Topic Clusters: Why They Are the Next Evolution of SEO

March 28, 2022
Posted in SEO
March 28, 2022 Zee Dichev

Google receives over 7 billion searches per day. The digital world is competitive and you must have a solid SEO strategy if you want your website to succeed.
Topic clusters are a great way to boost your SEO ranking. Search engines take a lot of information to determine what pages are most relevant for searches, so understanding the strategy behind topic clusters and SEO is important. Keep reading to learn more about topic clusters, and discover how your SEO strategy can benefit from them.

What Are Topic Clusters?

topic clusters

The topic cluster model is a great way to boost your company’s SEO ranking and increase search volume. The strategy behind this is to create a set of assets on a website about related topics. Topic clusters often have several cluster pages of content that explore various aspects of one overarching topic based on deep keyword research and search intent.
The entire topic cluster should answer all questions a user could potentially have about the overarching topic and it should be relevant to your website and brand image.
When creating a topic cluster, a main page, the pillar content, centres around the cluster. This page focuses on the most common and relevant keywords for the topic and each additional asset created is a subtopic related to the pillar content.
When you create additional assets for the cluster, you focus on less common keywords that are related but not as easily searchable. Focusing on all aspects of the main topic can help build domain authority and improve search results.

Why Use Topic Clusters in Your SEO Strategy?

Topic clusters and SEO go hand-in-hand. When search engines scan content, your website’s domain authority is assessed. To gain domain authority, you have to create a relevant topic that is searchable and used by other websites.
When you tie in topic clustering to your SEO strategy, you help to build domain authority. You can rank higher on less common keywords and you’ll drive traffic to your site.

Using topic clusters is a long-term strategy. Eventually, your core topic will start ranking higher with more competitive searches. There are three goals with connecting SEO and topic clusters:

  1. Increase traffic for low-ranking keywords
  2. Improve content performance
  3. Build credibility (domain authority) to increase traffic for competitive keywords

Topic clusters tell search engines your site has expertise in a certain area and depending on the products and services you sell, you could have several areas of expertise. To maximise your efforts, you should create topic clusters for each area. Do you need some guidance with your SEO strategy? Read more on our blog.

Benefits of Topic Clusters

A major benefit of creating a topic cluster is that producing content will be quicker and more streamlined. Once you know what topics to focus on, you can generate high-quality content faster. As soon as a pillar page is created, the subtopics will be created more quickly because the research will already be completed.

Topic clusters will improve your SEO ranking, as when search engines can clearly define what your site is about and the area of expertise, your SEO ranking will increase. The more your website is shown to others, the higher your authority.

Mistakes to Avoid

You want to avoid flooding your page with content and silos. When content flooding happens, there is too much content created with similar keywords.

Once you have created the pillar content, the keywords should differ for each piece of content. For example, let’s say you have a pillar page on how to write a resume; you would not want to include those same keywords in each subtopic. To differentiate the pages and get the most of the cluster, the keywords should vary within the same topic.

Silos are created when you don’t link to other relevant pages outside of the cluster. This should be done strategically because it can cause search engine confusion. You shouldn’t link to something completely unrelated to the cluster.

For example, let’s say you have a cluster about cats, and you decide to link to another cluster about airplanes. There is little connection between the two and this wouldn’t provide value.

How to Create a Topic Cluster

You should create a content map to develop a topic cluster. First, you want to decide on your pillar content since this will be the main, overarching topic that everything else centres around.

You may be wondering how to create additional content to match your pillar page.

An easy way to find out which other areas to create content for is to search for the pillar content on a search engine. When you start the search, the engine predicts what you are requesting based on past searches. This will tell you what topics to cover! Also, when you pull up a Google search page, you have a section with popular questions related to the topic.
You can also use a keyword tool to find related keywords for your pillar content as these kinds of tools help you to determine relevant searches for certain keywords. Once you know what topics to cover, you need to create SEO-optimised content and publish it on your blog.

Internal Links and Topic Clusters

It’s important to use internal links with topic clusters. Using internal links helps search engines to understand the relationship between the posts and these links also tell search engines about the relevance and importance of each post. When internally linking, you should have your pillar content at the top of the content. Linking to the pillar content first, you are telling search engines that the content on that page is the most important of the cluster.
It’s important to keep links within clusters. Linking to other topic clusters can confuse search engines and make your content less likely to be found. This should only be done strategically.

The Long-Term Goal

Ultimately, you want your website to be a page of authority for your specific topic. Your long-term strategy should be to answer every question users could possibly have about the topic. If you are writing about products and services, you should also include industry-related questions in the topic cluster.

How to Identify Topic Cluster Content

You should look around your website to identify if you have current content that could be your pillar page. If you don’t have current content, follow the above steps to create a new pillar content page. If you do have content that could contribute to a cluster, you should organise it and start linking it together, following SEO optimisation best practices when you update each page.

Best Practices

If you are starting from scratch, you should start small and focus on creating high-quality content. When you add topic clustering into your SEO strategy, publishing cluster content should happen regularly.

Example of a Topic Cluster

Let’s create an example of a topic cluster and how it would look. In this example, the pillar page will centre around video gaming. A quick Google search tells us the following topics will be beneficial as subtopics:

  • Types of gaming systems
  • Benefits of video games
  • How to improve your gaming
  • Gaming video overview
  • How to become a video game designer
  • Video game hacks
  • A how-to article on a certain game

Each of these topics is a common search that goes with video games. Obviously, video games are a very large and competitive topic. You would want to have something a bit more focused, such as Fortnite video gaming.
When you focus the content in your cluster, you get better results. If you wanted to connect to another cluster, an example would be creating and linking to one about Minecraft. These games are commonly played by the same players, so they are related…but not closely.

Get Started With Topic Clusters Today

Now that you have read this guide to topic clusters, you are able to expand your SEO strategy.

In today’s digitally-focused world, having a great SEO strategy is more important than ever. Do you have an idea for a really great topic cluster? Or do you have several that will cover your products or services? Either way, creating topic clusters can be time-consuming.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need assistance with creating topic clusters, we can help. Our expertise in content, SEO, and marketing will propel your website to the top of searches. Let us help you achieve higher, more impactful rankings with your target audience! If you want more information about our SEO services or to book a consult, contact us today.

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