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Topic Clusters: The New Generation of SEO Strategy

Posted by Kate Olson | Aug 30, 2021 8:24:00 AM

The main goal of creating useful, quality content is for it to attract the attention of your target audience. It doesn’t do any good sitting out there in cyberspace if no one is ever going to read it.

All of us in the marketing world know how hard it is to rank high enough to earn the coveted first page placement on a search engine. And if you’re not on the first page...I mean, when’s the last time you hit "next" at the bottom of your Google search page?


This is where the exciting content strategy of topic clusters breathes new life into your SEO ranking. And the fabulous part is that you can use all of that amazing content you’ve already spent hours of your time creating.

Effectively crafted topic clusters will provide:

  • Higher rankings, traffic, and conversions.
  • Greater authority with your audience.
  • Improvement in the results from every piece of content you publish around a given topic.

So let’s dig a little deeper into what it takes to construct the perfectly crafted topic cluster that will propel you to SEO front page status.

Topic clusters

Content topic clusters represent a better way to organize your website content so it stands out in the ever-changing nature of search behavior. They are a series of topically related content intended to build authority and influence in the eyes of both search engines and visitors.hydration_media_hubspot_topic_clusters.jpg

Topic clusters are comprised of a pillar page and subtopic content that you've compiled for each of your core topics. A topic cluster should contain around 6-8 subtopics that address specific questions your customers or donors may be exploring related to the core topic of your pillar page.

So how do you decide what key topics you should devote your time creating? First, start by defining your topic cluster with a name that summarizes the core topic it will address. HubSpot offers a very handy content strategy tool that will display the following three metrics in the core topic validation section to determine if this topic is worth writing about:

  • Domain Authority: This is a scale from 1–10 that determines how authoritative your domain is and how likely you are to land on page one for that term.
  • Monthly Search Volume: This is the approximate number of searches that show up each month for that term.
  • Relevancy: This is a 0–100% score that tells you how relevant the topic you’ve chosen is to all of the content on your domain.

Pillar page

hydration_media_pillar_pages.jpgOnce you’ve decided what the primary focus of your topic cluster will be, it’s time to create a pillar page. A pillar page is a more extensive resource page that covers a core topic in depth and links to your blogs and other various forms of quality content that dive deeper into the details surrounding the supporting subtopics. It’s important to remember to apply consistent on-page SEO best practices when creating a pillar page, such as:

  • Referencing the core topic in the page title and URL.
  • Placing the pillar page on the top level of your website in a space that has proven to generate a lot of organic traffic.
  • Producing content with strategic messaging to convert visitors to leads or leads to customers/donors.

Another tip to ensure that everything on your pillar page can be crawled by SEO engines and discovered by potential customers is to have it readily available for consumption. Don’t “lock” it behind a requirement to fill out a form or log in with a password. Your pillar page will also gain authority by joining quality inbound links from your subtopic content.


hydration_media_subtopics.jpgSubtopics are shorter pieces of content that answer specific questions about the core topic covered in your pillar page. You can attach the following types of content to your subtopics:

  • A blog post
  • A landing page
  • The full URL of a web page
  • A link to a credible external resource

When you attach a website page, landing page, or blog post to a new subtopic, your topic cluster will keep track of how many inbound links you have referring back to your pillar page to ensure you're setting yourself up for success.

The strategy of topic clusters not only constructs the type of web blueprint that search engines covet, but it also provides users with more precise answers to their questions. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, voice search makes up 20% of search queries on Google's mobile app and Android devices. Additionally, 64% of searches are four words or more, according to Ahrefs.

People’s search habits are changing, and we need to adapt. Topic clusters help us do that by providing a calculated, well-organized, and structured system that’s easy for search engines to crawl and understand. In turn, search engines reward you by giving your site more authority and a higher placement on a topic.

Our expert team is ready to help you get the results you’re looking for. Whether it’s content work, social media optimization, or a full site redesign, we can’t wait to chat about how we can help you reach your goals.  

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, seo strategy, HubSpot, Topic Clusters

Written by Kate Olson