Connect visitors to your content by creating a pillar page

I used to love spending time on the playground as a kid.

There were six to seven pieces of playground equipment—industrial swings, giant metal slides, monkey bars that looked like they had been used by monkeys, and climbing domes that remind me now of mini versions of the Thunderdome—all spaced out across a giant expanse of yelling kids.

And, if you took a tumble, there were no soft landings, just 110-degree asphalt (and sometimes a little blood, pain, and tears). The stakes were high, so you had to learn how not to fall.

But, that is not the playground of my children. My kids play on elaborately interconnected wonderlands of fun, climbing apparatuses with multiple levels and enough space for everyone to play together.

In that way, current playgrounds are a lot like the modern Internet.

Interpretive searching changes how the Internet finds you

What does a nostalgic-filled look at playgrounds and skinned knees have to do with marketing? Quite a bit, actually. But, more on that later.

Since you’re here to better understand how pillar pages work, this blog post will help you understand how to use them to connect people to your content and start turning website visitors into clients.

Online marketing has evolved. You used to have to search using several keywords—like “Italian restaurants Indianapolis”—because otherwise you wouldn’t find what you were looking for. But, that isn’t how we search today.

Now search engines are smarter because they have to be, especially with growing popularity of devices (like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa) that feature voice-based search technology. How you look for things on the web these days has changed because of the prevalence of mobile devices and the overabundance of content.

Now search engines can process more complex and conversational queries—like “upscale Italian restaurants with a good wine list near me”—and, they even make initial recommendations as you type your queries.

The reason is simple: search engines are parsing through all of the data for you, presenting only those web pages that are likely to best match the ones you’re most interested in.

The Internet of the past worked like my childhood playground. It was bizarre and wonderful, but it wasn’t all that connected. On those old playgrounds, each piece of equipment had its own set of fans. If you were playing on the slide, then you weren’t playing on the monkey bars. It was clear which was the most popular piece of equipment and which was the least.

Your current website strategy most likely functions like my old playground and the Thunderdome: “Two men enter. One man leaves.”

Do you have great content but very few visitors? Even if your current website looks nice and you know what pages are most popular and which ones aren’t, you might not be ranking because you aren’t optimizing your content for the right key terms. And, the truth is, new customers might never find you unless you change the way your website interacts with search engines. Don’t stay stuck in the past with a website that has slides and monkey bars when your leads are only playing on the swings at your competitor’s website.

Take advantage of pillar pages and topic clusters

The idea is simple and works like playground structures that kids play on in 2017.

Pillar page marketing visual

Identify a core idea that is important to your business, something you excel at and for which you already have strong, relevant content. Identify several sub-topics that support that main topic. They need to be strong enough to stand on their own, but still reinforce the core idea. This is your topic cluster. Once you have a topic cluster, you need to create a pillar page to prop it all up.

Once you have a pillar page that focuses on a core idea, add in some new pieces of content and connect everything together. By linking all the content to the pillar page, you will funnel all of your visitors to that main page. Instead of 20 people visiting one page and 50 visiting another, you will have 70 people visiting the cluster, making the page much more likely to be flagged as helpful by Google and therefore moving you up in search results page, which will potentially increase your visitors even more.

When people visit your clustered content, they will find relevant information on the topic they were searching for. Pillar pages make it easy to navigate from one piece of content to another because they are all interwoven and linked together. Like today’s amazing labyrinthine playground structures where every separate activity is connected by the central framework, it is easy for your visitors to jump from content block to content block. They will visit more pages and hang around longer which means they are more likely to engage with you.

Chances are you have decent content—and, if you don’t we can fix that, too! Now it’s time to make an effort to repackage and structure all of your quality information in a new way to take advantage of current search engine protocols and the ever-changing search habits of a web users. Give us a call. Let us upgrade your playground.

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Brian

About the author | Brian Keith

Brian is a content writer, specializing in developing pillar pages and content offers. He enjoys creating targeted marketing materials for clients in many industries. Brian likes to blog about content creation, connecting people with content, and how to target your marketing strategy in more effective ways.

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