The race to get found in search engine results has become more intense, as a result, SEO practices have evolved to a new model that favors topic-based content to deliver the best answer to a query. That’s called topic clusters that are related to one key topic acting as the main hub of content.
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of topic clusters and how you can use this model to organize your content and improve search rankings.
What are Topic Clusters?
Topic clusters are a group of content pages that are related to one central topic and use a pillar page to link to and from. In short, topic clusters are centered around a big topic in the pillar page that offers multiple internal linking opportunities to keep readers on your site longer. More specifically, let’s break it down like this:
A pillar page acts as the main hub of content. It covers a generally broad topic and links to multiple topic cluster pages.
A topic cluster is a more in-depth page that provides a detailed answer to a specific question about your broad topic and links back to the main pillar page.
How Topic Clusters Impact SERPs?
The linking action between topic clusters and pillar page signals to search engines that the pillar page is an authority on the topic it covers. This increases the authority score of your domain and eventually improves search engine optimization (SEO).
In essence, the topic cluster model is a way of organizing a site’s content page using a more deliberate site architecture. It’s like an internal link strategy. This allows all related content pages to link to a pillar page and to each other. The more internal links you have, the better the placement in the search engine results page (SERPs).
How to Create Topic Clusters
Pillar pages are designed to organize your blog around topic cluster pages that allow you to manage and streamline more easily and produce better content in less time. At the end of the day, the goal of clustering your content goes beyond traditional SEO strategies to help you create quality information both in-depth and in-breadth and keep your readers stay longer on your site.
In this next section, we’ll guide you through 5 easy steps to create topic clusters.
Step 1: Decide On Your Core Topic
Depending on your audience and niche, choose the core topic that fits into your core business. In doing so, your business can showcase the valuable information that helps address your audience’s problems. The core topic will be used to create your pillar page. From there, the core topic can be broken down into subtopics, which are known as topic cluster pages.
Take note that your pillar page needs to broadly cover one topic you’re focusing on so that it makes sense to tie to all the cluster content linking to it.
Step 2: Perform Keyword Research On Your Core Topic
Next, you need to do keyword research for your topic. Make sure that all keywords capture all the key aspects of the pillar topic. This step is critical to ensure that you’re on the right track with your topics and reap the rewards of creating quality content.
You can start by analyzing what your top-ranking competitors are writing and what makes their content successful. By using SEO tools, you can identify keywords your competitors rank for and what they are falling short of. In this way, you can find winning keywords for topic clusters.
Step 3: Outline Pillar and Topic Cluster Structure for Core Topic
Using a sheet of paper, whiteboard or whatever tool you have at hand, place the core topic in the center, then outline all the related topic clusters. Each topic cluster should go a step beyond and cover the fine details of the topic and can link back to the pillar page.
Your content outline is the blueprints of each piece your content team will write, so it should be detailed, including the headings and subheadings, target word count, lists of keywords, and references to high-ranking competitors.
Step 4: Produce Content
Now your team has all the material and is ready to produce quality content. As mentioned above, the content should be optimized and go in-depth to give high-value information to readers. You can reference other articles of your competitor, but make sure that you do not copy or rephrase their work. Instead, look at what your competitors are missing and what you can do to make it better. Focusing on producing high-quality content, hit your target word count, and put keywords naturally.
Step 5: Publish Content and Add Internal Links Top Supporting Topic Clusters
After developing new content pages that connect to the pillar page, you still have a bit of work to do. You will need to add internal links in both topic clusters and pillar pages. In addition, your content should be up-to-date regularly to keep you a step ahead of competitors and boost your content’s relevance in your industry.