The jostle to rank on page one on Google SERP will not be easy – even if you have a pillar content! Having pillar content doesn’t guarantee you a number one ranking on google. You need more than just a pillar content.
In this post, you’ll learn how to create pillar content your audience will love. And if your audience loves your pillar content, Google has no choice but to love it, right?
Let’s first define what exactly is pillar content – then we will get into the nitty-gritty of how to create high-ranking pillar content.
What Is Pillar Content?
Pillar content is a niche-focused content series. It includes a comprehensive asset that offers an in-depth overview of a broad theme or topic.
Pillar content is a large piece of website content composed of and connected to a series of owned media topic clusters that cover a specific topic in depth.
How to Create Pillar Content That Google Will Love!
Pillar content, or 10x content, is one of the best ways to have your content ranked high on Google. The demand for relevant and high-quality content is never waning. However, it can be rather difficult to initially rank for specific keywords because of the high volume of valuable content out there.
Define Your Target Audience and What They Need
Understanding your buyer’s persona and the buyer’s journey is imperative in every content marketing strategy. Still, many marketers leave it (buyers’ persona and buyers’ journey) when they create pillar content. Don’t be like these marketers.
Don’t have a buyer’s persona? Check out our guide for creating a buyer’s persona!
Why Bother With Buyer’s Persona and Buyer’s Journey When Creating Pillar Content?
As much as you want Google to rank your content on its first page for a specific keyword, your reason for creating the content is for the audience – NOT for Google.
A pillar content built on a solid foundation of a well-understood buyer’s journey and persona will answer the buyers’ questions and lead them forward in their journey.
Contents are not created in a vacuum for a vacuum. Therefore, know what your audience needs and give them that exact information. You can get first-hand insights on your customers’ needs and pain points on social media.
What is your defined audience talking about on social media?
Social media is a robust platform that helps you understand and monitor your target audience and their pain points.
Choose a Broad Topic
With pillar content, the topic should be broad, a topic with the potential to have different core topics and subtopics under it.
When creating a blog post, for example, specific keywords are advised. These keywords you use in your blog posts are usually long-tail keywords that answer a particular topic.
With your broad topic, you don’t need long-tail words. What you need is a set of keywords, probably around three to seven words.
Look at the broad topic you choose as the highest power in a strictly bureaucratic leadership structure. The CEO, probably.
As much as it helps to drive the buyers forward in the journey, the broad topic should tie into the product or service you sell.
For example, if you are a publishing house, the core topic should, in the end, motivate readers to use a publishing house. Because in the end, the end-goal of every content is an increase in sales.
Why Do You Need a High Search Volume for Your Core Topic?
Content Marketing Institute suggests that when selecting your broad topic, you should ensure the search volume of the keyword has more than 2,500 searches. A good keyword analyzer like Moz or Ahrefs will help make this process easy.When researching broad topics to cover in your pillar content, it's recommended to ensure the search volume of the keyword has more than 2,500 monthly searches. Click To Tweet
Because if people aren’t looking for that query, there is no way you will get people to click on your content. High search traffic means the topic is vital in your business niche. And higher click-through-rate (CTR) improves your google ranking.
Choose Your Core Topics
The broad topic you have chosen is like a tall tree. It doesn’t stand alone. Branches support the tree, and these branches produce the leaves and flowers that produce the fruit.
After choosing the broad topic, your next step is to define what other topics will best support the broad topic. These are topics that are broad enough to be made into a blog post.
One trick for selecting core topics is conducting useful keyword research. With tools such as keyword planner (and to some extent Neil Patel’s UberSuggest), you can determine what other core topics tie into the broad topic.
The core topic that will help give your broad topic more nuance should be topics people search for.
For example, Neil Patel’s SEO guide is a pillar content with topics such as ‘How To Build Backlinks,’ ‘How To Carry Out On-page Optimization.’
You can rank on google for the core topics you have selected. And also get backlinks on these blog posts.
Moz’s research discovered that blog posts that rank high on Google are usually above 2000 words long. Although the number of words has not been agreed on, Webmasters’ consensus is that quality, lengthy content helps you rank high on Google.
How Do You Select Which Topic to Include in Your Core Topics?
There is no need to produce content that people aren’t looking for. While 2,500 searches per month are the standard number for broad topics, according to Content Marketing Institute, around 600 searches per month will do for a core topic.
