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Topic clusters have been making waves in the world of content marketing.
If you’re publishing content that drives traffic and leads to your website, topic clusters are just the thing you need to top the ranking and increase your visits.
Since adopting a new approach to organizing and linking your content can seem daunting at first, we’ve written a post in which we’re going to define topic clusters, explain their many benefits, and show you how to create them.
What Are Topic Clusters?
Topic clusters are interconnected pieces of content on a website grouped around an overarching topic, which we call pillar content.
Topic clusters use hyperlinks to connect pieces of content to a broader topic. They are linked to other, more narrowly focused pages, which are called subtopics.
This way, they group together all the content relevant to a topic.
Doing so has a profound impact on the success of a website. Clusters are important because they help target audiences, enable the users to easily find posts, drive organic traffic, and engage with content.
You can imagine topic clusters as branches on a tree.
Every topic cluster branches out into smaller twigs, i.e., more detailed, focused subtopics. Topic clusters are connected to the same body, which is a broad topic pillar page.
Topic clusters are a great way to connect your content and keep your audience on your site longer. Let’s look at some of the results you can expect from using clusters.
Benefits of Topic Clusters
These are the major benefits of organizing and grouping your content:
An Increase of Authority on a Certain Topic or Industry
Creating topics and subtopics that are relevant and helpful to an industry-specific audience is great for increasing authority on the topic and establishing yourself in the industry.
When your content can address the specific industry-based needs of a target audience and help solve their problems, you establish yourself as the expert.
Many companies have become household names in their industries thanks to well-executed content marketing strategies that are based on topic clusters and pillar pages.
If a smaller business is struggling with a bigger competing company, building authority on the same topic is an effective long-term strategy against this kind of competitor.
When you increase authority, you become a trusted source where users will go for content. Other companies also want to do business with a brand that has a proven track record of knowledge and authority.
The best way to achieve this is by using topic clusters.
Instead of creating one-time pieces of content with individual targeted keywords, you can consistently create connected content that’s centered on one relevant topic.
Building topic clusters and creating industry-specific content grouped in pillar pages is key for your business to increase its authority.
A Simplified, Effective Content Strategy
A major benefit of topic clusters is that they simplify your approach to creating content.
When you use topic cluster methods, i.e., pillars and clusters, to streamline your content marketing strategy, you focus on topics instead of keywords.
This simplifies your blog archives and improves the user experience because they feature content that revolves around one central topic, i.e., the pillar page. This way, you don’t have to do extensive keyword research for content ideas.
As you create pillar pages, you’ll notice that you haven’t covered some key points in your articles.
You’ll know which relevant topics you should write about next, so they compliment your pillar page.
You might even discover completely new topics that you haven’t thought about, but they fit your pillar pages entirely.
A simplified content strategy helps you streamline your target audience’s journey through a series of posts — they will use pillar articles to find the content they’re looking for and browse through niche content once their interest is piqued.
Topic clusters help you create a simplified content strategy that allows you to take less time to research future pieces of content and guide your audience through it more effectively.
That’s why you should apply it to your content strategy.
More Opportunities for Interlinking
One of the biggest values of topic clusters is the interlinking opportunities it creates for your content.
Interlinking is the process of binding one article on your website to another relevant article using hyperlinks. That way, you direct your audience to other pieces of content they are interested in, which has an immensely positive impact on your website.
As you interlink your topic clusters to other pieces of content, it feeds into the quality of your pillar content.
The internal linking structure will help search engines like Google understand the relationship, value, and relevance between your pages.
As their awareness increases, they open more interlinking opportunities, which means more organic traffic in the long run.
For example, NinjaOutreach released an internal case study that revealed the results of their internal linking campaign. They increased their site traffic by 50% within 3 months and sorted 300 of their posts. They linked the articles to each other by their theme-based values.
When you use topic clusters, you create opportunities to interlink your content to the benefit of your website.
If done right, interlinking will boost the traffic to your website and add value to your posts.
Tips for Creating Topic Clusters
Here are some handy tips you can use to create topic clusters for your website.
Identify Key Topics and Subtopics
To create topic clusters, you need to figure out what topics are most important to your blog and which subtopics complement it.
Start by deciding what content you want to build your clusters around. This is the broad, key topic you want to be an authority on and place at the center of your business.
You have to be able to connect the topic you choose with more detailed subtopics on the same subject area.
Identify the subtopics that you can link to key topics to create topic clusters.
This is important because it will help you fully cover a topic and offer your target audience the content they’re looking for during their research.
For example, if your website is offering asset tracking services, you want to pick relevant subtopics that your target audience would search for when they have a specific problem.
You could identify a subtopic blog post with a title like: How to track assets with software on construction sites.
You create clusters by identifying the key topics of your website and writing relevant, searchable subtopic posts you can interlink.
Audit Existing Content
If you’re creating topic clusters, it’s a smart move to first reevaluate the state of your current content so you know what you can group together.
Auditing existing content is the process of creating a detailed list of all the posts you’ve already published. This is necessary if you are to properly organize your content into clusters.
Content audits keep track of:
- blog posts
- social media posts
- event pages
- web pages
After listing posts, audits analyze their performance before grouping and organizing them.
This is important because not all posts perform the same, and to have effective topic clusters, you need to know the value of every post.
Audits also identify duplicate content that hurts the ranking of your website.
To successfully audit your existing content, you need to know how to audit each channel to deliver the best results.
When you create topic clusters, you have to first reevaluate your current content and update it so that the content you interlink contributes to the quality of your blog.
Update Pages and Posts You Plan to Include
If you plan on including posts and pages to your topic clusters, you must make sure that they are up to date.
When a topic cluster leads to a subtopic that is outdated, your audience won’t stay on your website or explore other content that is there.
Posts and pages that are not updated limit the potential of your topic clusters and hurts their performance. Neglecting to update old posts is a poor business practice.
After you update the posts and pages you will include, the quality of your topic clusters will increase and provide your users with an amazing interlinked blog experience.
Updating allows your business to invest its resources efficiently. That way, you can drive organic traffic to your website and compliment your overall content marketing efforts.
According to a survey by Semrush, 51% of marketers claim that repurposing and updating old content can be one of the most efficient tactics in content marketing.
To create the best-performing topic clusters for your website, updating pages and posts that are linked to the cluster is a must.
If you reorganize your posts around topic clusters, your business will reap the benefits.
Going back to reevaluate the state of your content seems like quite an undertaking, but it’s well worth the effort.
Implementing topic clusters will have a profound impact on the output of your content marketing in terms of organic traffic, business authority, and — ultimately — revenue.
Start brainstorming your key and subhead topics and think in topic clusters.