If you’ve been looking into content marketing, you’ve undoubtedly heard or read about pillar pages, pillar content or pillar pieces.
That’s because they’re a key part of content marketing and content strategy – that anybody trying to target a large topic will benefit greatly from implementing.
These can be leveraged especially well in complex B2B spaces.
This post will be discussing what a pillar page is, why they matter and some tips for creating an effective pillar:
What is a B2B Pillar Page?
A pillar page is a piece of content that acts as a cornerstone piece on your site, that you refer people too whenever you can.
This piece should have everything that a post/page could have – high word count, topics covering the entire industry, lots of stats, infographics, a table of contents, CTAs where appropriate, and whatever else you can conjure up – After all, this isn’t going to be your average post.
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This should be something that you use to show yourself off as a thought leader and can provide some seriously valuable information on the topic.
Think of it as an in-house resource to pull from for your other pieces of content, as well as letting other people source it.
Why Writing Pillar Pages in B2B is Important
You want to be able to connect your content thematically (and technically), and a pillar page is a great way to do so. It can serve as the focal point for other content to stem from and build your brand recognition as an authority for that topic.
A great analogy is the hub & spokes of a tire? The hub is the centre is where everything converges and gets its support from, and the spokes are what connect the hub to the border of the tire, branching out from the core support.
A pillar and short-term content strategy or ‘IT Security’ might look something like this:
Make this a piece that will be shared and is engaging in as many ways as possible. That way when you link out from a pillar piece, you’ll be passing on ‘link equity’ and authority to those pages.
Let this be your opportunity to be a voice in the space that is knowledgeable and helpful.
According to a poll taken in 2016, 51% of B2B buyers rely on content around a topic to research their buying decisions, and 96% of respondents want content with more input from industry thought leaders.
This means a huge opportunity for businesses with the right expertise to become the thought leader that these people want.
The Effect Pillar Content on SEO
The pillar piece(s)/ page(s) will act as hubs for your tires. Imagine a tire as a topic you want to target, and the edges of the tire as the entire topic, you want your spokes to reach these edges while being connected to the hub.
Unfortunately, the analogy ends there as now your collection spokes surrounding that hub is a way for Google to be able to relate that hub, as well as all the spokes attached to it to a certain topic on the internet.
That is the topic clustering.
It’s a well-known best practice for SEO to ‘cluster’ topics in related webs of content. These webs (or tires) can expand into other webs with a few pieces of content that connect them in some way, try to keep these at least mildly related.
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Linking random pages to each other might mess up your topic clustering, but also might mess up the ease of use of your site, if someone clicks on an interlink, they want it to be related to what they’re reading or provide support to that piece.
This practice increases relevance, authority among various topics and having a pillar page be the centre serves for a great source of backlinks.
Because your pillar page will have valuable information in the form of anecdotes, statistics, and infographics on a particular topic, other people talking about this topic can link to your pillar page as a resource of information.
This is a great way to start your link building efforts.
Even if you’re not the source of the fact, lots of times people will be too lazy to go through your sources and want their readers to get every other fact you have to offer through that link.
Getting backlinks from relevant sites, is a big deal for Google rankings, especially if they’re of a higher ‘authority’ than your site.
This has been tested plenty of times and consistently and is always providing clear results that having relevant sites link to yours will increase your rankings for particular keywords that you’re going after.
In a more mischievous sense, you can call this ‘link baiting.’ As in writing content with the purpose of having people link to it because it was targetted for them.
This is a perfect example of providing value to an industry in return for better organic results, so it isn’t a bad thing to do, but it’s a highly effective, highly targeted method of getting organic rankings up.
What topics to choose for your pillars.
I wish there were a clear-cut answer I can give you, but then none of this would be any fun.
This all comes down to what people are asking for, one way that you can tell is through keyword research.
To do this properly, you’ll need a few things in place, like templates, customer personas prepared and a keyword research process.
Without all of these things and maybe more in place, you’ll be doing a lot of backtracking and guessing at what people in your industry are looking for.
Ideally, topics with high search volume, relatively low competition and a big source of discussion in your industry are hard to go wrong with.
Seeing what your competitors are talking about can be a great resource of information and inspiration for effective content. You can make sure of this by checking what keywords they rank for and digging a little bit deeper than just a pretty looking page.
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skyscraper content is taking this competitor content you’ve dug through, basing your content heavily on theirs and then adding a ton of information to it.
Essentially, strategically augmenting their content with other information that’s related and increasing the word count substantially.
This impresses Google because it knows people want this content, now you’ll be giving it a better source of information to show people over your competitors.
This is a way of having someone vet a topic for you, and then doing what they, but 10x better, and therefore rank better for the same or a very similar topic.
Writing a pillar piece is an involved, intense process, with multiple phases of execution.
Usually, because of the number of visual elements you’ll need, it not only requires a fantastic writer to write a valuable piece of content for very specific industries that will impress professionals.
It will also involve design work and some amount custom front-end development work.
This kind of work needs to be done correctly, which requires a highly trained team of people with different disciplines. Jumpfactor has all the resources necessary to execute proper content strategy efforts in a variety of specific B2B industries.
Contact us to get results from your digital content marketing efforts.