How to Develop a Strong Content Strategy and Content Clusters

December 2022
 minute read
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If you’re working on SEO for your company website, there is a good chance you’ve heard of keywords and how they affect the Google Algorithm. You have also probably begun some preliminary keyword research to start creating blog content that will direct your target audience toward your site. However, many people who are dipping their toes into SEO practices aren’t aware of content clusters and how they can benefit both your users and your search engine results placement (SERP).

To get you started, we’re discussing everything you need to know about content clusters including how to write for content clusters, how to organize your content clusters, backlinking, and more!

As an enterprise SEO agency, our team members at Responsival are experts in SEO and creating content clusters for a diverse array of clients. That’s why we’re taking the time to share some of what we’ve learned about the process of creating SEO-optimized content for your website. Come along and find out how we are able to create and organize effective content clusters! Let’s go!

What Exactly is a Content Cluster?

Learn from an enterprise SEO agency why content clusters really matter for your business

man looking at laptop wondering answering a question
The better your site content is organized, the better results you can expect.

A content cluster is an SEO organizational strategy that is used to group similar content together to make it as easy as possible for your audience to find what they need. Each content cluster—no matter the subject matter—will have a series of parts that work together. Let’s begin by going over each part of a content cluster in detail.

  • Pillar Pages - A pillar page acts essentially as a “hub” for all of the related content on your site. These pages tend to answer some kind of major industry question that is backed by SEO research. There are also instances where your pillar page can be your services page, product page, or some other informative page on your website. These pillar pages exist to simultaneously build the reputation of your overall site and the cluster content.
  • Cluster Content - Cluster content refers to blogs or other types of content that focus on specific points of your pillar page. You can think of cluster content as different subheadings for your pillar page. Cluster content is then linked to relevant keywords within your pillar page.
  • Links - The links are meant to direct your audience to further reading or additional information about the pillar page. It is important to note that these links need to be optimized—that means no redirects. Once all of the links are in place, you have created your content cluster which is sometimes referred to as an ecosystem of links.

Why Are Content Clusters So Important for SEO?

As an enterprise SEO agency, we’ve seen firsthand the advantages of implementing content clusters

building blocks of search engine optimization concept art
Without proper SEO practices, your site will be difficult to find.

When you start creating content clusters for your website, you’ll quickly discover the many benefits of this SEO-optimized site architecture. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect after reorganizing your content.

  • Increased Site Traffic - Since your site content is organized in a way that is supported by backlinks, your SERP placement will improve. As your placement improves, you can expect more organic traffic on your site.
  • Better User Experience (UX) - As users navigate through your site, they’ll be naturally directed to learn more about your industry, products, or any other type of cluster content. By linking resources for more information, people will spend more time visiting your site and leave satisfied with the information they learned.
  • More Streamlined Content Management -  As you organize your current site content, you’ll find it is far easier to brainstorm and organize new content. Since you already have established content clusters set up, you can easily expand your clusters with new ideas. If you want to add content that is completely unrelated to your current site, then it is probably time for a new pillar page and an entirely new content cluster.

Now that we’ve learned a bit more about the benefits of using content clusters as part of your SEO strategy, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to create effective content clusters that will garner results for your business.

Getting Started With Content Clusters

Before you can start creating content and organizing it into proper clusters, you need to evaluate your audience and your existing site

marketing department brainstorming for target audience and other strategies
The first step for any good SEO strategy is to identify your target audience.

One of the key things to keep in mind when it comes to content clusters is your target audience. What motivates them? Why are they visiting your site? What do they expect to learn from your site? By answering these questions, you’ll begin to identify how your content clusters will be structured. A good way to get started is to identify the different audiences you expect to visit your site. Once you have settled on a few buyer personas that you expect to visit your site, you can then begin to address common questions or concerns that will direct your audience to specific pages of your site.

Another step you need to take to begin creating content clusters is to do the necessary keyword research. We already talked about keywords and keyword research being the foundations of SEO, and now it is time to put them to use! By conducting keyword research, you can get input on the right kinds of cluster content and pillars you need to prioritize in order to outpace your competitors. From there, you can begin to plan out different strategies to either expand on your existing clusters or start working on a completely new pillar.

How to Create Content for Your Clusters

When writing for maximized SEO, you need to start with your pillars

woman writing content in front of a computer screen in a dark room
Once you have your strategy down, creating content is the easy part.

Now that you’ve come up with a target audience for your content and completed your keyword research, it’s time to start creating your content! The best type of content you can put forward is content that is relevant, engaging, and informative. 

Writing content for SEO is tricky because you need to prioritize both your SEO objectives while making your content as helpful as possible. In order to produce content that the algorithm will recognize, your content needs to be actually helpful for the average person who stumbled on your site organically. If you employ methods like click-bait, then there is a good chance you will hurt your SEO rather than help.

The next thing you need to pay attention to is the order in which you write your content. Writing pillar content first is always preferable. When you have your pillar page complete, you can then begin to identify points of elaboration that you can turn into clusters of content. After all, your “pillars” are there to support your cluster content. Without a strong foundation, your clusters may not be as effective as expected. However, we should mention that your pillar pages should not go too in-depth in each section—you need to leave some content for the audience to discover in your clusters.

Once you’ve written your pillar pages, the next step is to begin brainstorming topics for your cluster content. It is in your best interest to make your content as specific and lengthy as possible. Though there is not an exact word count that the Google search algorithm identifies, the more informative and comprehensive your content is—the better. It just so happens that more informative content tends to manifest in longer web content. 

Additionally, make sure to include a call to action (CTA) at the conclusion of each of your cluster topics, that way you can use your cluster to begin creating conversions.

Organize Your Link Structure

For the last step, you need to strategically link your content in a way that makes sense to your audience

man typing on laptop SEO backlink art on computer screen
Linking your content together is what creates each cluster.

After your content is written, you need to take steps to link all of your content together in a way that reflects an ideal user journey. For example, each subheading in the pillar article should have at least one link to your cluster content. It is important to link this content to the keywords that you chose during your research whenever possible. However, you should not repeat keywords or overuse keywords in places where they do not make sense. If an exact keyword you want to use as a hyperlink isn’t fitting, then you can feel free to alter the keyword to make it make sense within the sentence structure. These days, the Google algorithm can tell when bloggers are misusing keywords.

Then, as you add more content, you can add more sections to your pillar pages, create entirely new pillar pages, or begin creating vast content webs that nudge visitors down your sales funnel.

Once you’ve launched your content cluster SEO campaign, it is important to closely monitor the metrics for each relevant keyword and web page. If you followed the best practices for creating and organizing content, then you should begin seeing positive SEO metrics. As an enterprise SEO agency, Responsival specializes in helping our clients organize their site content, streamlining the development process with Webflow, and optimizing all aspects of SEO. If you are feeling like you need some help optimizing your site, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team for more information and assistance optimizing your company website.


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