4 Reasons Why You Should Implement Keyword Clusters in Your SEO Strategy
As Google’s (NLP) capabilities continue to advance, our on-page SEO strategy must also improve to reflect these advancements in search. This is why the SEO industry has shifted its focus to keyword clustering to level up on-page optimizations and keep up with Google’s technological advances.
But what is keyword clustering, and how does it breathe life into both new and existing content on your site? This article will explain what keyword clusters are and how structuring your website around them can help you drive organic traffic from search engines and grow your business.
What Are Keyword Clusters?
For instance, “security camera,” “security camera for home,” and “security camera system” are nothing but similar keyphrases with similar intent used by Google searchers who want to buy a security camera.
Users rarely search for products, services, or answers to their questions using the same terms. So, assuming that your brand deals with security cameras, ranking for the first keyword only will limit your market share for the other keywords in the cluster.
Google typically ranks your web pages for multiple keywords anyway. Using a keyword cluster model is a great way to strategically ensure that Google ranks your pages for the most relevant industry keywords and the terms your target audience uses most frequently when searching.
4 Benefits of Keyword Clustering
It’s also crucial to have an experienced marketing team and use high-quality project management and collaboration software to run your SEO campaigns. In addition to collaboration tools, the software must come with features such as keyword research and keyword clustering recommendations so you can develop a comprehensive keyword strategy.
With that said, here are some of the key benefits of keyword clustering:
Higher Organic Traffic
With keyword clustering, you can target multiple related long-tail and short-tail keywords instead of just one, increasing the number of appearances in search engine page results (SERP). This will make the search engine perceive your pages as more relevant, which will help your website rank higher.
Additionally, it allows you to supercharge your content planning. This is because it forces you to think of better ways to structure your website around your keyword clusters and their relevance to your audience. In the long run, this makes it easier to identify the less competitive, high-conversion keywords which you can focus on to help strengthen your site’s authority and draw in more traffic.
It’s harder to gain momentum with a highly competitive keyword, especially if you are just starting. It’s better to start by focusing on creating content on subtopics that a closely related to your main topic — you will face less competition with these — to help establish your site on the search engine.
Another way to improve organic traffic to your website is by encouraging your clients to leave reviews about their experiences on your Google Business Profile. Google reviews play a huge role in local SEO, building customer trust and helping to attract more visitors and drive more traffic to your business. Since over 70% of customers would leave a review only if asked directly, you must be proactive to get buyers to take action.
Faster Ranking Improvements in the SERPS
Using keyword clusters diversifies your search potential and makes it easier for the search engine to understand your content and show it on SERPs for all the potential new keywords.
Let’s look at the security cameras example again. If you only optimize for the keyword “security cameras,” you lose the chances of cashing in for the keywords “security camera for home” and “security camera system.”
More Opportunities for Internal Linking
Google loves when there are enough doorways and when the doorways are logical and easy to follow. This is because both readers and search engine crawlers can have an easier time finding your content.
Google’s algorithm continually improves to provide searchers with the most relevant results. Among these modifications are penalizing excessively irrelevant internal connections and interpreting conversational requests as thoughts rather than literal keywords.
A pillar page is an extensive resource page that provides in-depth coverage of a primary topic and links to high-quality information developed for supporting subtopics. This makes it easier for consumers to find the relevant and correct content they require and simplifies the process for web crawlers to comprehend and relate themes on your website.
Using keyword clusters creates limitless opportunities for internal linking. And this comes with unlimited benefits that include:
- Search engine crawlers follow links to find and index your website pages. Internal links help the crawlers easily find, categorize, and index your content.
- Proper internal links help fresh and deep crawl bots easily navigate your website, which can get you on their good side and win you some rewards.
- Developing a well-thought-out internal linking strategy can boost your page and your content’s link juice earning potential. This is accomplished by providing explicit click routes and indexation on your website that raises your site’s crawl priority via improved link distribution.
