What Are Topic Clusters & How Do They Improve SEO?

What Are Topic Clusters & How Do They Improve SEO?

Wondering what topic clusters are and what are they for? Major search engines like Google are constantly changing their algorithm to favor this type of content. And as a result, SEO professionals are exploring new ways to tie content to a theme-based model—the new evolution of SEO.

As you browse the web, many companies are quietly setting up their sites in the background. This is due to great competition. It tries to get better results on search engines. And in this sense, SEO practices have evolved, and content-based models have been born.

“What are topic clusters” is one of the most frequently asked questions of the moment. And to introduce yourself to the topic, you should know that current SEO is shifting towards the topic cluster model or content cluster where a single “pilot” page acts as the main content center. From here, several content pages linked with the same link support this content.

This link action signals to search engines that the pilot page or Pillar Page is authoritative about the topic. Over time, the “pilot” page can get a better ranking for the theme. So what are topic clusters? A way of organizing content pages using a new architecture.

Everything Is Topic Clusters: Do They Have to Do With Keywords?

One of the changes that affect the way we do SEO is related to the use of keywords. Google is giving less and less importance to keyword classification as traffic analysis of sites such as Google Analytics or Google Keyword Planner is becoming obsolete.

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If you use these tools, you will notice that in previous versions, Google accurately reported the number of times your keyword was used in searches for a month.

Now, this amount only shows “between a thousand or ten thousand” searches per month. So it is increasingly difficult to determine if a keyword is responsible for positioning your content in the search results.

Has the End of Keywords Come?

But that doesn’t indicate the end of their use. They are a great help in developing positioning strategies and are ideal for covering your target’s new search trends. They obviously don’t determine the success of your SEO strategy.

The way users search for things changes all the time. Google uses all kinds of information to provide the best results. And in this whole process, you will be interested in understanding what topic clusters are. However, there are other aspects of keyword research that Google considers. And you know them:

  • The research historian. Google recycles the user’s search history to offer personalized results.
  • The user’s location. Google gives priority to the results of sites that coincide with the user’s location according to the keywords applied.
  • The device you use. Google values your landing pages being responsive. AMPs lead to better positioning.

What Are Topic Clusters? An Alternative to Keywords?

Topic Clusters

Typically, smart marketers base their strategies on keywords to get organic search traffic. Each article is optimized for a keyword, so the final result focuses on a blog optimized with a set of keywords. So if you were to visualize it, you would see it as in the previous graph.

But what are topic clusters, and how do they intervene in this process? They are used to organize your articles into neat groups on your blog. Each group must have a main page covering the main theme and various supporting articles covering the sub-themes. The image changes:

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topic clusters later

The main page has many names but is known as a pillar page. And the mentioned organization links the pillar page to supporting articles in a group of concrete topics. In other words:

  • There is a central theme, which is the main content of your site.
  • From it, start other themes or cluster content that deal with themes similar or complementary to the main theme.
  • All connect through links that lead the user to the central theme.
  • Considering that there is a large influx of users coming and going between the structure of this organization model, Google positions these pages better and, above all, the central theme.

Structure of a Topic Cluster

structure

So now you know what topic clusters are and how they affect SEO ranking, you must understand what the components are. As you see, it is an organized structure composed of:

1 – Pillar Content

Pillar Content refers to a comprehensive resource page that deals with a theme in depth and generates links to quality content that includes sub-theme keywords. The most important aspect is to understand what topic clusters are using the best SEO techniques. We recommend that you refer to:

  • Page title
  • URL
  • H1 Tag

But pillar content should also be created to convert leads to customers. Especially since all the supporting content link to this page, consider that your pillar page increases its authority as it receives quality inbound links.

2 – Cluster Content

This is where you will clearly understand what topic clusters are. The content cluster refers to a subsystem that arises from a pillar page. Or on the contrary, it is included in it. In this section, both the content and the keywords must answer specific questions that address the main theme.

The idea is that a subsystem has about 6 or 8 keywords that relate to questions related to pillar content. So creating a new subsystem, the best thing is to define it with a name that summarizes the problem your customers will solve thanks to your content.

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At the same time, the pillar content must refer at a given moment to all the content clusters that are generated. It’s estimated that between 10 and 30 clusters are generated for each pillar content. And they should always be interconnected.

This is the simplest and most useful way of showing the engine that all content is organized. So it will have more authority. But how is this content connection created?

3 – Hyperlink

In the ecosystem that allows you to understand what topic clusters are, there is one more element at play that generates connections. How do you know getting quality backlinks is one of the main goals of a good content marketing strategy? They are complicated to place.

This is why internal hyperlinks are a necessary help to obtain ranking regardless of whether they have the same weight as a backlink.

But they are ideal for demonstrating to the engine how your pages are organized, which are most relevant and should have more authority. And for this, the links must be strategically placed:

  • Cluster content must always be tied to your Pillar Page. It is recommended that the first link you include is for the pillar page, even if you don’t have to forget to link it to the specific keyword.
  • The Pillar Page must link the cluster again. If you want to link the cluster content to the pillar page, you can do so by including ‘more information’.

This process will help you create a content network to connect. In this way, you will give a practical answer to the question, “What are topic clusters?”. And as a result, you will gain authority.

Advantages of Topic Clusters

Now that you know what topic clusters are, how they interact with keywords, and what elements they are made up of, do you know its advantages? Do you know how they can help your SEO strategy?

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The creation of topic clusters allows the reader to browse the web easily. Although above all, you will get to switch from one theme to other thanks to your articles. It will also allow Google bots to easily find all articles on a topic in question and determine how to rank them.

Although obviously, the combo between your main page and support articles will indicate to the giant that your blog is authoritative on that topic. Consequently:

  • The main page will rank much better for the short tail keyword.
  • And your support articles will rank better for their respective long-tail keywords.

Topic Cluster FAQs 

What’s the best linking structure for topic clusters? 

At the smallest, link your pillar page to your sub-topics. That way, you are sending traffic to the go-to source on your website. From there, you can connect to specific sub-topic pages. Make sure it provides value to the reader and makes sense.

Are pillar pages blog posts or website pages? 

They can be either. It depends on your website’s structure. Some businesses use their webpages for product and service pages, and their blog for educational content.

How many pillar pages should my site have? 

Focus on quality rather than quantity. If your website has a lot of content, but it does not generate positive results, it’s probably hurting your overall website ranking.

To Conclude What Topic Clusters Are

In other words, you will get a lot of organic traffic. If you write on topics of interest and current affairs, you will have more opportunities for users to search and find this content. And otherwise, you can always put yourself in the hands of professionals. In Dopinger, we help you reach your target.

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