Pillar content, sometimes referred to as a content pillar page, is an important type of content for your blog or website.
It can not only increase organic traffic to your website, but it can also improve your standing on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and support your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.
So what is pillar content?
Simply put, pillar content is a comprehensive blog post or page on a topic or theme. It covers the topic extensively so as to be the only source of information the reader needs to understand it.
This pillar content will often be the main source of information on an overarching topic like SEO. It may also link out to content elsewhere on the blog that targets more specific keywords. For example, technical SEO or local SEO. This is known as cluster content.
How to Create Pillar Content for Your Blog
While pillar content does require a time commitment, both in terms of researching and writing, it’s not difficult to implement. Here is my four-step process for creating pillar content for your blog.
1. Identify the Overarching Topics That are Important to Your Audience
There are some industries with obvious topics for pillar content. You could start with any one of those topics, but doesn’t it make more sense to choose topics that are most important to your audience?
So how can you identify those topics?
- Ask your audience, whether via a poll on social media or a survey sent via email marketing.
- Audit your blog comments to see what questions are asked frequently.
- Analyze your current blog content to see what topics get the most engagement.
If you engage with your audience frequently, you probably won’t be surprised by the results. However, it’s a good idea to double check before you go forward with your research.
2. Create an In-Depth Outline for Your Blog Post or Page
Now that you have your topics narrowed down, it’s time to create an in-depth outline for one of those topics. This will give you an idea of what you need to include in your research scope.
The best way to do this is to analyze the top five or ten results on SERPs for your keyword.
Ask yourself: What headings do they include? What format do they follow (i.e. How To, Ultimate Guide, etc.)?
You will very likely find headings on one SERP result that aren’t on another SERP result. The goal is to include ALL headings in your own blog post or page so you’re truly the most in-depth resource on the topic.
3. Choose the Topics for your Cluster Pages
Remember that cluster content is content that covers more specific keywords under your main topic of choice.
You don’t have to have your cluster pages written and published before you publish your pillar content. However, you should have an idea of the types of more specific content you will want to create in the future.
Here’s an example.
I want to write a page of pillar content on the topic of social media marketing. So my cluster topics may be any of the following:
- Facebook marketing
- Instagram marketing
- Influencer marketing
- How to plan a social media campaign
- B2B social media marketing
- Social media marketing tools
While I may touch on these keywords briefly in my pillar content, they also deserve their own posts or pages. So while they may not be written until after the pillar content is published, I can at least have an idea of what I’ll be fleshing out in the future.
Remember to go back and link out to these cluster pages from your pillar content as they are written. This is important for your internal linking strategy.
You’ve put in the time for research and analysis and you’ve built an in-depth outline. Now it’s time to fill in the gaps and bring your content to life.
If you did your research, then the actual writing part will be a piece of cake.
Don’t be afraid to update your outline as needed during the process.
And remember, pillar content can (and should) be updated as new information comes out. So take the time to review your content every six months to a year.
Which topic will you cover in your first piece of pillar content?