The way that consumers are searching for information online is changing rapidly. With voice search on the rise, consumers are performing longer, more conversational search queries. In fact, 64 percent of search queries are made using at least four words.
The evolution of search over the past year has a direct impact on your content marketing strategy. Consumers are becoming much more specific with the searches that they're performing online, which means that your content needs to provide an in-depth, value-added answer to their questions to be able to earn a prominent position in search results. In a quest to provide high-quality content to consumers and increase brand awareness, some marketers are choosing to use topic clusters as a way to amplify their content marketing strategy and position themselves as an industry expert on a specific topic.
What is a Topic Cluster?
In recent years, the standard practice in content marketing has been to create content around targeted long tail keyword phrases. However, each time a new piece of content is published, it automatically competes with your competitors' content and the content that you've previously published.
On the other hand, with a topic cluster, you shift your focus towards targeting a specific topic that your want your business to be known for. Once you select a topic, you'll come up with a list of keywords that are related to your topic and link them to each other. Topic clusters are so effective because they eliminate the risk of having your content compete with other pieces that you're written and they boost SEO by creating quality backlinks to your content.
Another advantage to using topic clusters is that they improve the user experience of your website by making it more intuitive. Topic clusters help to organize content by linking related pieces of content so that your website visitors can find the information they need more quickly.
What Are the Key Components of a Topic Cluster Model?
If you're interested in giving topic clusters a try, you should know that there is an effective model for using this content marketing tactic. Here are the key components of a topic cluster model:
A pillar page is a lengthy article (between 3,000 and 5,000 words) that provides an overview of a topic. Although a pillar page should offer an in-depth discussion on the topic, is should also leave room for the different cluster content to answer.
Each piece of cluster content should be focused on a targeted keyword that relates to the topic that you want to rank for. The articles within the cluster should each include a link that brings the reader back to the pillar page.
Hyperlinks are a crucial component of a topic cluster model as they're what bind the pillar page and the cluster content together.
How to Use Topic Clusters in Content Marketing
Now that you have an understanding of how the topic cluster model works, how can you implement it with your own content marketing strategy?
While there are many facets that go into building a successful topic cluster model, here is a broad overview for how to use topic clusters in your own content marketing:
Step 1: Choose the topic that you want to be known as an expert in.
Since you'll be creating a lengthy pillar page surrounding this topic as well as several related articles, you'll want to make sure that there is enough information or "meat" for you to discuss. While you don't want to be too broad with your topic choice, you also don't want to be too specific either.
Step 2: Brainstorm your content clusters.
Once you've chosen a topic, it's time to brainstorm related topics to serve as your content clusters. As a rule of thumb, you'll want to come up with at least 5 content clusters. A great tool to use for coming up with related questions about your topic is AnswerThePublic as it provides insight into the most frequently asked questions about a particular topic.
Step 3: Review your existing content.
Have you already published articles that are related to your pillar topic? Taking a look at your previously published blog posts and seeing if you can connect them to your pillar topic will help you to maximize your current content and fill any gaps that you may find along the way.
Step 4: Link related content together.
You should make sure that the related content in your topic cluster links back to your pillar page and to each other. Your pillar page should also include links to the relevant content in your cluster.
All in all, the topic cluster model is so effective because it shifts the focus away from targeting long tail keywords to broader topics. This structure allows you to organize your content so that prospective customers can quickly find what they're looking for. At the same time, topic clusters boost SEO, which helps to increase website traffic, leads, and customers.
While the idea of topic clusters may sound attractive, implementing this strategy can be challenging. That's why you need our experienced team of content marketers at New York Ave on your side. Our strategic approach to content creation will help you to maximize your online visibility, increase brand awareness, and establish your business as an industry authority.
Contact us at New York Ave to learn more about topic clusters and how to use this technique to amplify your content marketing efforts.