Archive for May, 2022

Topic Clusters: The Most Powerful SEO Content Writing Tactic in 2022

May 17th, 2022 by Isaac Nelapana

In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King”, which was published on the Microsoft website.

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

This statement has probably never been truer given that the competition to get found (and rank) in search engines is more intense than ever, causing digital marketers across the world to adopt a content-focused approach to optimising websites for search engine ranks.

What Are Topic Clusters?

A topic cluster (or a content cluster) is a group of content pages on a website centered around a topic. It is similar to the hub and spoke model, wherein a single page, or “pillar page”, acts as the main hub, with several other related pages (spokes) linking back the main page. Pillar pages cover a broad subject area and usually include general industry keywords which have high monthly search volumes (and therefore are harder to rank highly on).

In the past, the Hub and Spoke Model was often used as a way for the spokes to lead searchers to the hub in order to generate leads for the business.  The hub, often a well-researched and lengthy white paper, was protected behind an online form requesting the visitor’s contact details before they could access it.  When used in relation to topic clusters, having the hub (or ‘pillar’) page visible to all (including the search engines) is paramount.

Internal linking – that’s hyperlinking from one page in your website to another page also within your website (including your blog pages) – has been an important SEO tactic for many years, but can lead to a spaghetti-like network of links.

Strategic hyperlinking from the topic cluster pages to the pillar page, communicates to search engines like Google and Bing that the pillar page is an authority on the topic, which should result in the page being ranked higher over time.

In summary, the topic clusters strategy is an organised approach to content creation, using a deliberate site architecture that guides the visitor (and the search engines) to the pillar page.

Why Embrace a Content Cluster Strategy?

In the past, Google mostly relied on keywords on a web page to determine its ranking in the search engine.  Now, Google has invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to look for synonyms, subtopics, and even the relevance of specific passages when determining how to rank your website compared to all the other websites in your industry.  Google is about answering questions of the searcher, finding people with the greatest expertise and listing those in the search results.

This is why topic clusters have become a cornerstone of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in 2022.  Focusing on topics, rather than keywords, helps you to think more broadly about the topic, and the questions that people might ask if they are looking for information on a topic.

The topic cluster strategy is also very helpful for brand new, or very small websites.  Such websites will likely have a very low Domain Authority (a measure of how your website is perceived by Google), which will hamper their likelihood of ranking quickly for competitive keywords.  By targeting topic clusters within your SEO strategy, you can work towards first ranking for less competitive keywords, gradually driving website traffic and improving your website’s Domain Authority over time.

Focusing on topics, rather than keywords, means that you and your SEO specialist should assess the performance of your SEO activities by reference to how well you are ranking for the overall topic.  Measuring the rank of individual pages within the cluster, you will aim to have their rank grow over time, followed by the ranking of the pillar page.  You should also ensure that you are assessing the website’s overall visibility and ranking for the topics you have identified.

Focusing on topic clusters will help ensure that your website does not have gaps in the content, that is, your site should answer all the questions that a particular target audience is likely to ask, and therefore have more likelihood of being found in order to answer the questions.

We will no look at how to implement the topic cluster strategy.

How to Implement Topic Cluster Strategy?

You will likely have more than one topic cluster discussed in your website.  Below I have described how to implement one topic cluster for the purpose of ranking well in the search engines across that topic.

  1. Choose a core topic

You need to start by choosing a broad topic that directly relates to your business. For example, one of Contactpoint’s services is the design and build of digital apps.  There are numerous topics related to this service for example:

  • app development – this topic brings to mind concepts such as using the cloud, APIs, microservices, re-usable components, and much more.
  • app financing – this topic could cover options such as bootstrapping, grants, financial institutions specializing in technology loans, venture capital etc.

A pillar page for the app development topic cluster could describe with the importance of planning your app technical design upfront, with the focus keyword being app development (1,900 monthly searches within Australia).

When considering what core topic/s, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does my audience want to know?
  • Can I build from this topic?
  • Am I able to break this topic into smaller topics?

These questions will help you plan the content for the pillar page, as well as ensure that you haven’t chosen a topic that is too narrow or not answering the questions of your target audience.

  1. Perform Keyword Research on Your Core Topic

Once you have decided on a core topic, you then need to determine all the related search terms / keywords that your audience might use to find information about that topic.  Using the topic cluster strategy will help you to maximise the number of keywords your website can dominate in the search engines.

Ultimately, you will assign a group of both short-tail and long-tail keywords aimed at improving ranking of each individual page / blog post that makes up your topic cluster.  At this stage, research all the related search terms, and then group them as best you can around the more specific question within your topic that they are answering.

At this it is also a good to research your competitors and see what they are writing about.  You can use tools like SEMrush to easily analyse and identify keywords that your competitors are using, or even not using well.

To help your keyword research, consider what problems your audience needs to solve and how they might search for solutions online.  Customers have unique problems at each stage of the buying journey, and so your keywords should reflect those shifting search intents at each stage.

For example, with the app development pillar page mentioned in our example, we might want to create top of the funnel informational content on the following:

  • Should I offshore the development of my app idea?
  • What will it cost to build my app?
  • Does my app need to be built in the cloud?

