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Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect

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Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect

Wondering if SEO is worth your time and money?

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly how your SEO initiatives enhanced your business?

You can uncover the best ways to invest in the future by gaining a solid understanding of how your search investments will impact performance and your bottom line.

On May 25, I moderated a webinar led by Wayne Cichanski, VP of Search & Site Experience at iQuanti.

He demonstrated the business benefits that can be uncovered from certain SEO activities, giving you the power to see your investment’s true worth.

Here is a summary of the webinar.

To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

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Does Investing In SEO Work?

Absolutely.

However, when it comes to deciding where to invest, businesses usually prefer paid search over SEO.

Why is it lopsided?

Most people still have misconceptions about each path.

Let’s dispel those misconceptions, now.

Demystifying Expectations Of SEO Vs. Paid Search

Myth #1: You Should Only Invest In Either Paid Or Organic Search.

False.

Here is the truth:

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  • You should be doing both; the goal is to occupy the overall digital shelf space.
  • The sum of paid and organic combined is more significant than any single channel by itself.

Myth #2: Paid Search Gives A Lower Overall CPA.

False.

Here is the truth:

  • If your organic search is performing well, CPA can reach $25 – $65, instead of the standard CPA of $300 – $400.

[Discover More False SEO Myths] Instantly access the webinar →

Now that you know how important it is to invest in organic search in addition to paid search, let’s tackle some of your worries.

SEO Investment Worries: Is It Possible To Forecast Success?

You may be thinking, “How will I know that SEO will work? Is it possible to predict the tangible success of organic search?”

The answer is yes – you can forecast your SEO results.

One way that you can calculate revenue impact is by using data from actual search analytics.

From there, you’ll be able to determine what your annual traffic will be, based on keyword volume.

Then, you can calculate your known potential leads and sales percentages to see your predicted ROI.

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iQuanti, 2022Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect

[Discover KPIs That Prove SEO Investments Are Working] Instantly access the webinar →

Now that you’ve come to understand how SEO investments can drive more traffic to your website, let’s talk about how content fits into the SEO investment picture.

Content & SEO: Understanding The ROI Breakdown Of Investing

Content is king, but what kind of content do you need to write?

How does it fit into SEO?

Long story short, content is what shows up in search engines.

  • What should you write?
  • When should you write it?
  • What is the expectation and role of each content type?

[Find Out How Much Content You Should Produce] Instantly access the webinar →

When you publish a piece of content, be sure it’s published:

  • For the user to read.
  • To match a step in the user’s journey.

Make sure the content includes primary and secondary CTAs that allow somebody to move up or down the funnel as they need to.

Still confused? Take a cue from the old saying: fish where the fish are.

Considerations For Calculating The Expected ROI Of Content

Not all content is equal, neither is the ROI that comes with it.

There are several factors to consider when setting expected ROI:

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  • Role of content.
  • Effort to produce.
  • Cost to rank.
  • Traffic.
  • Conversion.

Factor 1: Role Of Your Content

Each piece of content has a different function, and each function affects ROI differently.

The role of content can be considered from a variety of perspectives:

  • Acquisition.
  • Supporting.
  • Related.
  • Brand.
  • Thought leadership.
  • Off-Page.

[Find Out How Each Type Affects ROI] Instantly access the webinar →

Factor 2: The Effort To Produce

Each type of content has different steps, which may require more or less work.

Here’s what Cichanski’s team looks at when producing quality content:

Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can ExpectiQuanti, May 2022Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect

Factor 3: The Cost To Rank Content

Producing content that doesn’t rank is like putting a giant billboard in the middle of an island and complaining that nobody saw it.

If you don’t have enough authoritative and trust signals, Google will not rank your website highly.

Your go-to-market strategy needs to include the costs to rank your content and the cost to increase your authority.

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[Learn About The Other Two Factors] Instantly access the webinar →

Authority & SEO: Why & How To Invest

Intertwined in each of the above factors is the need to invest in authority.

Your site’s authority helps Google understand what position to rank your content on search engine results pages (SERPs).

There’s positive authority and there’s negative authority.

Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can ExpectiQuanti, May 2022Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect

You want to reduce the negative signals and elevate the positive signals.

Technical SEO: Where To Invest

In addition to content, Google looks for technical factors that prove a site’s worth.

