How to Build Successful Content Pillars

How to Build Successful Content Pillars

Here are a few benefits of using a content hub strategy:

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a content pillar for your website.

Follow the steps below to create content pillars for your website.

Grab a seat, a pen and paper (or laptop), then brainstorm ideas for content pillars. If you’re familiar with the niche, many topics should come to mind. 

For example, I’ve been breakdancing for the past 10 years, and I can think of plenty of topics for pillar pages (e.g., types of power moves, must-know footwork steps, and more).

Alternatively, you can also use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to find ideas. Just enter a broad term related to your niche and go to the Matching terms report.

However, not every term here will be a suitable topic. What’d you want are topics that:

For example, let’s compare the topic “yoga poses” against the criteria:

If you’re a yoga site, this could be a fantastic topic for a content pillar. 

The key here is to choose subtopics that are highly related to the main topic. 

Here are a few ways to find them:

If you’re an expert or familiar with the niche, then you probably have an idea of what you need to cover. For example, if you’re a yoga teacher, you likely already know the different types of yoga poses that beginners should master first. 

If your topic exists on Wikipedia, it’s a great way to find subtopics since everything is already organized properly. 

For example, Wikipedia has a page called “List of asanas,” where different yoga poses are arranged in a table:

Online courses exist for almost any topic, and they’re usually structured in a logical manner. Therefore, they’re also good places to look for relevant subtopics. 

For example, this course on Udemy covers the key poses for yoga:

Since the main goal of a content pillar is to rank for the main topic, you can look at the current top-ranking pages to see what they’re covering. 

For example, the top-ranking page for “yoga poses” has already covered the essential poses for beginners:

Since the subtopics are organized neatly in a hierarchical manner—H2s, H3s, H4s, etc.,—a good way to see all of them at one glance is to install Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar and open the Content report.

With your research done, it’s time to create your content pillar.

Think of it as a “portal.” Your goal is to give readers a jump-off point for further discovery of the topic. So keep it relatively light. 

You’re not trying to say everything about every subtopic. Leave it to your cluster pages to provide more detail. Stick to what people need to know.

For example, our beginner’s guide to SEO only has a one-sentence introduction to each chapter:

If you have the budget, consider creating a custom design for your content pillar. This is what we did for our own. Not only does a good design make it easier for readers to consume content, but it also stands out among other guides—hopefully leading to more shares, links, and traffic. 

But if you can’t afford a custom design now, don’t worry. You don’t need an incredible design to create useful content pillars. Take a look at Zapier’s pillar page about remote work—it’s basically text:

Even though a content pillar is a stand-alone page, it’s almost useless without its supporting cluster pages. So when you’re done with the main pillar page, it’s time to create the rest of the hub. 

With the subtopics laid out, you already know what you need to create. It’s simply a matter of executing. But it will take time. 

Watch this video to learn how to create content for your cluster pages:

If you have existing content pieces that fit the “hub,” then simply interlink them together. 

Don’t wait for the content pillar to be discovered—promote it proactively and let people know. 

Here are a few tactics you can use:

Recommended reading: 13 Content Promotion Tactics to Get More Eyeballs on Your Content 

Check out these successful content pillars to inspire your own:

You can find more pillar page examples here. 

If you’re looking for more guides on how to create content pillars, I’d recommend checking out these articles:

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter. 

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