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Should my pillar page be the Wikipedia page for a topic?


Table of Contents

I’ve seen pillar pages described this way and, I’ll be honest, I don’t love it. Wikipedia pages are designed to be the “kitchen sink” of a topic, with every tiny detail about a specific topic covered, from every conceivable angle. 

Pillar pages, even though they are broad in scope, should be designed to solve a specific problem for a specific audience (or audience groups) in mind. 

For instance, SEO content strategy could be written to anyone, but the most important and relevant audience groups to me are you – the content marketer who needs to create the content strategy and the business owner who is looking for a new way to bring more eyeballs to your website. 

This is what will not only keep your word count under control, it will also keep the substance of what you write about laser-focused. 

So, once you pick your topic, ask yourself these questions to develop your pillar page strategy:

  • Who is searching for this topic?
  • Why are they searching for this right now, at this moment?
  • What questions are they trying to answer?
  • Are there specific goals or challenges in front of them right now?
  • If we know who they are and what they’re looking for, what do we need to cover for them to feel satisfied by the end of it?

Then, your pillar page will pretty much write itself.

Tackling a pillar page is such a massive undertaking; do you have any advice on how to get it done?

I wish there were some fancy hacks I could share here, but creating your pillar page will take work. So, treat it like you would any other big project – break it down into bite-sized pieces. Yes, set a final deadline for the entire draft, but also set interim milestone goals. It’ll be a lot less stressful for you in the long run with that approach. 

I would also recommend using free/freemium tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to help you with the scale of your editing process. Even the best writers will have an error (or five) show up when they’re writing something that’s over 5,000 words long.

Should my pillar page be gated?

Absolutely not. In fact, if you put your pillar guide behind a form (like with a traditional landing page), you don’t have a pillar page. You have an e-book. Your entire guide must be entirely accessible without someone having to fill something out in order to read it. 

Now, you may have noticed that even this guide had a form at the top, so what gives? Pillar pages are organic traffic magnets, but they can also be powerful lead generation tools, as well. 

🔎 Related: 4 pillar page strategy mistakes you can’t afford to make

Think about it – a pillar page like this is massive in scale. The humans you’re creating your guide for are a lot like you, right? So, if something is super valuable, but also crazy long, they may want to read it later. Offering them the ability to download the PDF for their convenience makes a lot of sense. 

Can I link to stuff on my pillar page that’s not on our website?

Heck yes! One of the ways in which Google evaluates whether or not a piece of content is of high quality is what sources you cite to “make your case” or tell whatever story it is that you’re telling. 

So, I strongly encourage you to use data and statistics, when it makes sense. Be careful that the sources you cite, however, are highly reputable and not from the digital stone ages. Choose primary sources, whenever possible. Be mindful of the date of any statistics you’re pulling – e.g., if you’re citing research that is collected on an annual basis, don’t pull stats from 2016. 

What should the title of our pillar page be?

You want a title that accomplishes three things:

  • Communicates how awesomely definitive your guide is
  • Makes it clear who the audience is for your guide
  • Puts your SEO keyword front and center

To check all three of those boxes, I recommend a strong TITLE and SUBTITLE strategy that looks a little something like this:

Ultimate hoodies for men guide

For stylish professional men who also like to be comfortable

Here’s another example:

The last technical recruiting guide you’ll ever need

For talent-hungry companies and career-focused recruiters

And here’s another:

Essential website redesign guide

Everything a business needs to know before calling an agency

Again, make it clear to the humans (and the search engines) what it’s about with that strong title in an H1 tag. Then add context of who it’s for and what it’s about with a focused subtitle. 

Pillar page examples

OK, we’ve talked a lot about the theory of pillar pages but, as I mentioned, they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. So, let’s walk through some examples of real-world pillar pages to take your learning on this topic to the next level.


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