Now, you want to also look at, aside from the monthly volumes, what your competitors are producing. You don’t want to put out content that your competition has already ranked for. That’s a wasted effort.
Analyze your competitors’ content, especially if their topic is similar to yours. Check for gaps in their post. If you see gaps – information that was excluded from your competitor’s article– then your job is to create a better piece that fills that gap and is up-to-date.
While search volume is a proper parameter for selecting your core topics, you need to know what the buyers might want. Buyers intent looks more in-depth than the quantitative data. Here, you use your intuition and sixth sense (because let’s be honest, you can’t always be sure what the buyer needs) to predict what the buyer was probably looking for or needs.
When you better understand the buyers’ intent, you’ll be able to select topics that, although they don’t have high monthly traffic, will do well in the future. Your buyers should always be the first people you please.
How Long Should Your Core Topics Headline Be?
When creating your core topics, long-tail keywords come into play. The keyword length should be long enough to adequately convey what the post is about and grab the readers’ attention.
7 to 15 words are okay for your core topics’ headlines.
Search for Subtopics
Your core topics need subtopics to buffer it. The subtopics will give the core topics flesh and context. Like a tree’s branch has other smaller branches, so does your core topics need smaller branches.
To get subtopics relevant to your core topic, you can use tools like Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, Moz, and a host of other SEO tools.
You can also do this: type in the long tail keyword you’d use in your core topics. Then scroll to the bottom of the search, you’ll see ‘other searches.’ From that list at the bottom, you can select subtopics.
Concerning search volume per month in selecting subtopics, there are no hard and fast rules. A search volume of 200 searches per month is okay. If your core topic isn’t very competitive, then you might have fewer searches per month.
Structure and Design Your Pillar Content
You have found your broad topic, the core topic, and subtopics, your work still isn’t complete. There is still work to do.
As much as Google loves quality content, they also value Users’ experience a lot. If users don’t feel comfortable on your site, bouncing off as soon as they enter your website, all your content creation efforts would have been for nothing.
Ensure your content is structured so that the user can easily navigate the core topics and subtopics. From the images you use to how the content flows from one core topic to the next, you must provide a premium experience.
Your website’s HTML structure must be clean and easy to understand.
Your blog posts should also be well-written, have appropriate white spaces, and be easy to read.
For the design, use consistent colors throughout the core topics. Readers love consistency. Color-jumbled pages are hard to read and make for bad user experience.
Use Inbound Links to Increase Your Website’s Authority
High rankings on Google improves your website’s authority. Therefore, after creating your content and designing it to appeal to the readers, use inbound links with every core topic and subtopic.
One mistake some marketers make is abandoning the work of inbound linking.
Valuable content is excellent. Links from authoritative websites with high page rank and website’s authority tells Google that your content is top quality. Inbound links – links within the pillar content – is also a needle mover with regards to SEO rankings.77.8% of top results in Google had at least one external link pointing to the page! Click To Tweet
So, don’t just create excellent content; ensure you do your inbound linking properly.
Update the Pillar Content When the Need Arises
Should you notice, after a while, that some of the information in your content pillar is outdated, update them. It doesn’t mean you do a total rewrite of the entire content. You can edit and add the new information alongside updated images to the updated content.
Make sure you notify your readers that you have updated your posts.
If done because of new updates on specific pieces of information, these updates will aid your google rank. It can push your content upwards further if you aren’t already ranking No 1. Even if you are ranked number one, you have to update. SEO space is highly competitive.
Keep track of Google Analytics and traffic numbers to those pillar content pieces on your website. Having an eye on them can help you gauge just how well the audience perceives the current content, and if you notice a slump in traffic numbers, you may need to go back and make some updates.
Promote Your Pillar Articles
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you are confident that your pillar content is good enough for your readers, by all means, promote it rigorously! From paid ads to influencers to social media, promote! Promote! Promote!
Social media is a beautiful place to blow your trumpet. You trust the sound coming from the trumpet, don’t you? Then blow it as loud as you can.
It takes time and effort to create content pillars. Don’t rush into adding to the noise out there by creating content pillars. Take your time to produce quality content that is beneficial to the readers and stand the test of time.
Never create gated content pillars. Never! Give out your pillar articles for free. You will be glad you did.