Updated: Jan 31, 2021
SEO has evolved over the years, and at the moment, it is not enough to use a few keywords to promote your blog or website. Changes in consumer behavior, new technologies, and algorithm variations are one of the driving forces of these new updates.
Therefore, to stay relevant in the industry, you need to master the strategies that will give you an edge.
In this article, we will explain topic clusters; a content marketing technique, and how they can be used to drive SEO performance.
What Are Topic Clusters?
A topic cluster is a content marketing technique that focuses on topics instead of keywords to improve the architecture of your site and boost your search engine visibility.
In the past, website owners and bloggers used a list of buzzwords and keywords to drive traffic to their site. The articles at that time would be optimized for a particular keyword, as little knowledge of SEO was available then.
The result of this was a blog with messy, interlinked articles optimized only for keywords. As opposed to this method, topic clusters are used to organize articles into neat groups. Websites and blogs have hierarchies, which often include a homepage, top-level categories, subcategories, and detail pages. Blog and website visitors lose patience when they have to probe further into your architecture to get the information they need. With topic clusters, you can rank more keywords and drive traffic to your site.
How to use Topic Clusters to Drive SEO
So, how do you use this content marketing technique to drive SEO performance?
1. Select a Topic and Subtopic
The first step is to choose the topic you would be working on. In deciding this, make sure that the topic is relevant to your business and of interest to your target audience.
Also, ensure that your topic choice is broad so that you can write several articles on it. You should write out the subtopics you would be using as well. If you know your audience and industry well, then it should not be challenging to come up with great subtopic ideas.
2. Research Keywords
Without the right keywords, topic clusters would not be as effective as they should. In fact, one of the primary reasons why we use topic clusters is to allow for more keywords to be included in the website or blog. After getting your subtopic and topic ideas, run them through a search engine or keyword search tool to get information on their popularity and ranking. You can also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to come up with more keyword ideas to add to your blog or website.
3. Create the Pillar Pages
The next step in using this content marketing technique to drive SEO is to create pillar pages. By pillar pages, we mean all those that cover the content’s topic extensively and serve as a guide to the reader. The main or home page is the first place to start. Here, your goal is to make it rank high with short-tailed keywords. Hence, it should contain useful content that educates your audience. The pillar pages should include high-quality images, infographics, and external links. These would put your pillar page as the ultimate research source in your niche.
4. Write the Supporting Content
After creating your pillar pages, write up the supporting pages to make your content fleshy. Make sure that they are related to the main page and contain useful information as well.
5. Interlink the Main And Supporting Pages
Linking the main page and supporting articles is an essential step in driving SEO performance. All the subtopics must be linked back to your main or pillar page, and the pillar page must be linked out to them as well. Internal linking is important because it shows the relationship between the keywords you have used and your content. Do not use only one anchor text throughout your piece because Google can penalize you for this. Instead, mix things up with non-optimized anchor texts.
6. Monitor And Improve the Process
After getting everything up and running, you would need to monitor the process to know how well your topic clusters are improving your SEO. You can use tracking tools to see the result of this content marketing technique.
The idea here is that if one page begins ranking high, all others will do the same. If you notice that the process doesn’t drive traffic to your blog or website, then make the necessary tweaks.
Topic clustering is not a brain-tasking content marketing technique. Yes, it would take time and effort to execute, but the rewards are worth it. With a small content marketing team, an excellent strategy, and engaging content, you can use topic clusters to drive SEO performance.