Pillar content is a content marketing strategy that intelligently structures central content and secondary content. The basic content is the actual pillar content, around which topic clusters are grouped. The long-term effect of this approach is the position of an expert for a particular topic. This position has a positive effect on the Google ranking for many keywords – especially long-tail keywords. Pillar pages give Google a clear signal of a website’s relevance to a particular topic.
What is Pillar Content?
Pillar is the English word for column, pillar or support. The buzzword Pillar Content stands for a paradigm shift in content marketing. The trend is moving away from a purely keyword-oriented SEO strategy to a focus on topics. A Pillar Page provides comprehensive, yet compact information on a topic. A topic or content cluster is grouped around this pillar page.
The term cluster stands for a conglomeration of similar elements that need to be brought into a certain structure.
The secret to effective Pillar Content is to bring the many aspects of a topic into a structure. The pillar is the starting point for further, specialized content. Example:
- The core topic (corresponding to the main keyword): bicycle.
- Content clusters: mountain bikes, road bikes, e-bikes, bike repairs, bike tours, cycling in summer and winter, accessories and spare parts for bikes, advantages of bicycles as a means of transport.
This content strategy is primarily not a question of format, but of structure. Content can be presented in different forms – for example, as texts in a blog, but also as videos, graphics, e-books, podcasts or image galleries. Crucial for cluster content is the right linking. This is primarily based on long-tail keywords, i.e. longer search queries that do not consist of just one keyword. An example: “How do you repair a gear shift on a bicycle?” or similar.
Why is pillar content so important?
Aligning content with search queries that are entered verbally is becoming increasingly important. This is because simple keywords are increasingly being replaced by formulated questions. In some cases, they touch on several aspects of a topic. And these questions are partly also asked in colloquial language. This means that search engine optimization of content Search engine optimization of content is becoming much more complex. While it used to be enough in inbound marketing to rank well for a simple keyword, today it is necessary to consider almost all possible questions.
But how do you align content with targeted questions instead of simple keywords? This is where the concept of Pillar Content comes in. Pillar content is core content, the fundamental pillars of a topic. Subsidiary content gathers around this core content so that the website as a whole covers all aspects of a topic. So two points are important here:
- the core topic (pillar content)
- the secondary aspects relevant to the topic (Cluster Content).
The actual Pillar Page is the basis for the Content Cluster. Certain secondary aspects of the topic can in turn have sub-pages. This creates a kind of tree structure with hierarchical levels.
It is important here not to lose sight of the central concept, which can usually be focused in a single keyword.
How to create Pillar Content?
The procedure for creating Pillar Content (or for converting existing pages) can be outlined in five points:
- Find the topic and express it in a main keyword.
- Create an overview of the topic clusters.
- Create content.
- Build a cluster structure, which essentially consists of links from the individual pages.
- Constantly update the content.
With Pillar Content, it’s less about the form of the content and more about structuring this content in a user-friendly way. For example, the following come into question here:
Overview pages that present the main topic concisely but comprehensively. In addition, sub-pages on individual aspects of the topic.
Main content in various media formats (texts, graphics, videos, audios) that are linked in a structured manner and thus illuminate all aspects of the topic.
So that the actual Pillar Page does not become too long, references are made to cluster content pages with regard to individual aspects. Intelligent and structured linking is a key success factor for the pillar content strategy.
Pillar pages are comprehensive and up-to-date
How do you get content for Pillar Pages? The Internet offers numerous tools for this purpose. Four examples:
- Google Trends Google Trends can be used to find out which questions are frequently asked about a keyword.
- Tools for finding synonyms or WDF*IDF tools also provide valuable information about which keywords frequently appear in connection with a keyword.
- Google News is a good tool to get inspiration for creating up-to-date cluster pages or to update existing content.
- The personas concept can be used well for creating pillar content. What topics are the personas interested in? What relevance do these topics have for the everyday life, problems or challenges of the target group?
A Pillar Page is actually never finished, because it needs to be constantly adapted. But this wisdom is actually nothing new for SEO experts.
By the way: The terms Pillar Content and Cornerstone Content Cornerstone Content are largely congruent. While one term chooses the pillar as a metaphor (Pillar), Cornerstone stands for a cornerstone. What is meant is the same content marketing strategy: building a website that in the long run becomes a comprehensive expert site for a specific topic.
Pillar content is more than just a new buzzword from the SEO scene. Above all, it stands for a reorientation of search engine optimization. Through structured presentation, a website designed according to the pillar content approach has the potential to become an expert site for the respective subject area. Topics take the place of keywords. The more comprehensively and holistically a website deals with a particular topic and the better this content is structured, the higher the chances of a good ranking in the long term.
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