Experts invent new SEO practices daily, resulting in new approaches to securing top rankings. It’s gone beyond choosing keywords and stuffing them into your page.
The topic cluster model is a part of the search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. It’s one of the most effective methods to level up your marketing campaign. As a result, you can get higher traffic, increase engagement, and generate more leads.
Some marketers may still need to familiarize themselves with the topic cluster strategy. This article can help you. Below are some best practices for using the topic cluster model for content campaigns. Keep scrolling!
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What is the topic cluster model?
HubSpot introduced the term ‘topic cluster’ back in 2017. They described it as a new method of organizing a site’s content. The topic cluster approach aims to create a cleaner site architecture. Fast forward a few years, and this is a new strategy to boost SEO and page performance.
The topic cluster model also tries to gain authority for your website. It encourages search engines to see your website as “an expert” on specific topics you post about. The topic cluster model has three essential elements. Here’s the breakdown.
Marketers or publishers then specify the main topic in pillar content. Next, they branch the topic into more specific issues for the clusters. Pillar and content clusters should carry similar topics and keywords but avoid cannibalization.
Once a marketer has published the cluster and pillar articles, they need to connect the two.
A pillar page must include long-tail keywords with links to cluster pages. Ideally, the long-tail keywords will have optimal SEO potential. Check out the example of how the content cluster model works below.
The topic cluster approach can impact your website performance. It helps you increase organic traffic.
Benefits of using the topic cluster model
Having a discoverable site can bring many benefits to businesses. 70% of marketers agree that investing in search engine optimizations is more profitable than PPC for generating sales.
Statistics say more than 80% of people ignore paid ads and prefer to click on organic search results.
As the topic cluster model can help boost your site SEO, enforcing it as soon as possible is necessary. We’ve pieced together other benefits of the topic cluster model below.
#1. SEO booster
HubSpot, which introduces this model, claims that the topic cluster approach is effective. Based on their topic cluster experiment, it helps boost a site’s SEO.
The experiment’s primary variable was site interlinking. It plays a significant role in defining site performance in SERPs. The more internal links you put in, your site acquires more impressions.
Moreover, Google, as the most significant search engine, has a term called crawl budget. It refers to the number of pages you expect Google to crawl in one visit. Google defines “crawl budget” as URL sets that its bot can and wants to crawl.
In a nutshell, a website using the topic cluster approach presents quality content and data in a format that Googlebot understands. You improve organic traffic when Google crawls your content faster.
#2. Provide a better user experience
Google isn’t the only one able to crawl. Humans do too. When users discover your pillar page, they also find many related topics. Therefore, it leads to a higher chance of them clicking on each one.
Users appreciate relevant content that allows for efficient use of time. The topic cluster model lets them find content quickly by clicking on links on your page.
Adjusting topic clusters is also a content strategy to make your site human- and search-engine-friendly. Users will engage with your pages more because of the excellent user experience.
#3. Encourage audiences to come back
Employing the topic clustering model means you are trying to do more than increase traffic. Instead, you invest in building loyal visitors and email subscribers. You can track your page performance with an analytics tool.
Analyzing page performance lets you see which specific topics drive the most traffic. Additionally, you can identify the ones that are audience favorites and those that drive the most new visitors.
You can promote your content through email marketing and social media. Consider Instagram marketing and TikTok marketing for your content campaigns. You can also run an ad campaign on the related topic to boost results.
#4. Boost leads
Leads are the lifeblood of a business. But generating new leads the old way requires time and effort. As a result, it can be ineffective for your business. But, the topic cluster model can help you boost leads faster and effortlessly.
As part of your content strategy, consider providing an opt-in newsletter form on your pages to generate leads. With more targeted content, marketers may achieve their business goals. They can simultaneously improve visitor rates, boost engagement, and generate more leads.
How to use the topic cluster model in content marketing
As you have discovered the basics of the topic cluster model and its benefits, you should make up your mind and plan the journey. It may be daunting if this is your first try, but we got your back!
We compiled the seven steps to using the topic cluster model for your content marketing strategy. The steps below are practical and will guide you to develop a topic cluster model from scratch.
