What are topic clusters

Topic Clusters: What are they for SEO?

SEO has changed a lot. Search engines are always changing their algorithm and companies, websites, and content creators are always changing their strategies and approach to continue growing organic search rankings and traffic. Search engines are now favouring topic based content, meaning SEO’s are implementing “topic clusters” as a more effective way of linking related content.

Many already create content to help their site with SEO. With a solid level of keyword research, blog pages, and other forms of content, can create valuable assets for a site. However, content alone is not enough, and now more than ever, your content needs a strategy to truly impact your keyword rankings.

In this article, we are going to take a look at how content clusters allow you to rank higher in search engine result pages for specific keywords, and how content clusters can give your page topical authority. If this all sounds like jargon, have no fear! Here at Ignite SEO, we want to teach you all the details about content, keywords, rankings, and topic clusters! By the end of the article, we hope that you will be an expert on the world of clusters.

What are Topic Clusters?

A topic cluster is an SEO technique involving a single page (pillar) containing in-depth information about a certain topic, while internally linking to supporting pages (spokes) related to the topic.

You can write an article that is really good and targets a good keyword that you know has a lot of organic traffic for your industry, but one article is not going to create as much of an impact as cluster pages. The basic idea is that you have a series of pages that are interconnected and cover all angles of a specific topic.

For example, if you were to create content about health and fitness, and you wanted to target a specific keyword such as ‘weight training’, you would need to find related keywords that can be linked to within the article, and these articles will also like back to pages within the cluster.

Topic clusters, when done properly, create a site that can be easily traversed by both users and Google’s algorithm.

SEO Expert Adam Collins

 

The end result is that the cluster content should cover every aspect of that topic. This is why pages like Wikipedia are so successful, they have deeply interrelated clusters that make them a topical authority for most search results.

Pillar pages and topic clusters

Pillar pages & topic clusters are a SEO strategy that is designed to help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The idea is that by creating pillar pages and topic clusters, you can target multiple keywords with one piece of content. This, in turn, can help you rank higher for those keywords.

How to build a Topic Cluster Model

So how can you build a topical cluster?

Keyword Research

To build a successful topic cluster model, you really need to do your research. You need to find keywords that relate to the primary keyword you are hoping to rank for, the related keywords will form the cluster around the topical keyword. It’s extremely hard to conduct keyword research without the right tools, check out our guide on the Best Keyword Research Tools to find the right tool for your requirements & budgets.

For example, if we were to use ‘weight training’ as the word you were looking to rank for, then related keywords could be ‘how to lift weights’, ‘how to gain muscle mass’, ‘correct diet for weight training’, etc. these topics all relate back to the topical keyword and form a topical cluster of related content. Each article would have internal links to other parts of the cluster.

The idea is that you want to have your user on the site as long as possible because your content is answering all their questions instead of them returning to the search engine. This shows Google that you are a good source of information, which means they will rank you higher for search results regarding those keywords.

Hence, keyword research is the backbone of creating a good topic cluster. Once you have the keywords, you need to create a mind map of how those articles are going to link together. Check out a beginners guide to keyword research, for a beginners guide to keyword research.

Internal Links

Think about where you want to be leading your users with these links, and what the end goal of this content is. To stick with the weight training idea, if your main goal is to rank for the keyword ‘weight training’, then maybe this keyword takes the form of a landing page for your weight training classes. Your cluster content could be informational blogs about weight training topics that link back to that landing page.

This means you are creating a funnel that hopefully ends in a sale. This way you can create your blog posts so they all point to your classes as the end solution to their questions. The best way to work this out is by drawing a mind map, and imagining you are the user. Think of where each link should send them next so you can create a flow of organic traffic.

Changing Existing Content

You might notice that your core topic clusters have already been explored in a blog post on your site already. You might have quality content for your target audience all over your web pages that are already rich with competitive keywords, which is great, but without internal linking, search engines may struggle to see the semantic relationship. Hence, it will not form it as a cluster page.

Linking related content is key! Go back through your blog, see if a broad topic fits a group of them, and create a topic cluster. Add internal links to the relevant content and produce more quality content around that topic to create topic clusters that rank.

Make sure all your pre-existing content is the best it can be. Search engines look for cluster pages, especially when they support pillar pages. Search engine results pages will favour sites that have topical clusters surrounding keywords.

How can SEO Topic Clusters help your SEO?

Cluster content has many benefits, some of which have been mentioned above. The main benefits are:

Internal linking – helps search engines understand the relationship between your pages

In-depth content – Gives your users the information they need so they don’t return to the search engine

Quality content – Google will rank you higher if it sees you as a source of quality information, this is why SEO friendly content is so important.

Leads to conversions – If you have a sales funnel in place, hopefully, your cluster content will lead to a conversion

Creating topic clusters is an essential part of any SEO strategy. It not only helps with your website ranking but also provides a better experience for your users. If you want to learn more about SEO and how to create topic clusters, check out our blog or contact us for more information.

Here’s how you build a topical cluster for SEO

A simple step by step guide to implement a topical cluster on your website.

  1. Identify the main themes (seed keywords) your website MUST cover, these will become your Pillar pages & are often foundational for your business.
  2. Use a keyword research tool such as SEMRush to search each seed keyword & find keywords related to each topic.
  3. Create a visual sitemap for each topic showing all Pillar & Supporting pages that will need to cover the topic in its entirety. Gloomaps is a good free tool for this.
  4. Supporting pages can be in the form of blogs, resource guides & landing pages.
  5. Overtime, build out your Pillar pages by including links to the new Supporting pages you create.
  6. Internally link between Pillar & Supporting Pages to create a content “hub”.
  7. Build links across the hub to increase your website’s authority & use internal linking to pass link juice to other areas of the cluster.

Topic Clusters Checklist

How can I use a content marketing strategy with a cluster?

A content marketing strategy is a process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

When it comes to using a content marketing strategy with a cluster, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Your topic clusters should be based on high-value keywords that your target audience is searching for.

Your content should be relevant to your target audience and offer them value.

Your content should be consistent with the overall theme of your website.

Your topic clusters should be interlinked so that search engines can easily understand the relationships between your pages.

Use social media with your blog post to advertise your new content clusters, and start driving traffic towards them.

Watch: How to do topic clusters

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