Blogging: Characteristics of pillar posts

booksglassesimageIn blogging content is found in posts. Certain subject categories found within posts normally contain certain sub sets of subjects. Every blog has subject categories and tags. And key words and phrases are what other bloggers type into search engines to find content rich posts.

What are Pillar Posts?

Pillar posts are not your average blog post. They are usually longer and more content rich. Pillar posts are comprehensive posts that offer great value to readers as the contents are timeless in nature.

A pillar post is blog content, usually an article, which does some very important things:

  • It will bring in a rush of new readers and backlinks (other sites linking to your blog).
  •  It will continue to bring in more readers over time as you and other people refer to it, even though it may be buried in the archives of your blog.
  • Eventually it will bring in traffic from search engines (this is largely because so many other web pages link to it).
  • You can list it in a separate area (like an articles page) with all your other pillars so your best content can easily be accessed and your value clearly demonstrated.
  • It is not time dependent, so in twelve months’ time it will still be relevant and popular.

A good blogging tip from the readability, value and SEO standpoints is to make sure that in the pillar or concept articles that the author includes plenty of links to authoritative and popular external resources. Remember that certain subjects normally contain certain sub sets of subjects. By covering the material comprehensively you give yourself a good pillar post and will rank better in search engines and bring more traffic.

How Do You Create A Pillar?  There is no exact formula for producing an article that will become a pillar, however there are definitely some key characteristics you can work on.

Characteristics of pillar posts

  1. They are longer posts.
  2. Their content is timeless.
  3. Their content is original and unique.
  4. They offer a clear value to the reader.
  5. They outline expertise around a specific topic.
  6. They attract links from other bloggers.

Related posts:
How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog
Blogging: Content is King
Ten Traffic Promotion Tips for Bloggers

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45 thoughts on “Blogging: Characteristics of pillar posts

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  4. hmm I think I might have a few pillar posts from my early days of my blog. I stuggled at the time to get them under 900 words because I thought they would be too long for people. Still, nobody reads them because they are ‘back in the archives’ Here is one of them. But I am not sure what I can do to improve? It is so long already. I get lots of hits from a certain bird forum but no one ever comments. If you have time, Can you critique?

  5. I see there are two pages as an archive posts on your blog. First, the “selected post”. Second, the “popular posts”. Is this what you mean as a pillar post?
    So maybe there is something wrong on my blog. Since I make a list of selected posts, and below that list I include a list of all post (I make it by entering the archive shortcode).
    I’ll try to fix it.
    Thank you for your tips.

  6. Long time no see tt. Thanks for the pillar post idea. I wrote ‘short’ one a while back on how to make chapman (tropical drink) and to this day it has brought in the most traffic from searches (3times a week on ave.). One I did on Acid rain brought in so much traffic over 2days then it dwindled after. I’ll get back on pillar posts soon though.

    Thanks again. PS – Nice avatar, but I prefer your real pic

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  11. Great article! I try to write at least one pillar post every week, but they tend to get lost in the shuffle. Most of my hits are on my listing pages and I try to include links to the articles in my post when they are relevant. Is their another way to make this content more viewable?

  12. Gosh, there is so much good info here that I hardly know where to start. I printed the page out as I want to refer to this and try to really assimilate it. I know nothing about pillar post 9barely know anything about blogging) and you know SO MUCH about this whole blogging thing. And your site is one of THE best I’ve found for information like this. You make it easy to use and understand. Good work!!! Lucky me!

  13. I’d like to thank everyone, who commented on this post. I think that the importance of developing pillar posts is something that most bloggers are completely unaware of. The benefits of doing them are evident and they can be done at any time. I’m taking a critical look at my own blogs now and preparing to develop some myself.

    Best wishes for happy blogging to you all. Y’all come back now y’hear. . :)

  14. Hi timethief, this is actually a great and helpful post. Actually one of the best.

    Thanks for the good work :)

    It’s always great to hear that I published a post that was helpful. Thanks you for saying thanks.