#1. Decide a content topic
Your first task is deciding on a core topic you want to cover. It’s better to use a subject according to your expertise. Your chosen core topic should be broad enough to later branch into more detailed content clusters.
It’ll be more manageable for you to make content clusters from a broad topic. You can decide on specific issues and provide more detailed explanations through content clusters. The more general your core topic, the richer your content cluster will be.
Do some keyword research. Keywords like “digital marketing” may be too broad to use effectively. You can be more specific by using “video marketing strategy” or “social media marketing.” Brainstorm your ideas, research them, and see what shows potential.
#2. Make topic clusters about the topic
Once you’ve set the main topic, the next step is deciding on the topic clusters. It’s better to brainstorm and select several topics for content clusters. So you can get the big picture of your content cluster model.
Continuing with the previous example, you can continue branching out the video marketing strategy. Break the keyword into more specific topics. You can try keywords such as “animated explainer videos for marketing,” “company culture videos for marketing,” or others.
Try online tools like Answer The Public to help you find content ideas. Answer The Public is accessible for free. You can leverage the tool to find content ideas based on your pillar topic.
#3. Do a content audit
A content audit is necessary if you’ve been running a website for a while. For example, you may have already written several posts on a topic related to your pillar. If that’s the case, you’ve struck gold!
Those older posts can bolster your content cluster list – just make sure you go back through them and link them to your new pillar post. If your older posts start to add up, consider making a list and segmenting them into related topics.
You may also find a bigger jackpot while doing a content audit. Look closely at your older posts, as you may encounter content ideas for additional pillar articles.
#4. Identify content gaps and fill in with a new topic cluster
You can continue the process by creating assessments to identify content gaps. Check the list of potential content cluster ideas that you’ve created. Cross off the ones you’ve written content for. Continue with identifying the topics you need to build from scratch.
You can start writing the supporting content you haven’t yet covered on your website. For example, if you want to rank higher for the keyword “video marketing,” you can write about “explainer videos for marketing.” You can also try other options like “video marketing for AI businesses,” etc.
#5. Create a pillar page
You can publish your content clusters first. While you wait for them to generate results, it’s time to create the pillar page. Make sure to use your core keywords appropriately.
Include your keywords in the content title, headings, and subheadings. Besides, the meta description of your pillar article should be keyword-friendly. But, most importantly, creating a pillar page requires you to be comprehensive.
The body page should contain headings and subheadings to improve the readability of your content. Also, include long-tail keywords as anchor text to your internal links.
Attract visitors to click your internal links by directing them to them.
For example, you can add “read our resource to know more benefits of explainer videos for health sectors.”
#6. Connect all content to the pillar Page
Once you’ve finished creating your pillar content, integrate it with the content clusters. The pillar and content clusters connect through hyperlinks. The long-tail keywords you’ve spread on the page will be the anchor texts for your content clusters.
You can always broaden your clusters and enrich the internal links on your pillar content. Edit your pillar page if you have new clusters related to the topic. But make sure that your pillar content isn’t spammy with links.
You should stop adding more if you think you’ve included too many internal links. Creating a new cluster model on a new topic would be better. You can choose one topic from your cluster and turn it into a pillar topic. Then, continue the entire process all over again.
#7. Track results constantly
You’ve set up your pillar page and content clusters. Now, you must track and analyze your content performance on search engines.
You can use tracking tools to see how your content performs. For example, Google Analytics is a handy tool for tracking content. Other recommendations include SE rankings, Google Search Console, SEOMonitor, and SERP API.
Your pages’ performances can give you many insights, including finding new potential topics. For example, if one of your content clusters surprisingly generates more viewers, you should leverage it by making similar supporting content on the subject. Alternatively, you can use it as a new pillar page.
Implementing a new content strategy isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. If you stay the course and follow the advice laid out here, you’ll soon reap the rich rewards of the topic cluster model.
It’s crucial to do keyword research before starting the topic cluster strategy. You can use keyword generators to choose the ones with the greatest potential.
Algorithms and content regulations will continue to change. As a marketer, adaptability is crucial to maintaining marketing performance and to staying ahead of competitors. For now, the topic cluster model is the cutting-edge strategy to bet on.