In this blog, Rebecca Harris, Commercial Director at The B2B Marketing Lab, breaks down the cost of a pillar page - including what it is, why it's important and how you can create one.
Before we delve into how much a pillar page costs, what is a pillar page?
A pillar page broadly covers all aspects of a topic that you want to educate your readers on, on one web page. Think of it as an in-depth eBook laid out as a web page. It flows logically – from introduction to conclusion – and each ‘aspect’ is a segment that talks about part of the topic.
Still following? Good. These segments are search engine optimised and then link to in-depth articles so readers can get more information. They are called cluster content.
You should consider whether the topic you want to talk about is broad enough for you to produce 10-20 pieces of cluster content. Also, is your audience asking enough questions on the topic to warrant an entire pillar page? If the answer is no to either of these questions, your pillar page is unlikely to be successful.
That’s a quick summary, but why is this important?
It’s because search engines are changing... and it’s our fault.
Because of things like voice search, we are now entering longer, more conversational search queries: “where can I buy X”, “how do I get to X”, “what’s the best place for X”.
According to research by Ahrefs, in which 1.9 billion keywords were analysed, 29.13% of the keywords with 10,000+ monthly searches were made up of three or more words.
This change in search behaviour prompted search engines to change their algorithms; instead of looking solely at individual keywords, they now look at entire queries, search intent and the topic they relate to. As a result, search engines now favour topic-based content (i.e. content that answers a question or issue in depth).
This means we need to change the way we create content. Enter, topic cluster content and the pillar page!
It’s time to change the way you approach content
Currently, keyword research is front and centre for most content strategies. Through it, businesses can identify the most relevant terms and weave them into their content. Using a combination of short and long-tail terms, they can build their site’s authority and increase their visibility online.
Now, however, you need to be thinking about the main topics you want your business to be known for. Your site and content should be organised based on your main topics (or service offerings) and link to other relevant assets. Have a look at the image below.
This represents a more logical way of organising your content. Instead of having loads of disparate, unrelated content on your blog – for example – you instead separate your blog by topics. Each topic cluster then has content that covers a specific topic.
So, how much does it cost?
Pillar pages are typically part of a wider Inbound strategy. For example, we are unlikely to create a standalone pillar page for a client as a one-off. We want our clients to be successful, and in order for a pillar page to be successful, we recommend surrounding it with lots of other content assets and activity. This usually results in a complete topic cluster.
We usually create one pillar page per quarter, costing £1,995.
This cost is calculated based on the following variables:
Before we do anything, we run a content strategy workshop to determine what the pillar page should be and why. This is crucial as the pillar page will tie into the rest of the client’s marketing activity.
We ask the client to think about several things, including: what topics do they want to be found for? Do they know what content will be linked to it? Do they know what keywords they want to rank for? What results do they want to see?
To an extent, this is the most important step. If a strategy is not established, then it doesn’t matter how long or how pretty the pillar page is: there will be no real return on investment.
2. Writing the content
The content needs to be in line with the keywords the client wants to target and follow SEO best practice. This means the keyword should be in the H1, H2, body copy, meta title and meta description.
As well as writing the pillar page, our content team will most likely produce any cluster content that’s required. This can consume a large portion of the client’s budget – but content is the most important part of your pillar page.
In terms of length, each pillar page has at least 2000-2500 words and links to 10-15 blog posts. This can be existing content on the site that is refreshed and optimised, or fresh blog content.
3. Pillar page template and design
The pillar page template will be different to others used on the client’s site. It will have several unique features, such as a floating table of contents, utilise anchors so readers can skip to certain segments of the page, have additional modules for other text and whatever else the client needs.
Also, as it’s longer than other pages on the client’s site, navigation must be considered.
4. Launch and promotion
This stage is often overlooked. After spending time and money on creating the pillar page and cluster content, it needs to be promoted! To maximise return, we align the launch of the pillar page and its blog content with the client’s free and paid social activity.
5. Measurement and results
After we have strategised, written, designed, launched and promoted the new topic cluster, we want to shout about its ROI. We would look at the following metrics:
- Page authority
This measures the strength of an individual page in relation to search engine rankings. It ranges from 0-100. Higher scores correspond to a greater ability to rank. The best way to improve page authority is to increase the number of links to and from the page. Links from high-authority pages will work best.
- External links
As mentioned above, links to the page from other high-authority pages will increase the authority of the pillar page and benefit the entire topic cluster. If people are linking to a pillar page, it’s a sign that it’s a valuable and important source of information.
- Social shares
If people are sharing the pillar page and/or its cluster content, that will ensure further social media amplification but also highlight that the content resonates with a target audience.
- Improvement in monthly search/page volume
With the deployment of a pillar page and topic cluster – both of which are optimised for keyword terms relevant to what the client does – we would expect to see an increase in organic traffic to the client’s website.
- Improvement in the target keyword rankings
As pillar pages and topic clusters target specific keyword terms and address questions in depth, we would expect that – over time – the client’s rankings for the chosen terms would increase. As all of the assets are linked together, a ranking improvement for one would benefit the entire cluster.
- Improvement in site conversions
Pillar pages are designed to broadly cover a topic while cluster content provides greater detail. By reading a pillar page (and its linked assets) website visitors should leave with a better understanding of the topic and what solutions they need. As calls-to-action (CTAs) are embedded throughout the pillar page and its cluster content, linking to eBooks, case studies and other useful assets, there are more opportunities to convert website visitors.
Pillar pages are a core part of your B2B content marketing strategy. To find out more about building, optimising and reporting on your B2B content marketing strategy, read our guide here.
If you want to find out more about pillar pages and topic clusters, you can download our free eBook by clicking the button below!