As 2019 concludes, digital marketers, confront a new challenge: having high-quality, SEO-friendly content isn’t enough to improve ranks, traffic, and conversion. The moment has come to put the finishing touches on a strategy that we’ve all known about for a few years but haven’t put into action.
What Exactly Is A Topic Cluster?
A “subject cluster” is a set of related pages on your website. These pages are created around a single piece of material that addresses a broad issue, and each one is more tightly focused.
A subject cluster is a content unit in SEO that consists of:
- pillar content with a high search volume keyword;
- several related content pieces, each with a more specialized, lower search volume keyword; and
- links from pillar content to related content sites and vice versa.
Why Stress Over A-Pillar Page Strategy?
Topic clusters, when done correctly, may explode your website’s search results, organic traffic, and conversion. Each cluster increases the outcomes of your content marketing effort, allowing you to gain more authority with your audience.
And, considering that it’s nearly difficult to win by targeting a single keyword nowadays, clusters allow you to target entire themes and boost related pages all at once. It’s about a semantic linkage between those pages for Google; therefore, it pushes the entire topic further up in results.
Topic clusters make it easy for readers to find your material. On the other hand, Google’s bots discover all the articles faster and decide how to rank them. What is the optimal outcome? Your pillar content ranks higher for a competitive short-tail keyword, but your sub-content ranks higher for long-tail keywords.
In other words, you earn traffic for both highly targeted phrases and those with lower search volumes. The higher your subject cluster ranks, the more credibility you get in the eyes of both people and search engines.
So, to put a topic cluster approach into action, you’ll need to do the following:
- Identify content subjects.
- Generate subtopics.
- Assess and arrange your current material.
Prioritize content quality above quantity, avoiding the publication of identical parts that mislead users and search engines.
Selecting The Appropriate Topic And Keywords For Your Cluster
Adding content clusters to your website is a simple process. The emphasis should be on the topic and the appropriate keywords for each piece of material inside it.
• Select A Topic.
Identify those relevant to your business and audience: a product you offer or the advantages your consumers receive from it, challenges they experience that you help them address or ideals you want the online community to identify with you. You’ll know what core subject to choose for your next cluster if you understand the user intent. Ranking for this topic should influence your business development, and it should be wide enough to warrant several sub-content pieces. Spreadsheets or mind maps will aid in the brainstorming of ideas and the organization of all topics and subtopics for further approval.
• Select Keywords
Topic clusters aim to create multiple content pieces with distinct yet circling one theme keyword. One main keyword for a pillar article and numerous associated phrases for supplemental material is required.
The complexity of the keyword and the number of searches are important factors in this case. While a pillar article should be sorted by a broad keyword of hard/medium difficulty but large search traffic, subtopics should be sorted by low search volume keywords, including those from inquiries and long-tail ones.
You may spy on competitors while looking for suitable keywords to employ in a subject cluster. As a result, you’ll discover which keywords you could overlook for ranking purposes. Alternatively, you’ll see keywords that both you and your rivals overlooked, and it won’t be long before you’ve surpassed them.
Formulating The Topic Cluster
Your topic cluster will look like this if you’ve found a core keyword for a pillar article and grouped relevant keywords around subtopics:
Write all of the cluster pages now. Consider the following:
- Avoid taking a broad approach. Dive deep into the subject and ensure that each page of your topic cluster offers something unique.
- Do not mention anything (in-depth) that has already been covered on other cluster sites.
- Adhere to all best practices for epic content development, such as considering long-reads, using narrative, including useful and respectful facts, designing graphics, and so on.
Create subtopic pages initially to ensure that your main content piece is not duplicated.
The pillar page should provide an overview of the large topic. It is often extremely extensive (3,000+ words) and does not go into great depth on each facet of the issue. This is where you’ll provide internal links to all of your cluster’s subtopic pages.
A pillar page might be structured as a large blog article, a form of “ultimate guide” that covers your topic thoroughly.
Another strategy is to have pillar content on your main domain and supporting pieces on your blog.
Everything is simple when it comes to interlinking the pages of your topic cluster:
- Link a pillar page to all supporting articles.
- Then link every supporting article to a pillar page.
- Linking all relevant supporting articles to one another.
Google spiders can now identify and index the subject cluster more easily, giving your pillar page additional SEO power.
Measuring The Results
The usefulness of analyzing the success of your subject clusters resides in justifying more investment in the strategy and enhancing the efficacy of your marketing efforts.
The issue is that determining the impact of the entire cluster on your traffic and organic search results is difficult. This is because most tools are designed to measure the performance of a single page rather than a large group of information. Furthermore, you cannot separate the influence of a subject cluster from other variables influencing your website data. For example, boosting its speed or upgrading some of its existing material can increase traffic.
- Google Analytics
First, build a new Content Grouping for your subject cluster and add all associated URLs in it, as well as a rule for each URL. After that, browse Site Content > All Pages and filter them by groups to check the overall cluster performance.
Add the Organic Traffic segment to analytics and any other desired metrics to observe any associated changes. Create a custom segment in Sequences, select your desired cluster, and change the Sequence Start option to “Any user interaction” to learn how your audience interacts with the topic cluster on your website.
Also, keep in mind to evaluate the performance of each pillar page independently. If you published it on a root domain, it would certainly be in a separate Google Analytics account.
Topic clusters might be the “magic button” that marketers need to press to increase organic traffic and rankings.
It’s an excellent approach to organising information so that users and search engines can traverse it, focus on content quality with a well-organized keyword strategy, and increase SEO efforts for better results.
Consider subject clusters an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge with each piece of content you write.
Indeed, a plethora of additional elements impact a website’s overall performance. However, this calculated approach is worth a shot for those interested in providing value and establishing a long-term online presence.