Pillar pages are content hubs covering broad topics in your content marketing strategy. They offer expert insights and valuable information to help customers make informed decisions, all while improving your SEO rankings. This guide can help you publish pillar pages that work.

Here, you’ll find:

Think of your content like a fortified tree. Each branch represents a helpful, high-quality piece of content, and each keyword is a leaf. In this analogy, pillar pages are the foundation: the tree trunk.

In digital marketing, pillar pages give your business the topical authority and industry credibility you need to rank high in the search engine results page (SERP) and convert your audience.

Here, HawkSEM’s senior content marketing manager Caroline Cox shares the inside scoop on crafting high-performing pillar pages that help ignite an average 4.5X ROI for our clients.

view from the ground of a tree with pink flowers on a sunny day

You can think of a pillar page as a high-level table of contents for a certain topic. (Image: Unsplash)

What are pillar pages?

A pillar page is a comprehensive web page that broadly covers general information about a particular topic, and also links to supplemental content for additional information and context.

Also referred to as “hub and spoke” content, pillar pages revolve around a keyword and aim to provide searchers with valuable insights to help them make informed decisions.

For example, a photo editing business could have a pillar page about “photo editing software.” This pillar page is a general guide that could include sections like:

  • What is photo editing software?
  • How to use photo editing software
  • Types of photo editing software

The keyword research might illuminate more specific search queries around photo editing software, like:

  • Best photo editing software for beginners
  • Photo editing software for Windows 10
  • In-depth photo editing techniques

These additional subtopics deserve their own web pages, known as “cluster content,” which explore parts of the broad topic more in-depth.

In a way, a pillar page is like a high-level table of contents for a certain topic. While you provide answers to important questions informed by high-volume target keywords, you can also guide readers to other types of content on your website.

How to create these pages in your content strategy

You might know your pillar page topics inside-out, but here’s how to make sure your audience and Google do, too:

  1. Determine main topics and keywords
  2. Conduct keyword research to find subtopics
  3. Write your pillar page
  4. Focus on information gain
  5. Leverage existing content
  6. Optimize your pillar pages
  7. Monitor performance with ConversionIQ

1. Determine main topics and keywords

Pillar pages start with your business’s offerings. For example, a furniture ecommerce business might have core topics surrounding products like:

  • Wooden furniture
  • Modern decor
  • Rustic furniture

Once you have a handle on your core topics, you can compare those topics with keywords to ensure they align with your audience’s pain points.

Pillar page keywords are short-tail terms that people type into search engines. They tend to have a high search volume and attract a wider audience.

Remember, your pillar page should feel comprehensive but still have enough potential to create relevant web pages for subtopics.

2. Conduct keyword research to find subtopics

Pillar pages might not convert your target audience right away, but the more specific the query, the closer your audience is to conversion. That’s why your pillar page needs internal hyperlinks to additional content to support your audience in their search for information.

Essentially, you want to guide them to your service offerings.

Ahrefs shares that Google sees more conversational, long-tail keywords these days, as opposed to broad, short phrases.

These are the perfect inspirations for subtopic content since you have a high chance of ranking well. And remember, always link back to the pillar page on these subtopic pages.

For our online furniture store example, subtopic keywords might include:

  • Best furniture for small bedrooms
  • Decor ideas for large living rooms
  • Benefits of wooden furniture

You can choose from a library of keywords with a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or Semrush.

Now that you’re sure your pillar page will have ample subtopics to link to, you’re ready to create it.

3. Write your pillar page

Time to dive into your favorite topics! Here are some common headings your pillar content can cover:

  • What is X?
  • Types of X
  • Benefits of X
  • How to X
  • X versus Y

Keep your structure intuitive and make sure it matches the searcher’s intent. For example, if you create a guide called “What is rustic furniture?” you shouldn’t put your “what is” section at the end of the article. You should get straight to the answer.

Additionally, your web copy should feel accessible and easy flowing for a reader who’s relatively new to the topic. This isn’t the place for jargon or industry terms — those might leave your audience feeling confused.

You could have subtopic pages about some of the above headings, and that works, too. It’s still smart to include basic information about those subtopics within your pillar page for a well-rounded experience.

But what if your competitors have similar types of pillar pages? Don’t worry; we’ll help you stand out.

Pro tip: Experts suggest pillar pages should be around 3,000 words.

4. Focus on information gain

So you wrote a detailed pillar page about a related topic to your business. Great start! The catch? So have your rivals. How do you distinguish yourself in the SERP and in your audience’s minds amidst a sea of similar content?

Consider your unique value propositions (UVPs): your special quality that sets you apart from competitors. Your pillar pages should highlight these UVPs for a competitive edge, too. This creates information gain.

