Take a look at your blog. Does it adequately cover all the topics relevant to your brand in a coherent, organized fashion, or is it a chaotic, intermittent blathering of random bullshit? I mean, we’ve all been there: No inspiration for days, and then suddenly… blogorrhea. But the results are just as consumable to your audience as the nasty imagery we just used to put you off your lunch.
Digital marketing strategists use content clusters (also called “siloed content”) as a means of enhancing SEO and user experience. Clustered content also helps marketers and businesses map out future content and approach blogging with purpose, creativity, and (dare we say it?) passion.
What are content clusters, and how do they work?
A content cluster is, in a nutshell, a central long-form article (pillar piece) that broadly covers a product, service, or concept, accompanied by and linked to several subtopic-specific articles on your main website or within your blog. This self-contained, concentrated collection supports your claim to high-value search queries and helps your site users find information relevant to them at every stage in the buyer’s journey.
“Search engines use crawlers to become familiar with different websites, and internal links help lead a crawler from one page in your cluster to your pillar page. This helps search engines better recognize your website’s authority on the topic.” — HubSpot
Let’s pretend—just for fun—that you’re in the business of manufacturing and marketing household plumbing fixtures. You make everything from dual-basin stainless kitchen sinks to porcelain eco-flush toilets. The Great Coronavirus Toilet Paper Crisis has inspired your company to ramp up its bidet production, and there’s no time like the present to get your shit together with this new campaign. Here’s what you do:
Identify your target keywords and search phrases
Data is the cornerstone of every successful content strategy. Let’s say that again, Data is the cornerstone of every successful content strategy. Without it, it’s just content. No strategy.
Use fact-based insights to understand your buyer persona’s searcher intent and select the keywords that will drive traffic to and through your bidet-centric content cluster. This is a fancy spreadsheet with numbers and actual facts BEFORE you ever write. This is only way to stop yourself from sliding into the oh so easy path of word vomit.
Write a pillar article that puts you on the thought leadership throne
Post a long-form (2000 words or more) informative article in which you give an overview of all the things a bidet shopper in the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey might want to know about these fantastic fanny fountains. Here are some examples to get things flowing:
- Are bidets better than toilet paper?
- How to use bidets
- Popular bidet styles on the market, focusing on your brand’s offerings
- Average cost of bidet installation
Seriously consider using your bidet landing page as your pillar article for this campaign, drizzling a few subtle CTAs throughout the content. As with any content, topics organized by subheadings will help your readers skim to the information they need, and help search engines figure out just how useful the page is to searchers.
Build supporting content for your Content Clusters
Create blog content and videos that explore each subtopic (and keyword set) in depth. Start with about a half-dozen subjects that address your most sought-after search query strings. Once you’ve covered the essentials, you can cast a wider net and get creative with your topics: Bidet history, bidets of the rich and famous, or whether your bidet should double as a foot bath. This content should also be keyword focused and diversified content types (READ multimedia) so you vary up content clusters.
Interlink your clustered content
Think of your pillar content as a directory for site visitors, with carefully-chosen anchor text within the core content linking to its corresponding supporting article. In return, the latter directs a link back to the pillar content. As far as search engines are concerned, this “echo chamber effect” transforms your site and brand from a decent authority on plumbing fixtures to the Dr. Fauci of bidets.
Do I have to flush my existing content?
Nope! There’s no reason you can’t update or cannibalize older content so that it’s useful to a topic-specific cluster. Try to keep popular content as intact as possible (we can help you figure out which posts have earned you quality traffic, and why) but make sure your links are current and focused within the cluster’s structure.
So there you go! Remember that, as with any content strategy, content clusters take time to show results, and they require monitoring to figure out where you’ll need to make adjustments. But we’ve witnessed clear and measurable results with this approach, and we’re happy to help you get started!