Think you understand SEO? Think again.
Inbound marketing campaigns are no longer just about blog posts designed to rank for your target keywords and gated advanced content. Before you start working on your next inbound campaign, consider the idea of B2B pillar content and how it can transform your SEO results.
What is Pillar Content?
Think about the concept of a physical pillar: a tall, sturdy structure used for support. In architecture, pillars are used as load-bearing and stabilizing fixtures that carry the weight of other, less sound structures. In content marketing, B2B pillar content serves a similar function for your inbound and SEO strategies by carrying the weight of broad coverage for a particular topic.
The idea is to choose a big topic and then write a single, sweeping web page of content that covers everything you can about that subject. Physical pillars are tall structures, and content pillar pages are long — much longer than an average blog post, as they are intended to at least touch on all aspects of a single topic. Think of it as your core post on that topic, or a place to demonstrate your thorough knowledge and expertise.
What Will the Pillar Support?
Once you create your pillar page, branch out from that broad topic into several more in-depth posts blogs and advanced content pieces that get into the nuances of that subject. Chances are, you already have some content around your pillar page topic. But if you spot some gaps in your coverage, create a plan for the content you still need to create.
Link to this additional content throughout the pillar page, and vice versa, so readers can branch out whenever they want to get more details. The result is a cluster of posts that provide exhaustive coverage while leaving behind an SEO goldmine of keywords to rank for.
Why Pillar Content Works for SEO
Search behavior has changed significantly over the last several years. People are no longer typing a word or two when they're looking for answers. Instead, people are giving search engines complete and complex questions, and they expect robust results. In return, search engine technology has evolved to understand the context of these searches and serves up the pages most likely to deliver thorough answers to queries.
When you create a cluster of content surrounding a topic — a pillar linked to several related posts — search engines will recognize that as a comprehensive answer to a query. When people search for terms related to that topic, your pillar page is more likely to show up at the top of the search results.
Why This Format Works for Prospects
This approach works for your readers by providing an easy way to get a huge amount of information on topics they are interested in while also providing quick access to more detailed information without having to hunt it down.
This doesn't mean that your page should be a huge block of text. Make sure that you're optimizing the page for user experience, too. Make your content easy to navigate and visually appealing with a table of contents, subheads, bullets, images, videos and infographics. To go the extra mile for your prospects as well as capture leads, link your pillar page to a form where visitors can download a PDF of the page so they can easily refer to it later.
Make Pillar Content Work for You
In terms of strict SEO, using the cluster approach means you're no longer creating individual blog posts that try to rank for specific keywords. Instead, you're trying to boost the rank of that pillar page by using all the supporting pages that are attached. Plus, that high-performing pillar page will pull the smaller pages right up with it.
This approach makes organizing your blog and linking related content more straightforward, while also aiding in the ideation process. Once you’ve identified the topic for your pillar page, you’ll begin to see where opportunities are to elaborate in supporting blog posts.
Pillar content provides you with a simpler roadmap to content creation and organization while also keeping up with the current demands of search engines: delivering the best answers to the questions of your prospects. With pillar content, everybody wins.