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Topic Clusters: The New SEO Strategy

November 18th 2019 | by David Hofstede

Like it or not, Google calls the shots when it comes to search engine optimization. If you want your company to hit page one on a Google search, you need to know how the search engine ranks websites.

First it was keywords, which inspired sentences like this:

"If you’re looking for pizza in Los Angeles, our Los Angeles pizza is better than other Los Angeles pizzas, according to a pizza in Los Angeles survey by Los Angeles Pizza magazine."

Keywords are still important, but then Google started favoring sites that followed the Siri model of asking and answering the questions visitors are most likely to ask:

Why Geno’s for Los Angeles pizza?
Where is Geno’s Pizza located?


Well, here we go again.

The new buzzwords in SEO are “topic clusters.” That means grouping content around a single related topic. So to continue our pizza example, the web page that lists the types of pizzas offered might also link to pages on delivery area, gluten-free options, and discount offers.

What’s the best way to satisfy this new trend? Don’t ask Google – there are no specific guidelines for how to implement clustered categories. They make the rules and leave it up to the rest of us to figure it out.

But in this case, we think the idea has merit even if it didn’t boost SEO. Plus, if your current website is in pretty good shape and performing well, moving some content around and adding cluster should just be a minor makeover. And if your site has been underperforming for a while, this may be a way to boost those results, as long as you also add the type of content Google would want to see for each cluster.

Choosing Your Topics

This is the key decision when adding clusters. Now that search engines are more sophisticated, they can identify how searches for one term may be connected to searches for related terms – when all of those terms are found on a single page, Google is more likely to rank that page and that site higher.

Your Customers Will Like It Too

Perhaps the best thing about topic clusters is they’ll benefit your site’s visitors as well, and hopefully turn more of them into customers.

Unlike the web’s earlier efforts to shoehorn keywords into every sentence, which often just added clutter, a cluster can streamline the visitor’s interaction with your website. And the more content you provide that’s related to the reason for his or her visit, the longer that visitor is likely to stick around.

Plus, as the page that introduced the cluster becomes more popular, the pages that link from it will get more clicks too – improving their Google ranking as well. And when those rankings go up, traffic goes up. And so do sales.

Need some help? Let us take a look at your website, and offer some ideas on how to add appropriate topic clusters