How Content Clusters Can Improve Your SEO
In the oversaturated world of SEO and content marketing, business leaders and marketing experts need to stay on top of the latest trends. Why? It is crucial to not only stay relevant and nurture brand visibility, but also to capitalize on inbound marketing potential.
After all, 79% of companies use content marketing to generate leads from a multitude of customer touchpoints around the web. But this statistic doesn’t mean they do it right.
There’s a lot that goes into a comprehensive content marketing approach, especially when you throw SEO into the mix. These two digital marketing tactics need to work together to raise brand awareness, elevate trust, and guide potential customers on their journey.
Using a content cluster is a much better way to achieve these goals than just posting something on your blog and hoping for the best.
Here’s everything you need to know about content clusters, how they improve SEO, and how to use them to take your business forward in 2023.
What is a Content Cluster?
Cluster content is a term used to describe a cohesive group of content pieces used to support a pillar topic. A pillar topic is a main talking point that tackles a more general, broader topic. Content clusters bolster pillar topics and deliver more value to the user.
You can use topic clustering to support any of your main website pages, but also a general topic on your blog. Here’s an example.
Say you have a product page for your project management tool. This page is fully optimized with relevant keywords, images, content, and your SEO software should help you tick all the technical SEO checkboxes. Great! Now you can link to relevant supplementary content throughout that page to add value to the topic and delve deeper into any questions that come to people’s minds.
Perhaps you have a broad blog post topic, and then decide to break down some of the concepts talked about in that article into separate but cohesive article clusters. By placing internal links to these cluster pieces strategically on every page, you can achieve amazing things.
Here’s why topic clusters matter.
Why Do You Need a Content Cluster?
The benefit of content clusters may seem obvious by now; however, let’s briefly dive into why you should use them.
Better Internal Linking
One of the pillars of content clustering is strategic link placement. Instead of linking to just anything on your blog that may or may not make sense for the pillar topic, link highly-relevant articles and other pages to keep visitors engaged on your site.
Better Website User Experience
One of your primary goals should be to improve the overall user experience on your site and minimize your bounce rate, but that’s just the beginning. You want your content to guide users on their journey and generate leads or inspire action.
With relevant and value-driven content clusters, you will achieve this goal
Better Content Dissemination
It is a challenge to get visitors to check out any other piece of content that’s not directly tied to their key pain point. A content cluster remains highly relevant to the main topic and revolves around supplementary topics that add value to the pillar.
This use means that content clusters represent an organic way for users to experience as much content on your website as possible while resolving concrete problems.
Better Keyword Research and Implementation
Keyword research becomes a much more efficient process with content clusters. Research and cluster keywords for very niche topics; avoid general terms and instead capitalize on specific search terms.
This strategy not only drives traffic to those pages from search, but takes content creation to a whole new level for your marketing team.
5 Ways Content Clusters Improve SEO (and How to Make Them)
Now that we’ve discussed the key benefits of cluster content, here are five ways a content cluster improves SEO and how you can use clusters like a pro.
1. Appeal to Google’s New Way of Ranking Content
Google has developed and optimized ways to deliver the most relevant search results possible to the end user. This development means that Google goes far beyond keywords, and delves into the realms of deep data analysis to create personalized experiences for every search intent. Or at least that’s the goal.
Google now uses artificial intelligence (RankBrain) to better understand the user’s journey, what they’re trying to achieve, and subtopics surrounding their key point of interest.
This use of AI means that in order to rank on Google high enough to stay relevant to modern users, you need to create subtopics. These subtopics add immense search value to your website and content in general.
With the help of AI and machine learning systems, Google is able to predict how users go through their journey; the topics they’re interested in, the steps they take, and the key drivers of their decision-making process.
By creating a content cluster around a certain user interest, you ensure that their journey begins and ends with you.
2. Elevating the Relevance and Context of Pages
A content cluster boosts the SEO value of your site and helps Google determine the relevance of a page for every user. How? By giving much-needed context to a page (or a set of pages) to help Google figure out what they’re about.
Keep in mind, Google draws valuable contextual data from optimized images (don’t forget to add that alt-text), meta descriptions, headings and subheadings, keywords, and the URL itself. What you might not know is Google also derives context from anchor text that links to internal and external pages, and the contents of the links themselves.
Both on-page and off-page elements are important for content contextualization, so using a content cluster is a great way to bring these together.
3. Taking Keyword Research to the Next Level
In our ultimate guide on keyword research, you’ll find the answers to any questions you may have on the topic.
A content cluster is a great tool to identify niche keywords and highly relevant search terms. It’s also an amazing tool for identifying low competition keywords that you can capitalize on to propel cluster content up the SERPs.
A topic cluster allows you to organize keywords into batches that are relevant to every stage of the user’s journey, as well as their intent. This feature also means that instead of sifting through a massive list of keywords, you can cluster them to achieve specific, tangible results.
4. Improving UX and Guiding Users on Their Journey
Speaking of the user’s journey, keep in mind that a topic cluster that aims to solve a specific set of problems has a much higher chance to engage and delight your potential customers.
People will find everything they need on your website and will continue to consume the content that revolves around the pillar topic – the topic that led them to your site in the first place. When you use the right content planning software to organize your clusters and strategically post relevant articles, you will continuously deliver more value to your website visitors.
The goal here is to support potential customers on their journey, keeping their starting point in mind. A content cluster allows you to anticipate their needs, answer their questions, and empower them to buy.
5. Boosting Localization and Local SEO Potential
Last but not least, using a content cluster is a great way to put your local SEO strategy into perspective and start ranking higher in the local SERPs.
It’s also important to note here that you can use content clustering to improve content localization by researching more relevant local trends and keywords and familiarizing yourself with relevant local topics and pain-points. Clustering content around the topics and trends that truly matter to the local audience, culture, and niche market trends is a winning strategy for brands that want to expand into and dominate specific markets.
Ready to Start Creating Content Clusters?
If you’ve made it this far, then that means that you found content clusters equally fascinating as videos of puppies stumbling in the snow – both of which are obviously deserving of your time and attention.
Now that you understand the value and importance of a content cluster for your content marketing and SEO strategies, go ahead and start implementing these tips right away. Finish that cute puppy video first, though, and then it’s all about content clusters and making waves online in 2023 and beyond.
Sara Novicic is a seasoned writer and storyteller.
Sara does her best to share her experience with the world and help brands and entrepreneurs find their voice. She loves the learning curve that comes with writing, so she gladly takes on new topics that will expand her own knowledge and expertise.
The only thing Sara steers clear of? Anything resembling a comfort zone in life, as well as writing.