If you’ve ever visited a website that you couldn’t navigate, then you’ve probably experienced a site that isn’t using an effective pillar page. This is a marketing best practice that can reduce digital clutter while also enabling better SEO.
Since these two things have the potential to drive customers to you OR away from you, pillar pages are a necessity to expand your health tech marketing and drive more inbound leads.
What is a pillar page?
Pillar pages could be compared to several things – a spoke in a wheel, beams that support a building, a hub for city transportation (like Grand Central Station in NYC). But regardless of what you compare them to, they always seem to do three things:
Direct the right people to the right place
Communicate effectively with first time visitors to the site
Make it obvious what or who your company is all about
In the end, pillar pages link all of your digital content to each other in a way that search engines like, leading to more credibility for your website and better brand awareness.
1. Start from the top and work your way down.
To build a pillar page, you need to start broad. This page needs to be focused on subjects that matter to people in your field. At the same time, the headings you use need to be clear and to the point. What makes this tricky is that these topics need to be broad enough to appeal to a wide audience but narrow enough to catch your industry’s attention.
It should also be noted that at this stage, you’re not primarily focused on SEO. Initially, you want to concentrate on what kind of topics your audience searches for on a regular basis. (Side note: If you need help narrowing down your audience, I’ve written some key tips for focusing on the right people.)
As far as pillar pages go, however, here are some important questions to consider during this first step.
What topics are important in my field?
What does our company want to be known for?
What kind of similar content is already out there?
Once you’ve established broad categories, you’re ready to break these pillars down into more descriptive topics that search engines love.
2. Choose strong keywords for your subtopics
Before you actually develop your pillar page, you need to explore keywords that could regularly highlight your website. This step is important because the more people use these keywords in search engines, the more likely they are to find you. So choose your subtopic wording carefully.
There are a lot of SEO tools out there, but personally, I like to use a tool called SEMRush to optimize content. It gives several strong keyword options that draw regular attention within your topic or industry. Plus, it’ll give you a score for content such as blog posts, showing you exactly how to improve your ratings.
3. Develop content and design for the pillar page
The key topics you chose for your pillars will often give you clues about what design will best highlight your core themes. For instance, some marketing strategies may get the best results from using previously created blog content on their pillar page, using a visual index to help viewers follow along. Here’s one website that does this pretty effectively.
For others, however, it’s better to quickly define their major topics and highlight themes through a quick view. This is how The Mission Maven website is set up, making it easy for visitors to understand and find the information they need. Still others may help customers understand how the health tech software could be used by presenting several different scenarios.
All this to say, your options are virtually limitless when it comes to merging content and design to generate a pleasant customer experience. But here’s the overall takeaway, you want to use this page to give a compelling overview – one that isn’t exhaustive but still inspires more interest, more clicks, and more engagement from your buyer.
4. Create a strategy for internal links
The next phase is to optimize your links on the page so that search engines like Google or Bing will recognize you as an essential reference for the topics you emphasize on your pillar page.
Internal linking can be used several ways. For example, some companies use the pillar page links on this page to drive traffic to their blog, and then they embed links in blog articles that pushes traffic back to the pillar page.
In this way, they create an ongoing circle of interest that keeps customers engaged and informed. Plus, search engines recognize this as a very organized and structured website, leading them to prefer your page over others. Another strategy is to guide website visitors to a content offer such as an ebook. And still others utilize links as supplements, preferring to give customers strong CTAs right away.
Regardless of how you use links on your pillar page, they shouldn’t be haphazard. Links to supporting content can help search engines recognize your pillar page. And organization within your website further optimizes your page to be noticed by potential buyers.
Plus, the links on your pillar page should act as a roadmap, giving clear signals to visitors what they should do next.
5. Optimize supporting content to extends website rankings
In correlation with the last point, any digital health marketing plan needs to include a strategy for improving SEO. What this means is that if your blog content is optimized for search engines, then these pages can increase the ranking for your pillar page – the defining page of your website.
Once you have your pillar page SEO established, you want your blog articles, videos, and infographics to have strong keywords embedded in them so that internal links also increase the ranking of your pillar page.
In other words, if your content pieces aren’t using keywords that drive SEO forward then you could be wasting some valuable brand awareness that can be built through linking back to your pillar page.
Need help building your content strategy? Check out my guide.
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WHO IS WHITNEY?
Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.
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