In 2022, we saw a lot of “old” search engine optimization (SEO) techniques brought back to life. Among these are topic clusters.
This article delves deeper into the power of topic clustering, especially how it supports your SEO efforts. Most of all, it shows you a brief but concise guide on how to build one.
What Is a Topic Cluster?
If you have been following SEO experts, you have probably come across this term and a few other related words, such as “topical authority” and “content silos.”
Let us break down their meanings here:
- A topic cluster is a group of related articles discussing a central theme or subject. Think about it as the chapters of a book.
- Topical authority illustrates your deep or vast knowledge and expertise in your niche, as displayed by your content. You are so good that you are one of the go-to resources for your targeted audience.
- Content siloing is organizing pages according to keywords or themes. If topic clustering is like a book, silos work like libraries. Here, the librarian categorizes works into different sections.
Now, what is the purpose of a topic cluster? A lot. According to Digital Authority Partners (DAP), it:
- Enhances your authority and credibility by helping you improve your topical authority
- Upgrades user experience by providing them with a well-organized structure
- Increases organic traffic by helping you create content that is relevant and targeted to your audience
- Improves your link-building strategies
- Strengthens keyword relevance to help your pages rank higher
- Helps you comply with SEO and search engine best practices in content marketing
The concept of topic clustering has been around for years. But these reasons and the evolution of SEO have again put it at the center of attention.
How to Build a Topic Cluster in 5 Steps
Now that you know the benefits of topic clustering, let us discuss the steps to make one.
Clusters can be as simple as a few pages or as complex as hundreds of them. Regardless of the number of articles, a cluster involves three essential elements:
- Pillar page, which serves as your hub page
- Cluster pages, which are the subtopics that support the pillar page
- Linked assets, which are interconnected pillar and cluster pages
For illustration, let us say you want to promote a new urgent care facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Here are the steps to follow.
Also Read – 10 Best SEO Content Writing Tools
1. Choose Your Primary Keyword
The primary keyword shall be the basis of your pillar and cluster pages. Selecting one can be overwhelming, especially since the industry is huge. Narrow down your choices with these questions:
- Who is your target audience? Are you trying to attract patients or health practitioners or both?
- What are your marketing goals? Would you like to educate your audience, sell a product or service, or increase your relevance?
- What topics will attract the most users? What kind of information do people want about urgent care facilities in Phoenix?
- Have you checked your competitors? What keywords have they been using to attract your targeted leads?
- Based on the data provided by keyword suggestion tools, which terms can help you attain your goals?
After considering all these questions, you chose “urgent care clinic” as your main keyword.
2. Create the Pillar Page
Based on the keyword, marketing goals, and target audience, you figured that you want to raise brand awareness since the clinic is new in the community. Your pillar page may be “What Is an Urgent Care Clinic, and How Does It Benefit You?”
This topic sounds excellent because it:
- Is comprehensive or broad, so it is easier for you to break down the concepts into several subtopics or cluster pages
- Offers informational-type content, which is suitable for your marketing objective
- Matches your target audience’s needs based on what they are searching online
- Contains the primary keyword
- Lets you design the article into a resource page
3. Make Your Cluster Pages
We are ready to break down the pillar page into smaller articles. But how should you choose the subtopics?
Cluster pages should be:
- Relevant to the topic and keywords
- Detailed enough to cover a single concept
- Related to each other, so they support the pillar page
From our pillar page, the possible subtopics include:
- Types of Medical Conditions Treated at an Urgent Care Clinic
- Services Offered at an Urgent Care Clinic
- Insurance Coverage for Visits to an Urgent Care Clinic
- Differences Between an Urgent Care Clinic and an Emergency Room
- How to Choose the Right Urgent Care Clinic for Your Needs
4. Link the Pages Together
Now that all the pages are ready, start linking them. You should:
- Link the cluster pages to your pillar page
- Link the pillar page and the cluster pages to each other
- Cross-link different clusters if it makes sense
- Include a link to every asset within your content, so readers can access more information
5. Optimize Your Cluster Pages
When you have chosen the right keywords and subtopics, your topic cluster should significantly boost your SEO strategies. But then, why settle when you can do more to make this strategy even more effective?
Here are five tips on how to optimize topic clustering:
- Audit your existing content. You do not need to start topic clustering from the beginning. If you have created sizable content, find related articles, identify your pillar and cluster pages, and link them.
- Update your clusters. All it needs is a major algorithm update to make topic clustering ineffective. Stay a step ahead by knowing the latest content marketing trends and updating clusters. Add more content as you go along. Include new data, modify information, or delete dated statistics.
- Use mind-mapping tools. Mind maps are perhaps one of the underrated applications that can help you tremendously with topic clustering. They create visual representations of the relationships among your keywords or ideas.
- Write for humans. The helpful-content update and E-E-A-T guidelines stress the importance of creating content for humans, not search engines. So do not get too obsessed with keyword density. Although long-form content works great for pillar pages, you do not need to cap your word count either.
- Audit your content. Auditing helps you determine if your topic clusters are delivering results. You can look into the keywords, target audience, marketing goal, metrics, technical errors, and more if they are not.
Topic clustering can significantly help your content marketing strategies. Use it to create more organized, detailed, and helpful content that meets the needs of your target audience and promotes higher search rankings.
This guide should help you build your own topic clusters from scratch. But as you scale, consider working with a digital marketing agency. From extensive keyword research to content creation and optimization, a team of professionals can help you cluster ideas more efficiently.