One way to rank higher in search results is by organizing your website content in sections that make it easier for Google and visitors to (1) find pertinent information faster and (2) interpret its meaning more accurately.
That’s what pillar pages do. Features of pillar pages include:
- They are the main supporting pieces for specific topics discussed on your website.
- Written like guides or ebooks, they cover the basics of a particular topic.
- They discuss related subtopics throughout, which are outlined using headings and subheadings.
All the internal linking involved drives more SEO advantages. The pillar page’s authority increases when 20+ other posts, articles, videos, webinars, infographics, and other content link back to it. Plus, visitors remain on your site longer, too, clicking to and fro and among all the related content that interests them.
A pillar page is a brightly shining sun. Google is irresistibly drawn to its light. All the linked blog posts and other content revolve around it like planets and stars. (Everybody who isn’t you and me can be space junk.)
Why Create Pillar Pages?
Google is forever putting more effort into understanding (1) what we really want from our searches and (2) what a web page is really all about. Google’s whole reason for existing is to make the gap between those two disappear.
And, it’s working. Google is getting better at helping people cut through the plethora (or swamp, if you prefer) of online content. Voice searches, “near me” searches, and our use of more detailed and specific search terms have helped Google understand more about what we want. HubSpot points out in their article, What is a Pillar Page, that 64% of online searches contain four or more words.
Now, on the other side of the equation, we can also help Google understand our website content more clearly by creating pillar pages. HubSpot says, “Now, your site needs to be organized according to different main topics, with blog posts about specific, conversational long-tail keywords hyperlinked to one another, to address as many searches as possible about a subject.”
The Hub-and-Spoke Format Organizes Your Site’s Content.
You should invest in pillar pages and content for two interrelated reasons:
- Search engines will understand your site better and find more relevant information easier.
- Visitors will understand your site better and find more relevant information easier.
Because Google and other search engines love anything that helps visitors navigate your site easier or understand your content more clearly — such as that old, time-tested convenience of organizing your content under descriptive headings and subheadings. So the hub-and-spoke format makes sense.
Likewise, pillar pages organize content in a way that correlates to how people search for information online. They connect related content to help people easily learn more about a topic they’re interested in. It’s like Wikipedia on your own site. The pillar page is the main entry for a particular subject. The links to and from the pillar page serve to expand searchers’ knowledge of the related subtopics.
Don’t Choose Narrow Pillar Page Topics
Your pillar page topic needs to be broad enough that it can include links to and from several related subtopics. Not every subtopic on a pillar page will be of interest to every single person who lands on it. And that’s okay. That is the nature of pillar pages.
But, if you focus on a subject that is too narrow, you won’t have enough room to branch out from it. You have to be careful here. We’d be hard-pressed to come up with a topic that can’t be further expounded upon or written about in a relatable way. There’s always a way to dig deeper into issues and connect disparate ideas.
Remember though, that’s not what we’re trying to do here. Don’t wedge yourself into a tight corner right off the bat. Don’t try to force unrelated concepts to connect. Google bot will surely raise a stern eyebrow at you if you do.
Don’t Choose Broad Pillar Page Topics
Choose a topic that is broad enough to have plenty of subtopics to write about but not so broad that there’s no real central focus. For example, if you created a pillar post for “eDiscovery,” you’d have the entire eDiscovery world as your oyster to connect to it. Subjects related to eDiscovery could include: artificial intelligence, litigation, recent court rulings, the EDRM, benefits from SaaS platforms, GDPR, legal holds, data privacy, so on and so forth.
- What is the case law concerning eDiscovery, and what technology-related issues are discussed in recent rulings?
- What are the benefits of practice management software for small law firms?
- How do we securely manage evidence collection for multidistrict litigation?
- How do we avoid GDPR penalties?
We can take a deep dive into these topics. Their answers are multi-faceted. Yet, the main topics are still specific in their intent. People asking questions like these will eagerly follow a predetermined pathway to get the answers they need. And your pillar post provides the starting point for their journey.
Pillar Page Topic Ideas That Are Just Right
I like Social Media Today’s analogy of pillar pages promoting a binge on a subject the same way people binge on Netflix shows. In their article on Selecting Pillar Page Topics, Social Media Today says,
“To get the SEO benefit from a pillar page, it’s recommended that you have 15-20 pieces of content linking back to the pillar page right from the start.”
Next, the article goes on to recommend four areas of focus when brainstorming pillar page content ideas. I used those below and added just a few of the many, many ideas possible for pillar page topics that various legal technology vendors might come up with.
Topics Related to Core Services You Provide:
- Attorney time tracking
- Data extraction for corporate documents
- Responding to FOIA and public records requests
- Reducing data sets for review
Topics Related to Problems You Solve or Opportunities You Provide:
- Automated processes in eDiscovery
- Early case assessments
- Smarter legal research
- Virtual data room preparation
Topics About Specific Industries, Verticals or Niches You Serve:
- eDiscovery SaaS benefits for small law firms
- Legal hold processes for in-house counsel
- IT’s role in data collection
- Document management for personal injury attorneys
Topics Related to Emerging Industry Needs or Shifts:
- The use of artificial intelligence to predict case outcomes
- Legal technology education
- Social media for law firms
- Data privacy trends
Additional Reading on Pillar Pages and Content
In addition to the articles I’ve linked to here, plenty of other fun analogies and explanations about pillar pages are available for your reading pleasure at:
How Pillar Pages Will Help Your Search Engine Rankings by Neil Patel
How to Create Pillar Content Google Will Love by Content Marketing Institute
Your Ultimate Pillar Page Development Guide by Blue Frog Dynamic Marketing