Published on August 22, 2022 Create Content Clusters Like a Content Marketing Pro (Steps, Tips, Etc.)
Content clusters… You have to love ‘em.
They help you:
- Rank better on the search engines
- Give your readers a better experience
- Push your target audience deeper into the marketing funnel
- Make content ideation so much easier
We’re just scratching the surface, by the way.
That’s why die-hard content marketers are dead serious about developing content clusters before they write value-packed content pieces—the clusters flat out work!
If you want to create your own content clusters and want to know how content marketing pros do it, then this guide is for you.
Table of Contents
- What are content clusters
- Steps to create content clusters
- Tips for creating content clusters
What are content clusters
From a 30,000 ft. perspective, content clusters are an SEO strategy where content pieces are grouped.
Content clusters are linked together using internal links.
The Pillar content is the main content that links to several supporting content, known as cluster content.
The cluster content, on the other hand, also links to the pillar content and the other cluster content within the group.
Here’s an example…
Vista Social published an epic Instagram Poll Questions content with subtopics listing several poll questions for various industries.
The content piece could certainly be a pillar content if they published cluster articles for each industry and then inserted internal links to the pillar content and other cluster content pieces.
Pillar content: Instagram Poll Questions (Should link to all the cluster content)
Cluster content 1: Instagram poll questions for generating user engagement (Should link to the pillar and all cluster content)
Cluster content 2: Instagram poll questions for your client’s marketing campaigns (Should link to the pillar and all cluster content)
Cluster content 3: Instagram poll questions for real estate clients (Should link to the pillar and all cluster content)
Cluster content 4: Instagram poll questions for fashion clients (Should link to the pillar and all cluster content)
Cluster content 5: Instagram poll questions for food clients (Should link to the pillar and all cluster content)
Steps to create content clusters
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty and talk about how to create content clusters.
But before we talk about the steps, it’s worth pointing out that there are several ways to do this. Your process can be more in-depth or as simplified as you’d like it to be.
This guide is in the middle of an overly simplified and complex process.
Step 1: Come up with your main topic.
There’s a strong temptation to create clusters around topics that YOU THINK your readers want or need.
However, instead of jumping the gun on topics with just your industry knowledge or understanding of your audience, validate your assumptions using keyword research tools first.
After all, if you create content clusters based on keywords that aren’t used by your audience when searching online, you’ll fail to rank for meaningful keywords.
Here’s an example.
Theqalead.com published an article about the “10 Best Penetration Testing Tools for QA in 2022.”
The article is optimized for “Best penetration testing tools” or “Penetration testing tools.”
Check out their numbers below.
Considering the users’ search intent, the traffic potential or global volume of the keywords are certainly target-worthy.
(The only element missing is the cluster articles and the interlinking strategy. Once those are in place, the cluster groupings would be complete.)
Also, remember that your main topic should have subtopics you can write about as cluster posts. In our penetration testing tools example, the cluster articles can be reviews of the actual tools. (e.g., AppTrana review, Astra review, Acunetix review, etc.)
Step 2. Come up with your cluster content pieces.
There are several ways to further break down the topic of your pillar content.
If our main topic is “Penetration testing tools,” we can create subtopics (the basis for the topic clusters) that list several penetration tools.
Or…Our subtopics could also be written differently.
Instead of listing other tools, we use these instead:
- Most affordable penetration testing tools
- Most intuitive penetration testing tools
- Most feature-packed penetration testing tools
From both angles, we end up listing several penetration tools. However, the way we subdivide the sections is different.
Pillar post: Penetration testing tools
Cluster post: Penetration testing tools #1 review
Cluster post: Penetration testing tools #2 review
Cluster post: Penetration testing tools #3 review
Pillar post: Penetration testing tools
Cluster post: Most affordable penetration testing tools
Affordable tool #1
Affordable tool #2
Affordable tool #3
Cluster post: Most intuitive penetration testing tools
Intuitive tool #1
Intuitive tool #2
Intuitive tool #3
Cluster post: Most feature-packed penetration testing tools
Feature-packed tool #1
Feature-packed tool #2
Feature-packed tool #3
Step 3. Write and optimize your content pieces.
Consider these writing tips to improve the quality of your content pieces.
- Ensure your write-up directly answers questions or concerns your readers are facing.
- Use one to two lines per paragraph. This prevents you from publishing articles with huge blocks of texts—something that causes your readers to click away.
- Use easy-to-understand words.
- Use active voice.
- Write in the second person.
- Use Grammarly, among other writing tools, to give your write-ups a better polish.
- Make your write-ups actionable. The more specific they are, the better.
Use these tips to optimize your write-ups and make them search-engine friendly.
- Insert your target keywords in your titles, subheadings, meta description, image file name, etc.
- Enter your target keyword in Google’s search box, then include the questions listed under the “People Also Asked” section in your write-up. Remember to give meaningful answers to each of the questions.
- Insert images and other media.
- Mention your target keyword in the first sentence of your write-up.
If you’re new to SEO and need help writing keyword-optimized content, consider investing in SEO articles from reputable providers with proven results.
That way, you can focus on growing your business instead of spending countless hours producing content.
Step 4. Interlink your content pieces.
We already covered this, so here’s a quick summary of how to pull this off.
Rule 1. Link from your pillar content to all your cluster topics.
Rule 2. Link from all your cluster topics to your pillar content.
Rule 3. Link all your cluster topics together.
That pretty much sums up how to interlink all the content within your clusters.
- Be mindful of the keyword difficulty of your target keywords for your pillar and cluster posts. Don’t target overly competitive keywords. This advice is especially important if your site isn’t as authoritative compared to your competitors. If you’re using ahrefs as your keyword research tool, target keywords with a difficulty level of 19 and below.
- Feel free to over-optimize your anchor texts. You don’t need to worry about over-optimization if you’re linking internally. If your target keyword for one of your clusters is “AppTrana review,” then use that phrase as the anchor every time you link to AppTrana review from any of your pages.
- Don’t slack off on your content research. The success of your content marketing campaign is predicated upon how carefully you conducted your content research. Poor or no content research can wreck your marketing efforts.
Now that you know how topic clusters work, it’s time you roll up your sleeves and do the work.
If you have questions, ideas, or strategies you’d like to share about creating content clusters, feel free to add them below. Cheers!