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What is a pillar page?

Pillar pages, or pillar posts, are pieces of content that serve as the cornerstone of a topic grouping. They provide a comprehensive overview of a broad topic and link to related content pieces.

For example, say you want to create a topic group about SEO.

Your pillar page could be a complete article covering the basics of SEO. Among other topics, you mention technical SEO, link building and local SEO.

From your pillar page you will add links group pages. This will dive deeper into the topics mentioned on your pillar page.

the structure of a subject grouping

Your pillar page acts as a content hub. And direct users to more specific pieces of content.

How pillar pages can help your SEO

Pillar pages benefit your SEO rankings by:

  • Build topical authority: Groups cover all aspects of a specific topic, helping to improve your site’s authority for that topic
  • Simplify navigation for users and search engines: Well-structured content improves user experience and helps Google understand your site’s purpose
  • Avoid query cannibalization: With topic clusters, it’s easier to organize your content and avoid query cannibalization issues
  • Improving your site’s interlinking: Using pillar pages and topic clusters makes it easier to define an effective internal communications strategy
  • Generate backlinks: Pillar pages are useful resources that tend to attract more backlinks than regular blog posts

How to create a pillar page

To create a pillar page (sometimes referred to as content pillar), follow these steps:

1. Structure your grouping

Around you subject groupingfirst choose a topic.

Then choose specific topics for your pillar and group pages (and one primary keyword per page).

The structure of your topic grouping might look like this:

  • Group Topic: Plant-Based Diets
  • Pillar Page: “Plant-Based Diets: A Complete Guide”
    • Primary keyword: “plant-based diet”
  • Cluster Pages:
    • “10 Easy Plant-Based Recipes”
      • Primary Keyword: “easy plant-based recipes”
    • “The Best Supplements for a Vegan Diet: Our Pick”
      • Primary Keyword: “supplements for vegan diet”
    • “Plant-Based Diets for Diabetes: Everything You Need to Know”
      • Primary keyword: “plant-based diet diabetes”

In general, pillar pages target higher volume keywords.

On the other side, group pages usually target long tail keywords with lower search volume.

How to choose a topic for your group

You need to find a topic that is:

  • Relevant to your business and target audience
  • Wide enough to create several pieces of content around it

For example, let’s say you sell nutritional supplements.

A topic group on plant-based diets might be a good choice.

It is relevant to your potential customers and pertinent to your business. Because you can use the topic grouping to talk about your products.

It is also broad enough. You can create dozens of supporting pieces.

Clue: These topics should be easy to find if you have a well-defined content strategy and detailed buyer personas.

How to choose topics and keywords for pillar and group pages

Now you need to come up with topics and keywords for each piece of content.

With Semrush’s Topic Research tool, you can get topic ideas and find the right keywords with strong search volume.

Enter your group topic and click “Get content ideas.”

topic research tool

The tool will provide a list of related topics.

list of related topics

On each map you will see the search volume for a specific keyword. And published article headlines or related questions that users type into search engines.

map information for keyword black beans

please note: The Topic Research Tool pulls headlines from existing articles, so don’t copy them. This should serve as inspiration to find great topics.

You can also the Keyword Magic Tool.

Enter your group topic and click “Search.”

Keyword Magic Tool

The tool will show a list of keywords grouped by topic. Click on a topic group to see a list of recommended keywords.

list keywords grouped by topic

This can be an excellent source of ideas for your pillar post and group pages.

To get more information about a keyword, use the Keyword overview tools.

Enter up to 100 keywords (with a paid subscription), and click “Search.”

Keyword Review Tool

You will see search intent, search volume and more relevant information about each keyword.

Learn more about how to conduct keyword research.

2. Create your content

Pillar posts are intended to cover a topic holistically and include internal links to group pages. Other than that, there is no fixed set of rules to follow.