Investing in these major technical factors that affect your rank is essential:

  • Page speed.
  • Informational.
  • Transactional.
  • Utilitarian.
  • Hygienic issues.

[What Do These Factors Mean?] Instantly access the webinar →

KPIs to take into account:

  • Increased page performance.
  • Reduction in errors.
  • Quicker page speeds.

As you make technical improvements, all of your pages can increase in rank – thus increasing ROI.

[Slides] Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect

Here’s the presentation:

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Demystifying SEO Investments: Expert Advice On What CMOs Can Expect from Search Engine Journal

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

Local SEO: Top 6 Ways To Get Higher Quality Reviews

Concerned about the online reputation of your local business? Learn how to stay competitive and win customers before they even walk into your store on June 8, 2 p.m. ET.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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SEO

8 Pillar Page Examples to Get Inspired By

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8 Pillar Page Examples to Get Inspired By

Pillar pages are high-level introductions to a topic. They then link to other pages, which are usually more detailed guides about parts of the main topic.

Altogether, they form a content hub.

Example of a content hub

But not all pillar pages look the same. 

In this guide, we’ll look at eight examples of pillar pages to get your creative juices flowing.

Excerpt of beginner's guide to SEO by Ahrefs

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 1,200
Backlinks: 6,900
Referring domains: 899

Overview of Ahrefs' beginner's guide to SEO in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This is our very own pillar page, covering the broad topic of search engine optimization (SEO)

Why I like it

Besides the fact that I’m biased, I like the custom design we created for this page, which makes it different from the articles on our blog. 

Even though the design is custom, our pillar page is still a pretty classic “hub and spoke” style pillar page. We’ve broken the topic down neatly into six different chapters and internally linked to guides we’ve created about them. There are also custom animations when you hover over each chapter:

Examples of chapters in the SEO guide

We’ve also added a glossary section that comes with a custom illustration of the SERPs. We have explanations of what each element means, with internal links to more detailed content:

Custom illustration of the SERP

Finally, it links to another “pillar page”: our SEO glossary

Takeaway

Consider creating a custom design for your pillar page so that it stands out. 

Excerpt of Doctor Diet's ketogenic diet guide

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 92,200
Backlinks: 21,600
Referring domains: 1,700

Overview of Diet Doctor's ketogenic diet guide in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Diet Doctor is a health company focusing on low-carb diets. Its pillar page is a comprehensive guide on the keto diet. 

Why I like it

On the surface, it doesn’t exactly look like a pillar page; it looks like every other post on the Diet Doctor site. But that’s perfectly fine. It’s simply a different approach—you don’t have to call out the fact that it’s a pillar page. 

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Diet Doctor’s guide is split into 10 different sections with links to its own resources. The links bring you to different types of content (not just blog posts but videos too).

Video course about keto diet for beginners

Unlike the classic pillar page, Diet Doctor’s guide goes into enough detail for anyone who is casually researching the keto diet. But it also links to further resources for anyone who’s interested in doing additional research.

Takeaway

Pillar pages need not always just be text and links. Make it multimedia: You can add videos and images and even link to your own multimedia resources (e.g., a video course).

Excerpt of Wine Folly's beginner's guide to wine

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 5,600
Backlinks: 2,800
Referring domains: 247

Overview of Wine Folly's beginner's guide to wine in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Wine Folly is a content site devoted to wine knowledge and appreciation. Its pillar page, as expected, is about wine. 

Why I like it

Wine Folly’s pillar page is a classic example of a “hub and spoke” style pillar page—split into multiple sections, with some supporting text, and then internal links to other resources that support each subsection. 

Supporting text and links to other resources

This page doesn’t just serve as a pillar page for ranking purposes, though. Given that it ranks well and receives quite a significant amount of search traffic, the page also has a call to action (CTA) to Wine Folly’s book:

Short description of book; below that, CTA encouraging site visitor to purchase it

Takeaway

While most websites design pillar pages for ranking, you can also use them for other purposes: capture email addresses, sell a book, pitch your product, etc. 

Excerpt of A-Z directory of yoga poses

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 11,100
Backlinks: 3,400
Referring domains: 457

Overview of Yoga Journal's A-Z directory of yoga poses in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Yoga Journal is an online and offline magazine. Its pillar page is an A-Z directory of yoga poses.

Why I like it

Yoga Journal’s pillar page is straightforward and simple. List down all possible yoga poses (in both their English and Sanskrit names) in a table form and link to them. 