- The search engine algorithm employs a method significantly more intricate than link juice flow to determine the value of your content. Internal linking is one of the key things that helps the bots deem your content valuable. If your website is well-structured and indexed, you can achieve a high SERP ranking without relying on link juice alone.
- Since internal links are a string of HTML code that links one web page to another, they are more valuable than navigational or image text. Adding a keyword to the anchor text can boost the value further.
- Not only is using keyword clusters an important SEO technique, but it also provides a lot of value to site visitors. When most visitors investigate a certain topic, they frequently seek out more pages with complementary information. Users who appreciate your material will spend more time reading your other pieces.
Building Expertise and Topical Authority in Your Industry Niche
For a site to achieve topical authority, it must have some authority over a group of ideas or a niche rather than having actual influence over a single idea or area. According to this relatively new notion, websites with valuable and relevant material are ranked higher in Google’s search results than those with irrelevant content.
For example, let’s say you have a page on pink Barbie dolls on a website that discusses everything related to Barbie dolls. At the same time, another brand has a similar page for pink Barbie dolls, but the page is on a website about beauty products.
Assuming that you are marketing Barbie dolls and not pink-colored products, your website has higher topical authority.
That’s because although the beauty products site might have a great page on pink Barbie dolls, there is nothing to signal the search engine or the readers that they have a vast knowledge of these dolls. On the other hand, your website has topical authority on Barbie dolls, and it could easily be a one-stop shop for all things dolls, whether the reader wants to learn about pink or orange Barbie dolls.
In short, keyword clusters can help you generate high-quality content on your specific topic. So whenever readers search for information or relevant sites to link to, you will be where they go.
Improved Rankings for Long-Tail and Short-Tail Keywords
For example, as time passes, long-tail keyword techniques are becoming more and more crucial for SEO. This results from Google’s emphasis on user experience and intent, the rise of conversational search, and the advent of applications such as voice search.
With clusters, you can rank for various long-tail and short-tail keywords instead of targeting a few search queries separately, consequently increasing conversions and revenue for your company.
For example, here’s a business that is probably targeting multiple keywords with this piece of content. It ranks first for both “content brief” and “what is a content brief” keyphrases.
- Don’t razor-focus on a few main keywords. Instead, always include a good mix of long-tail and short-tail keywords in all pieces of content.
- Ensure you have a full grasp of the why or the user intent of each particular keyword so that you can tailor your content to cater to that intent.
- Google still checks if the keyword entered in the search box is well distributed in the content. Ensure that your keywords are included in your headings, H1 tag, meta description, and even image alt texts.
- Ensure that you have a good architecture of internal links between your pillar pages and cluster pages.
How To Create Keyword & Topic Clusters
Here’s a step-by-step guide on carrying out keyword clustering and successfully building a content strategy around the clusters:
Step 1: Make a Keyword List
To start, think of the main keyword you want your site to rank for. For example, let’s say your business is an e-commerce brand that sells women’s running shoes. An example of the primary keyword you can rank for would be “running shoes for women.”
Once you have identified the main keyword, identify all the possible subtopics, long-tail phrases, pillar topics, synonyms, and variations around this keyword.
Also, consider checking which keywords your competitors are ranking for to see which are most popular in your industry. The idea is to find which terms are more valuable and possess the highest conversion potential.
To get you started, here are questions you should ask yourself when doing keyword research:
- What am I selling?
- What problems does my target audience need to solve?
- What would make potential customers choose my website over other similar ones?
- What demographic of customers am I targeting?
- If I was a brand new customer, what terms would I enter and search on Google to find my products or services?
- Do I have any existing content that answers my potential customers’ most common questions?
Step 2: Use a Keyword Research Tool To Analyze Your Keywords
Here is an example:
Step 3: Identify Themes and Topic Groups
Here are some criteria you can use to segment your keyword list into clusters.
- Aim to group words and phrases that are closely related and have the same search intent. This will make it easier for Google to access your pages and quickly gain insight into the content.
