Pillar Pages: More Than Just a Buzzword
Pillar pages are an excellent way to rally all kinds of content around a central topic. They are fantastic for your agricultural website’s SEO, and your customers will love them because it puts all the information and resources they’re looking for in one place.
What Is A Pillar Page?
Pillar pages are a bit of a buzz word these days, and you’ll often hear the terms pillar page and topic cluster together. While they are two different things, they have a symbiotic relationship; meaning they depend on the other to drive maximum value.
Essentially, a pillar page is a webpage focused on a single broad topic. It is supported by more detailed blogs, articles, landing pages, and other content (the topic cluster) that link back to the pillar page.
The topic cluster articles generally focus on a single keyword related to the topic. For example, your pillar page might be a deep dive into resistant weed management. The cluster topics would cover everything from available crop inputs and their modes of action to staying ahead of resistance, company field trials, university extension research, and so on.
By their very nature, pillar pages tend to be much longer than the average webpage or blog post. They cover just about every aspect of the topic without going into great detail. Your cluster content takes care of the rest; if the site visitor is interested in a specific topic, they’ll click to read more. Pillar pages provide lead-ins to each subject while the cluster content answers questions more concisely.
How To Build A Pillar Page: General Guidelines
Creating a pillar page requires a mindset that’s a bit different from that of standard webpage creation. Instead of building your copy around specific keywords, you’ll focus on broader topics you want to rank for.
The topic needs to be broad enough that you can generate a lot of related topics and content, but it shouldn’t be so deep that it’s impossible to cover it. For example, “fertilizer” or “cover crops” might be too general. To land in front of your target customer, you might want to embrace something like “fertilizer for corn” or “cover crop blends for grazing.” These topics share many of the same keywords and ideas but can be more easily tailored to a specific audience.
Your page should answer just about any question your site visitors have about the pillar topic. You’ll provide links out to other articles or landing pages related to the topic within your content, helping them answer more specific questions.
Pillar pages are longer than a standard webpage and can run anywhere from 1000 to 2500 words. They can answer a direct question, provide tips around a topic, offer a “how-to,” or answer “what is XYZ.” It could be a guide to soil deficiencies, or it could advise the user how to get started in the carbon markets.
This brings us to the next bit of business – SEO. Longer pages tend to rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (also known as “SERPs” or “SERP”), but that’s not the only reason why pillar pages are good for SEO.
Pillar Pages Benefit Your SEO
Search engines are getting better at delivering precisely the information a user is looking for. Ultimately, you want your pages to draw the right audience, which means you need to satisfy search intent. If your pillar pages answer search intent in a broad sense, you have a much better shot at getting your content in front of them.
Cluster topics linked out from the pillar page give you better search engine visibility. Google now recognizes topic clusters and pillar pages. Algorithmically speaking, search engines see them as a better way to answer a search query. Anything that makes a search more successful for the user is a win.
Topic clusters are an excellent way to organize the subject matter. They’re cleaner, deliver a better user experience, and provide faster, more relevant answers.
To summarize the SEO benefits of pillar pages and cluster topics:
- They link your topics together in a way that search users appreciate
- All content on the page is relevant to the search query
- It cleans up your blog and organizes it into focused clusters
- Pillar pages don’t compete with other pages on your site
- Pillar content answers a topical question, which is better for voice search
- Content linked from the pillar page improve the user’s ability to find what they need
- A positive search experience improves overall rank
- Improved rank reduces PPC advertising cost
Topic clusters also make it easy to see the gaps in your content, and it also helps you see which of those topics is or is not performing well. Adding new content adds value to the pillar page and further extends its reach.
Why Pillar Pages Are Ideal For Agricultural Businesses
With field trials, customer testimonials and extension research, ag businesses are vying for audience engagement through a variety of sources. Many businesses rely on a strategic combination of PPC, SEO, endemic ad space and content marketing to keep their audience engaged. Pillar pages support all your efforts and will also increase organic traffic and reduce your PPC spend. They’re called pillar pages for a reason—they are a structural feature that search engines recognize, strengthening your foundations at an intrinsic level.
In the bigger SEO picture, pillar pages are somewhat of a newcomer. But based on the value they deliver and the way our collective search habits have changed, they’re likely here to stay.
When creating a pillar page, you’ll build it based on a variety of keywords and phrases. You’ll then include hyperlinks to more specialized content with relevance within that topic. It’s cleaner, and it makes more sense to the search engines.
If Google can figure out exactly what a page is all about, such as when every piece of content you publish on marestail control links back to a pillar page that talks about marestail control in field trials, you will rank better. On the other hand, if your content is disorganized or if Google can’t figure out what your website is all about, you won’t rank at all.
Delight Your Customers – And Attract New Ones
We engage in content marketing for many reasons besides SEO. Content informs, entertains, educates, and positions you as an expert in your niche. Pillar pages enhance your content strategy as it gives your content a home.
In a sense, you could think of your pillar page as home base and your content cluster as the neighborhood. Each cluster content piece has something unique to say, but its message always circles back to home in the end.
We love pillar pages and topic clusters for many reasons. It’s a strategy that’s easy to implement, and it simplifies the way we organize and manage content. It supercharges SEO, and there is plenty of data to prove how much website visitors appreciate it.
Perhaps best of all, and unlike many SEO practices, it’s a concept that’s easy to understand and implement. You’ll start seeing results almost immediately, and your customers will love you for it.
Let’s talk pillar pages.
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