Topic Cluster: The Future of Marketing
Companies are shifting to a topic cluster model recently. They remodel their webpages into a more connected chain to answer the new trend and formula of SEO in content marketing due to the increasing use of intelligent assistants like Siri and Alexa and win the competition around the internet.
Those companies then want to harmonize their content with the changes. They are creating a new SEO tactic that is to connect the dots between the webpages. And, the most suitable approach to do it is using a topic cluster.
What is the topic cluster?
Are you familiar with the YouTube playlist? YouTubers collect their videos with the same topic and put them into a playlist. The big picture of a topic cluster is similar to it.
A topic cluster is a collection of articles or pages under the umbrella of one topic. They are connected to each other using internal links. In the topic cluster, there is the main article called “pillar content” that will be “the mother” of other related content.
The anatomy of a topic cluster
This is the core of your topic cluster. Pillar content holds a broad topic so that you can generate it into some articles. It usually has 2,000 to 3,000 words and covers all aspects that can be divided into sub-articles.
For example, your topic is about pasta, then your pillar content could be “pasta varieties” mentioning types of pasta everyone should know.
Using an analogy, the pillar content is like a house and the cluster content is the rooms inside it. A house is what people see outside and is functioned to be the place for living, then the cluster content is the rooms that spawn the function of a house with its kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom.
The pillar content has tackled the broad topic, so it is time for the cluster content to continue using a specific keyword that is strongly related to the pillar content and delivering it in a more thorough way.
Let us use the same topic as in the pillar content’s example. The cluster content under the same topic of kinds of pasta could be like “easy pasta recipes”, “Italian pasta sauces”, and “ways to cook pasta”.
This is the key part of a topic cluster. How can you connect your pillar and cluster content without a hyperlink? It is impossible!
Why do you need a topic cluster?
Let your audiences wander around your website
Since the articles are connected, they provide items with the same topic. This increases the probability of people sticking around your website.
Let us imagine they are interested in pasta.
After knowing pasta varieties, they may wonder about the pasta recipes, right? Because the article about types of pasta has been linked to pasta recipe, they can click it right away and it leads them to pasta recipe they are looking for.
Write a good article, the others will be good as well
For example, your content about easy pasta recipes is the most popular among other articles. However, you have inserted the links that connect to other similar content, right?
Back to the first benefit, their interest may rise about related content so that they click the article about ways to cook pasta. This article then will also get a higher rank on Google. Therefore, once you write an article with a good SEO rate, the other articles with the same topic will follow as long as you apply a topic cluster on your website.
Articles on your website will not compete with each other
Before renovating the architecture of the website to a topic cluster model, Hubspot’s master URL only had the Homepage and links to the subdomains. They produced content without having a topic cluster in it. As a result, the articles competed with their other articles.
So, instead of letting them fight, Hubspot develops the topic cluster on the website. Not only does it result in a more structured website, but it also assists Google easily crawl to the website as it has a semantic connection between the content.
Help Google understand you
Because search engines become more advanced, it is necessary for a content creator and SEO writer to care about the terms under the same topic. It will help Google understand what your website is about.
The topic cluster will benefit you in “attracting” search engines as you have related key terms in your interlinked content because it has a related concept. Furthermore, creating a topic cluster makes your website trustworthy since you do not write about “an episode” of a topic, but you produce “the series”.
Topic cluster examples
If you are looking for inspiration in building a topic cluster for your website, here are the best examples of a topic cluster you can find on the internet.
College Info Geek
This website is built by Thomas Frank and friends talking about how to learn effectively and productivity tips. In one of its content, you can find organization tips.
The pillar content on “How to stay organized in college” is divided into two categories: areas to focus and productivity planning. In the first category, you can spot 5 cluster content such as setting a calendar and creating a to-do list. In the second category, you can see the cluster content in making habits and creating a workspace.
All the categories and sub-articles discuss the main topic of how to be organized.
Moz is a service company that deals with SEO and marketing. As the leading company in SEO, of course, they have great examples of a topic cluster. One of them is about the beginner’s guide to SEO.
In the pillar page, it tells the basics of SEO and directly leads them to each part. Compared to the organization tips in College Info Geek, Moz uses the pillar page like a content list. It directly leads the audience to the cluster content they want to learn like keyword research and on-site optimization.
That is all you need to know about a topic cluster. Now, you are ready to build yours!