There's a lot of factors that contribute to your search engine optimization (SEO). All related to how people search online for things they need.
Most small businesses need some level of SEO structure to help them get found by people who need their stuff. Sure there are other ways of driving traffic that don't involve search engines—like social media, email marketing, ad spends, etc—but anyone with an online presence needs at least some degree of SEO structure.
And like most magic, you get out what you put in.
You've probably heard of these basic SEO elements:
Keywords and phrases
Meta titles, meta descriptions, and slugs
Publishing consistent new content
It also gets way more technical. People dedicate whole careers to figuring out how to game Google's latest algorithm update. Others spend $50/click on popular keyword ad spends.
But you don't have time for that.
Fortunately there's one thing that never changes about Googlebot goals.
What Google wants: User-friendly navigation, clean & clear information from reliable sources, and internal movement (meaning lots of crosslinks to other relevant content).
User-centric—now and forever, amen
Engage your empathy and put yourself in the shoes of whoever's visiting your website. Keep in mind the things they don't give a shit about—which is most things.
Focus every effort on what your viewer is looking for: Clear, honest, relevant information connected to their reality through real human stories—told in your authentic, trustworthy, confident brand voice.
Also remember their very short attention span.
Look, I'm someone who spends 1-2 hours each morning staring at a novel. But when it comes to searching things online, I'm willing to spend about 1-2 seconds seeking answers before I move on.
Think about it—if you were looking to learn about something, would you rather:
Sift through 50 blog posts arranged by publish date to find what you need?
Or click through a specific topic intro page with summaries and links to relevant articles?
Some people like browsing, and that's great. But as a good business person, you're devoted to efficiency and maximum value for the people you serve.
Which means it's time to organize your website content into pillar pages.
How to create a Pillar Page for SEO
The extra upfront time investment is well worth the gain. More internal traffic means you'll rank higher for external traffic.
Meaning the more your viewers click around within your website, the better your chances of appearing for new viewers searching your keywords.
It's not instant magic—it's the kind that grows organically if you give it the right structure.
One simple way to boost your internal traffic is by offering a pillar page to introduce a topic, and link several more detailed blog posts in some kind of order that makes sense for what your readers are looking for.
And then those posts link to other relevant posts as well as back to the pillar page, so people spend more time with your resources—which improves your score for Google and ultimately lets you help more people.
What to include for a pillar page:
Table of contents
Summaries & links for 4+ related articles
"Return to" button/link on every blog post
Here's what a pillar page looks like from above:
Don't forget a Pillar Page return button
Part of good website service means you don't leave visitors wandering on their own through the shop. Instead guide them through their visitor experience. Give them options—but limit them strategically.
Get rid of the "Next Post" and all that. Nobody—and I do mean nobody—is clicking through your blog like a book. A business blog isn't a journal; it's researched articles and deep dives into relevant topics.
Much more important for SEO than next-posting someone, is having a clear path back to the pillar page so they can browse other content within the topic You can do that with a manual link or button at the end of each post—but I prefer to build systems.
Real-life pillar page examples
Perhaps you've noticed my own pillar page return buttons above and below this post.
In the website settings I turned off the header/footer for all blog posts...because I want to direct the traffic flow back and forth within my different types of content. Once they're back in the pillar page, the header/footer return, and they can navigate at will through my site.
Here's how it looks for my client who coaches individuals & partners in intimacy and sexual health. Same story—we don't want readers clicking just anywhere until they've learned what they came to learn.
Instead of the header and footer I added a simple "Return to" section with links to her homepage and 4 pillar pages:
Instead of just splashing random blog posts in chronological order—or relying on visitors to know what they're looking for—we've laid out specific paths for them to follow as they learn more about sexuality and intimacy coaching topics.
As of this writing she's published 2 of the 4 pillar pages for her site. Part of her content strategy includes publishing a new pillar page each month—and announcing on her Instagram just like any other new blog post.
Here's some actual footage of how it's going:
Don't you love a good happy-ending story?