September 3, 2021

Why Topic Clusters Are a Valuable Tool in Planning Content

One of the crucial aspects of developing a content strategy is figuring out how to make things manageable for you. Many practitioners have said that content marketing is not a sprint, it's a marathon, and if you're producing blogs for a long time, you need to shape routine around the process.

For example, having topic clusters is an excellent way of dividing the work into manageable chunks. You need to create pillar pages for anchor topics and talk about them at length in page clusters. With topic clusters and pillar pages, you'll have more organized blogs and channels. Here are things you should know about including topic clusters in your marketing strategy.

What is a Topic Cluster?

A topic cluster is a group of content talking about a central topic, with a pillar page serving as the guidepost to other articles. All successful content cluster strategies rely on internal linking. A topic cluster talks about one broad subject and branches out into multiple linking opportunities. Having topic clusters benefits your SEO in several ways:

It keeps your content organized. A pillar page lets you illustrate the connections among different topics and organize your blog around your core services. For example, if you are an automobile repair shop, you can have a pillar page for blog posts on damage assessment, body repairs, repaints or re-sprays, and the like.

It makes you more efficient. With a topic cluster strategy, you increase your production speed. Since you're reading up on many topics all at once when coming up with clusters, you'll have the initial research for longer content like pillar pages or eBooks.

It makes your content comprehensive. When you have topic clusters, you can avoid overlaps in your posts. For example, if you are an e-commerce store specializing in beauty products, your pillar page can mention skincare. In contrast, the cluster pages can focus on serums for specific areas of the face, routines for different skin types, and other in-depth topics.

It makes your blog authoritative. Google figures out what your page means and its relevance to your audience using on-page elements like the title, subheadings, and keywords. However, it also looks at the elements that link to your content and the anchor text you use.

Topic clusters show Google that your blog discusses interrelated topics, emphasizing the breadth of what you write. It's better to have interrelated, medium-sized blog posts instead of having one long-form but isolated post. The best scenario, of course, is having posts that are both comprehensive and interlinked.

Creating Topic Clusters: What to Know

Clustering content isn't just about SEO. It is about ensuring that your readers can access your content easily. There are four main phases to clustering content:

Phase 1: Assigning a Core Topic

When creating topic clusters, you need to figure out your core topic. Start with creating a curated topic plan that aligns with your business offerings.

Matching your clusters with your offerings lets you show how your company provides solutions to your potential customers. Your core topic is what you'll discuss on your pillar page. You'll break this content into subtopics, which corresponds to the cluster pages.

You can also assign a buyer persona when deciding on a core topic. When you know your audience, you can effectively guide them through your articles. Then, you can fill in gaps and write for these.

Phase 2: Keyword Research

After outlining the topics you'll cover in your blog, you need to perform keyword research. Make sure your topics are aligned with your target audience's search intent and the phrases they use. Pay attention to this step—it's crucial to ensure that you're producing quality content.

Be on the lookout for "missing" keywords. These words are ones that you don't rank for, but your competitors do. Analyze your stats for "strong" and "weak" keywords as well—comparing your rankings with other companies' results isn't the best part about SEO. However, it is necessary. Google hierarchically presents information, and you can only maximize your results if you are aware of what causes a website to rise to the top of a SERP result.

Phase 3: Outlining the Pillar and Clusters

Besides keyword research, you need to outline your pillar and cluster pages. When outlining a pillar page, you need to cover as many topics as possible. Figure out which of your articles will link back to this page. Also, don't discuss everything on the pillar page. You must write the page so that interested readers can click on a specific header or topic to learn more about it.

Content outlines need to include your headings, subheadings, the keywords you're targeting, target word count, and high-ranking competitors with similar published assets. Set aside time in your month for evaluating the continuity in your blogs.

Phase 4: Writing the Content

After these preparations, you'll be ready to work on your articles. When developing new content, make sure you add internal links that reflect the clusters you created.

Also, always have improvement in mind. Even if your content ranks well, you must ensure that it is up to date. Keep yourself a ste[p ahead of competitors and ensure your relevance in your industry by constantly auditing your website blog posts.

Phase 5: Internal linking

Your internal links need to provide more context about the topics you write. If you have pages that attract several backlinks, they'll pass their ranking along to others in the cluster. Internal linking deserves a post on its own, but in a nutshell, you should add them where relevant. If you mention a keyword many times throughout a page but have a dedicated section for it in the article, that is where you should put the link.

For example, suppose you have an e-commerce store that specializes in non-fiction books. If you write a blog post on must-read books about human behavior, the best place to put the keyword "psychology of motivation" is on a subhead containing books of this kind.

Conclusion

Quality content helps you reach your ideal customers. However, you cannot settle for writing isolated blog posts. The content you create should revolve around topic clusters; having related posts will tell Google that your blog is authoritative in a particular field. Besides helping your rankings, clustering topics also makes you a more efficient writer.

Get clear on your content strategy when you hire Ranked. We provide data-driven plans, weekly blog content, and rankings for thousands of enterprises in 40+ countries. Contact our team to learn more, or start your free trial today!

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