  15. Thank you for another great post.
    I’m currently writing the first “real” pillar post as part of a series, and I really liked reading your definitions as a reference.
    Keep up the good work.

    I’m glad the post was published just when you needed it. Happy blogging.

  16. This makes me think in a different way about my hesitation to write a “pillar” or some kind of “definitive” post on my blog. Basically, I am in weird niche, in a good way, but I have always had a hard time pinning it down. Sure it’s about an urban railyard, but it’s also about art as a liberating tool, local activism, photography, urban reclamation, ecology, green issues, public space, and on and on. I have always had trouble with tagging as it often seems to be somehow inadequate.

    That sounds like the beginning of a mission statement that could become a pillar post Neath. I can see what you mean about the tagging conundrum. Best wishes to you.

  17. I never even thought twice about pillar posts. Always regarded everything I write–in a niche too many people ignore–as tutorial. Is this “pillar post” stuff? I don’t even know.

    Great article though. From all angles it only appears to be sound logic.

    Your blog is unique Jack and as each one you write exposes another con they are all, in essence, tutorials. Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting. :)

  18. Thanks for this info. I’ve been looking for a blog like this.

    I’m glad you found what you needed. You’re most welcome. Happy blogging.

  19. @Root,
    Yo! Get back I just sent you 2 links and now you want more. ;)
    Sheesh … I was hoping that you could be talked into doing a guest post for me.

  20. Thanks! this is very helpful… I am going to evaluate my posts now and try to find out which among them can be considered as my pillar post…:-)

    The optimum would be to create 4 or 5 pillar posts for your blog praning. BTW it’s great to see how quickly you are coming along with your blogging. :)

  21. Hiya, TimeThief!
    While my “pillar post” isn’t directly on my blog, it’s a Squidoo page which I made specifically as a tutorial to give folks out-of-the-box ideas on decorating with thrift store items. While it does drive people to my site, it was really designed to help raise money for the Salvation Army (all clickthru royalty proceeds go there). Anyone interested in checking it out can see it here:

    I probably should consider adding something comparable directly within my blog, though many of my current visitors are hard-core thrifters– and will yawn a bit when I trot out the how-to aspects of my niche. :)

    Thanks for commenting Jenn. I’m smiling at your comment about hard core thrifters because I’ve always been a thrift shopper. :)

  22. Well, I write about politics, and typically in depth at that. While I do post shorter, opinion based bits, a great deal of my posts are “pillar posts” as I take a lot of time to research them out! I’m brevity challenged so these posts come naturally to me. The two posts here earned a lot of attention and hits both on my blog, as well as the e zines that published them.

    Making the Case for War
    The Codependency of the State which was so long, I had to make it two posts.

    These are excellent examples. They are also fascinating so I’ll be reading them for sure — bookmarked. :)

  23. I have no pillar posts that hit all the points that you made, I think its harder to do when you have a personal blog.

    I suppose it because for the most part its not about getting links back on the more personal posts.

    I think the advice is great though :)

    Thanks for reading the posts and commenting. I hope the information will be useful to you later at some point on. :)

  24. I am toying with the idea of creating a new, non-humor blog and this information will definitely be helpful to me. Thanks for sharing!

    A new blog sounds interesting and exciting too. Just think of all the things you have learned that you can apply. Thanks for commenting. :)

  25. I’m glad that you found this post to be helpful. I wish I had known about pillar posts when I began my first blog in 2006. However, it’s never to late to address the need for them and I’m doing that now. Happy blogging to you. :)

  26. I am going to keep this handy in mind! Thanks for the read.

    You’re welcome Tamera. Almost every post you write in your blog qualifies as a pillar post.

  27. I’m a new blogger and had read somewhere about pillar posts, but wasn’t entirely clear what the term meant; now I understand.

    Your blog has helped me several times over the past few weeks as I’ve been learning the ropes; thank you!

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