Why You Should Implement Topic Clusters in Your SEO Strategy
Blogging used to be a set-it-and-forget-it marketing channel.
In the past, when you’d run a blog for your business, you’d brainstorm topics relating to the keywords you wanted to rank for, write a post framed around one of those keywords, and then publish and promote the post using social media and online ads.
Now, keywords and on-page search engine optimization (SEO) are the status quo. Everyone online is implementing these standard SEO practices.
Let’s dare to be different and break out of the SEO norm. Come forth and challenge your content strategy with a new set of rules!
Where shall we begin? Allow me to introduce you to a new way of arranging and optimizing content for search engines: implementing the topic cluster SEO strategy.
Read on to find out what topic clusters are and why this new SEO strategy works.
Why Use Topic Clusters Instead of Keywords
Topic clusters give search engines an SEO lens into the architecture of your website. The higher a page ranks, the stronger the page appears to Google.
Your Website Can Be Broken Down Into:
- Main homepage
- Top-level categories
- Detail pages
- Top-level categories
Google tries to understand the hierarchy of a website and then assigns importance to where content is located. Its search crawlers slowly lose interest as they dive deeper and deeper into the architecture of a website.
So, how does the topic cluster strategy work? By creating pillar pages.
A pillar page (commonly referred to as cornerstone content) is a comprehensive webpage that works as a content hub for a high-volume keyword, while linking to a cluster of related, detailed pages (like blog posts) under the same overarching topic.
A cluster or group of detail pages should only link to each other with the same anchor text link. This shows Google that the related pieces of content all belong within the same family.
This strategy works because Google looks at backlinks and wants to see related pages to understand the overall hierarchy.
A Pillar Page Should Be:
- Broad, but not exhaustive
- Optimized for questions
- Updated consistently when appropriate
Keeping your pillar page up to date is key since Google rewards fresh content.
Need pillar page ideas? Check out these five pillar page examples to get you started with your own.
How to Use the Topic Clusters SEO Strategy
To help you come up with topic cluster ideas, give your website an audit to see which content and keywords are performing the best.
If you’re able to align a high-volume keyword with consumer demand for a topic cluster, you have SEO gold.
After you land on a topic, group together all matching blog posts and pages, and create something like this:
For this example, I created a pillar page for an automotive client located in Bozeman, Montana, and grouped together all content surrounded on “used vehicle” keywords. Then, I organized the web above using the HubSpot Strategy tool.
The center oval contains “used cars in Bozeman” as the high-volume focus keyword and represents the core pillar page tying the group together. The surrounding keywords all have the exact same anchor text link within the details pages linking back to the main pillar page.
What’s really great about this grouping technique is that when one the blog posts or pages perform well, they all do.
A Piece of Advice:
You have to have patience with this SEO strategy. It can take up to six months to really start seeing results.
If you don’t notice a difference after six months, make adjustments. Maybe you need to change the keyword or topic altogether. Remember, Google will only bring you traffic if it knows for sure that your content is providing value.
Google cares most about user intent and offering searchers the right answers. Be sure your content meets the needs of your audience.
Let Us Handle Your Automotive SEO Strategy for You
SEO changes every day . . . and there are a lot of SEO myths out there. Incorporating the latest SEO strategies on your website is one of the best ways to stand out online.
At 9 Clouds, we have dedicated team members working on SEO every day. We can help you improve your website and make changes to increase leads and customers for your company.