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How Topic Cluster Model Can Boost Your SEO Traffic

How Topic Cluster Model Can Boost Your SEO Traffic

The topic cluster model has emerged as a popular trend in content marketing and SEO for quite a few years now. While the majority of content marketers have heard about it, very few of them have actually bothered to leverage its power. 

The ones who have invested time in learning and implementing the topic cluster methodology are winning it at both content marketing and SEO.


What Are Topic Clusters


The topic cluster methodology is an SEO strategy that focuses on topics more than the keywords. HubSpot first explained this model in 2017. Since then, many businesses have been using it to streamline and organize their content marketing efforts. Topic cluster, along with smart content promotion techniques, yields massive results for content marketers.


The topic cluster model essentially refers to creating multiple pieces of content around one common topic. 

Let us understand the essential components of a topic cluster strategy.


Pillar Content

Central to the cluster model, this is an overview of a subject or a topic. The pillar page always has long-form content which should be at least 3000 words. 

While pillar content covers every aspect related to the subject, it does so only briefly. This creates opportunities for you to write detailed pages for every related content topic.

Marketers usually focus on a broad target keyword with a high search volume to incorporate in the pillar content. 


Cluster Topics

You can use various subtopics of your pillar content as cluster topics. While the pillar content is an overview, cluster topics are more detailed and provide in-depth insights on specific topics. All the cluster pages have internal links directed at the pillar content.

To optimize your cluster pages for SEO, you should have a specific long-tail keyword to target in each piece of content. 



This is the most important component of the cluster topic model from the SEO perspective. Each cluster topic should contain internal hyperlinks that connect them to the pillar content. Additionally, hyperlinks should also land your readers from one cluster page to another.

This network of internal hyperlinks is what works wonders for search engine rankings.

In essence, this is how the structure of the topic cluster model looks like:


Why Topic Clusters Are Important For SEO

When the era of content marketing began, marketers could get traffic just by using a targeted keyword in the content. However, with increasing competition and evolving algorithms of search engines, having a targeted topic is the key to success.


Keyword rankings are fluid now

Search engines have come a long way in making the search results more relevant for the users. With increasing personalized search options, keyword ranking is not very rigid. You cannot rely on just keywords for your content to perform well.


Multiple SERP rankings for a single keyword

The advanced algorithm now enables search engines to understand and identify semantically related concepts. If you have a number of blog posts related to one broader topic, you can get multiple pages of your website to appear on SERP for one search query.


Topic clusters establish authority in the domain

Whether it’s the users or the search engines, your brand comes across as more trustworthy if you have extensively written about a certain topic. When you have one-off articles for a range of different topics, it’s hard to present yourself as a subject matter expert.


When one cluster topic succeeds, it benefits the entire cluster

Due to extensive interlinking, it’s easy to redirect traffic from high performing content to other related content. This is also helpful in keeping the user hooked to your website as they hop from one topic to another. The results are lower bounce rates and higher average time on page.


Your entire website is optimized for domain keywords

Multiple results on SERPs, domain expertise, evenly distributed traffic on the entire cluster, and a high user attention span collectively establishes your website as a trustworthy source on Google.

Before you know it, your content will start appearing at the top of search results for a lot of search queries related to your industry.


How To Create An Effective Topic Cluster Model

Topic Cluster ModelSo how to actually get started with creating the right cluster topic model for your content strategy? Here’s a quick process with useful actionable tips:


1. Define Your Pillar Content

The first step is to concretely define your pillar topic. The right pillar topic for your business will be the one:

  • That addresses the needs of your potential buyers
  • Presents you as an expert in your industry
  • Helps your potential buyers make an informed purchase of your product/service

Remember, your pillar content should be very broad with the possibility to generate more subtopics. For example, “how to generate leads using content marketing” or “top user-generated content strategies” may not be suitable as pillar topics.

Instead, your pillar topic can be “Content Strategy” and the two topics mentioned above can be a part of its cluster topics.


2. Keyword Research For Cluster Topics

Once you have defined your cluster topic, it’s time to brainstorm and find all the subtopics related to the pillar content.

An even better approach would be to first find the keywords related to your pillar topic and then center your cluster topics around those long-tail keywords.

For example, if you just type “content marketing strategy” in the Answer The Public tool, it will give you a comprehensive list of long-tail keywords that you can use for creating cluster topics for Content Marketing Strategy.


After thorough keyword research and analyzing which cluster topics align with your marketing goals, you can freeze a final list.


3. Publish Content For Cluster Pages

Using your standard SEO practices, go ahead, and create content for your cluster pages one by one. You don’t want your content pages to compete with each other for search rankings. So make sure the target keywords are different on each page. 

In order to link pages internally, you can mention other topics in your blogpost. However, it’s not a good idea to provide the same explanation that exists on another page on your website.


4. Publish The PIllar Content Page

Now that all your cluster content pages are up and running, it’s finally time to create your pillar page. The reason behind creating the pillar page at the end is simple. By this time, you will know how and where to create placeholders for internal links to cluster pages. Moreover, you will not run the risk of writing something that could later turn out to be a good cluster page content.


5. Interlinking Pillar Page And Cluster Pages

The last step is to ensure that you have added hyperlinks in each cluster page, connecting to the pillar page. Also, your pillar page should have links to all the cluster pages. This is the main objective of the cluster topic model.

Here’s a sample cluster topic model for the pillar topic Content Strategy:

Key Takeaways

The cluster topic model for content marketing is a relatively fresh approach that leverages the rightly chosen topics more than the rightly chosen keywords. Structuring your content using this model will boost your search engine rankings. In addition to that, it will also make it easy for users to look for answers to their questions. 

You win half the battle by selecting the right pillar and cluster topics that align with your business goals, Go ahead, create the content, add hyperlinks, and watch your content killing it on the SERPs.