Topic clusters: The future of SEO Learn now

The Topic Clusters, the strategy of the future in SEO, are nothing more than the organization of the contents in specific groups that revolve around the main theme, all in an interconnected way.

Digital Marketing is an area in constant change, and it could not be different. More and more technologies are emerging and change the configuration and the possibilities of dialogue between a brand and its public.

This covers all areas, including Content Marketing and SEO. And what have you done for your strategy in these points?

Companies and marketing professionals need to always be within the latest market developments to achieve better and better results in such a competitive scenario.

In terms of content and SEO, some of the biggest changes that occur today are in the way people search and interact with content and how the search engine reads and selects that content.

In this context and identifying these changes, some new concepts and practices are emerging, including the Topic Clusters.

Do not you know the term yet?

In this text, we are going to show you everything you need to know to understand its importance and start using them in your strategy right now!

What are Topic Clusters?

A topical Cluster is a form of content organization created by HubSpot based on the observation of changes in how online searches are carried out and how search engines respond to these questions.

In literal translation, “topic” means “subject” and “cluster” means “group”. Thus, Topic Clusters are groups of content that are organized in groups around the main theme in an interconnected way.

Before understanding better how this structure works, it is fundamental to understand where the proposal of the Topic Clusters arose as an important structure in SEO strategies and how these observations can be valid to achieve better positions in the search engines.

Why Do Topic Clusters emerge as a promising future of SEO?

The way people look for information is changing.

Although it was never plastered, the way that information was provided by Google a few years ago required that the searches are quite specific and the results varied according to the written words.

Today, however, the changes in the search engines – and even the way in which we relate to the Internet – means that the results of the search are more oriented by the user’s search intention.

Explaining better: today we can be more human when we “converse” with machines. If before that possibility was difficult, today the future promises to be more and more integrated between machines and human beings, even when we talk about SEO.

Not without reason, Google is investing more and more in voice searches, which are done in a more conversational manner, and that is one of the biggest SEO trends for the coming years.

It is clear that, in this scenario, it is necessary to understand and respond to the user’s search intention to obtain good positions in the SERP.

And if we can talk more with the search engine, the ideal is that we can submit several types of search naturally (as if we were talking to someone) and that the search engine will respond back, also in the most natural way expected.

And what does it have to do with the Topic Clusters? All!

The fact is that it no longer focuses on one thing. Although they are essential elements for the proper development of content and for ranking, you will not get good positions if you make a content thinking only of them.

That is why it is necessary to offer a context, and that is the proposal of the Topic Clusters. Through the contextualization mainly of related topics and a consistent internal link, the idea is to show the search engine that you have the best possible content to offer the user in an integral way.

But how does it happen in practice? It is what we will see now!

How do Topic Clusters work?

The Topic Clusters are an organized structure, so they must be done in a planned manner, so that it is possible to understand what is being done, have a general vision of the strategy and, of course, measure the results.

In a simplified way, a Topic Cluster has three main elements:

  1. Post Pilar
  2. Clusters
  3. Internal links

This web of organized content will show the search engine the relevance of your pages, optimizing your results in the search engines and having an important role in your SEO strategy.

We will see ahead how to define the pillars and clusters, make the links and structure a Topic Cluster.

Structuring a Topic Cluster

1. Post pillar

The Post Pilar is the center of that group of contents. As its name indicates, it works as a fundamental support structure for this group to work.

But how to define what will be the pillar post of a group of contents?

The general rule is that the content of the pillar must exhaustively cover a topic.

In practice, this means that the pillar post will be built around a keyword that usually refers to a broader issue.

Although there is a tendency that, in most cases, these keywords end up being head tails and funnel top, it is important not to confuse the definition and to think that a Post Pilar will always follow this pattern.

In addition, Post Pilar must have great relevance for your ranking and conversion strategy, addressing essential issues for your company that is directly linked to business objectives.

Thus, Post Pilar refers to how important an issue is for your company and how much you intend to work. It may be that the pillar is relevant to you, but not for other strategies.

Remember then to always make this previous analysis of the topics that are most important and deserve the greater focus of your content efforts and optimizations.

At the time of the election, it is also important to take into account the ability of this content to address broadly the doubts of users who searched for that term and, in addition, address several other issues internally, serving as a basis for other content.

