Many people underestimate the power of taking their time to create a blog post that will have a big impact on their website traffic. Instead, they wrongly focus on unresearched, untargeted generic content. I'm all for frequent posting, but it has to be targeted frequent posting. You want to spend today mapping out and creating a pillar blog post.
What are pillar Blog posts?
Pillar blog posts completely reimagines how your content is organized. Instead of publishing numerous independent blog posts about a variety of topics, Pillar content seeks to group your content into multiple large, cohesive, connected clusters.
Pillar content is a long-form, in-depth piece of content on a very specific topic, usually around a long-tail keyword you are trying to rank for. It is not a standalone piece, but instead links out to other pages and blog posts that are essentially subtopics of this main Pillar topic. The subtopic pages are known as Clusters. You may also see Pillar and Clusters referred to as Hub & Spoke content.
The Pillar page is usually at least 2,000 words, with links to, from, and between Cluster pages. These 'Clusters' contain blog posts, pages, or articles that provide supplementary information about the main topic. The goal isn't to keep people on your Pillar pages, but to get them exploring the Clusters, keeping them on your site for a longer time.
This is going to be the kind of post that ranks well easily in search engine results pages. It’s also going to be one people bookmark and share on their own social media accounts.
Indications You're Reading Pillar Blog Posts
Pillar post content is usually given away by its headline! Things like
- 'The Definitive Guide to…'
- 'A Comprehensive Report on…'
- 'Everything You Need to Know About…'
All the above headlines indicate the content is a well-organized pillar post. Of course, there are variations of the headline, and you should ensure your complete guide to xxx is actually a complete guide and not a few lines of text.
They're big pieces of content, and they contain a lot of links to other useful articles on the site.
What's The Word Count For a Pillar Post?
Well, according to Search Engine Journal
"Word count alone is not the deciding factor. However, longer pages might be ranking well indirectly due to their length. Longer pages might be more shareable and “link-worthy” as suggested by HubSpot’s study conducted in 2015. In turn, it could be the link profile of the page that is causing it to rank well. It could also be that longer pages simply allow for the more thorough answers required to rank well for some queries."
Dig deeper into HubSpot's study, and you'll see the sweet spot for pillar posts was around 2,250 to 2,500 words
How Can You Write 2,000+ Words for Pillar Post Content?
There's no law that says you have to write a pillar post in one sitting. In fact, my 300 words a day method will help you create a pillar post every week! Breaking a pillar post into chunks makes it easier to write.
If you try to write a pillar post in one session you'll feel drained by the end of it, and you may never complete it.
The Biggest Thing That Slows Down Pillar Post Creation?
Lack of cluster topic content! Cluster topics are what you link to in your pillar post. You can see from the graphic below why it's sometimes called "hub and spoke".
The centre of the image is the headline of the pillar post. Surrounding it are the cluster posts. These are standalone blog posts on the topics. The pillar post links them all together, but adds in more details. The cluster posts also link to each other.
Website content is typically organized according to a business's key offerings. So, for example, an ad agency that offers digital marketing, advertising, and design would group its content based on these three services. They would write blog posts like "Why Businesses Need to Rethink Their Digital Marketing Strategy" or "Professional Design Can Make or Break Your E-book Sales".
Each post would be strategically filled with important keywords relevant to their Digital Marketing and Design practices, with the goal of boosting search engine rank and attracting visitors. All posts and pages would be standalone and would often end up competing against each other for position in the search engines.
Pillar content shifts the focus, putting the searcher at the heart of the content. Instead of creating content about its digital marketing practice (me me me content) the ad agency would create an entire Pillar post around a keyword phrase that it wanted to rank for, related to its digital marketing services. For example, the agency might want to rank for "LinkedIn Marketing Strategies”. The Pillar post would provide detailed information about these strategies and contain links to Cluster posts, which would cover subtopics such as "The Importance of Branding Your LinkedIn Business Account", "How to Use Hashtags on LinkedIn", or "Creating Professional Videos for Social Media".
All The Content Is Connected
The longest part of creating my start a blog pillar post was I didn't have the right cluster topics, so I had to write up around 10 other posts so I could link to them! Recently I completed a silo page (I'll save what that is for another day!) for Getting Started with WordPress. This would be perfect to add to the start a blog pillar post, so I edited the post to add it. I also listed the start a blog post in the resources section in the Getting Started With WordPress content. All the content is strategic, connected and that can make it tough to keep track of!
What Tools Do You Need to Create Pillar Blog Posts?
I prefer to use Thrive Architect to create my pillar blog posts. It makes it easy to add a table of contents, more attractive lists and other things. You may have noticed that the website traffic content series has pros and cons at the end of each post. That's a saved template that I reuse for each of the posts.
I also recommend MissingLettr for promoting your pillar post. This enables you to schedule the post on social media for the next 12 months. This ensures your content is top of mind. It's also a good thing to use Tik Tok to create teaser videos to send traffic back to your pillar content, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn lives.
Pros & Cons of Pillar Blog Posts
Pillar Posts are amazing pieces of content, and when planned out well and deployed they'll bring in incredible amounts of organic website traffic.