Topic clusters, the strategy of the future in SEO, are nothing more than the organization of content in specific groups that revolve around a main theme, all in an interconnected way.
Digital Marketing is a constantly changing area, and it couldn$0027t be any different. More and more technologies emerge and change the configuration and the possibilities of dialogue between a brand and its audience.
This covers all areas, including Content Marketing and SEO. And what have you done for your strategy in these areas?
Companies and digital marketing professionals need to be always within the latest market developments to achieve increasingly better results in such a competitive scenario.
In terms of content and SEO, some of the biggest changes currently occurring are in the way people search for and interact with content and in how the search engine reads and selects that content.
In this context and identifying these changes, some new concepts and practices are emerging, among them the Topic Clusters .
In this text we will show you everything you need to know to understand their importance and start using them in your strategy right now!
Ebook Content Production
Leave your email and get the free guide!
What are Topic Clusters?
Clusters are a form of content organization created by HubSpot from observing changes in how searches are performed online and how search engines respond to those queries.
In literal translation, “topic” means “theme” and “cluster” means “group”.
Thus, Topic Clusters are groups of content that are organized in groups around a main theme in an interconnected way.
Before better understanding how this structure works, it is fundamental to understand where the proposition of Topic Clusters came from as an important structure in SEO strategies and how these observations can be valid for achieving better positions in search engines.
Why are Topic Clusters emerging as a promising future for SEO?
The way people look for information is changing.
Although it was never plastered, the way that information was provided by Google some years ago required that the searches be quite specific and the results varied according to the words written.
Today, however, changes in search engines – and even the way we relate to the Internet – make search results more oriented by the user search intent.
Explaining better: today we can be more human when we “talk” to machines. If before that possibility was difficult, today the future promises to be increasingly integrated between machines and humans, even when we talk about SEO.
Not without reason has Google been investing more and more in voice searches, which are made more conversational, and that is one of the biggest trends in SEO for the next few years.
It is clear that, in this scenario, it is necessary to understand and respond to the user search intention in order to achieve good positions in the SERP.
And if we can talk more with the searcher, the ideal is that we can submit several types of searches in a natural way (as if we were talking to someone), and that the searcher will respond back to us, also in the most natural way expected.
And what does it have to do with the Topic Clusters? Everything!
The fact is that no longer focuses on the keyword. Although they are essential elements for the good development of the contents and for positioning, you won$0027t get good positions if you make a content thinking only about them.
That is why it is necessary to provide a context, and that is the proposal of the Topic Clusters.
Through the contextualization mainly of related topics and a consistent internal link, the idea is to show the search engine that you have the best possible content to offer the user in a comprehensive way.
But how does it happen in practice? That what we$0027ll see now!
How do Topic Clusters work?
Topic clusters are an organized structure, so they must be done in a planned way, so that it is possible to understand what is being done, have an overview of the strategy and, of course, measure the results.
In simple terms, a Topic Cluster has three main elements:
- Post Pilar
- Internal links
This organized content website will show the search engine the relevance of your pages, optimizing your search engine results and playing an important role in your SEO strategy.
We will see below how to define the pillars and clusters, make the links and structure a Topic Cluster.
Structuring a Topic Cluster
The Post Pilar is the center of that group of contents. As its name indicates, it functions as the fundamental support structure for this group to function.
But how do you define what will be the mainstay of a content group? The general rule is that the content of the pillar must cover a topic comprehensively.
In practice, this means that the pillar position will be built around a key word that usually refers to a broader issue.
Although there is a tendency for these keywords to end up as head tails and funnel stops in most cases, it is important not to confuse the definition and to think that a Post Pilar will always follow this pattern.
In addition, the Post Pillar should have great relevance to your ranking and conversion strategy, addressing essential issues for your company that are directly linked to your business objectives.
So, if we take Rock Content as an example, we can think of it as one of the main Pillar Posts as “Content Marketing”. Notice how it is a topic that has relevance for the strategy, for the business and also for the company sales funnel.
Thus, the Post Pillar refers to how important a topic is to your company and how much you intend to work on. It may be that the pillar is relevant to you, but not to other strategies.
So remember to always do this preliminary analysis of the issues that are most important and deserve greater focus of your content and optimization efforts.
When making the choice, it is also important to take into account the ability of that content to comprehensively address the doubts of users who searched for that term and, in addition, to address several other issues internally, serving as a basis for other content.
