If it’s no longer worth storing all our content in a blog, how should we organize it? What is the purpose of the Topic Clusters strategy? And what can it achieve for you? Our second article in the series
Topic Clusters is a general name for a content strategy, also called “Content Hub”. It is an approach to content organization, where we gather around a thematic pillar or lobby page, all the knowledge around a particular content category. When we think of Topic Clusters we also consider hierarchy (i.e. which page sat in which position on the site), information architecture, semantics, and questions of expertise. All of those form one strategy, according to which we send the user to a central page, where all the information around the same topic is located. From the same page we will issue links to sub-pages, which will provide more angles and extensions in relevant issues.
2. Does every website have to use this strategy?
The simple answer is no. The more complex answer is – it depends on the goals of your website. For E-Commerce sites this strategy is less significant, and we will invest our resources in creating clear categories, improving the loading speed and the users’ overall experience. This does not mean of course that this strategy won’t be effective for E-commerce sites as well, but only if the content will serve the brand’s massage or will help the user make a decision to buy. For websites that write content professionally and are actively working in making information accessible to consumers, this is an important move. Such sites can be publishers, sites that provide academic content and also aggregators, that centralize information by categories and user intent.
3. How does it work?
We start with a research on user intent and map out the relevant keywords. The results will give us a list of topics and sub-topics, which users expect to find when they search for these keywords in Google. Each topic will be built as a Pillar Page, with the main topic (main intention) appearing at the top. From this page we will offer the users different types of content, which represent additional intentions, which are a continuation of the main intent. You can write new content from scratch, and you can use existing content and organize it that way. Let’s take for example our international client in the field of digital marketing, who wanted to be ranked high and take ownership of the phrase “Brand Awareness”. The customer’s need, in accordance with our recommendation, was to link his name to this phrase, by providing users with all the most relevant and useful information on the subject. In the main page we created, we included some elements – a clear diagram with relevant data, a table of contents with questions, which will take you to the answers on the page itself, and links to pages and other relevant articles. This page was the first step of a large content plan we created together with the customer, and which led to a 30% increase in traffic to the brand’s blog.
4. Will an increase in organic traffic increase conversions?
The premise is that an increase in organic traffic leads to an increase in conversions. At the same time we need to be precise and understand what conversions we are targeting. For example, one of our clients is an ad aggregator, and its goal is to connect people to all kinds of ad variations. In this regard the more traffic there is, the user will see more ads and we can expect more purchases and actions on the site.
For publishers, the goal will often be to increase the number of pageviewes, because this data allows them to sell banners / advertisements. Organic visits usually yield much more pageviewes per user, which is why they are so important. Beyond that, using Topic Clusters should result in an increase in traffic for an entire set of keywords (related to the same topic), which directly links the brand to the user’s intent. We should mention that when it comes to conversions (especially in E-commerce websites) , there are many other issues to consider – location of the lead form, UY/UX and so on.
5. Can SEO articles also be used for marketing purposes?
We don’t believe in “SEO writing” or content created solely for SEO purposes. Content should be something that the business owner / brand would like to produce and feel proud off. We can help identify demand through research we do, but if it doesn’t match the brand’s need it has no value. In addition, the content must be interesting, accessible, relevant the target audience and one that provides reliable and useful information. As we have said before, a good content item should be used by the brand in all its platforms, including the marketing ones.
6. Is Topic Clusters a recommendation that came from Google?
Google never provides such recommendations. Their common recommendation will always be to produce relevant, diverse, and quality content for users. It is important to note in this context that content is not just text – it can be images, videos, infographics, charts, tables and more. The content organization itself is also important in its adaptation to the user’s intent. The more we learn to match the format and the intent, the greater the chances of rising in positions.
7. Is this a one-time content project?
When it comes to SEO we never rest. Even for the content hub we created today there can be updates tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. If you consider the frequent changes in Google’s algorithm, and the technological development, which produces more and more features, you understand that this is a constant effort. A good example of this is the work we did with The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) on the 2019 elections. We started our work when we were ranked 32nd in Google for the phrase “2019 elections”, and with the understanding that the IDI will have a big competition with news publishers, which are updated daily, and are also the natural home of this content. In the weeks before the elections we organized their lobby page so that it would provide relevant updates according to the prominent searches. At the end of the elections, the page became a lobby/pillar page that showed not only the final elections results, but also included tables, charts and references to relevant articles. The result was unequivocal – first places in Google in a series of searches for key phrases, a huge increase in organic visits. With the pillar page we performed in the first place for 4 days. On average, the pillar page was in second place throughout the election period, after which it jumped to first place again. The IDI has become an authority in everything related to the 2019 elections, and therefore also could influence users in according with the values that are important to it.
8. So what now?
We invite you to talk to us and check which content strategy will suit your site.