How topic clusters work
Cluster marketing sounds more complicated than it is. Basically, instead of writing one blog post or article about an idea, you’re writing on the main topic and then several other posts closely related to that topic that shares the same hyperlinked keyword. You don’t usually use the same keyword in some other cases, but with topic clusters, you’re putting all of your eggs into one carefully researched and targeted basket, providing leads with easy access to FAQs that they may have.
For example, let’s say your company sells natural car air fresheners. Your main topic could cover necessary information about car air fresheners and how and why customers should buy car air fresheners from your company.
Next, you write about several subtopics involving car air fresheners. These subtopics must be pertinent to the product(s) you’re selling and what your target customers are likely to type in Google. If you stray away from that, you won’t be helping your lead make a purchase decision.
Examples of subtopics for car air fresheners might include popular car air fresheners, new air freshener scents, air freshener sprays, and natural car air fresheners, to name a few. As your writing posts for your subtopics, make sure that they’re using the same keyword as your main topic (car air freshener, perhaps?) and linking each of your subtopic posts to your pillar article. Now anytime someone looks up one of these subtopics; they will have a direct link to your main article that connects them to your company.
Creating a topic cluster
Before creating any content, you have to ask yourself three questions:
- Why am I creating this?
- How am I creating this?
- What am I creating?
Because topic clusters involve creating multiple pieces of content, these questions become much more complicated. You’re researching five to ten interrelated topics as opposed to just one, and each of them has to be pertinent to nurturing your lead. Here is how you do it:
Research your target market.
Before even reaching out to your customers, do a keyword search on your subject to make sure that it’s relevant. You can do this using Kwfinder, Google Adwords, or a similar program. If it’s not generating enough traffic, then creating a topic cluster would a waste of your time. Find keywords for your subject or product that will be competitive, but not broad enough to where it will get lost in the Google abyss.
Determine your audience’s core problems.
You are trying to convince your lead that your product is a solution to their problem. However, no problem comes with a singular answer. Different leads may need your product for various reasons and need to determine why your product is better than that of your competitors. Surveying your buyer personas will provide you with multiple topics that are pertinent to write about.
Create a blueprint for your clusters.
By identifying the needs of your customers, you have a list of ideas that will form the foundation of your topic cluster. From this list, you need to group like-minded concepts that could become the subtopics for your main idea. Next, run keyword searches to determine their SEO relevancy. For an extra boost, use SEMrush to compare your topics with those of your competitors and find keyword gaps that will make you stand out.
Narrow down your list.
At this point you should have:
- A list of ideas from customer surveys and other investigative research. From there,
- A group of core concepts from this list that could become subtopics, and
- You have run keyword searches on these ideas to determine their relevance.
Now it’s time to compare the quantitative data from your keyword searches with the qualitative feedback you have from the needs of your customers. Create a weighted ranking system to find the best cross-sections that answer the questions “what customers are searching for” and “what searches are most relevant to your company,” and the best five to ten ideas from that should form the subcategories of your topic cluster.
Analyze and refine.
Once you’ve created your topic cluster, keep track of the posts that customers are being drawn to and which subtopics are leading them to the pillar piece that pushes them further down the funnel. If a couple of topics are proving to be ineffective, revert to your list of cluster ideas and repeat the process. No work is perfect, but this process is particularly suited for iteration.
More research, bigger payoff
Cluster marketing requires much more work than a singular blog post. However, when done well, topic clusters can exponentially increase your web traffic. Instead of having one post on one topic, you can have five posts linked to a single topic that can be found in five different ways. Think of it in terms of casting a net: instead of using a net that is one, you now have a net that is 5x5.
The leads that you’re trying to nurture now have:
- Access to five times the amount of content that your product or company has provided
- A significantly better chance of coming across a thread to the web you’ve woven with your topic cluster
- More confidence that your product or company can provide the solution to their problem
Experts believe that topic clusters are the next evolution of SEO. With an algorithm that’s as competitive as Google’s, claim your competitive advantage now by weaving a topic cluster web that’ll capture the leads in your niche.
Have you created a topic cluster, and has it helped increase your web traffic? Leave a comment below!