How to use pillar content to anchor the rest of your strategy

With modern natural language processing algorithms improving their ability to read & understand text, Google can (for the first time) deliver on their promise to delivering the most relevant and useful content to their users.

Instead of simply exact-match searching an article for keyword density or backlink authority, search engines now read an article's entire structure and content to determine its quality and relevance.

That's where pillar content comes in.

Pillar content is a high-quality, comprehensive article that covers a topic from start to finish. It serves as the foundation for your blog, providing a resource for readers to return to time and again. You use it as a bedrock to link out to specific articles that cover content more in-depth, and it tells Google that your blog is high-quality, relevant, and deserves to rank higher in search engine results pages.

In addition, pillar content is also a powerful tool for building an audience, establishing your brand, and driving traffic to your other articles.

How to create a pillar page

Generally, pillar pages are at minimum 2,000 words long. They follow a specific structure, with a table of contents that allows readers to quickly navigate to the section they're interested in (decreasing bounce rate and improving time-to-content).

The body of the article is divided into sections, each covering a different aspect of the topic. Each section contains one or more sub-sections, and each subsection contains several relevant paragraphs.

A loose step-by-step guide would be as follows:

  1. Research your topic thoroughly.

Identify the various keywords and aspects you'd like to cover. Create a cluster diagram to help organize the data, with the core (highest volume and most ideal) keyword in the center.

  1. Draft a comprehensive outline of your article.

Pillar pages are best done in a structured manner, where each heading is a specific keyword, question, or topic that you'll cover in-depth.

  1. Write comprehensive paragraphs for each subsection.

Make sure each paragraph is at least 2-3 sentences long, and that they flow together to create a cohesive article. Aim to keep root keyword density at between 1%-2.5%

  1. Use your pillar page as the bedrock for future internal links

Every time you write an article that covers a topic in more depth, go back to your pillar page and link it. A well-linked article causes bounce rate to plummet, keeping readers on your website and engaged for far longer.

This tells Google that your blog is a high-quality resource, and it will help your other articles rank higher in search engine results pages.

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