- Your core keywords should have a decent search volume, proving that people are actually searching for these keywords. Long-tail phrases might have fewer searches since they are very specific, but ensure they have good cost-per-click metrics.
- Various ranking factors come into play when it comes to organic difficulty. Typically, including keywords with greater organic difficulty will depend on your site authority and your website’s establishment. Combining low- and high-competition keywords can boost short-term rankings.
- It’s also possible to group keywords based on where the customer is located in your marketing funnel. For example, the top and middle of the funnel can have awareness and lead-nurturing keyword clusters (best for ebooks and blogs), and the bottom of the funnel can have conversion keyword clusters.
Step 4: Organize Your Keywords Into Groups
Ensure that every cluster has got a core keyword and several complementary keywords. For instance, you can include a lower-difficulty, high-search volume keyword with a few long-tail, low-search keywords.
Also, remember that not all keywords on your list should end up in a cluster. Only pick out the ones with high CPCs, substantial search volume, and relevant search intent, and use only these to make your keyword clusters.
Step 5: Create or Optimize Pillar Pages With the Keyword Clusters
Typically, each keyword cluster represents one core topic, or what is known as a pillar page. You must have a landing page for each keyword cluster to optimize properly. You can also use a content optimization tool to help you better optimize your content.
Ideally, you should analyze the keywords that form each cluster to see what information you need to share and how you can help ease your audience’s pain points.
After creating your initial web pages, you will need to extend your content to strengthen your keyword clustering efforts. You should not only consider the material you publish today; instead, you should concentrate on developing a sustainable content strategy that supports your website’s long-term SEO.
Prioritize the following areas to increase pillar page rankings:
- Write long-form content with enough depth.
- Ensure your content is well-engineered and has structure and flow.
- Focus on writing for humans before you write for the search engine. Include on-page nuggets like images, videos, and jump links to improve the page’s user experience.
Step 6: Reinforce Keyword Clusters Using Blog Content
However, the internal linking strategy between these pages also plays a big role in helping them rank well on Google. Typically, the subtopic pages should link back to the pillar pages with the core keyword to help increase the chances of ranking higher for these keywords.
Building topic clusters on your website allows you to add more internal links, increasing the time users spend on your pages. It also helps Google crawlers quickly identify which pages are most important.
A Content Audit To Optimize Your Existing Blog Content
So to rank more quickly for the keyword clusters, you should:
- Perform a content audit and identify existing pieces of content that can be spruced to gain more verticals. For instance, you can find cluster articles that could work well if linked to certain pillar pages.
- Also, identify pieces of content that need more depth of information or subtopics in an existing article that could be covered better on a standalone page. Keeping content up to date and eliminating false or misleading information is a part of practicing good digital citizenship that helps provide value to your audience. You can check your Google Search Console (GSC) for insight into what topics your audiences are searching for the most and maximize their potential.
Monitoring Your Keyword Clusters in GSC Insights
Here are the key things to track to find out if your new SEO strategy is working:
- If the overall number of keywords your page ranks for increases, it indicates that Google truly understands the page’s content and recognizes its relevance for various keyword searches.
- If Google starts promoting your SERP result to an increasing number of searchers, it indicates that their crawlers consider your page relevant. Even if your page is not ranked on the first page, impressions mean that Google considers your pages relevant to the keyword query.
Is Keyword Clustering Really Supporting Your SEO Strategy?
When you base your website around keyword clusters, you are telling Google that your site is an authority in your niche and contains a huge breadth and depth of content. Thus, keyword clustering is not only beneficial to your current SEO strategy, but it is also the future of SEO in general. Utilizing this technique now will put your website ahead of the park and set it to rank for the long term.
Conclusion: To Cluster or Not To Cluster?
Keyword clusters make your content look more in-depth and show your audience and the search engine that you understand your niche. Additionally, in-depth content aids in covering all possible user intent and helping your audience get all the answers they seek from one source, which builds your site’s authority.
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