Information gain is what SEO software Clearscope founder Bernard Huang describes as “fringe information just outside of Google’s knowledge graph given the topic discussed.”

Put simply? It’s the exclusive insider knowledge and industry authority that only you can provide. The most informed, expert figures in a niche introduce relevant concepts that grow and evolve into trends over time.

Not only will information gain help your website content stand out to your audience, but it will also significantly boost organic search rankings, especially in the approaching Search Generative Experience (SGE), Google’s AI summary search results.

Here are some ideas for pillar page information gain:

  • Discussing current industry trends and expert predictions
  • Quotes from your staff and industry leaders
  • Insights on customer data, stats, and project analysis
  • Purchase behavior data and trends

Cox reminds us to avoid fluff content (filler or unnecessary text) and focus more on the “gain” part of information gain:

“It’s not just about giving info to the reader, but about adding value,” says Cox. “I don’t focus on just adding information for its own sake, but rather on what the reader is looking for and what specific information will help them make a better-informed decision, educate them, or something more.”

5. Leverage existing content

If you already have a solid amount of quality content on your site, then the bulk of your work is already done. For example, Cox shares how to create pillar content with your current material:

“Look at the existing content you have, such as a handful of articles on various social media tactics and platforms, then create an overarching pillar page that internally links to all of those and touches on each subtopic at a high level,” she says.

This is where the real magic of pillar pages comes in, as they can breathe new life into old content. You can rekindle the interest in older posts and articles by adding them to a new content cluster.

Just don’t forget to review and update these posts first to make sure they’re current.

When you identify possibilities to revamp existing content during your next content audit, also consider which pages can form part of a topic cluster.

6. Optimize your pillar pages

You might have a stellar pillar page, but without a detailed SEO plan, people won’t find it – unless you count Google’s crawlers, who will likely place your page at the bottom of the SERP. We don’t want that.

Get your pillar page on your audience’s radar with these SEO tips:

  • Include internal links to cluster content pages
  • Add strategic calls to action (CTAs) that link to your service landing pages
  • Link back to your pillar page from cluster pages
  • Source backlinks for relevant industry authorities and news sources
  • Add visuals and examples to improve UX
  • Prioritize flawless user experience with organized headings and an easy-to-read page flow
  • Promote your pillar page on your social media channels

Say you follow all these steps;  how do you know if your optimization efforts are working?

7. Monitor performance with ConversionIQ

Performance monitoring starts with Google Analytics, which shows you key website specs like organic traffic and rankings. These tell you how much your pillar pages resonate with your audience and Google.

Our recommendation? Conduct a quarterly audit to assess pillar page performance, but you should understand performance in the context of the rest of your marketing strategy.

Our proprietary tech, ConversionIQ, offers a filterable dashboard view of your performance metrics with revenue attribution for actionable insights.

Pillar page? Complete. SEO rankings? Coming soon.

5 ways pillar pages support SEO

Gone are the days when search engines looked solely for keywords to determine a webpage’s rankings. Today, they also recognize synonyms, aligned phrases, subtopics, and answers to frequent questions that people have when researching your industry.

Meaning? Strong pillar pages tell search engines that your website has credible and relevant content.

Here are a few more ways pillar pages support SEO:
Builds topical authority with E-E-A-T guidelines

  • Increases web traffic
  • Improves the user experience (UX)
  • Enhances site architecture with an internal linking strategy

Builds topical authority with E-E-A-T guidelines

Google’s gotta eat, and when we say eat we mean, E-E-A-T:

  • Expertise
  • Experience
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

If you produce pillar pages with information gain that provide helpful information for your audience, you demonstrate E-E-A-T principles. This satiates Google’s appetite for excellent content and deems your content worthy of higher rankings.

Plus, the easy-to-browse content structure of pillar pages makes your website more trustworthy, bringing it closer to the top of the SERP.

Increases web traffic

Google’s crawlers love a well-structured pillar page, and they’ll rank you accordingly. The biggest benefit? More web traffic.

For example, SEO giant Moz recently found that their pillar pages generated 4 times the amount of traffic than their regular blog pages. This is likely because pillar pages target broad, less specific keywords with much higher search volumes, which helps get more eyes on your page.

We see this as a perfect positive feedback loop. Strong pillar pages attract more web traffic, and this higher traffic bumps SEO rankings. Why? Because Google considers traffic a key ranking factor.

Improves the user experience (UX)

Google emphasizes a strong UX in its ranking factors, and pillar pages give you ample opportunity to create a seamless browsing experience.

Pillar pages offer high-level info about a subject, with links to other related topics.

