You created good quality content. You have a good on-page SEO, a “good backlink profile”
Still, your website is stagnant!
Yes your growth can stall despite these three mainstays of SEO
What do you do now?
You need to look at topic clusters. wait .. are you using topic clusters effectively?
That is what we are going to discuss.
The fundamental reason why I am making these videos is to share what I know and experiment when it comes to SEO, conversions, etc but also to produce stuff that is fresh and relevant in SEO.
SEO is ever-changing
but in the last two years every Google update .. kind of .. gives you a reflection on where SEO is moving. One of the key things that have changed is the shift from keyword-centric SEO.
Google is promoting stuff based on Topics rather than keywords which makes traditional Keyword research based on volume, competition .. somewhat irrelevant.
and not many people in the online world are talking about it.
That’s why the concept of topic clusters is so important to understand and implement if you want to rank on multiple keywords on a given topic.
A topic can be regarded as a collection of keywords that explain the subject matter.
You need to have a solid pillar page that comprehensively describes the topic and then this pillar page is connected with other supporting sub-pages on the topic.
Topic Cluster Examples
The best way to understand a good topic cluster is through an example. Before we get into the example, let me show you a simpler version of the topic cluster.
Zerodha Varsity Pillar Page and Topic Cluster
Varsity is Zeroda’s main page where they teach financial education. As you can see there are multiple modules listed here.
Each module has further chapters.
In each module, there is a menu on the left side that allows users to access all the chapters. Notice the URL structure.
Now if I show you the directory structure, you can see how the subpages are laid under the pillar page or the category page “Varsity”.
Here is another excellent example of pillar page and topic cluster
Drift Chatbot Pillar Page & Topic Cluster
The goal of the Drift chatbot pillar page is to provide a solid resource on chatbots to build authority on the topic of chatbots. They have put in an introduction and followed by how chatbots work including a catchy graphic.
Look how they have covered related questions like
What are the benefits of a chatbot?
Why they are important?
and how to create a chatbot?
All these make it a perfect pillar page. Notice how it is targeting so many keywords and genuine questions that a user may ask who is interested in chatbots.
If you look closely all these sub-topic or questions that have been touched on the pillar page are explained in the subpages. These subpages are linked via relevant anchor text to this pillar page making it an excellent topic cluster
Check the side menu and the URL structure on the pillar page. All the subpages are under the main pillar page. Here is the directory structure of this pillar page.
This illustration will make things more clear on how subpages have been laid out physically
How do you find out Topic Clusters?
First of all, you need to have is buyer personas crafted in detail to understand what they may search for and need or what are their problems related to this niche.
People go to Google to solve their problems! You need to understand their intent.. their problems. You need to ask what problems my topic cluster is solving for my targeted customer.
Another way is to use your keyword research and find broader topics. You will find a lot of informational questions that will help you identify topics.
If you look at that Drift Chatbot example, it is a classic case of finding all problem-solving questions related to a chatbot and using them in your topic cluster.
You can do that by putting all your keywords in an excel sheet and start mapping your keywords to a broader topic.
Create a separate sheet for each topic in the worksheet. If you are interested I can create a sample worksheet and update this post with a link to download. Let me know in the comments.
Be careful while defining topic clusters as you may end up using a very broad topic and it will defeat the purpose of a topic cluster.
Always look at the volume of the main topic, roughly it should be somewhere in the range of 10,000 – 15,000. You don’t want a topic to be too narrow or as broad as 50,000 or 80,000 monthly searches.
Another good option is to search for topics and subtopics on AnswerThePublic.com.
Put your seed keyword and it will map out so many relevant topics that you can export into excel and start creating your topic clusters.
Creating all topics and subtopics in an excel sheet is a must so that you know what content you need to include in a topic cluster.
and it will also help you to create a content plan.
Finally, Your main topic will be your pillar page. And the length of the pillar page can vary depending upon the topic.
It is a myth that you need to write 5000 to 10,000 words for a good pillar page.
In the chatbot example, I think it might be 3000 words where all subtopics were introduced whereas the Zerodha varsity example was a kind of index page for all modules.
There is no hard and fast rule.
The only rule is you covered your topic comprehensively and try to make it the best resource about that topic on the web.
- What is a Content Brief that a content writer should follow?
- How do you write an SEO-friendly pillar page?