What does your content strategy look like right now?
Do you have a content calendar that lays out what you’d like to post every month? How do you make the decisions about what to write? Does it come from the partner group, a third-party service, or anyone who sends you ideas? Is it proactive or reactive? Last question – Is it giving you the boost in organic search traffic that’s essential for the slow and steady growth of your website?
Depending on how you’ve answered the previous questions, you may benefit from adding pillar content to your site, and abiding by a hub and spoke content marketing model. So what is a pillar page, and how can creating hub and spoke content help your SEO and organic site traffic?
What is pillar content?
Think about the types of content you post. Maybe you divide what you write into different service lines or industries. Maybe you cover everything about a particular software that you sell or service. A pillar page would be a place on your website where all of the disparate pieces of content come together. For example, if you’ve written a number of posts about how to perform certain actions in QuickBooks, and which version to choose in the first place, a pillar page could aggregate all of those content pieces and be about everything your reader may want to know about QuickBooks.
Think about a pillar page as the hub for a given topic. It should be something that can branch out into several detailed posts, so it should be a fairly meaty and general topic. This hub then links out to individual, standalone content pieces that cover a subtopic in detail, which you can think of as the spokes.
Why should you write pillar content?
Pillar pages are great for SEO and site navigation. Internal links are useful to connect your content for both site visitors and crawlers. You’re telling search engines that the content you are linking is all related. If one post does well, and it links back (from spoke to hub or vice versa), you can improve ranking, and therefore, organic traffic on both.
What should your pillar pages be about?
When we start planning out what our hub and spoke content should look like, I encourage the people at our firm most involved in content planning and creation to think about the thing they could talk to their clients about for hours. Or, think about the questions you get most frequently. Better yet, write those questions down. Do you see a pattern now that they’re all on one page? Maybe they all belong to one business line, industry, tool, or type of service. You’ve found a topic cluster – the spokes that can add up to a hub.
How do you approach hub and spoke content?
There are a couple ways you can approach a hub and spoke content strategy. We started our last grouping by writing out the spokes, then tying them to a larger hub piece of content as we more clearly see the direction we want the content grouping to take. However, you can be much more proactive than this. Writing your pillar page first, and then adding links to subtopic content that sprouts out of that pillar page, is a perfectly acceptable approach. Whatever you do, the sooner you think about the big picture, how all of these pieces fit together, the better. Build a timeline, an ecosystem, a lifecycle – whatever you need to keep your thoughts organized, and make sure you hit those points as you create the content.
Remember, you don’t have to write everything at once. In fact, updating a blog frequently with regular content is an SEO-friendly way to publish. Even if you have everything planned out, you can roll out a few posts at once, then add more, say once per week or every other week, to keep a steady flow of writing published on your site.
- Creating pillar pages, or hub and spoke content, is a value content strategy for SEO, site navigation, and overall content organization
- Pillar pages are larger, more general topics that can be broken off and linked to individual blogs or content pages
- If you’re trying to figure out topic groupings, consider the answers to the following questions: What could you talk about for hours? What questions do you get from clients? What patterns can you identify in the things you normally talk about, or the questions you normally answer?
- You can approach this kind of content strategy by creating a pillar page and then linking to individual posts, or start with spoke content and build the hub after a wider topic emerges. There is no wrong way to start building this content. Just have a plan, create a timeline or ecosystem, and be proactive.
About Sammi Dittloff
Sammi Dittloff is the Marketing Director at Chortek LLP. Prior to Chortek LLP, Sammi spent time working in large and small agency settings, and academia.