The internet is saturated with content. Oversaturated some would say.
In this context, trying to write a piece of content to rank highly for SEO is becoming more and more difficult. For many businesses it will be near impossible to get their content to rank on the first SERP.In 2020, search engines now look for authority around a particular subject, meaning you need to show your depth of expertise. This is because search engines want to show information from information sources that they think are reliable. Gone are the days when a strategy of writing a few blog posts targeted to your keyword themes could cut it. Search engines want more.
However, it’s not all negative and don’t let us dash your dreams of being no 1. There is another way; you could become an ‘Information Hub’.
Why be an Information hub?
Let us explain a little more about what we mean by an ‘ Information hub’.
Nowadays, you are much more likely to rank for content that is focused in one targeted niche area rather than spread across a generic theme. For example, a marketing agency writing content about a general marketing theme - for instance, ‘digital marketing’ - would struggle to build up SEO equity in one particular area because their efforts would be too broad.
However, a marketing agency writing about a specific topic - such as SEO strategy - will likely rank higher.
We know the best type of content helps and informs by sharing valuable knowledge. And Google knows this too.
Internet searchers mostly surf the web to find answers to a question or problem, so Google ranks content as ‘good’ through its evaluation of your content as useful in answering its users’ questions.
In this context, high quality content has massive SEO traction. This could be a guide, a video, an interactive experience, or whatever is going to provide the most value to your audience. This should be backed up by a larger piece of content that covers your niche theme completely - a “pillar” of information for your users.
What is a Pillar Page and why is it important?
A pillar page is a main hub of content for an overarching topic. When building up an information hub, it can be useful to think of the pillar page as the trunk. Your other content is like the branches, linked to the trunk through internal links. These branches should cover sub-topics that are related to the main theme.
For instance, a PR firm trying to improve the SEO equity could write a pillar page about public relations in particular, backed up by sub-topics like ‘how to engage with the audience’.
This pillar page should be based on the core topic for your information hub. This strategy not only positions you as an expert on your hub's theme but it can do wonders for your SEO.
Steps to becoming an information hub
Research and content planning
Like any new endeavour, there is a level of research and planning you will have to carry out before building out your information hub. A solid content plan will make sure that your content is all aligned to your overall ‘information hub’ goals.
Make sure you decide a topic or set of topics that align with your target audience and buyer personas. What you don’t want to do is to create a hub that has zero relevance to your audience.
Next, think about the questions your customers and audience are often asking when it comes to your business. This will give you an indication of the challenges you need to solve with your content.
There are some great tools you can use to map the queries your clients will have. One of our favourites is https://alsoasked.com/ which enables you to create a mind map of your themes, showing phrases people type into Google.
Remember to do your keyword research. There is no point creating content for your new hub if no one is searching for it. Find out what terms and questions that fall under the umbrella of your main topic are being searched into Google.
These keywords will feed into your content strategy and calendar when you build up your pillar page and link content to it.
Build out your content plan
Now you have to start thinking about the content you are going to create.
The first piece you should be thinking about is your pillar content piece. This has to be your strongest piece, with enough depth for you to produce 2,000+ words of useful content.
Once you have your pillar piece sorted, turn your attention to supporting content like blog posts, videos, checklists, infographics… These will be linked directly to your pillar content, so make sure they’re relevant.
The best way to organise your content is using a content plan / calendar.
Create your content
It’s time for the creative part!
Once you have mapped everything out, you will want to get creating your pillar content. This can be really time consuming, especially if you are writing it yourself. An option may be to outsource the creation of your content to an agency or freelancer(s) if you don’t have the time or writing isn’t your strong point.
Pillar pages should be organised into subtopics. These should break down the page into parts, separated by headings which Google can use to analyse the page’s content.
For instance, a pillar page about climate change could be organised as following:
- What is climate change?
- How does climate change affect our future?
- Strategies to reduce our global carbon footprint
- Examples of companies making greener choices
- Moving towards a greener future
- We can slow climate change!
If you have existing content, think about what content falls into your subtopic categories and begin compiling a list of links to include when you build your page. Remember to develop new pieces if you find any subtopics you haven’t written about yet.
Ideally you will want to create as much content as possible before you launch your new hub so you don’t get into a situation where you run out of content to post out.
Your pillar page should be much longer than your typical blog post, so ensure that it’s well organised. If it isn’t, your readers might not be able to find what they’re looking for and bounce off the page. We’re not saying that quantity is more important than quality - the content needs to be excellent, so you should give your copywriters the resource for them to do this.
You should aim to have 20-30 internal links. What’s more, each of these content pieces should refer to and link back to the pillar page. Also, think about adding some external sources throughout your page. Think about linking out to case studies, market research and industry leaders.
Building your pillar page
Now it’s time for you to design your page.
Make sure that the page is ungated - this makes it easier for your audience (and Google’s crawler bots) to access. If you would like to get some information from your audience, consider giving them the option to save the entire form in PDF form in exchange for their name and email address.
I’ve got a pillar page, am I an information hub?
Unfortunately not. For your content to give you SEO traction, it needs to be read, have a low bounce-rate and a high click-through rate.
There are several things you could do to establish your ‘information hub.’
- Add your pillar page to your website’s main navigation menu and/or homepage
- Share your pillar page or related content on social media
- Promote your information hub content via emails
- Continue to link to it in new related blog posts
Even after all this work, there’s an extra step. Refreshing your content..
Google’s algorithms prioritise regularly updated content. Keep an eye on the topic about which you are an ‘information hub’ and keep writing new pieces of content and updating your pillar page accordingly.
What’s more, use your analytics data to monitor what’s working well and make the necessary adjustments over time.
Sounds like a lot of work…? Well, it is. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of time and energy that goes into this type of content, consider outsourcing the creation of your content hub to content marketing specialists. They will have a team of copywriters and SEO whizzes to produce the high quality content necessary to establish yourself as an information hub.
If you’d like to see how we can help you become an information hub and an authority in your industry, get in touch.