A good suggestion is that more specific topics, which generally deal with long tail keywords, are not posts pillars. Although they are very important for your strategy, they can not act as a pillar because they do not provide all the breadth of issues and support that other posts need.

2. Clusters

Having defined your pillar, it is time to think about the contents around it, that is, the group of contents that will work together to transform your pillar into a page relevant to the search engine and thus appear among the first results of the SERP.

While the pillars deal with broader issues, clusters can (and often should) be more specific.

But, again, it is important to be careful. Do not think that this means exactly what they are half or funnel bottom contents, even if this tendency exists.

When defining your clusters, it is essential that they are addressed in a precise and specific way, without exploiting other matters, as is the case of the pillar. The cluster must commit to a specific issue and treat it as thoroughly as possible.

In addition, it is important that the contents of the pillar refer to and explore, even briefly, all the clusters.

For each pillar, in general, they should be thought between 10 to 30 clusters, although there is no rule defined around that number.

For example, considering keyword “Content Marketing” as the Post Pillar, we can think of some possible clusters, such as:

  • content marketing techniques;
  • corporate blog;
  • disclosure of content;
  • content planning;
  • content production;
  • copywriting;
  • content optimization;
  • how to learn content marketing;
  • content marketing books;
  • Content marketing platform.

And there goes.

To discover your clusters, I suggest you do a keyword search and discover the ones that can be included within your content. You can learn how to do this in this complete material on keywords and tools.

3. keyword dossier

Ready, now you know how to define a pillar and how to choose the clusters. But the work does not end there!

The pillar and its clusters must be interconnected, to show the seeker that they follow an organization and that you have authority on that topic. This interconnection must be made from the links, which leads to the following topic:

4. Internal link

Getting backlinks is one of the great goals of a good SEO strategy, after all, they are one of the most important ranking factors for Google.

However, many professionals forget that the internal link also has an important role in the success of the strategy.

Although they do not have the same value as an external link in terms of ranking, internal links work to show the search engine the organization of your pages, which are more important and the authority of your company in a matter.

Thus, in the structure of Topic Clusters, internal links are indispensable.

But it should not be done in any way. It is necessary to plan these links in the following way: the cluster must always be linked to its pillar. Although it is not mandatory that the first link is for the pillar page, it is recommended. It is also important to use the exact anchor (that is, if your pillar is Content Marketing, the link should be made in this word).

the pillar must link to the cluster again. When exploring the topic of the cluster in the pillar, you will not be able to give (and you should not do that) the same attention as in the exclusive content for the topic. So, place a “discover more” or make a simple anchor for the cluster.

Thus, you create a content network around your main content, so that it is connected and points out its importance as a whole for the search engine.

As you can see, all this structuring demands organization and, the more positions you have in your strategy, the task becomes more difficult. To help you in this mission, you can count on online tools of mental maps, so that you can organize your posts in an easy and visual way so that you can measure the effectiveness of the clusters.

Topic Clusters in the HubSpot

Do you remember that at the beginning of the text I told you that HubSpot conceived the concept of Topic Clusters? Well, although this is true, it is also true that this concept already existed in similar ways before.

Although the two concepts are not the same, they follow the basic principles of, through a consistent internal link and the production of content in a planned manner, get better positions for the main position and greater conversions for the strategy as a whole.

So, what is the HubSpot differential? In the case of clusters, the Post Pillar tends to be for a head tail, in addition to not being possible to make clusters with contents that can be pillars, HubSpot has created a tool for the organization of the strategy within its platform.

Thus, it is possible to organize your Topic Clusters in a visual, centralized and automated way.

But the best thing is that the company has developed a format to make your analysis much easier! Much of the manual work of collecting and analyzing data is saved, leaving easily visible metrics such as authority, access, and conversions.

In this way, you can see the effectiveness of a Topic Cluster, checking your efforts, identifying optimization points and working to improve the results.

The disadvantage (yes, it always exists), of course, is that this tool is paid for. On the other hand, if you already invest in software, I strongly recommend that you use this section to optimize your content strategy.

Did you get here? It is a sign that you can start applying the cluster’s topic in your strategy. They will bring positive results for your business and your content strategy in its entirety.

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