Google Strikes Again
We survived Mobilegeddon in 2015 and the most recent resurgence of Mobilegeddon 2.0, but recently Google has again changed the way their algorithms are scanning content and producing search results.
Enter, topic clusters. A topic cluster is a collection of content that cover smaller themes within an overarching topic. Though topic clusters is not a new concept, Google’s algorithm changes, are making them increasingly important.
Google search algorithms now understand phrases and topics not just individual keywords. For example, previously you might search for “content marketing” hoping to get an article explaining what is content marketing; where today you would search “what is content marketing?” and you would hope the first search result would answer your question exactly.
How Will This Work?
Think of topic clusters as umbrellas that house individual sub-topics and keywords. If we continue with content marketing as the topic cluster some of the other ideas that fall under this would be: blogging, case studies, lead generation, etc.
If you have content pages around the keywords such as “5 Tips to the Perfect Blog Post” or “Get the Leads You Want – Lead Generation Tips”, then those pages would link back a main page that explains what content marketing is and how it breaks down. That main page is called a pillar page.
Still confused? Check out the image below from HubSpot that shows the visual relationship of pages on your website with the pillar pages:
How Can I Get Started?
First, take a breath. Then comb through the pages and content on your website and start to make a list of the keywords and topics of each page. Once you can see what you have written about see if there are any overarching topics of themes that can be your cluster topics. Next, determine if you have adequate pillar pages for those cluster topics or if you need to create new content to anchor the other smaller sub-topics.
Remember, the pillar pages should answer any overarching topic question (what is it, how can I use it, etc), but also makes sense for other pages to link back to this page.
Why Should I bother?
While you may initially think about making this change just for the sake of search result pages, it’s also a good exercise to review what content you have and what could be added. If you see you have a lot of similar content, see what page could be a pillar page to link it all together; or conversely if you have a lot of random topics on your website, think about creating more pillar pages to root the content under a few umbrellas.
Not only will it boost your search engine standings, it will provide more relevant and helpful content for your readers and those people are why you created the content in the first place.