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What Is Content Clustering?

November 2018

Are you trying to establish your business or your website as an authority on a specific topic or industry? If so, then content clustering should be a part of your strategy.

Related: Writing Content for LinkedIn

Content clustering is rapidly becoming a go-to technique for both SEO experts and content marketers. Also known as topic clusters, content clusters have been developed by SEO experts as a matter of necessity. Not long ago, Google changed its algorithm to favor content that is informative and relevant on specific topics.

Understanding the Content Cluster Strategy
Here’s how content clustering works: you start with a “pillar” page, which is a bigger content page devoted to one overarching topic. The pillar page is your website’s central hub for the subject in question, but it isn’t the only page relevant to that topic. The pillar page should also link out to numerous sub-pages that delve into more specific nuances of the topic at hand. Those pages, at the same time, should link back to the pillar page.

Try to visualize this structure, and you will understand why it has been given the name “content clustering.” The pillar page is at the center but connects to a series of smaller pages all around it. The resulting diagram looks like a cluster, hence the term.

What Content Clustering Accomplishes
The core benefit of content clustering occurs because of linking. Search engines, of course, pay attention to linking on a website. When you have a cluster of related pages that all link back to the same pillar, Google rightly flags the pillar page as an authority on the topic. This classification is valuable because it will result in the pillar page climbing search engine rankings over time.

The linking aspect also has advantages for your site’s overall architecture and navigation. People searching for the topic you are addressing with your cluster are most likely to find your pillar page—at least if they’re using Google. Helpfully, that pillar provides links out to connected pages that explore different facets of the topic on a more granular or specific level. Your users can use the pillar page as a logical way to find the information they need.

Choosing Topic Clusters
Every website or business will have different topics that make sense as clusters. Typically, your clusters should be related to the products or services you provide. For instance, a law firm might have a topic cluster for family law. The pillar page would give a broad overview of your firm’s family law experience and the specific services you offer. You would then cluster sub-pages around this pillar page, discussing specific family law services in greater depth, such as divorce, child custody, emancipation, and more. You might also have links out to blogs or FAQs that answer specific family law questions or define crucial terms. Think of the pillar page as the sun around which all the more granular topic pages (the planets) orbit.

Do you need help setting up topic clustering for your website? Inherent can help you identify appropriate cluster topics and build individual content strategies for each. Contact us today to get started.