How to create content clusters to boost organic traffic
Major search engines like Google have made fundamental changes to their algorithms to favor topic-based content. Google makes minor changes to its algorithm every single day. Most major search engines roll out 500-600 updates a year and release 2-3 major named updates. With Search algorithms evolving to the point where they can understand complex search queries and also the connections between searches (similar search queries), SEOs and Content Marketers need to adapt to these changes ever faster.
What are content clusters? Content clusters are a group of pages that revolve around a central topic. They are similar to a Hub-and-Spoke model used in transport, telecommunications, freight or distributed computing. To simplify my analogy, we need to create a central page that acts as the “Hub” for the content cluster and several “Spoke” pages that are related to the central hub page.
All of the spoke pages are interlinked to the hub page and the hub page links back to each of the spoke pages. The hub-spoke interlinking action signals to Search Engines that the “Hub” page is an authority over a topic.
Anum Hussain and Cambria Davies launched content cluster experiments in 2016. The findings from their extensive research tell us that the more interlinking we do, the better we are placed in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for a set of keywords related to a topic.
How to create content clusters to boost organic traffic? Creating content clusters for your website is a huge task. Not only would you have to restructure your website or your existing blog, but you would also have to build a lot of internal links from spoke pages to a hub page and vice versa.
Let’s get started with “Weight loss” as our central theme for creating a content cluster. The typical way of creating a content cluster is to start with a piece of content that covers the core topic and then branching out.
Listed below are the steps you need to follow to build your content cluster and rock your SEO!
Identify central topic You need to identify your core topic using keyword research. There are multiple tools out there – you can use Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMRush.com’s Keyword Tool or KeywordTool.io. AdWords Keyword Planner will also do the job. Simply plug in your core topic and a few variations into any tool to find our search volumes, competition, CTR Opportunity and other relevant metrics.
Check SERP results for topic competitiveness
This is more of a qualitative analysis of your competition on Search. Type in the core topic in Google or Bing and find out which websites are ranking for your topic? Will you be able to compete with these websites? Are you up against giants or can you easily rank for these keywords? Take a good look at all search results. Visit each and every competitor’s website and understand the depth and quality of their content marketing strategy around the topic you have chosen.
Find supporting topics for the core / central topic The key to finding supporting topics to your chosen core topic is to go back to your keyword research tool. A quick glance will tell us that there are a few supporting topics related to weight loss including “tips”, “supplements”, “diet”, or “food products”.
Now it’s time to turn to your favourite content recommendation tool. If you are clueless, you might want to look at HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator
Distribute content via publishing platforms By now you have figured out your core topic and have a list of supporting topics for which you need to create content. Before you go ahead and start churning out content, it is imperative to identify where you would be publishing the supporting content.