Published on April 15th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi1
Here’s Why Topic Clusters Are The Way to Creating Great Content for Effective SEO Today!
There is no denying that content rules the world of marketing today, which is why an overwhelmingly large volume of different forms of content is produced and published on the internet every day. Every business, big or small, is trying to claim its place in the top positions of the search results. Marketers are thus resorting to new age and high-end processes to enhance website rankings in the SERPs, and SEO plays a critical role in that.
Understanding user search behavior is essential to devising appropriate SEO strategies.
In-depth knowledge and semantic perception are vital in determining what the users want to know when they type in a query in the search bar. Even a decade back, major search engines such as Google would display results based on matching keywords in search queries. Though search engines have evolved and SEO practices have changed significantly over the years, keywords continue to play a critical role when it comes to content optimization.
The role of keywords in today’s SEO
SEO is the discipline of optimizing a web page so that it appears on top of the Google search results page! For most companies and SEO professionals, this is the ultimate objective along with increased traffic, better lead generation and more sales. Though various methods came and went in an attempt to stay aligned to constant Google updates, one element has remained present in some shape or form, and that are keywords!
Back in the days, all SEO experts would do is stuff articles, blogs and other allied posts with targeted keywords. Content, consisting of the keywords that visitors searched for, would appear in the search results. However, as Google search algorithm became more and more sophisticated, and people’s searching habits changed, this tactic failed to bring any desired results.
Changing user behavior
The way users carry out searches have a tremendous effect on how search engines display results and how marketers optimize their site and content. Today, with the usage of advanced smartphones, 20% of online searches take place through voice. It has given rise to the more conversational search phrases instead of generic keywords of the past. Moreover, today’s smart devices come with advanced artificial intelligence that conducts these conversational searches as well.
Search engines such as Google are perceptive, and they grasp our queries like a web genie! That is how they present before us precisely what we want to know. Hence, creating a fantastic article with keywords added to it is not enough anymore. To make their strategies work, marketers have to optimize their content keeping in tune with current trends and demands.
So, what is the best SEO solution for content and online marketers to increase organic traffic? It is Topic Clusters, a new form of SEO evolution.
There are several service providers that are including this in their suite of advanced SEO packages to cater to clients better.
Understanding topic clusters
Simply put, topic clusters restructure the architecture where a content cluster, which spans across a broad umbrella of topics, gets linked to the main pillar page and outlines the focal point as well. When all the internal content of a particular topic gets linked on the pillar page, prominent search engines such as Bing, Google or Yahoo can scan the entire content and know that there is a semantic association between the different pages. Further, the cluster format also alerts search engines that a content page has the required gravitas and depth, and provides the pillar page increased authority on a topic. Google’s algorithm such as RankBrain actually rewards this type of linking with high ranks.
The focus today has moved from specific words to the entire authority of a page and associated long-tail keywords. Hence, if you decide to make a blog post, it is essential for the content to touch upon all the relevant topics and sub-topics so that online readers find it valuable enough to come back to it or share it on social media. This is the central objective of topic clusters. It is primarily a group of sub-topics and articles that get presented in a broad content form through strategic linking.
Creating a topic cluster content format
If you are thinking of trying out topic clusters to give your content marketing and SEO strategies a boost, there are some practical and effective ways to achieve it. Here are some of the fundamental points that you need to remember:
1. Generate a pillar and sub-content first
It is essential to have a primary content that sums up the overall topic and is concentrated on developing conversions. Centered around this main content, you have to create a set of sub-topics with the aim of increasing web traffic.
2. Focus on what your audience wants
To determine what the pillar content ought to be, you may start by jotting down the interests, needs, and concerns of your target audience. These will give you an idea of what topics you need to cover to entice or inform them. It is essential to remember that this is not about your brand, business, product or service. It is purely about your potential customers.
3. Team it all into broad topics and search for the sub-topics
When you have this list, start to fine-tune it by teaming many topics jointly in one broad topic. Then you need to focus on each topic and think intensively about all the possible sub-topics that you can cover. You can search on Google using the central theme and check out the suggestions that show up. Tools such as keyword.io and Answerthepublic.com can be of help too.
The Final Steps
Once this is done, you can plan out the content ideas to be in sync with the primary and corresponding topics. Authenticate each plan with competitive and in-depth industry research. Go ahead and create your content, analyze the impact and refine it accordingly.
Topic clusters are the result of constant changes in the way people search online. Today, most companies and SEO experts are adopting this technique as part of their content strategy. When understood and implemented correctly, topic clusters can help you enhance your rankings significantly.