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Topic Clusters: How To Create [Free Template]
Topic clusters are great for SEO and allow you to fully cover a topic and establish better relevance for the main topic. It also allows you to map out keywords you want to rank for further enhancing user experience and relevance between keywords if done properly
Producing content is actually pretty easy when planned out and that is why I am a huge advocate for topic clusters, content plans, and content strategies.
In this article, I am going to give away my entire content cluster strategy that will help you get better results from your website content, further enhance the user experience, and get more traffic.
All of these combined are a recipe for success!
What Are Topic Clusters
Topic clusters are clusters of topics that belong to a sub-niche of your niche. To achieve this you must first plan it out carefully.
Check out this illustration below to better understand what a topic cluster is and how it would look for a website using this strategy.
Topic Cluster Example
Here is an example of a topic cluster I. am working on for my own website.
I want to rank for the keyword SEO eventually so I am creating the main hub or pillar page then I will create supporting content that links back to that pillar page and vice versa.
The goal here is to plan out the content of your website and focus on these sections one at a time.
Also, it is important to know that your pillar page is the ultimate resource. It houses all of your supporting content with links to the relevant pages.
I will be creating tons of SEO related content that supports my pillar post and build that sucker up as juicy as possible. While doing this I will be ranking for longtail keywords getting lots of traffic and eventually I will get even more as I build out this pillar page with supporting content all linking back to it.
Unfortunately for me, I was unable to do that for this website because I had a few pieces of content that I needed to focus on outside of this due to my YouTube channel and just getting started with this website and YouTube.
I will be working it a bit backwards but still implementing topic clusters for my own website.
Topic Clusters And Pillar Pages
Having a content plan is crucial for the topic cluster content strategy.
To achieve this I always decide why my main topics will be on my website.
I then create pillar pages for these subtopics and these pages will have a ton of content usually long-form and will also act as a category page with a list of supporting blog articles that belong to that topic cluster.
You can add relevant links within your topic cluster on your pillar or hub page (both are the same) and this allows the reader to click your link to your topic cluster and further engage in the content on a deeper level. The pillar page is a more general approach on the subject but the topic cluster pages offer a more in-depth view of the topic.
It is important to remember that you need to follow your content plan and create these clusters in a way where they all link back to the main pillar page to build that main page up as the authoritative page on your website which will help you rank much better.
Most people call these silos and they work really well if done properly.
Pro Tip: I also link all of my pillar posts/pages to my home page. This builds up my home page where I have all of my guides and content that I feature.
Interlinking is powerful and I think that it is high up on the ranking factors list. If done properly it can be the sole cause of a significant boost in user experience and rankings.
Writing Pillar Content For Topic Clusters
Pillar content is crucial for any website or niche blog and especially long-form pillar content.
A pillar page is basically a broad topic with general information on everything within the topic. I create these with general information and link to supporting pages allowing the reader and Google a deeper dive into the topic.
I will also hyperlink to the pillar page from all of my supporting pages or posts to build up the link juice value of the pillar page. This is necessary to build relevance and to create these pillar hubs with topic clusters.
How To Create Topic Clusters
First, you want to watch this video. Once you have a better understanding of topic clusters and their benefits you can then move on to actually creating topic clusters for your website.
Be sure to target higher volume keywords with your pillar pages and create your topic clusters to boost the rankings of that main focus keyword or topic.
Step 1. Use My Topic Cluster Template - Use and print this Topic Cluster Template to write down all of your main topics and supporting topics. You will need to print page 2 for every main topic listed on page 1.
Step 2. Decide Your Pillar Pages - Write down your main subtopics in your niche. These are your pillar pages.
Step 3. Find Your Topic Clusters - Write down topic clusters (ie: supporting topics) for your pillar pages. This is usually done by answering questions for the main subtopics you are going after. Find as many long-tail phrases that cover your main topic as possible.
Step 4. It Is Time To Write Your Pillar Content - Write your pillar pages first. These will be the pages that house your supporting topic cluster content. This is a general broad rundown of the subtopic in your niche.
Step 5. It Is Time To Write Your Topic Clusters - Write topic clusters for every pillar page in your niche. Answer questions, give helpful advice, and target long-tail keywords for your subtopic.
Step 6. Link - Link - Hyperlink - Go back to each of your pillar pages and link to these subtopics or content clusters. Do this also with your supporting content linking back to your pillar page or main page for the topic. This step is crucial and it is part of my on-page SEO strategy.
It really is that easy when you fully understand it and have done it a few times.
Repeat these steps for every subtopic or topic cluster in your niche.
After a few months, you will start to see your website rank better for these clusters and win more traffic and more revenue.
I like to have days where all I do is research and plan content. I will spend a whole week sometimes planning a content site and planning topic clusters. You can always add to your topic clusters later but I like to have these written in bulk when possible.
I won't start a website without this because this is part of the research stage. I have a process for any niche I want to enter and this is part of the process. If I get stuck and cannot find enough topic clusters I will either exit the niche all together or go broader with my niche and turn that previous topic into a cluster for the broader version.
Why Use Topic Clusters
Google has stated that relevance is an important key ranking factor in their algorithm. You need to build relevance and to do that you create lots of content on one topic hence the name topic clusters.
Your goal is to become the authority for that topic and by creating the supporting content you are doing just that.
Over time your topic cluster content will attract backlinks further building relevance and authority in your niche.
- Establishes Authority - Topic clusters or content clusters help establish authority for focus keywords. By creating topic clusters and supporting content you are building authority for that topic while ranking for longtail keywords in the topic cluster. You are essentially the expert on this topic.
- Builds Relevance - Having a lot of content on one main topic by utilizing content clusters or supporting content you build relevance for the main focus topic. This will ensure better rankings in Google but more importantly, it also helps your users get a better experience allowing them to further dive into a topic.
- Keeps Your Website Organized - A messy website is not a good sign of authority and will likely cause users to hit the back button if they land on your page. Avoid this by creating topic clusters that better present the information on your website.
- Better User Metrics - It is a fact that topic clusters provide a better experience provided that the content is actually good and causes your user metrics to look fantastic. Longer time on site, more click-throughs to other pages, and better odds of a conversion to a customer are just some of the user metrics that will improve.
Are you going to start incorporating topic clusters for your website? What are your thoughts on this strategy? Leave a comment below. I reply to all comments.
I created this topic cluster template for my own personal use. I use it on days that I am researching heavily for any new niche or current niche I am working in. This template is amazing and keeps it super simple and creates a process for you to stay organized.
Download My Template