How to Develop Topic Clusters for Your Content
Use these 4 steps to determine the topic clusters that will be best for driving organic traffic to your business’ website.
You’ve determined your pillar content and written your pillar pages. Now what? It’s time to develop topics clusters.
Topic clusters show search engines that your website contains breadth and depth on a particular subject, which will help them decide to show your page over others in a user’s search for that subject.
Determining what topic clusters to use can be overwhelming — as can figuring out how to optimize blog posts that contain cluster content. Let’s take a step back and think a little about what a topic cluster is.
HubSpot Academy has a great succinct summary: “Topic clusters are comprised of a pillar page and subtopic content that you’ve compiled for each of your core topics.”
So how do you go about developing topic clusters? We’ve put together a four-step guide to get you started.
4 steps to developing topic clusters
1) Choose your topic.
This is all about determining where you can or strive to be a thought leader. Pick topics that are fundamental to your business, places where you can be a resource for potential buyers and industry peers. Define these topics with a name that summarizes the content it will address.
Chances are, you’ll have some supporting content already. Conducting a content audit will help you determine how much you have in place already.
2) Compile subtopics.
HubSpot recommends having “6-8 subtopics that address specific questions your customers may be exploring related to the core topic of your pillar page.” Other sources recommend between 10-20 subtopics. It depends on how broad your main topic is. (But if you can come up with more than 20 subtopics, your topic is definitely too broad!)
Conduct a brainstorming session with your team to think about relevant content that your target buyers would seek out when researching products and solutions.
Simple Marketing Now blogger Christine B. Whittemore suggests starting with identifying the problems your buyer persona faces. “Map out 5-10 core problems that your core persona has. Use research… to truly understand your buyer persona problems, including the world used to describe them.”
3) Develop pillar pages.
Now that you have a list of topics and subtopics, you need to develop your pillar pages. These pages will extensively — and broadly — cover each main topic, and they will include links to each subtopic.
Inbound Marketing Specialist Sarah Seward suggests using “relevant pictures, high-quality and interesting content, compelling headers, and any additional, related resources, such as a custom graphic visually demonstrating your expertise on a topic.”
Now it’s time to create your content (or brush up existing content you discovered in your audit). Be sure to link pages covering your subtopics to your pillar pages, using the correct anchor text. That means hyperlinking words that are relevant to the topic and subtopics.
Additionally, you can link subtopics together where appropriate. The more often you can create relevant links, the better.
Now repeat this process until you’ve created several topic clusters that best define your business. This SEO strategy will help ensure that prospective customers that are searching for products or services like yours will be more likely to visit your website and patronize your business.
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