Topic clusters are not a new concept in search engine optimization. For the past few years, Google and other search engines have developed algorithms to crawl and rank websites based on the network of related and interconnected pieces of content. Take your business into 2018 with a smart content strategy using topic clusters!
Getting started with topic clusters for your business' blog can seem a bit daunting at first, particularly if your content creation process isn't quite streamlined yet. Check out this outline of topic cluster implementation and embrace the cohesiveness of your content!
Part Of The Whole
The key idea behind topic clusters as a content strategy is to treat each piece of content that you build as part of the scope of a topic, rather than as an individual piece. The goal here is to get search engines to view your business as experts on a given topic. So how do you do that?
Step 1: Quality Content
Create quality content. Okay, that seems pretty obvious, but all of your topic cluster creation is going to be for naught if you're not working with good content to begin with!
Step 2: Focus On A Topic
Next, you'll want to do a thorough analysis of your existing content and determine what topic(s) are ripe for developing into a topic cluster. This means coming up with a keyword (or phrase) that defines a large swath of your content.
The important thing here is to choose a topic that isn't too broad (for instance, "digital marketing" would be way too broad for us!) or too specific ("SWOT Analysis for entrepreneurs" would be way too specific!).
Step 3: Build A Pillar Post
The next step in building your topic cluster will be selecting a pillar post for your cluster to be built around.
Let's say that our topic cluster is based on the keyword inbound marketing. Our pillar post on inbound marketing (check it out here!) is a long-form post that covers a broad overview of our central topic. How-to guides, introductions to new concepts (like this topic cluster post that you're reading right now!), and reviews of broad concepts are all great candidates for your pillar post.
Step 4: Connect Everything
At this point, we have a collection of existing content that is all connected by a topic. Additionally, we've established a pillar post for this topic. Now for the fun part. The next step is to build connections (i.e. links) that tie together all of this content and (perhaps most importantly) all link to (and from) our pillar post.
The goal here is to let search engines know that we are experts in the topic that we've connected. Our site is full of content that is related and interconnected by a central theme (in this case, "inbound marketing"). This should boost our domain authority and, in the long run, be a huge boon to our business and SEO.
The great thing about topic clusters is that you don't need to limit yourself to just one topic cluster on your website. If your business has multiple services, try to group each of them into their own cluster group (e.g. SEO vs PPC); search engines (and web visitors) will see you as an expert on a variety of topics!