Pillar Pages: What Are They & How Do You Use Them?
Content drives web searches – this isn’t a controversial statement, but an accepted fact of search engine optimization. This is one of the main reasons why content marketing is a $63 billion (and growing) field.
But successful content marketing is more than just a handful of blog posts thrown up online without much thought given to strategy. To make sure those valuable clicks from search engines are ending up on your site – and not with your competitor, they need to be built on a broader strategy.
And that broader strategy should be built on a foundation made of pillar pages.
What Are Pillar Pages?
Sometimes called cornerstone content or knowledge base articles, pillar pages are the foundation of your entire digital marketing strategy. They help you establish your authority within your field and reassure visitors that you’re providing accurate information.
They cover fundamental topics that are important to your industry and provide visitors with top-level content. Many times, they’ll be linked directly from menus and navigation bars. Essentially, they’re the hubs around which the rest of your content is organized.
Pillar pages tend to be longer than pages dedicated to more specialized topics, though this isn’t always the case. What matters most is the value they provide to targets.
There are numerous types of pillar pages, depending on your situation, but most webmasters will commonly use the following three types:
- Topic Pages
- Resource Pillar Pages
- Product/Service Pillar Pages
We’ll go into these a bit more in depth later, but first, let’s discuss why you need pillars in the first place.
The Benefits of Pillar Pages
There are several reasons you’ll want to create content cornerstones around which the rest of your site is built. These include:
- Capturing traffic, i.e., improving SEO (more on that below)
- Smoother site navigation – pillar pages help you maintain a logical flow to your website, helping visitors find the information they’re searching for. This, in turn, lowers bounce rate and drives traffic to your other pages
- They’re a great way to fill content gaps and come up with new topic ideas – if you’re out of ideas, take a small part of the content from the cornerstone page and expand on it
How Do Pillar Pages Affect SEO?
Using cornerstone pages are a great way to improve the structure of your website, which is not only beneficial for targets, but it also makes it easier for Google to determine what the pages are about.
Additionally, they will help improve your E-A-T (Expertise, authority and trustworthiness), which will help your site climb search rankings.
Pillars are also a great way to build backlinks, as they provide answers to common queries within a niche. If your content pillar is strong, you’ll begin to attract incoming links from other sites that have found the information it presents useful.
What is a Topic Pillar?
Topic pillar pages provide users and search bots with a single page that provides fast and easy access to core content. Intended to be a quick way to find facts and information, they provide directions to other, more detailed information found elsewhere on the site.
If you want to impress your SEO friends, you can refer to these as 10x content – a phrase coined by SEO superstar Rand Fishkin back in 2015. He stated that these topic pillars should be ten times better than existing top-ranking content.
Since then, the term has evolved to mean high-quality, relevant content around which other pages related to the topic are clustered.
What Are Resource Pillars?
Resource pillar pages are collections of links to helpful information, often with some commentary in the form of blurbs and/or thumbnails explaining the link.
This could include links to manuals, guides, whitepapers, tutorials or explanatory content. Like topic pillars, they focus on one broad overarching theme and provide links to more detailed information.
What Are Product and Service Pillar Pages?
As of February 2023, there were roughly 1.1 billion websites on the internet, a great many of which are dedicated to commerce in one form or another.
If you’re the webmaster of a site that offers multiple products or services, it’s a good idea to have pillar pages dedicated to broad categories.
For example, if you’re selling bicycles you might have one product pillar page dedicated to mountain bikes and another for road racing bikes. From here, your visitors will be able to drill down deeper into specific brands and models to find the one they want.
These pages tend to be descriptive, but don’t go into great detail. They are well-written and provide clear information about their particular category.
Should Pillars Be Webpages or Blog Posts?
You’ll often hear pillar pages referred to as pillar posts, which naturally gives rise to the question: are pillars pages or blog posts?
The short answer is that it depends on your needs. In many (but not all) cases, topic pillars will be high-level blog posts. Service pillars, on the other hand, are generally not well-suited to blog posts. You may need to experiment to find what’s best for you.
Take Your Site to the Next Level, the Easy Way
There are many benefits to content pillars, both for users and from a search engine perspective. But if you’re dealing with a large website or you inherited it from someone else, you may be facing a cumbersome and confusing mess.
That’s where Evisio can help.
Designed for busy SEO professionals, it automatically scans your website and then returns a step-by-step list of instructions to help you clear up problems that are hurting your search ranking and capitalize on opportunities.
See it for yourself. Try evisio for free today!