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January 31, 2023 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
The past decade has shown digital marketers that content is an extremely valuable strategy. While that’s all well and good, if you’re new to the field, knowing what type of content counts can be a steep learning curve. We see this confusion a lot, especially with content formats like pillar pages vs landing pages. If you’re not quite sure where the difference lies, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
Pillar pages and landing pages seem interchangeable, as they both support the customer by offering information. A pillar page offers an overview of an entire topic. So pillars would cover the major points and questions related to that topic, while also branching out through links to other similar posts.
A great example of a pillar page is Wine Folly’s Wine 101. On this page, they dive into the basics of wine to help users learn about each area of the overarching topic. The element that makes this page so great is the opportunity for the user to navigate to more in-depth topics.
Wine Folly includes a number of additional links that give users a clear pathway to explore more posts related to the pillar. In short, pillar pages are all about providing a launchpad for knowledge. They explore a topic and act as an entry point for customers to learn more about an area of interest. Landing pages, though, are more geared toward initiating sales.
Read more about it: What Are Pillar Posts in Content Marketing?
A landing page acts as the first point of contact between a customer and your website. Often, they’ll focus on one specific product or service and give customers information about them. Where a pillar page is about giving the customer information, a landing page is about selling an experience. Most often, landing pages have persuasive copywriting, visual elements, and a natural flow to a call to action (CTA).
Take a look at the lander from Great Jones, a Dutch Oven supplier. As you can see in the image above, their landing pages get right to the point. Each landing page has an H1, a brief subtitle, and a CTA that links to the product. There’s more information under the fold, but this doesn’t even scratch the surface compared to a pillar page.
Read more about it: FAQ: What Is a Dedicated Landing Page?
Ultimately, landing pages are about sales conversions while pillars are about providing as much valuable information to the reader as possible. If you’re creating content, then understanding the nuances between a pillar page vs a landing page is critical. Here’s how they differ:
At their core, pillar pages are all about providing topical authority. They’re to show that you know what you’re talking about and to share that information with your audience. They are the pillar article that then leads into all other smaller pages.
Due to the amount of information they give on a topic, pillar pages are often long. Now, we’re not talking 10,000 words, but expect to push into the thousands. In fact, longer pages tend to rank better on Google than shorter posts—but more on that later. With landing pages, it’s all about leads and conversion. You’re not showing off your knowledge, you’re getting right to the point. Your word count will reflect this, with pages often coming in at under 500 words.
A pillar page focuses on the major long-tails for a topic. Starting at the top, you’ll define your main topic, then move into increasingly specific headings. Structure this page like a blog post, moving through a H1, H2s, and H3s if you need them. Each of these H2 subtopics should also have its own page, which you’ll link to as you write.
A landing page usually only has one or two brief sections. You’ll have your main heading and subheading, and a call to action. In longer landing pages, you might have a section of informational text, but this is only if your product or service needs explaining. As we saw with Great Jones, we understand what they’re selling right away from the photos and titles they use without the need for additional text to explain the products in detail.
Image via HubSpot
The buyer’s journey categorizes people into different stages based on their awareness of your brand. And one of the biggest differences between landing pages and pillar pages is how it serves the consumer’s position in the marketing funnel. A pillar page is information heavy, meaning it’s typically aimed at customers that are right at the initial stage of their journey. They are a form of top-of-the-funnel marketing that help generate awareness of your brand and what you offer.
A landing page is a little more flexible. Your marketing team can create them for pretty much any area of the marketing funnel. For example, you could have one that sends an eBook and a certain topic to a client. This would count as TOFU, aimed at people in the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey.
Alternatively, you could focus on a landing page that then links people to a product page. This would work great for customers that are already familiar with your products and are now ready to take the plunge. Their flexibility is one of their strongest benefits, helping you move customers down the funnel toward that final point of conversion, no matter where they currently are.
