Website owners work vigorously to remain in Google’s good graces. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is vital to success, and many publishers rely on various SEO strategies to rise through the ranks of Google’s organic search pages.
Employing content clusters is an essential white hat strategy that assets website owners with on-page SEO.
What is a Content Cluster?
A content cluster is a group of articles written around the same topic. Rather than having one giant 10,000-page article about a given topic, content clusters allow writers to break the subject down into shorter, more digestible bites.
Content clusters allow writers to dive deep into every aspect of a topic, with different pages answering users’ specific questions about it.
Content Cluster Examples
Partners in Fire employs content clusters on a variety of topics.
A prime example is the content surrounding the web app Discord. Discord is a messaging service used by millions of people across the globe. It’s well known in the gaming world, but people use it for all sorts of things, from running businesses to connecting with friends.
Partners in Fire developed a content cluster surrounding Discord. Rather than write one giant piece on Discord, we have written over ten unique pieces, each deep-diving into specific aspects of the service. You’ll find an article on Discord bots, Discord Emotes, Discord safety, How to Use Discord, How to Create a Discord Server, How To Find Discord Servers to join, and more in our content cluster focused on Discord.
Content Clusters Versus Categories
You will notice, however, that Partners in Fire does not have a specific category for Discord. We started our cluster on Discord as it relates to gaming, so most of the Discord content initially fell into the “Gaming” category. Upon restructuring, we are slowly moving this content to the “Science & Technology” category, which is a better fit.
Content clusters are typically smaller topics than broad categories and should fit nicely into one of the other categories already present on a website.
Content Clusters vs. Topic Clusters
Topic clusters and content clusters are interchangeable. They describe the same thing.
A website owner will typically choose one phrase or the other, but you may find some who use them interchangeably within a post to target both keywords “content cluster” and “topic cluster.”
It is called a topic cluster more often as it has a slightly higher SEO search volume.
How Do I Create a Content Cluster?
Creating a content cluster is straightforward. Think of a broad topic you want to write about and consider all the different angles of that topic you can pursue.
After your initial brainstorming sessions, use an SEO tool like MOZ to conduct keyword research, which helps you discover related keywords you can write about.
For example, a financial blogger may write a content cluster on the main keyword “how to make money.” The top page, “How to make money,” would be their pillar page, but then they’d use Moz to discover related long tail keywords they can also write about.
As you can see from the screenshot below, the blogger may want to write posts about making money online, making money with YouTube, making money fast, and making money from home.
All these posts would fall under the giant content cluster about how to make money.
Why Content Clusters are Essential for SEO
Content clusters are essential for SEO because they provide vital internal linking opportunities and showcase the website’s authority on a given topic.
Backlinks are crucial to SEO, but many website owners neglect the easiest way to build a backlink: internal linking.
Internal links help Google (and other search engines) crawl and understand your website. They show relationships between your content and help users navigate your website, finding the exact information they want.
Content clusters offer an easy way to add internal links throughout your related content and to your pillar pages.
Google constantly promotes EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) as the top-ranking guideline. Content clusters help users with the “A” part by showing they are an authority on a topic.
Let’s consider two websites, both of which have a post on Discord Bots. Google crawlers cannot look at the content to determine which post on bots is better (maybe someday our AI tools will be that good!), so instead, they look at the other information.
One site has just one post, and the other has a massive content cluster surrounding Discord.
Which website do you think the crawlers will assume has more authority? Which would you, a user, think knows more about Discord?
Content Clusters and Niche Sites
Niche sites rely on content clusters for ranking. Many SEO experts advise you to narrow down as far as possible, making a website a giant content cluster of related keywords and topics.
Many bloggers employ this tactic for their sites and get positive results. For example, some travel bloggers focus only on one city, country, or region, becoming an authority on that specific place. Everything they write falls under the content cluster of that area.
You Don’t Have To Niche
However, many content creators and digital publishers discovered that you don’t have to niche down that far to be successful. Employing content clusters around specific topics can help with organic traffic just as much as niching down and doesn’t force you into a box.
Consider the big websites like Forbes and Business Insider, typically considered “Finance” publications, which also cover lifestyle and traveling. These examples show you can successfully cover multiple niches if you have a content strategy and develop ways to ensure your topics relate to one another in some way.
Using Content Clusters for Digital Marketing
Content clusters should be a vital part of your SEO strategy. Many website owners use content clusters as sales funnels for products or services or to rise in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for related keywords.
Many eCommerce and affiliate marketing sites use this strategy to drive traffic to their sales pages. They will write numerous blog posts about the products they’re selling and use these pages to funnel leads to the sales pages.
Bloggers also use content clusters to build their email lists. If they can drive organic traffic to specific pages, they can collect email subscribers and build their overall audience.
Creating topic clusters is an essential content-marketing strategy that most website owners must employ to succeed in the ever-changing world of digital publishing.
Create Your Content Clusters
If you’re a website owner, you probably already have content clusters but didn’t think of them this way.
Review your content and create an internal linking strategy to highlight your clusters. Consider whether you’re missing a vital post about a specific topic to add to your cluster. The more you can build your authority on a particular topic, the easier it will be to rank on page one and see the sweet influx of organic traffic.
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.