In our world of ever-evolving technology, we know that it’s important to update our SEO strategy when needed in order to keep earning high Google rankings. SEO is an interesting mix of science and art—nothing is set in stone, it’s open to interpretation, and yet there are proven strategies that can be used to boost your site’s rankings.

Topic clustering is one of them.  

This interesting new approach to SEO shifts your focus to broader subjects—your ‘topics’—instead of only targeting keywords on a page. You have a main “pillar” page that acts as the anchor for multiple other pages (your “cluster content”) that are all based on the same topic. All of these pages link back to the pillar page and to each other, creating an organized web of content that centers on the same topic.

via Hubspot

By doing this, you organize your content so that your target audience gets the answers they’re looking for quickly. At the same time, topic clustering boosts your Google rankings, helps establish your brand as an authority, and improves your website’s user experience due to better organization. This results in an increase in traffic, leads, and customers.

We Still Need Keywords

Don’t make the mistake of abandoning your keyword-linking strategy in favor of topic clustering—keywords are still a critical, integral part of your SEO. Even if you start topic clustering, you still need to make sure that you carefully choose keywords for each and every page, since these are what your target audience uses when they search for information online. You can even create topic clusters around certain keywords—for example, if your pillar page is “Honda Service in Richmond, VA,” you can have one cluster page on Honda vehicles and one on things to do in Richmond, with all three pages linking to each other.

So how do you start building content clusters into your SEO strategy?

Step 1: Choose the topic you want to rank for.

The first thing you need is to decide what topic you want Google to rank. It should be specific enough that you can cover all the different aspects of one pillar page, but broad enough that you can write several articles about this topic. Doing your keyword research in this step is key! “Car Service in Houston, TX” as a pillar could let you write cluster content on oil changes, the importance of regular, scheduled maintenance, vehicle detailing, tire rotation, safety inspections, accident repair, and things to do in Houston, at the very least. 

Step 2: Determine your content clusters.

You have your pillar topic—now it’s time to focus on clusters. You can have anywhere from two to 10—the important part is to make sure they are relevant and made up of quality content. You should do additional keyword research in this step as well, to make sure that the clusters you choose will be optimized to your target audience.

Step 3: Review your existing content.

Do a content audit to see if you have existing pages that you can update and link to your pillar page. This is a great way to maximize your current content and create only the additional pages needed to cover the full range of your pillar topic. This step allows you to boost the rankings on older pages that may have needed updates (and it’s also a great time saver)!

Step 4: Link your content together.

Once you’ve completed your content clusters, make sure that you link them to not only to the pillar page, but also to each other. Visualize a spiderweb of links leading to and from the pillar and content cluster pages, and you’ll be on the right track.

Your results with topic clusters will only be as good as your strategy.

This approach to SEO requires dedication to research, organization, and trial-and-error. If you’re looking for a team of experienced strategists to delve deep into keyword research and help you try your hand at topic clustering, we would love to speak with you!