An experienced webmaster knows that an effective internal linking strategy is integral for successful website navigation. And a vital part of this process includes creating well-crafted pillar pages.
Pillar pages are the cornerstone of any comprehensive website structure. You can generate more page views and increase visitor engagement with the proper internal linking strategy and pillar pages.
This article will look at the importance of pillar pages and internal linking. We’ll also share some of the best practices that will help you boost your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If you want to make your mark online, then keep on reading!
What is a Pillar Page?
A pillar page is a form of web content that serves as an authoritative guide for topics related to a given subject. It functions as the “pillar” in internal linking, with other content linking back and forth from the page.
In SEO terms, this helps with link building, improving user experience, and indexing more of your site’s pages on search engine results pages (SERP). The information contained within a pillar page can be broken down into several categories.
Each of them provides further detail and context about the topic at hand. This creates multiple entry points and makes it easier for users to locate relevant content faster.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal linking refers to the process of linking from a pillar page on your site to another subtopic page. This can be either in the same domain or a different one.
Internal links work with pillar pages to help create a hierarchical structure for your content. And this makes it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. They can also provide direct connections between related pages, which helps boost your search engine ranking.
As we mentioned earlier, pillar pages contain authoritative content about those topics and serve as central hubs for each subject. They can be created around themes such as services, products, locations, and so on. And by internally linking other relevant content to these pillar pages, you’ll be able to make sure Google understands its relevance and authority. And this results in a higher rank in SERP.
Internal Linking also helps you to:
- Exhibit your expertise on a particular topic.
- Improve the site’s overall SEO by providing a central point for all your other content.
- Improve your website structure.
Why You Need an Internal Linking Strategy
An effective internal linking strategy is vital to delivering an optimal online experience that resonates with human users and search engine bots. There are plenty of benefits to having an internal linking strategy, whether it be for your blog or your entire company’s website.
Here’s a look at some of them:
- Increased website visibility: Internal links help create a web of content easily crawled by search engines. And this provides more opportunities for higher rankings and improved website visibility.
- Improved SEO performance: By creating internal links between relevant pages, you’re helping to build an effective SEO structure to enhance your overall SERPs ranking.
- Enhanced user experience: With an internal linking strategy, users can quickly find the information they need from within your website or blog. This helps provide a smoother navigation process and increases time spent on the page – both key components for improved engagement rates.
- Faster loading times: Well-structured internal links can also aid with shorter loading times. Visitors will be sent directly to the desired page rather than through several menu layers.
- Drives Traffic to New Pages: By strategically adding links to new or underutilized pages, you can direct readers toward them and generate increased traffic.
How to Build An Effective Internal Linking Strategy and Pillar Pages
Identify Your Site’s Pillar Pages
It all starts with your pillar page. Start by making a list of pillar pages – main pages that link to related, more specific pages. It should focus on broad keywords with high search volumes rather than specific long-tail ones.
To help choose the best keywords, it helps to use a keyword research tool like the Google keyword planner or INK Content Planner Pro.
Your pillar page also needs to:
- Be more in-depth
- Have eye-catching visuals
- Be more engaging
- Provide interesting data references
- Contain examples and case study references
Craft an outline of subtopics
Once you have identified your topic pillars, it is time to develop more specific topic clusters for each. Both pillar pages and topic clusters will help you build your site architecture.
Think of your pillar as the main topic and clusters as supporting, more specific topics. For instance, if you have a pillar page about Climate Change, your clusters can be:
- Effects of Climate Change
- Ways to Mitigate Climate Change
- A Close Look at What Causes Climate Change
Note that you can create even more clusters for your clusters. But these pages must link back to the main pillar page to demonstrate topical relevance and page authority.
Choose the Right Anchor Text
An anchor text is a clickable piece of text in a hyperlink. It provides the user with information about which page it links to.
You are in complete control of the anchor text you want to use on your site. Use strategic words and phrases that indicate their target page topics. A good anchor text helps users and search engines know what a page is about before they click on it.
An SEO-friendly anchor text is:
- Brief: Keep anchor text brief so that users and search engines know the page’s topic. It’s best to keep it to five words or fewer.
- Relevant: Avoid clickbait or vague anchor text like “click here” or “this weird life hack will help you get instant cash.” This does not do the job of clearly telling users and Google what the link is about.
- Optimized: You can also use keywords to optimize your anchor text. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. As long as the anchor text is relevant to the linked page, it is unlikely that you will be penalized for exact-match anchor text.
Your authority pages often generate backlinks (such as your homepage!). Take advantage of these pages to spread the authority to less popular pages. If possible, keep them in the navigation. You can either use headers or footers for this.
Support Your New Pages
Since you already have an idea of your authority pages, now is the time to use them to support your new pages. It’s particularly important to build a strong internal link structure if you haven’t achieved that many authoritative backlinks yet.
Start by choosing new content or a page you want to improve. Then you can identify opportunities for relevant interlinking. You can search your site for similar pages that appear to have the target keyword on your site after choosing your piece of content.
Check the Link Depth and Overall Site Structure
If a visitor has to click more than three links to access an essential page on your website, that’s your cue to make changes. You can start by adjusting your internal linking structure, making this page much more accessible.
An excessive link depth could cause Google to consider a webpage irrelevant and avoid crawling it too often. Generally, the homepage is your website’s most authoritative page, so keeping important pages close to it is effective.
A well-planned internal linking strategy and pillar pages are incredibly important for any website.
Not only do these tools give visitors an easier way to navigate content, but they also make websites appear more trustworthy to search engines. And this ultimately results in better SEO performance and increased visibility!
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