When designing a website, pillar pages are among the most important pages that you create. These are the core topics that define your business and what you offer. If you provide marketing solutions, your pillar pages could be something like this:
These are the core offerings of your business, which then become your central pillars. We all know the importance of SEO. But If you’re wondering what you should blog about, your pillars can point you in the right direction. Keyword research inspires new content ideas, and all of these long-tail pages then point back to the pillar. Over time, this helps push your pillar pages up the SERPs. Whenever a customer types in that pillar keyword to Google, you want to be the one they find.
Landing pages don’t have the same longevity as pillar pages. They’re constructed to generate more leads, normally as a compliment to your marketing campaigns. When someone sees your ad, you want them to click on it, find your landing page, then take a specific action. Most of the time, that action is about giving their email address so you can then start email marketing.
With your landing pages, A/B testing is crucial to find out whether they’re getting the desired response from your audience. Due to its specific nature, you can have many different landing pages for different aspects of your business. You could have one that offers SEO services or one that offers a free tool to your audience. No matter what the landing page is advertising, it’s going to be searching for that moment of conversion.
Related reading: How To Create Topic Clusters To Boost SEO
Using pillar pages is a great way to structure your website, as it naturally lends itself to a strong SERP presence. Not only are you delving into a topic, but the ordered and structured style that they lead to helps you cover breadth as well as depth. There are a few steps toward creating a pillar page:
When you’re creating cluster posts around your pillar topics, the process is pretty simple. You want to essentially one-up your competitors and offer your audience more information and value than anyone else online. Once you have these pillar and cluster strands, include internal links to connect each piece. It doesn’t have to be a comprehensive mention, either. Include a mix of anchor text for the keyword itself and direct CTAs to read more on related topics.
Read more about it: Creating Topic Clusters and Pillar Pages
Landing pages help you drive customers toward conversions. And considering landing pages go hand-in-hand with every product, service, and campaign you launch, they’re a necessary aspect of any content marketing strategy. Landing pages have several elements that separate them from other types of posts:
The title of a landing page needs to do two things: grab peoples’ attention and include your central keyword. There’s only one of these on the page, so you need to make it count. From an SEO perspective, the keyword is there to ensure that Google indexes the page under the right topic. The second requirement, that it’s a catchy or impactful title, is just so that people read it and decide to continue on. Here are some general tips when writing your page title:
Humans love visual content. If your landing page is just words, no matter how good those words are, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get many conversions. The graphics and images that you include on a landing page shouldn’t be random. Include visuals that relate to the topic or keyword and that add value to the page.
If the lander focuses on a specific product or service, try to communicate that in just images. Could you work out what the page was promoting if you only had the visual clues? If so, you’re definitely on the right track. But when in doubt, keep these best practices in mind:
Related reading: How To Use Topic Clusters for Amazing SEO
The target of many landing pages is to collect certain information from your audience. Most of the time, that’s going to be their name and email. Of course, to get that information, you need to include a form where people can provide their details.
On a landing page, you’re only going to be writing a handful of sentences. Every word counts here, so don’t waste time beating around the bush. Your copy should be short, to the point, and impactful. Often, the only copy you’ll have apart from your title is a small subheading. Capture attention with this combo and showcase your brand as the solution.
Image via HubSpot
A CTA is a real kicker when it comes to conversion. This is the final push that makes the customer commit to your brand. Your CTA should always include an imperative command, like:
CTAs are vital for creating a sense of necessity. If you reach the end of a page without a CTA, you may just carry on without batting an eye. So, the CTA tells your audience to stop what they’re doing and complete an action—now. Especially if the customer has enjoyed the content on the page up to the end, a well-placed and compelling CTA can encourage them to take further action on the page.
Get started on your landing page: 50 Landing Page Templates for All Websites
In short, both. Whether you’re just focusing on sales or want to boost organic traffic, both pages are equally as important for a content marketing strategy. If you’re looking for a content marketing solution for your brand, reach out to the team at CopyPress. We have the expertise your brand needs to develop a strategy that boosts performance and gets the results you want.