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Technology is getting smarter and is quickly becoming an even more integral part of our lives. As technology continues to adapt, the way people use search engines is changing too. Users have a desire for their tech to know exactly what they want without wasting any valuable time, and websites need to change their approach in order to keep up. The SEO strategies that were used in the past can no longer be relied on to generate a steady stream of traffic, so it’s important that the content on your website is adapted to fit with the changing technology. If you feel like you have great content, but your traffic and analytics just don’t reflect that, there is an up-and-coming SEO strategy that you may want to explore. Continue reading for an explanation of the topic cluster model, and how it can help improve your search engine rankings.

Digital communication specialists are often well-versed in the basics of SEO: if you know what keywords your audience is looking for, you can integrate them into the content on your site, which in turn will raise your search engine rankings, which will then improve traffic to your site. With the changing search engine landscape, most people don’t know where to turn when the traditional SEO strategy fails to deliver results. So, many people simply create more content, in order to work in more keywords, in hopes of getting more traffic. However, these days, there is more to getting ranked highly on a search engine than just creating more content. Instead, we can use a technique called topic clusters.

To use topic clusters effectively, it is important to first make sure that your website has the proper structure. Topic clusters get built around a central “pillar” page. This pillar page can be thought of as a summary page that explains one of the most important ideas on your site. Each pillar page can link to multiple, more specific cluster content pages, and every individual page should link back to the central pillar page. You’ll want your cluster content pages to focus on long-tail variations of the pillar topic. Here’s an example: if your central pillar topic is “weight loss,” some of your cluster content pages may have topics like “weight loss after pregnancy” or “weight loss for men.” Having your site laid out in this manner is a way of showing search engines that your site has lots of in-depth information about each central topic. Search engines rank the pillar pages higher because of the linking structure. It is the goal of search engines to provide their users with the most relevant and useful results, so if you create accurate and helpful content around your central pillar topic, search engines will see you as an “expert,” and your pages will be ranked higher than simple articles, even those that are keyword-rich.

Whether you have a site already in place or you’re starting from scratch, you may want to consider integrating topic clusters into your site. While your focus may be improving SEO, topic clusters also make your website easy to navigate, making it clearer where users need to go to find the information they’re looking for. To make topic clusters work for your site, imagine it like an outline. First, think about what the main ideas of your website are. These will be your pillar topics. Make sure you can elaborate on each pillar topic, with somewhere between five and ten content cluster topics for each pillar. And if you already have some great content on your site, maybe these pages can be rearranged to better fit the topic cluster model.

If you need help deciding on central pillar topics, type your target keywords into Google, and look for the “related searches” section. These tend to be search terms that are similar to your keyword and can function as content cluster topics. Most importantly, don’t forget to interlink your pillar and content cluster pages, so the search engines can see how the pages are related to each other.