When it comes to creating an effective SEO strategy, then understanding content clusters is a key ingredient. Content should always be at the heart of your SEO. It’s one of the best ways of not only driving traffic to your website from the search engines but it’s the best way of making sure you are a valuable resource to any potential clients that visit your site!
One of my favourite ways to use the content on my site with maximum impact is to create topic content clusters.
Topic content clusters will allow you to easily form a plan for the blog on your website and will mean that you can structure your website content in a way that is easy for you to manage while making it easy for website visitors to navigate your site.
Understanding Content Clusters: What Are They?
That’s because the whole point of content clusters is that instead of just putting content up on your website whenever you can and without any real focus or plan on topics. You will instead create content clusters based on a similar topic.
When you do this it will help you optimise your website structure and internal links by organising content around topics into pillar and cluster pages.
How Should You Organise Your Content Clusters
To get the most out of your content clusters you will want to make sure your website pages and blog posts are organised based on the importance and relevance of the content. This is key to understanding content clusters.
Website content such as service pages, category pages, and blog content related to a single topic is clustered together in a topic / related topic hierarchy.
This is achieved by creating internal links between content within a single topic.
So for example:
- Service Page – Onsite SEO Services
- Pillar Blog post – What is onsite SEO
- Supporting blogs- How to write meta descriptions, what are internal links, How to do image optimisation etc
The pillar blog posts cover all the steps in a little detail and the supporting blogs cover one specific step in detail.
The supporting blogs all link to each other and the pillar post and the service page, the pillar post links to some of the supporting blogs and the service page.
In other words, all pieces of content link to the service page, then the pillar page gets the most amount of internal links after that and then the supporting blogs below that.
When you have mapped out and started to create your content clusters, your site will start to become a really valuable hub of knowledge about your industry.
If you create your content clusters correctly then you can really establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Content Clusters?
Content clusters can obviously boost your SEO but more importantly than that they help make you an invaluable resource to your ideal clients and customers.
It helps you establish yourself as an authority in your industry and means you can help answer questions, and solve problems your clients might have.
They don’t just work for those in a learning/information environment. I’ve seen them work exceptionally well for most businesses including those that provide services.
For example, I have a few photography clients and they have built out content clusters around each of their services.
So for example wedding photography:
- Their main service page
- Pillar piece of content on general wedding photography
- Supporting blogs such as what to expect from your photographer on the day, who should be in your wedding photographs, make that looks great on the day and in the photos etc.
Another one of my clients booked out almost a year in advance just by putting the click-to-book form at the end of these blog posts.
For one of my clients, we simply restructured the existing content already on the site, put it in content clusters, and created an internal linking strategy, and you can see the results from Google Search Console in the image below.
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How do you choose topics for your content clusters?
I always start by making a list of the main services/products etc that are on offer. I will start with the core topics and then think about the customer avatar for that business (either my own business or clients)
Then I do a brain dump of all the potential sub-topics/questions that come within that.
Next up is keyword research, look at the people also ask sections on Google, and search Reddit.
I keep a swipe file of questions that get asked over time and get my clients to do the same.
Focus on the intent behind the questions being asked because while you want these content clusters to help with SEO their main point is to be a valuable resource to the potential client that is doing the searching.
You could also do a Venn diagram/mind map for each topic with the main service and its page in the middle and work out from there so you can see it mapped out giving you a clearer idea of how well it might work.
This next point is a little controversial, but don’t be afraid to target low to no-volume keywords with your supporting clusters.
I don’t just look at keyword volume, I look and see if that question has a people also ask section, or any ads etc as those are signs that actually there is search volume.
I currently have a client who is getting about 2000 hits a month for a blog post that keyword tools said had less than 10 searches a month.
The search term, however, had it all. It had ads, and map listings and people also asked for sections etc.
Therefore it was clearly searched for so we decided to go for it and now it brings a steady stream of traffic each and every month.
What Does Your Content Cluster Need To Have?
There has to be enough to write about to create and maintain a cluster. The topics have to have depth so you can create all the content you need to support the cluster and make each piece of content valuable.
When creating content you have to always aim to create something better than what’s already ranking and that’s for every piece of content.
Having mixed media on there is also a good idea. So where possible add a video, voice note, podcast even an infographic just something that adds depth to each post
The more value you can offer the better results you will get and not just from the search engine rankings but from your sales as well.
So my main must-have is content that is written for the searcher, not the search engines.
Then there are free SEO tools that I find really useful as well, the usual search console and analytics, keyword tools, google trends, and people also ask.
Common Content Clusters Mistakes To Avoid
Like in all good SEO strategies, when understanding content clusters, there are some mistakes that you will want to avoid.
I’ve listed the most common ones below:
- Keyword cannibalisation
- Mistakes in creating the silo
- Creating content that’s really light on information just so you can have several blogs
- Making your pillar page too short or too long
- Pillar pages that overlap too much with other pillar pages.
How To Know If Your Content Clusters Are Effective
You need to know if your content clusters are successfully helping you grow your business.
This is where we use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Once blog posts start to get impressions and then start to rank you will want to make sure people are using them effectively
Check that they are driving traffic to the main page and that internal links are being followed the way you want them to. Then look at the stats on conversions once people are on pages.
As well as identifying the pages within the clusters that are doing well (ranking, driving traffic, taking actions) you also want to identify the ones that aren’t doing as well.
These are the ones with high bounce rates, low conversions, and low traffic. First, you want to see if you can fix those.
- Does that page need more content?
- Does the content need to be edited?
- Is the call to action clear on the page?
- Does it successfully answer the searcher’s questions and meet their search intent?
If you change these things and your pages still aren’t getting the results that you had hoped for then you need to look at it all honestly and ask yourself is this the right cluster for this piece of content, and is it relevant and in-depth enough to warrant it’s own post or should it be part of another post.
I hope you found this article useful and that it’s given you an idea of where, to begin with, content clusters of your own.
If you have any questions about content clusters pop them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.
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