List of yoga poses in table form

Since it’s listed in alphabetical order, it’s useful for anyone who knows the name of a particular pose and is interested in learning more. 

What I also like is that Yoga Journal has added an extra column on the type of pose each yoga pose belongs to. If we click on any of the pose types, we’re directed to a category page where you can find similar kinds of poses: 

Examples of standing yoga poses (in grid format)

Takeaway

The A-Z format can be a good format for your pillar page if the broad topic you’re targeting fits the style (e.g., dance moves, freestyle football tricks, etc.).

Excerpt of Atlassian's guide to agile development

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 115,200
Backlinks: 3,200
Referring domains: 860

Overview of Atlassian's guide to agile development in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Atlassian is a software company. You’ve probably heard of its products: Jira, Confluence, Trello, etc. Its pillar page is on agile development.

Why I like it

Atlassian’s pillar page is split into different topics related to agile development. It then has internal links to each topic—both as a sticky table of contents and card-style widgets after the introduction: 

Sticky table of contents
Card-style widgets

I also like the “Up next” feature at the bottom of the pillar page, which makes it seem like an online book rather than a page. 

Example of "Up next" feature

Takeaway

Consider adding a table of contents to your pillar page. 

Excerpt of Muscle and Strength's workout routines database

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 114,400
Backlinks: 2,900
Referring domains: 592

Overview of Muscle and Strength's workout routines database in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Muscle and Strength’s pillar page is a massive database linking to various categories of workouts. 

Why I like it

Calling it a pillar page seems to be an understatement. Muscle and Strength’s free workouts page appears to be more like a website. 

When you open the page, you’ll see that it’s neatly split into multiple categories, such as “workouts for men,” “workouts for women,” “biceps,” “abs,” etc. 

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Workout categories (in grid format)

Clicking through to any of them leads us to a category page containing all sorts of workouts:

Types of workouts for men (in grid format)

Compared to the other pillar pages on this list, where they’re linking to other subpages, Muscle and Strength’s pillar page links to other category pages, which then link to their subpages, i.e., its massive archive of free workouts.

Takeaway

Content databases, such as the one above, are a huge undertaking for a pillar page but can be worth it if the broad topic you’re targeting fits a format like this. Ideally, the topic should be about something where the content for it is ever-growing (e.g., workout plans, recipes, email templates, etc.).

Excerpt of Tofugu's guide to learning Japanese

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 39,100
Backlinks: 1,100
Referring domains: 308

Overview of Tofugu's guide to learning Japanese in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Tofugu is a site about learning Japanese. And its pillar page is about, well, learning Japanese.

Why I like it

This is an incredible (and yes, ridiculously good) guide to learning Japanese from scratch. It covers every stage you’ll go through as a complete beginner—from knowing no Japanese to having intermediate proficiency in the language. 

Unlike other pillar pages where information is usually scarce and simply links out to further resources, this page holds nothing back. Under each section, there is great detail about what that section is, why it’s important, how it works, and even an estimated time of how long that stage takes to complete. 

Another interesting aspect is how Tofugu has structured its internal links as active CTAs. Rather than “Learn more” or “Read more,” it’s all about encouraging users to do a task and completing that stage. 

CTA encouraging user to head to the next task of learning to read hiragana

Takeaway

Two takeaways here:

  • Pillar pages can be ridiculously comprehensive. It depends on the topic you’re targeting and how competitive it is.
  • CTAs can be more exciting than merely just “Read more.”
Excerpt of Zapier's guide to working remotely

Key stats

Estimated organic traffic: 890
Backlinks: 4,100
Referring domains: 1,100

Overview of Zapier's guide to working remotely in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Zapier allows users to connect multiple software products together via “zaps.” It’s a 100% remote company, and its pillar page is about remote work. 

Why I like it

Zapier’s pillar page is basically like Wine Folly’s pillar page. Break a topic into subsections, add a couple of links of text, and then add internal links to further resources. 

In the examples above, we’ve seen all sorts of execution for pillar pages. There are those with custom designs and others that are crazily comprehensive.

But sometimes, all a pillar page needs is a simple design with links. 

Takeaway

If you already have a bunch of existing content on your website, you can create a simple pillar page like this to organize your content for your readers. 

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Keep learning

Inspired by these examples and want to create your own pillar page? Learn how to successfully do so with these two guides:

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.  



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