How to use topic clusters to make your blog posts more visible in Google

Unless you’re just getting started with content marketing, I’m guessing I’m not the first person to tell you that content is king. That’s because creating and sharing valuable content is one of the best ways to generate leads and email subscribers (the people who can eventually become your customers!).

But if you’ve ever tried to gain traction with a blog post, Instagram story, or podcast episode, you know that there’s a big obstacle to overcome with content marketing: you have to stand out in the sea of content that’s already out there.

You can do this by creating content that’s better than what your competitors are sharing. And in my post on how to use the skyscraper technique, this is exactly what I talk about.

But there’s another (and, I would argue, smarter) way to stand out with your content. And it can pay off big time by boosting your results across an entire collection of content (instead of just a single post or episode). What am I talking about? Creating topic clusters with your content.

When you create topic clusters on your blog, you’re not just creating better pieces of content. You’re using a smarter content marketing strategy altogether.

So what are topic clusters and how do you use them to get better content marketing results? Keep reading below!

 

 

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What are topic clusters?

A topic cluster is a set of content that revolves around a single theme. In the context of a blog, a topic cluster is a collection of blog posts that all focus on the same overall theme.

Each topic cluster consists of a pillar page and several cluster pages. The pillar page gives your audience a general overview of a broad topic. The cluster pages each provide more detailed information on a single subtopic that’s related to the pillar page topic. The pillar page links to all of the cluster pages, and the cluster pages all contain a link back to the pillar page.

For example, because I’m a copywriter, I could create a pillar post about website copywriting. My cluster posts could cover topics like how to write a home page, how to write a landing page, how to write calls to action for a website, and so on.

In essence, creating topic clusters is an SEO strategy that focuses on topics rather than on individual keywords.

Need a visual to help you wrap your head around the idea of topic clusters? Check out this handy video created by HubSpot:

 

 

What are the benefits of topic clusters?

Topic clusters have a range of benefits for your blog, business, and audience:

 

Higher search engine rankings

Topic clusters can help you make your content more visible in Google. Why? Because Google prioritizes blogs and websites that provide more valuable information related to a search term. And in most cases, detailed information on a topic is more valuable than information that just skims the surface.

Because topic clusters involve creating many pieces of content on a single topic, they help you show Google that you’ve covered a topic comprehensively. The hyperlinks between a pillar post and cluster posts also make it easier for Google and other search engines to detect the semantic relationships between your posts.

When Google detects that you’ve covered a topic more thoroughly than your competitor has, it’ll give your content a higher level of authority and a better ranking on search engine results pages. In fact, even just one high-performing cluster post can improve the search engine ranking of all of the other posts in the same cluster!

 

More traffic and conversions

It’s always fun to see your brand listed on the first page of a Google search result page. But the real benefit of having a higher raking in Google is that it makes your blog or website more visible to your audience. And when your blog or website is more visible to your audience, you tend to get more traffic to it. This gives you more visitors to convert into leads, subscribers, and customers.

Related: 9 places to share your blog posts for more traffic, leads, and sales + free Pinterest profile cheat sheet

 

after you publish

 

 

Better content that’s more valuable

Topic clusters aren’t just great for pleasing search engines. They also help you create better content for your audience. After all, when you cover a topic more comprehensively, you typically give your audience access to better information on it. And because topic clusters organize related posts in a logical way and make them easy to navigate, they create a better user experience for your audience.

 

More time spent on blog

Want to keep people on your blog longer? Creating topic clusters is a great way to do it. After all, if your audience finds more detailed information on a topic they’re looking for, they’ll spend more time on your blog. And because topic clusters make it easy to discover and navigate to related posts, they encourage visitors to stick around longer.

 

 

 

Better content organization

Lastly, topic clusters help you organize your content in a more strategic, intentional way. Instead of having one large collection of individual posts on a range of topics, topic clusters help you create meaningful groups of content. As I’ve mentioned above, when you organize your content meaningfully, it pleases users and search engines.

 

 

Need help adding SEO to your blog posts to make them more visible in Google?
Download my free, easy-to-follow blog post SEO ebook.

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How to use topic clusters to create content

So now you know what topic clusters are and why you should care about them. But how do you actually create them? Follow these 4 simple steps:

 

Step 1: Brainstorm topics

The first step to creating topic clusters is to generate topics for your clusters. These should be topics that are relevant to your brand and your audience. And they should be broad enough that you can create several cluster posts for each of them.

Your topics might relate to your audience’s pain points, key questions they have, objections that prevent them from buying, concepts they’re interested in learning more about, and problems they’ve had with competitors. You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo to discover popular topics for content related to your niche.

Related: How to generate blog post topics your audience will love + 72 blog title templates

 

A chart with sticky notes on it

 

Step 2: Research keywords

I told you earlier that creating topic clusters is an SEO strategy that focuses on topics rather than keywords. But this doesn’t mean that keywords aren’t important anymore. In fact, it’s just as important as ever to do keyword research when creating content using topic clusters.

When you create topic clusters, each cluster post targets a long-tail keyword related to the topic of the pillar post. So if I write a pillar post on website copywriting, I might write one cluster post around the keyword phrase “home page copy tips” and another around the phrase “landing page copy tips.”

To create a comprehensive topic cluster, use keyword research to identify all long-tail keywords related to your cluster topic that are worth targeting. Not sure how to do this? Check out my post on how to do keyword research for blog posts in 5 simple steps.

 

Step 3: Write cluster posts

Now that you’ve identified all appropriate long-tail keywords that are related to your overall cluster topic, it’s time to write your cluster posts. A cluster post looks pretty much like any other blog post you’d write. Just be sure to do a deep dive on the subtopic you’re focusing on. And avoid writing too much about a subtopic covered in another cluster post.

You’ll also want to create a placeholder for a link back to your pillar post (more on this next). This is critical for creating a true topic cluster. And don’t forget to add all the usual on-page SEO elements to your blog post to maximize its visibility in Google.

Related:

 

A woman sitting at a desk typing on a laptop

 

Step 4: Write the pillar post

Once you’ve created (or at least planned out) your cluster posts, you can write your pillar post. It’s helpful to tackle or have a game plan for your cluster posts before writing your pillar post. Why? Because your pillar post is supposed to be an overview of your cluster posts. And it’s a whole lot easier to write an overview when you know what the individual cluster posts will cover. You’ll also know which specific cluster posts you’ll have to link to in the pillar post.

When writing your pillar post, make it a long-form post (>3000 words) with lots of information. Just be sure that you don’t provide too many details about the subtopics covered in any of your cluster posts. Simply link to these posts instead to direct your audience to additional information.

 

Use topic clusters to boost your content marketing today

The key to getting great results from content marketing isn’t to work harder at it. It’s to work smarter at it. How can you do this? By using topic clusters when creating blog posts and other types of content.

Topic clusters help you rank higher in Google and provide more value to your audience by encouraging you to create more comprehensive content on a topic. The result? You get more traffic, conversions, and engaged fans who see you as the go-to resource and brand in your niche.

 

 

Need help adding SEO to your blog posts to make them more visible in Google?
Download my free, easy-to-follow blog post SEO ebook.

Send me the free SEO ebook

 

 

 

 

 

How to use topic clusters to make your blog posts more visible in Google + free blog post SEO ebook
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