cat dental treats. When you’ve decided that that is the precise key phrase you wish to goal (“cat dental treats”), it’s time to start out your analysis.

Step 1: Manually examine SERP to grasp searcher intent

First, we’ll begin by manually inspecting the primary SERP for this key phrase, and answering the next questions:

  1. What varieties of content material are on the primary web page of outcomes?

  2. Why are individuals looking for “cat dental treats”?

By answering these two questions in our SERP evaluation, we’ll make it possible for our plan for making a pillar web page to rank really is smart and it’s what searchers wish to see on the SERP. We’ll additionally higher perceive all the explanations behind why somebody would possibly search this key phrase (and we are able to then deal with these causes within the content material we create).

So let’s reply these questions:

Query 1: What varieties of content material are on the primary web page of outcomes?

Reply 1: The primary SERP contains quite a lot of product adverts, a Individuals Additionally Ask part, and a collection of natural blogs and product pages.

Varieties of content material discovered on the SERP for “cat dental treats.”

Query 2: Why are individuals looking for “cat dental treats”?

Reply 2: From a fast evaluation of the SERP, we are able to deduce that individuals wish to know why and the way cat dental treats are necessary to a cat’s well being, and so they additionally wish to know which cat dental treats work greatest. Maybe most significantly, it’s extremely probably that they plan to buy cat dental treats for his or her furry companion(s) within the close to future.

Step 2: Choose associated key phrase concepts for weblog content material

Because you don’t simply wish to create a pillar web page for simply the first key phrase, you additionally wish to pinpoint a collection of associated subtopics to be written as weblog content material.

For this a part of the method, head over to your key phrase analysis device, plug in your goal key phrase and (with an eye fixed for matters that you simply’re well-suited to cowl), jot down an inventory of key phrases and phrases.

Right here’s our checklist of potential weblog matters:

  • Greatest cat dental treats.

  • How do cat dental treats work?

  • What to search for in cat dental treats.

  • Do cat dental treats work?

  • Can cat dental treats substitute brushing?

  • Vet advisable cat dental treats.

  • Grain-free cat dental treats.

Step 3: Select subtopics to cowl in your pillar web page content material

Subsequent, you’ll wish to evaluate the subtopics talked about within the prime rating outcomes. Whereas this course of will be accomplished manually (by clicking into every end result on the SERP and jotting down the matters talked about), a TF-IDF device like MarketMuse makes this a part of the method a lot faster:

These TF-IDF instruments analyze the highest 10-20 outcomes on your goal key phrase and robotically current the widespread subtopics talked about in every bit. This provides you an excellent understanding of what you’ll additionally must cowl in your piece to compete for a top-ranking spot.

Right here’s the checklist of subtopics we’ll wish to cowl on this pillar web page, primarily based on our MarketMuse information:

Step 4: Create your define and plan content material

Now it’s time to attach the dots out of your analysis. The easiest way to do that is to start out by structuring your pillar web page define, after which going again in and filling within the areas the place you wish to create supporting weblog content material.

Right here’s an instance of what the top end result would possibly appear like:

H1: The Full Information to Cat Dental Treats: For a Contemporary-Breath Feline Buddy

H2: What are cat dental treats and the way do they work?

  • Matters to cowl: Cat dental treats
  • Weblog submit to assist part:
    Title: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Wants Them)
    Key phrase: how do cat dental treats work

H2: What are the advantages of cat dental treats?

  • Matters to cowl: Clear enamel, recent breath
  • Weblog submit to assist part:
    Title: Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Work? (Right here’s What The Specialists Say)
    Key phrase: do cat dental treats work

H2: Are cat dental treats a suitable different to brushing?

  • Matters to cowl: Cats dental well being
  • Weblog submit to assist part:
    Title: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: All the things You Want To Know
    Key phrase: can cat dental treats substitute brushing

H2: Do vets advocate utilizing cat dental treats?

  • Matters to cowl: Veterinary oral well being council
  • Weblog submit to assist part:
    Title: Vets Advocate Utilizing Cat Dental Treats — Right here’s Why
    Key phrase: vet advisable cat dental treats

H2: The most effective cat dental treats to attempt

  • Matters to cowl: Purina dentalife, Feline greenies, pure elements, synthetic flavors.
  • Weblog submit to assist part:
    Title: 5 Of The Greatest Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them
    Key phrase: greatest cat dental treats
  • Weblog submit #2 to assist part:
    Title: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats
    Key phrase: what to search for in cat dental treats

Creating an overview for a pillar web page isn’t simple, however as soon as laid out, it helps us perceive the content material that must be produced to carry the entire thing to life.

Right here is our checklist of content material to create (primarily based on our define):

  1. Pillar web page: The Full Information to Cat Dental Treats: For a Contemporary-Breath Feline Buddy

  2. Weblog #1: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Wants Them)

  3. Weblog #2: Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Work? (Right here’s What The Specialists Say)

  4. Weblog #3: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: All the things You Want To Know

  5. Weblog #4: Vets Advocate Utilizing Cat Dental Treats — Right here’s Why

  6. Weblog #5: 5 Of The Greatest Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them

  7. Weblog #6: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats

The easiest way to sort out this checklist of content material is to create and publish the six weblog posts first, then as soon as they’re reside, you’ll be able to write the pillar web page content material, inserting hyperlinks to the supporting weblog posts straight within the copy.

2. Planning a pillar web page from prime performing content material

For this subsequent technique, let’s say you have already got a ton of printed content material a couple of specific matter, and also you’d prefer to reuse and repromote that content material inside a pillar web page devoted to that matter.

The entire steps within the earlier course of apply, however for Step 2 (Choose Associated Key phrase Concepts for Weblog Content material), do the next:

First, you’ll wish to perceive which of your current items generates essentially the most curiosity out of your viewers. Let’s use our net analytics information for this. On this instance, we’ll have a look at Google Search Console information as a result of it exhibits the precise search efficiency of our web site content material.

Let’s use the subject of “content material creation” as our desired pillar web page key phrase. Seek for the question in Google Search Console (select the “Queries containing” choice): 

Pull the entire pages presently producing impressions and clicks from phrases containing your matter, inserting these with the best clicks and impressions on the prime of your checklist. Right here’s what this would possibly appear like: 

As you’ll be able to see, many of the content material we’ve created that additionally ranks for key phrases containing “content material creation” is weblog content material. These might be extremely helpful as associated sources on our pillar web page.

Now, return to your TF-IDF device and choose the subtopics associated to “content material creation” that you simply wish to cowl in your pillar web page. Instance:

  • Social media content material

  • Content material creation device

  • Content material creators

  • Content material technique

  • Content material creation course of

Lastly, map your current weblog content material to these “content material creation” subtopics. The preliminary mapping might look one thing like this:

It’s possible you’ll not have the ability to map every weblog completely to the subtopic you’re masking in your pillar web page, however that’s  OK. What’s necessary is that you simply’re offering readers with related content material (the place relevant) and that content material, as you’ve seen in your Search Console information, is already confirmed to carry out nicely along with your natural search viewers.

Pillar web page planning templates and sources

Pillar pages take an unbelievable period of time and planning to execute, however they’re value each penny.

Right here’s an instance of the success we noticed after producing certainly one of our more moderen pillar pages, “The right way to Rank on Google:”

Development of referring domains and hyperlinks to the web page since its launch in April 2022.

Right here’s a template of the define used to carry the web page to life (and you should use it on your personal pillar web page). Simply make a replica and off you go. Good luck!