Sunday, November 24, 2019

Topic Clusters What They Are (And How They Can Boost Your Traffic)

Topic Clusters What They Are (And How They Can Boost Your Traffic) What do you think when you hear â€Å"topic clusters†? Your initial thought might not be â€Å"the future of SEO and content strategy.† That’s okay. It’s probably not the first thought your competition has, either. And that’s where the opportunity lies for you and your brand. In this post, we’re going to cover exactly what topic clusters are and how you can leverage them for your brand. A few key benefits here include: Higher rankings, traffic, and conversions. Greater authority with your audience. Improving the results from every piece of content you publish around a given topic. It’s time to take your  content strategy and keyword research  to the next level. What Are Topic Clusters (And How Can They Boost Your Traffic)?Download Your Free Topic Cluster Keyword Research Template Building effective topic clusters requires careful planning and thoughtful execution. With so many different moving pieces in the process from idea to implementation, you’ll likely find yourself looking for help along the way. With these free templates, you’ll be able to create everything you’ll need with ease. Download this bundle now and you’ll get: A Topic Cluster Keyword Research Template to store your topical ideas and keyword data. A  Marketing Calendar Template to plan out all your content. A Latent Semantic Indexing Infographic explaining how to use secondary keywords to create content that thoroughly covers a complete topic. Grab your freebies quick, and then let’s get down to learning. What Are Topic Clusters? A topic cluster is a group of interlinked web pages. They’re built around one piece of pillar content targeting a broad topic, linked to several related but more narrowly-focused pages. Seem complicated? It’s more simple than it sounds. Here’s a visual guide to what a topical content cluster might look like: For further explanation, watch this excellent brief video from Hubspot: Why Are Topic Clusters Important? Once upon a time, marketers could win by targeting a single keyword per page. Now, targeting entire topics is the key to success. There are a few primary reasons for this: Personalized search has made keyword rankings more fluid. Since Google tailors search results to individual users, keyword ranking positions are harder to calculate across the board. Search engines are better at understanding semantically related concepts. Advanced search algorithms are now better at understanding when multiple search terms are actually about the same thing. This means a piece of content targeting one keyword may rank for several other related terms. Google (and other search engines) want to provide users with authoritative and trustworthy results. One way to show your authority to people and bots alike is to consistently create useful and accurate content around a topic, rather than one-off pieces targeted to particular keywords. Here's why (and how) you should target topics over keywords:Collectively, this means sites that feature multiple pieces of content thoroughly addressing a given topic will generally outperform those with fewer, less authoritative pieces. As a result, the implications of this for marketers are clear. You need to be focusing on the big picture (and that means thinking topics). The benefits to this approach are numerous, too. Here are just a few: They keep audiences on your site. If you have tons of content related to your visitor’s interests, they’ll be more likely to stick around (and potentially purchase from you). When one piece does well, every interlinked page does better, too. Creating content around a topic often improves the search rankings of other similar content that’s already on your site. In some cases, this can lead to owning multiple SERP positions for a single keyword. They help bring in more traffic. As a result of increased rankings, you’ll bring in more visitors. And as we’ve established, they’ll be more likely to stick around on-site. This builds a positive feedback loop of increasing traffic and conversions. Sounds too good to ignore, right? That’s because it is (and fortunately, we’re here to show you how to achieve these benefits yourself). Recommended Reading: The Most Massive SEO Copywriting Guide That Will Make Your Traffic Soar What Do Real-World Topic Clusters Look Like? It’s easier to emulate something you can actually see, right? So, let’s take a look at two examples of sites applying this principle so you can learn from their approach. Example 1: Jeff Goins Guide to SEO Jeff Goins is a highly successful writer and marketer who understands how to present content in a way readers and search engines love. His beginners guide to SEO is a great example of this. First, we’ll look at the URL of his pillar content. It’s targeting a nice, broad topic (SEO guide): The body content is crisp, concise, and well-written. It summarizes the main topic and touches on some basic high-level questions a reader might have: Then, at the bottom, he has internal links to several pieces of related content targeting narrowly-defined subtopics around his pillar content: Each of these pieces of sub-content is internally linked to one another, too: Example 2: Moz Beginners Guide to Content Strategy The Moz brand is synonymous with search engine optimization and content marketing itself. They’ve spent years establishing themselves as a leading industry authority. So, it’s no surprise to see them utilizing topic clusters effectively on their site. Take a look at their Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy. It’s similar to the example from Jeff Goins above. Instead of being a series of interconnected blog posts, though, it’s built with a collection of pages directly on their website. The first page targets a simple question: â€Å"What is content marketing?† That’s a common query. Using Moz’s own Keyword Explorer, it looks like it gets a decent amount of search volume: The page is comprehensive (over 2,000 words- while word count doesn’t matter too much, it does indicate this is an in-depth piece). It also links to other relevant pages that help answer the searcher’s question: Near the bottom, each page in the guide makes it easy to navigate to the next one (the internal link in the button also shows search engines that each of these pieces are related): At the very bottom, you can easily access every chapter in the guide. Again, those internal links help show search engines these are all connected, with topically relevant keywords on each page covering an entire subject (content marketing): If you read the title of each chapter, you’ll notice each one tackles a different piece of one core topic. Many of those pieces also ranks well in organic search. Here’s an example of a search for â€Å"content ideation† (which is chapter 5): This illustrates a clear benefit to building dense topic clusters: when one piece succeeds, it pulls up the rest of the cluster with it. When one piece in a topic cluster succeeds, it pulls up the rest of the cluster with it.Getting Started: Selecting Topics Let’s get down to business and figure out how you can build topic clusters yourself. The first step is to identify topics that are relevant to your brand and audience. These could include: Problems your audience faces. What do your potential customers need help getting done? What you want to be known for. What topics do you want to be the Internet's top authority on? Things people use your products for. What do customers buy your product to accomplish? These are a few simple examples. Brainstorm Topics Like a Genius If you need to generate tons of ideas fast, try our simple three-step brainstorming process. Here’s how it works: Gather your team and spend ten minutes writing down as many ideas as you can think. Don’t worry if those ideas are good (yet). Just get them out there. Spend another ten minutes scoring those ideas. Nominate one team member to gather everyone’s responses and read them aloud (while keeping the original contributor anonymous). Then, have everyone on your team rate each idea on a three-point scale. 3’s are awesome ideas you need to act on, 2’s are okay (but need some work), and 1’s are duds. Spend the final ten minutes of your meeting narrowing down unanimous 3’s. These are your very best ideas and the ones that should get top priority for consideration. This process will consistently yield tons of great topics in a short amount of time. Recommended Reading: The Best 30-Minute Content Marketing Brainstorming Process Next, Start Doing Keyword Research If we’re targeting topics, does that mean keywords no longer matter? Not at all. Keywords remain as important as ever. When it comes to building out topic clusters though, the key is to create multiple pieces of content with different keyword phrases that all revolve around one central theme. To do that, we’ll need to select a core keyword topic for our pillar content, and several related terms for other pieces of supporting content.

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