You’ve finally got your act together on the marketing front – or so you think. From paid ads to SEO, blogs, and email campaigns, you’re seemingly on the ball; proud of your carefully crafted plan, convinced you’ve solved the content puzzle.
So, when you come across a blog that highlights a new and effective marketing strategy – which you don’t have – it’s understandable if you’re a little miffed. But don’t worry.
In this case, we’re talking about content clustering. Marketing is always evolving and those that keep up are usually the most successful. In 2013, Google introduced the Hummingbird Update. This essentially made SERPs a lot more human and tailored to more specific searches. Since then, Google users have been able to access more accurate answers, relevant to what they’re actually searching for.
This is Google’s way of answering special requests – which means the content has to do the same. This is why content clustering is so important. It gives readers easier access to more specialist topics. While it can be tricky to get your head around, there’s no doubt that it’s an incredibly effective tool when you do.
What is content clustering?
Content clustering is a finely-tuned approach to content marketing. In simple terms, it’s a multitude of content pieces that all align under one common overarching topic – known as pillar content. If that doesn’t simplify things, then imagine it like this:
You’re a London SEO Agency, who want to write about email marketing (Pillar Content). Now, this is quite a broad topic. While you can produce loads of content for email marketing on one single page, there’s a lot to cover and your risk exhausting your reader or viewer.
Instead, it’s better to create a group of well-rehearsed and informative pieces that individually cover each specific area of email marketing and feed into the broader topic.
Pillar content and cluster content are also defined by different key words. For instance, a pillar page will pinpoint a much broader keyword; whereas a cluster topic will target a much more specific keyword, with a much smaller search volume.
You may be asking: what’s the point in all of this? Well, there are many reasons why content clustering is a must for agencies and marketers. The major reason, however, is to keep our old friend Google happy.
Why is content clustering important?
For a start, content clustering gives your website a really good structure. Not only does it look good, but it provides visitors with a seamless experience. They can easily navigate your content and jump from topic to topic, comfortable that what they’re reading is exactly what they were searching for.
But above all else, content clustering is there to impress Google. As with the majority of things in digital marketing, we must do our best to keep Google on our good side. Content clustering shows Google a well-structured and informative site, targeting specific keywords. If your content does this well, Google will reward you.
They’re looking for experts in certain areas. So, a tonne of different pieces of content on one specific topic is a great way to demonstrate this. Google has criteria that separate good from mediocre content, which determines how much trust they put into a certain brand or site. This is known as EAT:
Expertise – does the creator have the correct credentials and how accurate is their content?
Authoritativeness – how well do you stack up in that industry? Who’s been backlinking to your site and who looks up to you?
Trustworthiness – does Google trust you to provide honest and information? Who has backlinked or cited your site?
When creating your cluster content, your level of website expertise in your chosen field increases. Equally, as your blogs begin to rank your level of authoritativeness and trustworthiness will also be dragged up due to an increase in backlinks, citations, and regular informative information on the site.
How do you create cluster content?
- Go Granular:
As mentioned already, cluster content should target smaller topics. This type of content is all about building up to a bigger subject – the pillar page. So when we start small, we have a much better chance to create this funnel system.
It’s a good idea to work out a topic hierarchy. Then, you can direct all of your sub-topics towards this broad end goal. This will only improve your rankings.
- Understand Your User
It’s the number one rule in marketing: understand who it is your selling to. In order to maximise your cluster content, make sure you find out what questions your customers or viewers are asking.
This means you can target more specific and granular keywords which will ultimately get your content ranking higher. Google is always rewarding content that’s relevant to what users are searching for – so make sure yours is.
Again, this helps point viewers to other relevant content of yours. It also ticks a load of boxes for Google. By interlinking to other pages, you show Google the link between pages, as well as their relevance and value. Do this, and you’ll soar up the rankings.
So, there you have it – another marketing instrument that’s sure to boost your digital presence. It’s worth mentioning that this may not be a strategy applicable to everyone; so double check before you start.
By clustering your content, you not only simplify your users’ experience, but you make your website stand out for all the right reasons with Google. It’s of course these two who we need to impress. While it may be a lot to take on board, cluster content is relatively simple once you crack it. When you do, it’s an incredibly effective long-term strategy.