written by Aleksandar Debeljak
Have you heard the term “content topic clusters” in the digital marketing world lately? If the answer is no, it may be good to learn how it works and how it can help give your webpages a SEO boost.
What are content topic clusters?
A content topic cluster is a content marketing strategy in which multiple blog posts or content pages are created around one overarching topic. Each of these blog posts are linked to each other as well as to a main “pillar page” (aka the landing page we actually want website visitors to go to). This linking action signals to search engines that the pillar page is an authority on the topic, and over time, the page may rank higher for the topic it covers.
“The content topic cluster model is a way of organizing a website’s blog posts and content pages using a cleaner and more deliberate site architecture.” – HubSpot
If your website contains blogs, articles, and other content, it may be smart to group all content under specific topic groups. An example might be that you create a pillar page that is dealing with “SEO”. All content that is related to this topic will go under the pillar page and create an internal link structure to help each other gain an SEO boost if any of the articles popularity grows.
Continuing with our example of having a pillar page with the topic around SEO, the next step is to create “subtopics”. Subtopics are not as comprehensive as your pillar page, they are instead focused on answering a specific question about SEO. Some subtopics on the subject of SEO could be, for example, “Google Ranking Factors”, “Onpage SEO” or “Link Building Strategies”.
There is a limit on how many subtopics you can create on a pillar page, at the moment you can have up to 22 subtopics per subject group.
Keep in mind that the main pillar page’s topic you write about should be broad enough to create different types of content and subtopic pages that relates to the main pillar page. To write good and effective SEO content, there are factors you need to think about to rank your pages higher on a search engine results page (SERPs).
How do I create a content topic cluster?
First of all, you need to choose a topic for which you want to create content around. The topic itself should be able to relate to what your business is doing. If you already have a lot of content on your website, it’s a good idea to review everything and categorize it to get an overview of the topics you’ve created from your existing content.
Once you have chosen a main topic to write about, you also need to know what kind of subtopics you will be writing to fill out your pillar page with content that is relevant to your customers. Here it is important that you have a buyer persona in order to create content that is useful to your customers, help them solve their problems and challenges. Keep in mind that you don’t always need a main topic first, instead brainstorm ideas about both main topics and subtopics when creating a new pillar page.
Remember, even if you use topic clusters, don’t forget to use keywords to optimize your SEO. If you find it difficult to create effective topic clusters, you can use keyword research tools to help you show how effective your main topics and subtopics are. Using keyword research tools makes it easier to optimize your new content topic clusters. However, be sure to review your old content to optimize it around any new keywords.
The next step in the process of creating a content topic cluster is to create a pillar page. Your pillar page should contain comprehensive information about your main topic. Depending on the type of business you run, you could use your pillar pages as your service pages to showcase your expertise. Remember to keep your buyer personas in mind when creating your pillar page.
Once you have created your pillar page, it’s important that you link to all content relevant to your main topic. Keep in mind, however, that you need to create links from your subtopics that link back to your pillar page. Linking between your content is important because you must show the search engines that the content is relevant to each other. As the search engines evolve and become smarter, they can see how your content is relevant to a particular topic through synonyms and related keywords. In order to keep your SEO rank high, it is important that you show how content relates to each other on your website.
Some websites only need a few quality content articles in a cluster in order to rank a page with the #1 search position, while others need 20 articles in a single content topic cluster. It all depends on the domain and page authority of your webpage, how well you are covering the topic at hand, and how competitive that topic is.
Last but not least, you need to measure your results to see what needs to be improved. When you work with new SEO strategies on your website, it will take a couple of months to get the results of your efforts. If a page in your topic cluster goes well, your other pages that are related to the topic will perform better because you have links between them.
Building your content around topic clusters is a great way to make your website have a cleaner site architecture that can give your webpages a SEO boost. It’s not only good for the search engines but also your visitors because your content is collected under specific topic groups that make it easier to navigate through your website. If some of your content is popular, it will also help other relevant content to get more traffic because it is linked between each other.
How does your company work with optimizing content? Will you start creating content topic clusters? Share your thoughts on content topic clusters in the comments field below.