Candidate pages have been an effective way to group website content and present it to users and search engines for quite some time.
In this post, I’ll outline what a canonical page is, how it can help your SEO efforts, and share some examples of canonical pages in action.
Let’s start by defining Pillar pages.
What is the home page?
A homepage is a landing destination on your website that focuses on a major topic, resource, product, or service area.
It enables users and search engines to access a lot of relevant content quickly.
The depth of column pages varies according to their purpose.
Some may be a shallow introduction to quick access to other content (a bit like the role of a contents page), while others will be more comprehensive, giving deeper self-contained value, backed up by related content elements.
If you list all the essential topics related to your business, it makes sense to ensure each of them becomes a primary page.
Master pages give people single access to a range of related content in an easy-to-use way.
They also provide search engines with logically structured content that can be crawled and understood quickly and thus rank effectively in search.
You may have heard of cornerstone content, content hubs, content groups, or canonical pages in various forums, and they all effectively represent the nuances of the same approach.
If you imagine a bicycle wheel, in the center, you have the axle.
From the center, you have a lot of speakers.
In the case of pillar content, the hub is the home page (the main topic or topic), and the speakers are related content areas that point to and from the column page.
A single column page may contain many other pages and content types all linked to the column page, either directly or via other subtopics which then link to the parent page/column.
The basic interaction remains the same – centralizing all relevant thematic content from one main landing point (the home page).
I’ll provide some examples shortly to help reinforce this principle so you can visualize the master pages in action.
How Column Pages Can Help Your SEO?
Before moving on to some examples of pillar pages, it’s helpful to understand a little more about how they can help your SEO performance.
There are many benefits to creating canonical pages on your website, and I’ll cover some of them next.
Strengthening of local authority signals
Expertise, Credibility, and Trustworthiness (EAT) supports Google’s guidelines and provides a key factor in assigning an overall quality score to any website.
Simply put, Google uses EAT as a benchmark to determine whether content is considered high-quality — and if it is, it is likely to rank consistently higher.
This is because it would be considered:
- Useful and beneficial to people.
- Created by demonstrable experts in the subject area.
- To be placed in a relevant location with the necessary authority references.
- Show positive user experiences and expected trust signals.
- It provides comprehensive topical coverage that is expected to fully satisfy the user’s research needs.
By grouping your content together into a simple hierarchy, you make it easier for search engines to identify, understand, and rank your content.
Your objective signals are obviously served to help with Google’s broader guidelines such as EAT.
This means that you can highlight areas where you want your business to be closely related to the Internet, and make the order of those topics more consistent and optimized.
By contrast, think of a website in which the bulk of the content is competing against itself.
In the absence of a clear division or hierarchy of topics (or pillars) and every time you add a new blog post or article to your website, the amount of noise for search engines and users increases.
You can quickly see why column pages add value.
Here, you can learn more about EAT and why it’s important.
Faster, simpler and more complete user experience
For many years, Google has been maximizing the impact of a positive user experience for SEO gains.
Core web animations (CWVs) are the latest manifestation of this.
Another example of this in practice is the devaluation of websites and content that create barriers between the user and their intended destination such as interstitial ads or sites with perceived high-value content.
Another example is site speed and mobile-friendliness as ranking factors.
Through the use of column pages, you can bring people to the heart of the topic they care about.
You can provide clear signals of trust by providing comprehensive and clearer content.
You can showcase your experts through their related content and house them in a central resource.
You can improve user engagement signals by making it simpler to access relevant content, encouraging them to move forward in the information search and purchase cycle sooner.
Furthermore, because you focus your resources on specific home destination pages, you can ensure that they are fast to load, easy to interact with, and easy to navigate.
You can also streamline the ongoing iterative changes you make to keep improving them with new datasets.
Here, you can learn more details about improving your SEO through user experience.
Natural, value-based link building
When providing a one-stop-shop for people to solve countless questions, requests, needs, and pain points, in a simple way, you can naturally collect external trust signals including links.
Think of all the recurring social listening opportunities to share your comprehensive master pages with your audience.
With your canonical pages, you can provide content resources that are free, easy to access, share, and promote, perfect for link acquisition, brand building, and PR.
Added SEO benefits for canonical pages
There are many additional SEO benefits to using canonical pages, but these usually include:
- Identify (and fill) content gaps more consistently to appear for larger volumes of search terms.
- Improve the internal structure of your site and relevant link (and value) tags that point to key content pillars.
- Link your brand and experts to dominant business themes Which is likely to boost conversions and traffic from SEO.
- Reduce bounce rates and improve other metrics Such as time on page/site, and other content quality signals.
Examples of different column pages
The core pages contain many different applications, and to finish this article, I thought it would be helpful to share some of them here.
Product column page
This example section from Forest Friendly Association Shows how a single column page can save:
- Trust signals through third party reviews.
- One topic content page and access to the dominant user features.
- Interactive content to support signals of trust and value.
- broader brand signals.
In these examples are excerpts from University of East Anglia (UEA) On Campus Landing Destination, you can see how a single column page provides the user and search engines:
- Quick access to essential content for a simpler user journey.
- Highlights distilled and visual content for faster digestibility.
- Mobile content slides for fact-checking on the go.
- Post objective content to keep the user learning without having to search for information.
- Storage to help the association between the user and the brand.
Not only are canonical pages an effective way to organize your website content, they can also have huge benefits for your SEO.
By leveraging canonical pages, you can create a faster, more streamlined, and overall more user-friendly experience on your website—making it easier for users and search engines to interact with.
If you want to boost your SEO efforts today, use canonical pages!
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