However, most large pillar pages share the following characteristics:

  • They are search engine optimized: Optimize your pillar page just like any other page. Look at this SEO writing guide to learn how.
  • They are evergreen: Evergreen content stay “fresh” longer. You don’t need to update it every month.
  • They are easy to read: Pillar pages are content heavy because they cover many aspects of a topic. Simplify navigation and enhance user experience by using elements such as a table of contents, images and bulleted lists.
  • They contain different types of content: Most pillar posts are text based. But you can also include other formats, such as videos or infographics.
  • It contains useful links: Pillar pages serve as content hubs and often include many internal links. Only include relevant links with optimized anchor text.
  • They use relevant CTAs: Use persuasive calls to action (CTAs) to encourage users to take actions, such as creating an account or downloading an e-book.

Dive deeper into the content creation process to learn how to create the best topic grouping.

You don’t need to create a custom design or make your pillar page look different from other pages on your site. Upload it like any other piece of content on your site.

If you haven’t already, add internal links.

If your group pages are unpublished and ready for internal links, publish your pillar post without them.

As you publish new group pages, edit your pillar post and add the recently created URLs.

This process is essential for building a logical website architecture.

Types of pillar pages (+ examples)

Not all pillar posts are created for the same purpose. Below we examine different types of pillar posts. And pillar page examples to inspire you.

Remember that the divisions between these categories are not absolute. Some pillar pages can have elements of each type.

1. The Guide Pillar Page

A guide pillar page is a comprehensive overview of a topic. For example, it could be a 101 guide for beginners or ultimate guide for advanced users.

The following are good examples of directory pillar pages:

“The Ultimate Guide to Digital Meetings,” by Slack

The ultimate guide to digital meetings

Slack’s Ultimate Guide to Digital Meetings is an in-depth guide that covers all the basics of remote meetings, with relevant, actionable tips.

It uses internal links to guide readers to group pages with more tips. And specific benefits of using Slack.

Use Semrush’s Organic Research tool, we can see that this Slack directory ranks for relevant keywords:

Organic research tool

“Customer Success: Almost Everything You Need to Know,” by Typeform

Customer Success: Almost Everything You Need to Know

Typeform is an online form and survey creation tool. It has created a series of well-designed pillar pages that cover topics relevant to its business. One good example is this guide to customer success.

Its products are closely related to customer success. So it makes sense to create a guide on this topic.

Among other things, it uses this directory to share templates potential customers can use:

free customer satisfaction survey template

2. The What-Is Pillar page

Users usually search for “What is + [topic]” when looking for more information. A what-is pillar page responds to those search queries.

please note: In many ways, a what-is pillar page is similar to a directory. Feel free to combine or adapt both types to create your ideal content piece.

Below are two examples of solid what-is pillar pages:

“What is wine? A beautiful explanation,” by Wine Folly

What is wine?

This pillar post explains what wine is. And offers a deep dive, covering wine’s varieties, history, and more.

It also contains links to relevant content pieces, such as this related questions section:

related questions

“What is graphic design? with examples for beginners,” by Webflow

What is graphic design?  with examples for beginners

This pillar page by Webflow, a code-free website building platform, dives into graphic design.

It has a clear structure, high quality images, relevant links and CTAs.

This pillar page currently ranks for high-volume keywords, such as “what is graphic design” and “graphic design examples.”

Results of organic research tools

3. The How To pillar page

How-to pillar pages help your readers solve problems, often with step-by-step tutorials.

Some examples of how-to pillar pages include the following:

“How to Take Film Photography – A Guide from Start to Finish,” by StudioBinder

movie loading tips

This guide by StudioBinder, a multimedia production management software site, explains how to start shooting film. It covers all the basic steps, from getting your own analog camera to developing film rolls. It also links to relevant topics.

StudioBinder guide on shooting film excerpt

In this example, combining text with video provides a visual explanation of the most technical steps, such as setting up your camera or developing film.

“How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel for Your Business,” by Wix

How to start a successful YouTube channel for your business

Wix has created this in-depth how-to guide that explains how to create a YouTube channel.

The pillar page is divided into 12 chapters. It explains every step, from creating an account to measuring the results.

To help the reader, the pillar post uses text, video, images and infographics.

It is an engaging piece of content that leads users to other YouTube related content pieces. Like these analytics or features articles.

Wix Guide on How to Create a YouTube Channel Snippet

Create stronger pillar pages

Now that you know what pillar pages are, take the next step: Start building your own.

Semrush can help.

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