What are Content Clusters, and How Could Your IT Company Use Them to Boost Organic Traffic?

In this article, I will talk about the importnance of the content cluster strategy and how to impelment it into your marketing processes. I will show the connection between pillar pages and content clusters and provide examples of how to structure your website accordingly.

SEO is becoming an increasingly essential tool for improving company visibility and ultimately driving greater revenue. Websites with weak content but with "keyword stuffing" tend to be low-ranked by Google search algorithms. In short, the world of SEO has become more refined and more vital for your business.

Content is the main driver of website traffic and greater visibility. Today, the main focus of SEO is quality content that provides targeted answers to inquiries. When optimized professionally your content is the magnet that attracts customers. Here we discuss сluster content strategy as a powerful new way to boost organic traffic.

Working on content

Content Clusters vs. Pillar Pages

Content clusters are completely dependent on optimally constructed pillar pages. Let's dive straight into learning exactly what this all means.

What is A Content Cluster?

Today, SEO is shifting towards a topic cluster model, where one pillar page serves as the main content page with links elsewhere (i.e., to content clusters). Cluster content refers to the supporting content pages that you develop around your pillar pages. The more content pages you have, the better your placement will be in search engine results pages. Impressions and views also increase with the number of links.

Topic clusters rearrange the architecture of your website. Clusters of content that cover a topic area stem from a pillar page that outlines the topic. We illustrate this idea below. By linking all internal content within the topic to a pillar page, search engines can easily scroll through the content and understand the semantic relationship between the pages' content. The cluster content strategy also helps search engines understand that the pillar page contains deep and broad information. Thus, higher search placement in Google is guaranteed. This linking action shows search engines that the pillar page is an authority on the topic and, over time, it can rank higher and higher. So, the cluster content strategy organizes your website content pages with the help of cleaner and more deliberate website architecture. Topic clusters can significantly impact SERPs. Research experiments show clear data that the more interlinking there is between pillar and content pages, the more often these pages appear in search results.

Content cluster structure

What is A Pillar Page?

A pillar page is a broad website content page that consists of and is connected to a topic cluster covering the subject area in more detail. Usually, it's a landing page or website page where the content is comprehensive, available without providing any personal user information, and contains numerous conversion points. Pillar pages can be used to host your own media (e.g. reports, blogs, videos) or serve as a page that links to useful content. You can transform your product or service pages into pillar pages.

What Is Internal Linking?

Internal links connect your various content pages together. They help your readers navigate through your website to find relevant information on related topics. Internal links also help crawl and index your website. They increase your chances of getting higher page scores and getting your content prioritized.

Practices for working with internal links:

-Prioritize links that are not easily found on navigational menus. "Deep-linking." It allows Google bots and end-users to navigate your website beyond what is seen on the surface.

-Try to avoid linking images.The best practice is to use anchor text instead, as we've done in this sentence. When you link your anchor text, make sure it's clear why you used this phrase, sentence, or word. If you link to content that doesn't add value to the user, this decreases online user trust.

-Add links to the most important pages. It helps you to concentrate link value and pass authority to the most important pages, and will also signal search engines that this page is important.

-Always check out the health of your internal links. Links can break or direct to irrelevant pages. Make sure that you don't miss opportunities to add links to pages that contain internal links.

-Don't overuse the links. Many SEO specialists can't really quantify what Google considers "link overuse." A good rule is to keep the reader first in mind when adding links and consider whether they really want to scroll through a sea of links on one page.

When links, pillar pages, and content clusters work together powerfully, they enable your business to create high-quality content that is targeted and meaningful for your audience and is extremely easy for search engines to crawl.

Why is Content Cluster Strategy So Vital? Benefits of a Content Cluster Strategy

The benefits of a content cluster strategy include:

-Improves the user experience. If you've ever landed on a website for an article on a topic and discovered that that article is the only one on the website, you know how frustrating it may feel. The majority of readers expect to find other related content on the website. When they don't, it badly affects the quality of the user experience. Visitors can easily waste their time in search of the content they want. So, when creating content, it's crucial to create a pillar page that includes links to all related content. In this case, the visitor will quickly notice the related content and won't lose time.

-Simplifies your content creation process. If you don't know what you will be writing about next week, you will spend a lot of time generating new ideas and won't be able to focus on the writing process. The content cluster strategy simplifies your content creation process. When you know that you need to cover 20 sub-topics for your content cluster, you can easily create more comprehensive content and generate ideas.

-Focuses on writing. The process of creating content doesn't happen accidentally — it requires planning. Instead of spending too much time generating new content, you can look at your content cluster strategy plan and choose the topics on which you want to focus.

