How to use clustered content to improve SEO ranking

How to use clustered content to improve SEO ranking

Clustering your content around a single pillar page will significantly increase the way Google ranks that pillar or service page in it’s search engine results pages [SERPs]. 

In this article, we explain why clustering your content around one single page will increase leads for your business.

  1. What is Content Clustering? 
  2. Why do search engines like content clusters?
  3. Using customer personas to create a content cluster strategy
  4. Finding content ideas for your clusters
  5. Best practise for clustering your content in your blog and pillar pages

What is Content Clustering?

Content clustering is a method of creating content that is focused on one subject and links to a single pillar page or service page.

Why do search engines like content clusters?

Since Google launched RankBrain in 2015 search engines have been using AI as a very important part of assessing the quality of content that a website is publishing. 

Want to know more about Google’s RankBrain, visit the wiki article to find out more.

Google’s RankBrain monitors all people that click away from its search pages, it collects many factors like bounce rate and click through rates to measure how relevant that experience was to the person searching.

It learns about new language and monitors for trends. It also learns them specifically for the country, as well as language, in which a query is made. - Quoted from Wiki

Because a person will probably view many pages in a research phrase, Google’s RankBrain will then view the pages and compare across many sites. So think of your site and its content being bench marked against your competitors.

Using customer personas to create a content cluster strategy

Now we know that the RankBrain technology is always watching what people are experiencing, we need to consider very importantly what people are researching on a subject.

Consider this example:

A marketing company may offer many products and services to the public, like website design, brand design and also monthly marketing services like SEO.

If this business was to create a blog that communicated how to help companies market their business that would be a great resource for other companies, but what is very important at this stage is to consider customer personas and what stage of a buying cycle they are in.

Exmple of how clustered content would look visually
Figure 1 example of clustered content

In figure 1

We can see:

  • The blog offers marketing advice to companies.
  • The blog itself is a combination of all the marketing advice
  • The company actually sells services for SEO and web design, so the blog articles are always clustered around those services pages.

The blog has links to all articles on the subject of online marketing, however what is very important to note is that the individual blog articles only link to specific pillar landing pages which cover the subject the supporting content is covering.

If we were to create a pillar page that looked at the pricing to design a new website in London we could create several clustered pieces of content around that pillar page.

But how does the persona fit in to all of this? When someone starts to research a product or service they will have many questions. And if you can put yourself into the mindset of your customers this will enable you to write the best content for them.

If you need some help with personas, we would recommend reading this article on marketing personas.

Finding content ideas for your content clusters

We have discussed in the past tools such as google trends and, where you can find good types of keywords for your content, if you visit their tools you will find some great ideas for finding low hanging fruit.

Best practices for clustering content around pillar pages

  1. Audit your content.
    There will be several ways to check on your content, to make sure that it is linking to the correct pillar page. You could use excel or a mind mapping tool. At RACER we prefer to use a mind mapping tool as they are visual and help us to spot weaknesses straight away.
  2. Do not dilute your internal links
    Wherever possible try to link from clustered content to pages that are on a relevant subject.
  3. Categorised content
    Wherever possible categorise your content based on the service and then filter that content on the pillar pages. Our SEO agency page only has SEO filtered blog content in the footer. Within our SEO articles you will only find links filtered on the navigation banners that are discussing anything related to SEO.

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