If you’re serious about getting your SEO sorted, then topic clustering isn’t something that you can choose not to do. After all, there is mounting evidence that doing so will boost your Google results tremendously when you organize your content in this way. So, you’re going to have to embrace this new way of doing things sooner or later.
The good news, however, is that this way of organizing your content is actually very useful in other ways outside of how well it will help you rank on Google. It is, in fact, a natural way to organize your content so that both your visitors and your content team can find what they’re looking for. Even better, it significantly helps your content creation team find new topics to deal with.
What is topic clustering?
In case you’re not familiar with the concept, topic clustering is a new way of arranging the content on your blog or website (mainly blog). It means moving away from keywords (at least initially) and instead figuring out what topics you’re using.
Once you know what your topics are, you then create what are known as ‘pillar pages’. These function as a sort of entry page to the topic. So, they both give a universal overview of what’s going on and link to all the other content that is related to the topic. A kind of table of contents and first chapter, if you will.
The final step is to link back from all of the original blog posts to these pillar pages that introduce the topics and to use the right keywords so that Google understands that this is the main page to which they should direct people.
A controlled transition
Yes, that’s a bit of work, though not quite as much as you might imagine. Often, you’ll already have articles which can serve as the basis for these pillar articles. It’s the ones you wrote which don’t dive into the nitty gritty but instead give a general overview.
Even if you don’t yet have them, it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to have to spend the whole next week vigorously writing pillar articles to the exclusion of everything else. Instead, you can take your time transitioning from the keyword focused way you’re doing things right now to this new system of topic clustering by introducing pillar articles and linking new content to them.
How does it simplify, then?
The main way that topic clustering simplifies your content creation is that it is incredibly useful in allowing you to spot the holes in your content creation. In the process of creating the pillar articles and giving a general description of everything the topic contains, you’ll realize that for some of the topics you haven’t yet written the necessary articles.
In other words, you’ll be able to find a whole lot more topics that you can write about. What’s more, as you’ll be updating articles so that they’ll be able to fit correctly into the pillar structure you’re now creating, individual posts are going to get an organic search boost. And that’s important, particularly as many of these posts already have the potential to rank better than new posts simply because they’ve already created demonstrable value for your users.
Another big advantage to this is system is that it will streamline the process for your audience. They will be able to use the pillar articles to find the content they are looking for and, from there, go out to the niche articles that they specifically need.
In this way, your users are liable to stick around longer and consume more of your content. And that, in turn, is another great way to give your website a boost in its SEO.
What’s more, as they’ll have an easier time finding the content that you’ve written, any questions that do remain and do get asked a lot will serve as useful clues as to what kind of content your readers still want to read. In this way, they will serve as a more useful indicator in terms of what is still missing from your site.
You might even uncover entirely new topics
Even better, by creating the topics in the first place you’re forced to think about what your website does and does not cover. You might realize that there are entire topics that you’ve hinted at and that are important to what you write and talk about, but that you haven’t given close to enough attention.
These topics, then, can receive a huge push in the following months, which will naturally give you all sorts of topics and ideas that you and your team will want to write about. Here too the pillar topic will be of great use, as it will give you a systematic way of exploring this new topic’s ramifications and a way to explore what niche topics need to be deal with in order to correctly embrace it.
It’s worth it
All this – the way that topic clusters help organize and streamline your content, show you holes in your coverage and even introduce new topics entirely – means that topic clustering is a fantastic way for you to both simplify your content creation as well as to boost the SEO of your page.
That more than weighs up to the thinking that you’ll have to do in order to organize your content into these topic clusters. And that’s true even if you don’t use algorithms to find out what your topics are.
So, sit down your content team and start talking about the topics that you’ve got on your website, what pillar articles you’re going to need and so on. In the process, you’ll get a fresh look at what you’ve put out and what is still necessary to do.
About the author: Jessica Fender, professional writer, independent blogger and chief content officer at OnlineWritersRating.com. She is passionate about wise team management and self-development as a leader. Featured on Freelancer.com and Addicted2Success.