It’s no secret that content marketing is an important part of a company’s inbound marketing strategy. In fact, we’ve written previously about the importance of content, including, how to create a content strategy and how to write great content.

One of the main reasons for creating regular content is to improve organic SEO, however, as more and more brands create and implement content strategies, competition to get found in search engine results is getting increasingly difficult once again.

One way to help you get ahead of the competition and improve your ranking is to implement a ‘topic cluster model’ when it comes to planning and uploading your content.

So, what is a ‘topic cluster’

Topic cluster exampleA ‘topic cluster’ focuses your content around an overarching topic, which is pre-determined from your content strategy.

A content ‘pillar pageis created around this topic which covers all aspects of the topic in a single page.

Alongside this are multiple pieces of related content, which are your ‘cluster content.

Each of these cluster content pages are then linked back to your pillar page.

It is this linking which is the most important part. By linking all internal content within that topic to a pillar page, search engines can easily scan all the content and understand, not only that there is a relationship between the pages, but that there is real breadth and depth in the content. This model of ‘linked’ content helps to position yourself as a subject expert, which, over time, will help you to rank higher and higher for the topic it covers.

Now you know the benefits of Topic Clusters, here are 4 simple steps to follow to implement the model for your content.

Four steps to creating Topic Cluster

Step 1: Decide on your Pillar content

The first thing you need to decide is what topic/ topics you want to rank highly for. It should be specific enough that you can cover all the different aspects of one pillar page, but broad enough that you can write several articles about this topic. It should also, of course, be relevant for your audience and what you do!

An example:

‘Employee health and wellbeing’ is too broad a topic to cover even the key points in one pillar article. Instead, focus your pillar content on one aspect of employee health and wellbeing e.g. ‘Employee mental wellbeing’. Within this, there is still plenty to write about for your cluster articles but it is focused enough for you to cover the key points off in one pillar article.  

It’s worth noting that pillar pages can, and often are, longer than usual blog posts. They could also take the form of an e-book for example. When deciding on your pillar topics, remember to refer back to your content strategy for inspiration as to what these pillar topics should be. For more information and examples on creating a content strategy, see our Benenden Health content strategy case study.

Step 2: Determine your content clusters

Once you have decided your pillar topic, you now have to focus on your content clusters. Try and write 5-10 cluster articles per pillar. Again, refer back to your content strategy and your personas and themes to help you identify what these should be.

Also consider other online tools to see what people are searching for, such as AnswerThePublic, which generates a list of the most frequently asked questions about the topic you chose based on search queries.

Cluster content doesn’t have to just be a written blog. They could also incorporate infogrpahics or video, however if you do use these formats you need to ensure they are tagged correctly so that google can still search and log the content.

Step 3: Review your existing content

As part of your content strategy you should have completed a content audit. Refer back to this to see what existing content you can update and link to your pillar page.

This way, you make the most of your existing content, but can focus your content creation efforts and budget to filling any gaps you might have.

Step 4: Link your content together

Once you’ve completed your content clusters, you need to make sure that you link them not only to the pillar page but also to each other.

When you’re linking your content, make sure that the links are two-way. Your pillar page should also have links back to each of your content clusters.

 

Have you recently shifted your content to a Topic Cluster strategy? Let us know what benefits you’ve started to see.

Or do you need to create or update your existing content strategy? If so, get in touch with us today and see how we can help you – whether it’s working with you to develop the strategy or helping you create regular website and social content.

Read our case study to see out how we developed a content strategy, regular creation and gated thought leadership content for Benenden Health.

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