-Puts your websites in order. Since you know what articles and blog posts are coming, you can create pillar pages in advance and add the content to them when it's ready. This also means that visitors can go straight to a relevant page after reading your blog post or article, whether that's a previous post, a link that will take them to other pages, or a different way of keeping your readers on your site.

-Better search results. Creating relevant content within a specific category leads to better search results. If a user searches for a specific topic, the results will show the matching content and other relevant information. That's why if you create more content on a similar topic, the chances of readers interacting with your content are higher.

-Signifies the authority of your website. When you cover a topic completely on your website, the search engines consider it trustworthy. In this case, the website has a better rank and receives a bigger audience. That's why it's necessary to link the main page to other pages: interlinking among content pieces is important for easy navigation.

How To Create Content Clusters and Choose Topics For Them

Creating content clusters requires time and effort. Do not expect immediate results — a long and considered process will take time, but will definitely lead to benefits. We recommend you follow our step-by-step guide on creating a content cluster strategy:

Step 1. Audit your current content

Identify what content pieces you already have on your website and how they are related. Are there interlinks? Are they broken? If you already have well-optimized and interlinked content and a core topic to work with, then all you need to do is to structure the pages and check if you need more topics to cover. But, if your content looks a mess, start with step two.

Step 2. Analyze your goals and brainstorm topic clusters

Before working with your content, analyze your business goals and answer the following questions:

-What are you going to achieve with a new content cluster strategy?
-What conversion goals are the most important for you?
-Are there any service areas you would like to focus on more than others?

Once you have identified your goals, you have solid ground to audit your content and build out your content clusters. The first step to building a pillar page and content clusters is to identify topics that are relevant to your business. Ask yourself what solutions your readers are trying to find on your website, what you want to become an authority on, and what pain points your readers have. Brainstorm as many topics as possible and then narrow them down to five to seven. When choosing one topic from the variety you've thought of, choose the one that meets the following criteria:

-The topic is broad enough to write several articles on it, so you can write a lot of content to cover everything about it

-The topic is relevant to your business and is interesting to your target audience

Next, write down the topic and subtopics and create a visual map of the topic cluster. In order to create the subtopics, you will need to research relevant keywords.

Step 3. Research keywords

First, enter your blog URL into Ahrefs site explorer, Google Analytics, or Google Search Console. The tool will show you the keywords you are already ranked for; i.e., what you already have. Then inspect your competitors' blogs to find relevant keywords that they are ranking for and your website is not. Put all of your keywords into a spreadsheet with their volume and keyword difficulty indices. This data in your spreadsheet will help you understand which topic or subtopic you should prioritize. If you already have existing articles that don't fit under subtopics, you can link them to the main topic where it's relevant or create a subtopic called "other." Keep in mind what your ideal customer wants from your brand and provide this information. SEO is an investment: it doesn't bring immediate results. In order to keep your ranking high, regularly create content, update your website, and check for broken links.

Step 4. Create a pillar page

If you are starting from scratch, it's better to start with the main page first. It's important to get your main page to rank for a competitive keyword, which is harder than trying to get your supporting articles to rank for less competitive keywords. Collecting backlinks early can help with your main page's ranking on Google. So, it's unlikely that you will rank well immediately unless your blog has a strong domain authority. Marketers who have to show results quickly might choose to write the supporting articles first.

As a rule, there are two types of main pages. The first is a pillar page known as an "ultimate guide" that gives a comprehensive overview of the topic. The second type looks like a table of contents with a summary of each subtopic and a call to read other related articles.

Step 5. Set up content clusters

For many companies, the easiest way to place supporting articles is to publish them on their blog. Your topic clusters should always be relevant and helpful to your readers. Take into account your keyword research and create cluster articles that both narrowly cover the topic and can be logically linked to a pillar page. For example, if you have a pillar page on content marketing, a content cluster page may zoom in on how to create a content marketing strategy, why proofreading is important for your website, or which metrics matter in content marketing. The main idea is to think of content in terms of valuable topics your company wants to compete in, rather than single keywords.

Step 6. Implement internal linking

Once your clusters and pillar pages are established, it's time to use hyperlinks. All content clusters should include a link to the pillar page, and the pillar page should be organically interlinked with cluster content. The more links (both internal and external) your website has, the more authority it will have from search engines. Over time, when your ranking stabilizes, you can link a chain of clusters to a related topic. But the process doesn't end here. It's important to update new content regularly. Each time you publish a new piece of content for your clusters, make sure that you link it appropriately to your pillar page. This way, you will keep your website's content updated and fresh.

Final Thoughts

Creating a content cluster strategy can be a powerful way to reorganize your existing website or identify content gaps. Whether you already have a well-performing website or have just started building your website from scratch, a content cluster mindset can help you generate topic ideas, structure your content, and broadly make your website visible to internet users. To implement it, you can hire a content marketing team or do it yourself. Either way, the results will make you happy.


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