By Peter Boyd, Florida attorney and founder of PaperStreet
Topic clusters are several pieces of content that group together because they share a topic or subtopic. What is the significance of topic clusters for our discussion? You can leverage them to help boost your site’s organic traffic.
Collectively, these clusters offer comprehensive information on a specific subject. Traditionally, they are grouped as interlinked web pages. The topic starts broad and then branches off and links to more focused subtopics.
Let’s dive into their importance, as well as some strategies for boosting your organic traffic.
The Importance of Topic Clusters
Years ago, it was easy to gain website traction by focusing on and targeting one keyword per page. Unfortunately, too many people did this and the internet rapidly became overrun with spammy websites and pages without much value. Today, Google ranks specific pages higher if they target entire topics.
Sites that feature multiple types of content thoroughly will most likely outperform websites that have less authoritative pieces. Here are some key reasons to incorporate topic clusters into your site’s content:
- Increased Engagement: Keeping people on your site is essential. If you have a lot of unique content that is relevant to your visitor’s interests, they will use your website as a reference and stay on it longer. Having a low bounce rate is essential for business owners who want to build a rapport with potential clients and affirm their industry expertise.
- Boosting Interlinked Pages: When the main topic page does well, the interlinked subpages often perform better, too, which may help a business place better for several search engine results pages (SERP).
- More Traffic: Topic clusters can successfully boost activity on a site, which will lead to higher organic search ratings, thus promoting a cycle of increasing traffic and conversions. That means your website will reach more potential clients.
The Best Approach for Topic Clusters
The best way to approach topic clusters is to look at them from an educational point of view. Creating a pillar page is important, as this is the page that acts as the hub for the topic, which then links to other sub-content pages that relate to the main topic.
I work with law firms on their websites and marketing efforts, so I’m going to use the example of estate planning. However, note that this structure is relevant for all businesses.
1. Topic Cluster Outline
The main pillar page will be “estate planning,” and the outline of sub-content pages that follows would include:
- Power of Attorney
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Asset Protection
- Charitable Giving
The bottom of each page should include an internal link to help navigate to the next topic, which also shows search engines that the subjects are related. As you can see from this example, the topic cluster becomes an educational reference that helps the site establish authority in the eyes of Google. Focus on topics that you want your website to be known for, including your specific industry or areas of practice.
2. Interweaving SEO Into Topic Clusters
To have pillar pages be useful, you still need to add strategically placed SEO keywords. However, knowing which keywords to choose also directly relates to the selected topic. I recommend using two tools to help find related terms:
- Google Search: Type in any search and at the bottom of the page, you will find related topics that Google is suggesting. For example, “Searches related to …” Use those results and click to find more subject relationships. You can go down a pretty deep rabbit hole, but you will find countless related ideas.
- Google Keyword Planner: For Google Ads, you have the ability to use Google’s keyword suggestion tool. Log in using a free Google account and use the tool to find related terms.
Having relevant keywords sprinkled throughout the page will help boost organic search engine rankings. In my experience, optimal keyword density is mentioning the keyword only 1-3 percent of the time on each page.
3. Writing Cluster Content
Going off of the above example pillar page, estate planning, the remaining subtopics have already been outlined, which makes it easier to start writing cluster content. Arm yourself with an outline and your keywords before diving in. I recommend making sure each page is between 1,500 to 2,500 words.
Most importantly, topic cluster content allows you to highlight your expertise on topics, while simultaneously letting Google know the website features strong organization and is an authoritative reference.
By incorporating topic clusters into your site, you can guide Google to specific content, which will allow clients to find your business online organically. If your site doesn’t include topic clusters, you run the risk of covering general topics, but not providing enough details to answer subtopics -- which is not only what interests Google, but also your potential clients.
Peter Boyd is a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.