You should also consider the various buyer personas – specific cohorts of your target audience who have unique characteristics and reasons why they would want to engage you.

Another way to find related keywords is to consider the pain points of your customers. In our app development example, these might include:

  • How can I protect the IP in my app idea?
  • How can I ensure a quality app is built?
  • How can I get my app to market before my competitors?

Your keyword research will help you identify commonly used search terms by Australians (or other countries depending on your market) – short and long – and how often they are searched for.  You should be able to group these by sub-topic related to the overall topic.

  1. Outline the Pillar and Topic Cluster Structure

With your grouped collection of keywords in hand, now you need to consider your pillar page and all the individual pages that will link back to the pillar page forming the topic cluster.  While the pillar page should cover the topic in a broad sense, the individual pages within the cluster will go deeper and focus on the finer details of a sub-topic.

The pillar page will link to each of the detail pages, and those detail pages will link back to the pillar page.

Using our example app development pillar page, to assist us to grow our client base for app projects, the pillar page could briefly describe all the steps involved in the development of an app, and touch on best practices.

Then, sub-topic pages could be written explaining key concepts, such as how APIs work and the benefits of including an API in the structure of your app, as well as pages addressing the top of funnel content and pain points mentioned earlier.

  1. Produce Content

Once you have outlined your pillar page and the individual pages within the cluster, you are ready to produce high quality content that aligns with search intent.  Since your competitors could be writing about similar topics, you must try to avoid rewriting what others have written and instead, strive for unique, authoritative content.

Avoid keyword stuffing: When writing individual pages within the topic cluster, always optimise the page for one focus keyword.  Contactpoint recently published an article detailing how businesses can use Pinterest in their overall digital marketing strategy to find and attract new customers. This post was optimised for the term Pinterest marketing, with a few secondary keywords naturally sprinkled across the blog post.  In such long-form blog posts (1500+ words), there is no need to repeat the one keyword over and over (aka ‘keyword stuffing’).  Instead, keywords and phrases and can be strategically inserted across the length of the page, while ensuring that your content ranks.  Remember, Google now understands synonyms and related terms.

Focus on quality: When writing an individual page within your cluster, don’t just write it for the sake of linking it to the pillar page.  If you want your audience’s business, you must value their time.  An ideal individual page would be the result of careful thought, research and planning, keeping in mind all the search queries of your audience and the services you provide.  Write in a way such that the reader will not have to look in other places to find more information on the topic.

In order for Google to determine that your page is a good answer to a searcher’s question, your page will need contain content that establishes your expertise.

Be clear and precise:  Each individual page needs to clearly answer people’s queries.  Don’t leave them guessing after they land on your page / article.  For example, Contactpoint recently wrote a blog post for a childcare provider based in Melbourne looking for individuals to come onboard as licensees to their childcare franchises.  In the blog post, we touched on the following areas:

  • Why choose our client’s brand?
  • What support will I receive?
  • What do I need to do in order to own one of the brand’s franchises?
  • What are the current opportunities available?

We wrote the blog from the viewpoint of a potential licensee.  If we were trying to sell to a businessperson with money to invest in a childcare franchise, what are the most critical things he or she would want to know before becoming a franchisee?  Armed with these initial questions, use your page content to start answering them in a logical manner and end by inviting them to reach out to you for a detailed discussion.

If you already have a long form content within your website, you might like to review it for the purpose of making it a pillar page for your topic cluster, and linking it out to existing (and new) sub-topic pages.

It might not be practical for you to create every sub-topic page at the outset; additional detail pages can be added later.  Although, obviously the sooner you have all the content in place the better, so that Google can see that your content answers all the questions of a particular segment of the marketplace, and can detect your authority.

  1. Tie it all together through Internal Linking

Once you have written the content for the pillar page and all of the sub-topic pages comprising the topic cluster, you must ensure that all the content works together through internal linking.

As mentioned earlier, ensure that the pillar content remains at the top of the content hierarchy by linking out to the various individual pages from the pillar page, and then linking the sub-topic pages back to the pillar page.  This communicates to Google the relevance of the pillar page and its relationship to the whole cluster of pages.

  1. Measure the Results

Once your topic cluster is in place, your SEO metrics should be tailored to check on the results of the topic cluster, as well as individual keywords and pages.

You are now interested in understanding:

  • How many first page ranks do we have across our topic cluster, and how are they moving (up or down)?
  • What ranks does the pillar page have for searches on relevant search terms?
  • How many people are arriving at our website via the sub-topic pages, and what did they search on to find them?
  • How many people are arriving at our website via the pillar page, and what did they search on get there?
  • How many people are converting (e.g. calling us, filling in a form, taking a pre-defined action …) from the sub-topic pages, and from the pillar page?

Improve Your Inbound Marketing efforts with Topic Clusters

Topic Clusters helps your website content to be more visible to your target audience.  Each individual page gives you the freedom to explore a specific area in detail.  This highly related content makes it easier for Google to crawl and index all your website content.


Need help with creating Topic Clusters? Contact the digital marketing experts at Contactpoint.

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082, booking a meeting with us, or send an email to

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