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Do I Write Separate Pillar Posts For Each Category?

by Lottar

Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from Robert van St. Pete, who asks:

I’m new and just starting out, and I’m confused about Pillar Posts.

If I have software, equipment, and training for a certain niche I want to highlight, do I write separate pillar posts for each category?

And should I have several group posts already written and ready to post so I have something to link back and forth to from the jump?

For the uninitiated, communicating an effective content structure is a daunting task.

This is not because content structures are challenging to understand.

Marketers have revamped our vocabulary and coined terms like “Pillar Pages” or “Topic Clusters”.

In reality, a topic cluster is a group of content centered around a specific topic.

A pillar page is a page that acts as a category page for a topic grouping.

Clear as mud?

Ok, let’s think about this from an e-commerce perspective.

I want pages for each product if my site sells widgets, weebots and doohickeys.

This includes the blue widget with a kung-fu grip and the pink weebot with action arms.

But I also want category pages to help direct my site visitors to my products.

The category pages usually contain descriptions and links to a specific product category.

For example, a category page might contain descriptions about the quality widgets, weebots, and doohickeys sold on my site.

But it will also link to a specific subcategory page in this case because we want a page for widgets, a page for doohickeys, and a page for weebots.

So my site’s navigation from an ecommerce perspective would be:

at home > Category Page> Sub-category > Product page


at home > Widget|Weebots|Doohickeys > Weebots > Pink Weebots

This content structure provides lines where SEO pros and content marketers can color in the details.

So let’s take that same philosophy and think about it in terms of content structure, rather than e-commerce terms.

The navigation should look familiar:

Home > Pillar Page > Sub Category Page > Category Page

Notice, even in my example, that the terminology for the eCommerce navigation and content structure navigation share standard page descriptions such as “category page”.

In my experience, it’s best to make sure that everyone involved in a project uses the same name for the same thing – unless you want your category pages to get confused for category pages.

Do you need to write pillar posts for each category?

I hate to be the one to utter this dreaded phrase, but the answer is that it depends.

How well defined are your categories?

Is there an overlap between categories?

Do your categories share keywords?

You get the picture – every website is different, and I suspect that if two knowledgeable SEO pros looked at your content structure, they would most likely disagree on what needs to be changed.

Your content structure should conform to the structure of the content, not the other way around.

In a perfect world, the structure of a website would be created around the content necessary to communicate the purpose and value of the page – no more, no less.

What’s the order again?

But in reality, it is usually more efficient to set the site structure and fit the content to it.

Just be aware that creating the site architecture in this order may result in insufficient content being developed to support a particular topic.

Then it will help if you find pages that match the site architecture to strengthen the content and rank in the search results.

This is how “Frankenstein sites” are born.

It’s easier to imagine that a square peg can fit in a round hole after staring at the peg and the hole for a long time.

No matter how long you stare, a square peg will never fit into a found hole.

But we find content architecture that forces those boxes into holes every day.

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Featured image: Ugne Tei/Shutterstock

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