A good suggestion is that more specific topics, which generally deal with long tail keywords, are not post pillars. Although they are very important to your strategy, they cannot act as a pillar because they do not provide the full breadth of issues and support that other posts need.
Having defined your pillar, it is time to think about the contents around it, that is, the group of contents that will work together to transform your pillar into a relevant page for the search engine and thus appear among the first results of the SERP.
While the pillars deal with broader issues, clusters can (and often should) be more specific.
But, again, it important to be careful. Don$0027t think that this means exactly that they are contained in the middle or bottom of a funnel, even though this tendency exists.
When defining your clusters, it is essential that they are addressed precisely and specifically, without exploiting other issues as much as the pillar. The cluster must commit to a specific issue and address it as thoroughly as possible.
In addition, it is important that the content of the pillar refers to and explores, even briefly, all the clusters.
For each pillar, in general, 10 to 30 clusters should be thought of, although there is no defined rule around that number.
Going back to the example of Rock Content and considering “Content Marketing” as the Post Pillar, we can think of some possible clusters, like:
- content marketing techniques;
- corporate blog;
- content disclosure;
- content planning;
- content production;
- content optimization;
- how to learn content marketing;
- content marketing books;
- content marketing platform.
And there he goes.
To discover your clusters, I suggest you do a keyword search and find out which ones can be included within your content. You can learn how to do this in this comprehensive material on keywords and tools.
There, now you know how to define a pillar and how to choose the clusters. But the work doesn$0027t end there!
The pillar and its clusters must be interconnected, to show the seeker that they follow an organization and that you have authority in that matter. This interconnection must be made from the links, which leads us to the next topic:
Getting backlinks is one of the great goals of a good SEO strategy, after all, they are one of the most important ranking factors for Google.
However, many professionals forget that internal liaison also plays an important role in the success of the strategy.
Although they do not have the same value as an external link in terms of ranking, internal links work to show the search engine the organization of your pages, which of them are more important and the authority of your company on an issue.
Thus, in the structure of Topic Clusters, internal links are indispensable.
But it shouldn$0027t be done anyway. It is necessary to plan these links in the following way:
- the cluster must always be linked to its pillar. Although it is not mandatory that the first link is to the pillar page, it is recommended. It is also important to use the exact anchor (i.e. if your pillar is Content Marketing, the link should be in this word).
- the pillar must link to the cluster again. When exploring the cluster theme in the pillar, you will not be able to (and should not) give the same attention as you do to the content exclusive to the theme. So, place a “discover more” or make a simple anchor for the cluster.
Thus, you create a content network around your main content, so that it is connected and points out its importance as a whole to the search engine.
As you can see, all this structuring demands organization, and the more positions you have in your strategy, the more difficult that task becomes. To help you in this mission, you can count on online mind mapping tools such as Coggle or Lucidchart, so you can easily and visually organize your posts and measure the effectiveness of the clusters.
Or you can even download our free topic cluster template to start planning your strategy!
Powered by Rock Convert
HubSpot Clusters Theme
Remember at the beginning of the text I told you that HubSpot conceived the concept of Topic Clusters? Well, while this is true, it is also true that this concept existed in similar forms before.
Rock Content itself uses a strategy of satellite posts, a topic already addressed in this post.
Although the two concepts are not the same, they follow the basic principles of, through a consistent internal linkage and planned content production, achieving better positions for a core position and higher conversions for the strategy as a whole.
So, what the HubSpot differential? In the case of clusters, the Post Pillar tends to be for a head tail, besides it is not possible to make clusters with contents that can be pillars), HubSpot has created a tool for the organization of the strategy within its platform.
Thus, it is possible to organize your Topic Clusters in a visual, centralized and automated way.
But the best part is that the company has developed a format to make your analysis much easier! Much of the manual work of data collection and analysis is saved, leaving easily visualized metrics such as authority, access and conversions.
In this way, you can see the effectiveness of a Topic Cluster, checking your efforts, identifying points of optimization and working to improve results.
The disadvantage (yes, it always exists), of course, is that this tool is paid for. On the other hand, if you already invest in the software, I strongly recommend you to use this section to optimize your content strategy.
Did you get this far? It a sign that you can start applying the clustering theme in your strategy. They will bring positive results for your business and your entire content strategy.
Did you like this post? Further deepen your knowledge of content and digital marketing with our complete SEO 2.0 Guide!
Complete guide to reaching the top of Google ranking!