This comprehensive structure makes for a complete and engaging UX, as it guides your audience through the information they seek and directs them to more of what might find helpful.

Cox elaborates:

“Structuring your content in a pillar page makes it easier for search engine crawler bots to recognize you have organized content that covers a variety of subtopics under a main topic umbrella,” she says.

Enhances site architecture with an internal linking strategy

Since pillar pages link to relevant subtopics on your website, they help Google better index and understand your website structure.

HubSpot launched its own experimental feature to demonstrate the benefits of the topic cluster strategy. It found the more high-quality internal linking it did, the higher the website climbed on the SERPs.

Search Engine Journal recommends sticking to three key objectives when linking internally:

  • Boost authority to the website domain for key search terms that related pages target
  • Provide relevancy for top- and middle-of-funnel search terms
  • Serve as supplemental educational resources that inspire browsers to choose your solution.
view from the ground looking up at the corner of a column building structure

Pillar pages generally focus on broad, top-of-funnel content that attracts a wide audience. (Image: Unsplash)

Cox says internal linking, strong user experience, topical authority, and solid structure work harmoniously for a winning SEO strategy:

“All of those elements naturally lend themselves to more traffic and, ideally, conversions once you’ve illustrated that you’re clearly a trusted authority on the subject at hand,” explains Cox.

What does it look like when you bring it all together?

Proven examples

Curious to see these pillar page tips in action? Keep reading for some of our favorite pillar page examples for inspiration.

HawkSEM SEO pillar page

Here’s a pillar page example with high rankings from our own blog. This is HawkSEM’s SEO pillar page:

This page contains introductory content on SEO. However, since SEO is a vast umbrella subject, we also included links to more specific topics, such as explainers on SEO audits, competitor analysis, technical SEO, and Google’s algorithms.

Why did Cox launch this high-ranking pillar page?

“We implemented pillar pages after we already had dozens of published industry articles,” Cox says. “Adding the pillar pages allowed us to increase optimization and make it easier for searchers to find the info they were looking for, as well as additional info they might be interested in.”

2. HubSpot’s social media marketing pillar page

Marketing experts at HubSpot hit a home run with this social media pillar page:

Scroll through and you’ll find an easily digestible, logical flow of everything you need to know about social media marketing.

But what makes this pillar page particularly effective? Cox shares the main highlights:

  • Appealing visuals up top
  • Strong CTA
  • Embedded videos

“Organized chapters help the reader easily scroll through to find the niche articles most relevant to them,” explains Cox.


Above, you’ll see some of Cox’s highlights within just one section of the page: Embedded YouTube video for extra insights, and a CTA that leads readers straight to HubSpot’s services.

3. Asana’s Project Management pillar page

Asana is a leading project management software with an active content marketing blog. Here’s an example of one of their best pillar pages:

This pillar page shows serious expertise in the topic, with internally made infographics to add engagement, numbered steps, and images from the platform.

We also see coverage of niche subtopics and organized internal linking to more details for each type of project management model:

asana types of pm

To sum up, Asana’s pillar page fits the bill with easy links to cluster content, engaging visuals, product demonstrations, and an undeniable expertise demonstrated throughout the article.

Pillar pages and PPC

PPC (pay-per-click) is a digital marketing strategy that places your content higher on the search results for a higher price. Along with gaining more visibility on the SERPs, pillar pages can also strengthen paid search marketing. That’s because a well-organized content structure can help raise your Quality Score.

Once you’ve created a thorough pillar page, you can launch a paid search campaign to support it.

Ideally, this will increase the page’s traffic, build brand awareness, and inspire visitors to click around your site to learn more. Just ask one of our PPC experts about how to get started with PPC.

The takeaway

Pillar pages are the cornerstone of your entire content ecosystem. They demonstrate topical authority, provide a logical flow of information, and deliver credible insights into your business and industry.

But we won’t lie — pillar page content creation takes time, research, and continuous oversight to execute properly. And if you don’t cover all your bases or genuinely offer enough additional value? Google could demote your page in the SERP.

You don’t want that and neither do we; which is why our expert SEO strategists are here to help.

Our clients all share three things in common: a dedicated SEO account manager, extra time in their day with offloaded marketing tasks, and a whopping average of 4.5X ROI.

Ready to grow a forest of evergreen pillar pages? Get ready for seeds of record-breaking traffic and sky-high conversions to blossom. Let’s talk.

Christina Lyon

Christina Lyon

Christina Lyon is an entrepreneur and writer from sunny SoCal. She leads Lyon Content, a tight-knit team of bold creatives, and crafts engaging written content that helps brands sparkle and scale.