Back then, users were forced to be as specific as possible when using search engines to get to relevant websites. Nowadays, the algorithms are smart enough to recognize the searcher’s intent. This shift in user behavior created something known as topic clusters. A topic cluster is a group of web pages linked to one another, all focusing on similar topics.
According to a top content marketing agency, topic clusters offer various benefits. For one, it improves your site architecture. By interlinking related web pages, it’s easier for users to navigate across your website in search of relevant information.
Another benefit is it keeps users on your site. The longer a user stays, the more positively that reflects on your site’s content.
Topic clusters also contribute to your SEO efforts. An improvement in site architecture makes it easier for search engine crawlers to navigate your site. Long session times also tell search engines that you provide a good user experience and quality content. With improved SEO, you also get more traffic.
How do topic clusters improve your site?
Before the topic cluster model, site owners’ content was often repetitive and cluttered. How the topic cluster model facilitated easier navigation was to first create pillar pages, web pages that broadly discussed a specific topic. These pillar pages then led to cluster pages, which provided more detailed information on certain topics. Here is an example of a pillar page and cluster pages:
- Pillar Page: A Beginner’s Guide to Terrain Building
- Cluster Page 1: Essential Tools and Materials for Terrain Building
- Cluster Page 2: 10 Tips and Tricks for Making Realistic Terrain
- Cluster Page 3: 3D Printing vs. Crafting Your Terrain Builds
- Cluster Page 4: Resin Pouring Tips for Terrain Builders
- Cluster Page 5: Terrain Building on a Budget
The pillar page is often linked to each cluster page, and each cluster page links back to the pillar page. By interlinking all these pages, when one article performs well, the whole topic cluster gets a boost.
How can you incorporate topic clusters into your site?
Select a topic
There are various ways you can tackle this step:
- Determine what topics your users are most interested in right now. If you want to create a topic cluster on breaking news on certain industries or celebrities, you must act fast to get content out when the topic is fresh and there aren’t many others who discuss it. In this case, you may want to get help from a reliable content marketing agency to ensure you have someone ready to produce content as soon as important news drops.
- Ask yourself what you want your site to be known for. One way to keep your site from being cluttered is by clarifying early on what topics you want to be an authority of. Sites like Hootsuite and SocialSprout are known experts on digital marketing, thanks to their neat topic clusters and focused content.
- Make content around your products or services. If you’re an eCommerce site, you may want to use your content to promote what you’re selling. For example, you can create a pillar page on winter fashion and write several cluster pages on styling tips for men, women, and kids using your collection.
Regardless of whichever approach you take, it’s best to address topics that are popular and unlikely to become outdated soon. This ensures you get a steady stream of traffic even as time passes.
Determine your pillar page and cluster pages
Once you decide on your topic, break it down into several umbrella categories. You then focus on each category and write articles expounding on the topic. By carefully planning your site architecture, you can easily classify articles on your site under one of the pillar pages and interlink them to other cluster pages.
Select a content format
While video is fast becoming the most popular content format among users, that doesn’t mean you should abandon blog writing. The question shouldn’t be what content format is most popular, but which content format suits the topic being discussed. Instructional topics may benefit from the visual aid of a video, while in-depth technical topics might be more suited to a blog post. You can also branch out into podcasts, infographics, and other formats you feel can help get your message across most effectively.
Technology and user behavior are constantly evolving, and your content marketing strategy should evolve with them. By paying close attention to digital marketing trends and working with a quality content marketing agency, you can adapt to these changes, take advantage of new strategies and techniques, and get ahead of your competitors.