Topic Cluster vs Keyword Cluster

Topic clusters for SEO is a content marketing strategy to build and organize your content based on a centralized topic. Keyword clustering is a content marketing strategy where we take top to bottom approach to finding a niche keyword and trickle down to the long-tail keywords from those niche words.

Search engines are evolving rapidly over the years and they are getting smart with every update. With the latest updates to the Google search engines, the primary focus for ranking would be content! lots of high-quality content.

Long gone are days of keyword stuffing; new smarter search engines require new techniques of SEO strategy.

What are topic clusters in marketing?

Topic clusters for SEO is a content marketing strategy to build and organize your content based on a centralized specific topic.

This is something like a master-slave approach.

  • Choose a master topic to work on, this is basically the main and important topic or niche topic that your blog revolves around. In the SEO community, it is called “pillar pages” and the model is called the “topic cluster model“. The slave topics are those that, serve the master topic. The slave topics are supportive structures of the master topic and hence called topic clusters.
  • Each slave topic, in turn, is a master topic and has sub-topics that are slave topics in themselves and are cluster pages.

How do you create a topic cluster?

Say, Digital marketing is our core topic or pillar content. Now, choose the slave topics that are supportive of the master topic. Search engine optimization, Search engine marketing, Social media marketing, Content marketing, etc list of keywords could serve as the slave topics or topic clusters for Digital marketing.

Now, consider Search engine optimization as your master topic and research the slave topics around it. On-page optimization, Offpage optimization, Technical SEO, etc could now act as a slave topic to the master topic of Search engine optimization.

You keep creating the clusters around each master topic, by collecting relevant keyword groups.

You get the idea, right?!

topic cluster example
Topic cluster – Image representation

This technique is quite a powerful content cluster strategy for website and internal link building, not only you are building links back and forth to your web pages, but, also you are providing the reader with the value that is interconnected. This will keep the audience engaged with your site and that’s a good sign for google search engines to reward you.

Focus on building quality links around the topic, let the slave topic pages link to the master topic page alone, avoiding external links. You can provide the external links on the master topic page if necessary. This way you can build good link juice within the site. This is also a good internal link-building technique.

Pages with more internal links pointing to them are crawled more often. Source: OnCrawl.

Why should you consider implementing topic clusters?

  • Improved internal link building, thereby, increasing the chances to rank more pages in SERP.
  • Larger audience engagement within the site, as the topics covered are related to one another.
  • Builds Content authority of your website/Blog.

Cons of a topic cluster

  • Takes a lot of time to restructure the website around the main topic, if you have already established the website.
  • It needs a lot of dedicated resources & time to create content of such a large magnitude.

What is a Keyword clustering technique?

This is an inbound marketing strategy where we take top to bottom approach to finding a niche keyword and trickle down to the long-tail keywords from that niche word.

How to create a keyword cluster?

STEP 1: Do thorough research on what topic you would like to write about. Let’s say you want to write about automobiles.

STEP 2: Choose the master keyword for that topic;  you would want to write on “cars”. Now, “cars” keywords in itself has a wide range of search, around 10M monthly searches.

STEP 3: Which topic in “cars”, would you want to write about?. You can write only about “History of cars”, “Fuel and propulsion technologies“, “Emerging car technologies” etc… Wikipedia can help you here.

STEP 4: Once you decide on these two main keywords, you can start researching furthermore specific keywords to target.

STEP 5: Let us write on “Emerging car technology“, my research on this in the Keyword Planner, gives me more nice keywords:

 automatic braking
aeb braking

STEP 6: Drill down on “automatic breaking” gives me more keyword ideas.

Keyword ideas from Google Keyword planner

Also, if you notice, the Google keyword planner provides more ideas for your long-tail keywords. Target these keyword groups to build more topics in this niche.

Long-tail keyword ideas for making keyword clusters

Build similar keywords and use them to build your niche topic.

Let’s see a few keyword clustering tools that can help with this

Hubspot has a tool that can provide the topic cluster report

Answer the public is another place to search for topic clusters

Hope this was useful, let us know by comments, how you are using these SEO clusters in your writings.


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