Topic clusters improve your seo

Topic Cluster GIF V3
Author: Dale Fairbairn

People aren’t searching for phrases like they used to.

Instead of long-tail keywords, people are now asking their search engine of choice complex questions like, ‘Where is good to eat near me?’

A lot of this has to do with how we are searching. With the uptick in voice search and use of smartphone assistants, our enquiries are becoming more conversational.

64% of people now use at least four words when searching online. This change in semantics has required a paradigm shift in content creation and site architecture.

Instead of focusing on keywords, many website architects are choosing to use topics. More to the point, clusters of topics.

For many content creators trying to improve their Search Engine Optimisation, their current model is to output multiple pieces containing keywords and phrases in an ad hoc fashion. The problem with this is that more and more, thanks to Search Engine algorithm enhancements, the web crawlers don’t know how to categorise this data satisfactorily.

That’s why many content creators are shifting to a topic cluster model, where a single “pillar” page acts as a centralised focal point for a broad thought leadership topic. Then, content pages relating to that same topic are linked back to the pillar page, and also to each other.

By linking all internal content within that topic to a pillar page, search engine algorithms, like Google’s RankBrain, perceive the pillar page as a topic authority, and over time, as more linking content is produced, the page may rank higher for its chosen topic.

How do you go about creating a topic cluster?

Much of the due diligence you currently do for your SEO and SEM will still come into play.

You’ll still need to search for your keywords. These will influence the language used in your articles and ensure you’re hitting the content and context markers.

Choose your core topic. Which big picture subject:

  • Do you think people will be searching for?
  • Are you able to output various pieces of content about?

    Type your broad keyword that will be used for the pillar page into Google. Note the top four to five webpages in the organic search results. Click on each page and determine the word count of the article or blog post.

    Ultimately you’re looking for ways to outperform these top performers.

    Can you output more content than the top performers? Are you able to make it easier to access and consume? An important consideration is always going to be how you promote the content. What strategies will you employ to get more eyes on the prize? As that will create more links for the crawlers to detect.

    Maybe it’s time to look at your content structure and think about looking at clusters as a way to focus not only your SEO but also how you create your content.

    For more info, contact Dale.