For years now, SEO content creation has revolved around keywords because search engines focused on them. You might even say that using the right keywords is how SEO works or how it used to work.

As the algorithms driving search results grew more sophisticated, search engines slowly started de-emphasizing keywords. Now, they consider factors like the search intent, context, and topic authority.

That means that your own digital marketing strategy around SEO must evolve beyond keywords. One approach you can try that leans into topic authority is topic clusters.

 

What are Topic Clusters for SEO?

Topic clusters refer to an SEO strategy that focuses on covering a specific topic cover on a structured way where a pillar page connects different subtopics related to the main content. It’s a great way to provide context for internal links within a website.

Topic clusters offer a more structured alternative than chasing after keywords and their random variations. You still get the benefits of keywords because they’ll show up naturally, but your approach will provide focus and structure.

 

Benefits of Using Content Clusters for SEO

  • Focuses Your Writing

Creating content clusters doesn’t happen by accident. You might hit on aspects of the topic here and there, but content creation for topic clusters requires planning.

A proper content cluster aims for nearly comprehensive coverage of a topic or as close as you can come. That forces you to sit down and map out all the areas of the topic. Then, you must plan out articles or posts that dig down into the relevant areas of those subtopics.

Instead of brainstorming a new topic twice a week, you come at the content creation with a laundry list of posts you need every week.

  • Simplifies Your Content Creation Process

All of that planning doesn’t just focus on your writing. It simplifies your content creation process. If you don’t know what you’re writing about next week, let alone next month, it makes content creation a just-in-time approach.

Once you know that you need to cover 24 specific sub-topics for your content cluster, you can easily create more comprehensive content briefs, explore creativity, and prioritize the creation of content units.

This process can make it easy to outsource the content production process, and you become the manager of your providers.

As a result, you spend more time creating content and less time drawing blanks about what content to create next.

  • Helps You Compete for Topic Authority

Search engines routinely give preference to websites that bring high domain authority and good user experience to the table. The underlying assumption is that a high domain authority site will typically provide better or more accurate content. There is often truth in the assumption.

When you build a topic cluster on your site, though, you even the playing field. While your site can’t compete with those other sites, your content cluster can compete with a handful of disconnected or lightly connected articles on those sites.

It’s a little like building a well-connected micro-site inside your site that competes on its own merits.

  • Improves the User Experience

Do you ever visit a site specifically for an article on one topic and discover that it’s the only one on the site? It’s frustrating, mainly when the article offers high-quality information or insight.

Most visitors hope that they’ll find other related content on the site. When they don’t, it diminishes the quality of the user experience. Most visitors go through a fruitless search process on the site first amplifies that negative experience. They waste time in addition to not finding the content they want. This is also true for Google and other search engines.

When creating content clusters, it’s crucial to create a pillar page. The pillar page contains links out to all of the related content. The visitor sees all the related content and doesn’t waste time looking for it.

  • Dovetails Well with a Larger Inbound Marketing Strategy

The essential heart of inbound marketing is that you offer content that hits three main goals:

  1. Provides value to the visitor
  2. It is relevant to the visitor
  3. Helps cement your position as a trusted information source

A content cluster helps you hit all of these goals.

The range of information on the topic provides value because it should answer most of their questions. It’s relevant since a search query likely landed them on your site. The depth of information should position you as an authority on the topic.

The big takeaway here, though, is that you must focus on quality content. A pillar page that links out to 50 pages with a paragraph will not help you with visitors or search engines. Your linked pages need in-depth coverage on the subtopics.

  • A More Orderly Website

At a practical level, you get a more orderly website. Since you know what content is coming, you can create your pillar pages in advance. You can create draft posts or pages that you just drop the content into when your or a freelancer finishes.

It also means that almost any blog post or article that a visitor lands on will lead them straight into more relevant content. Either the next or previous post will take them there, or clicking on a link will take them there.

  • You Can Still Benefit from Keywords

The move toward topic clusters and SEO doesn’t mean you abandon keywords entirely. In fact, it’s a better and more natural way to include keywords in your content.

If you create content that stays on topic. Your top-choice keywords should appear naturally throughout your content. You can stop worrying about hitting some imaginary ideal keyword density.

Suppose you cater to a specific geographic area or market segment. In that case, you can also throw in some longtail keywords about that area or segment.

The repetition of the keywords across so many interlinked pages will prove to search engines that your site offers plenty of content on the topic. You do this while avoiding the potential fallout of getting dinged for keyword stuffing.

Topic Clusters and Your Site

Topic clusters offer a more structured alternative than chasing after keywords and their random variations. You still get the benefits of keywords because they’ll show up naturally, but your approach will provide focus and structure.<

That focus and structure will help you build out content that allows you to highlight your company’s expertise and build authority on the topic. You’ll see a better user experience. Plus, it works well in a larger inbound marketing strategy.

Blas Giffuni specializes in SEO and digital marketing strategy. If you need help planning a topic cluster or creating the content, contact Blas for a free consultation.