You may have heard of the terminology of a “long-tail keyword”, which is quite simply a phrase or term that allows you to rank highly in search results for popular topics. An example of a long-tail keyword may be, “What is a long-tail keyword”.

Many people produce content for their business based on long-tail keywords with a high search volume in the hope they will rank highly and get the sought-after click. What they don’t realise is that there are hundreds [sometimes thousands] of variations of these long-tail keywords, and the competition is fierce.

As you probably know, Google constantly changes the way it ranks websites and content, and they are now asking businesses to adapt their websites and site structures in response to the changes in consumers’ behaviour. This adaptation is in the wake of a new type of SEO strategy which will replace long-tail keywords and outrank content that focusses just on this strategy. And this is… topic clusters.


what is a topic cluster?

The idea is that you have written a whole bunch of ‘pillar’ content. This is so named because this will be your leverage to build the rest of your content off. Pillar content is basically the broad-brush stroke for the subject matter you want to focus on. For example, ‘How to prepare your garden for winter’. From your pillar content, comes your topic cluster. Winter gardens can lead to winter vegetables to grow and how to mulch to prepare your garden bed. Basically, a topic cluster is a bunch of interlinked pages from your website. Based on one core piece of content and branching out to more focused content pieces that support the subject more.

added benefits of topic clusters

So, what’s the story behind this? Well once upon a time, you would target one keyword per page. Your website would amount a whole bunch of keywords, a lot of them not directly linking to each other, but everything would be fine because the competition wasn’t as intense. Now, targeting entire topics is the key to success. Why? Because Google wants to provide its users with authoritative and trustworthy results. So, creating useful and representative content which focuses on one topic, rather than one-off pieces targeted to particular keywords is the answer to once again putting your website on top. Topic Clusters are like a vein of gold for SEO and Google.

where do you start in creating your own topic clusters?

Take a look at your Google Analytics or get your friendly marketing team to determine what content has generated the most interest with your audience. I suggest re-sharing all content a few times during different days and times to get an average of how the content was performing instead of it just getting lucky because it was a Friday, and everyone went on LinkedIn to pretend they were still working.

Once you have determined what content has performed the best, it is time for you to start fleshing that out. Think about where that content could go, what could it lead into, what builds it up and makes it more credible? Then write more of that! Map out all these content pieces, remember a strategy should always be at the core of any of your marketing efforts. Once you have a pillar piece and the cluster around it, make sure you reference the cluster on the pillar and pillar in the clusters. And voila! Now you have internal links, Google is going to love you.

If you need any help with Topic Clusters and your Inbound Marketing efforts, or just want to chew the ear of the businessDEPOT Marketing team contact us.


Originally authored by Tyson Cobb.