Having a solid content strategy is crucial for your SEO success. 

One effective approach is to create topic clusters to streamline your content and make it easily discoverable for both search engines and readers.

Imagine your website as a well-structured ecosystem, where each piece of content connects and supports one another, capturing the attention of search engines and establishing your authority in your niche.

To help you achieve that, in this guide, I'll walk you through the step-by-step of how to create topic clusters.

I'll even show you how I cluster my content topics to rank on the first page within days, not months.

What are topic clusters?

To begin, it's essential to understand that a topic cluster is a collection of related content pieces that revolve around a central pillar of content.

The pillar content targets a broad keyword that has a high search volume, helping to attract an audience that is interested in the general subject matter.

The complement your pillar page, you need to create a series of supporting subtopics. These subtopics focus on narrower, more specific keywords related to the main topic. They target long-tail keywords to attract users who are searching for specific information within the broader theme.

a topic cluster

The foundation of a successful topic cluster strategy lies in understanding how keywords and content work together to improve your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).

To illustrate the power of topic clusters, let's take my own website as an example and how I utilized this strategy for my affiliate marketing niche.

To support my pillar page "affiliate marketing tips", I found different topics related to affiliate marketing, like:

  • "Is affiliate marketing saturated" 
  • "Best AI tools for affiliate marketing"
  • "How to write an email for affiliate marketing" 
  • "How to get lots of people to click on your affiliate links" 
  • "How to get unlimited free traffic to any affiliate link"
topic clusters - real life example with bymilliepham.com

Then, I made separate web pages for each topic. These pages had lots of helpful information about each topic. They also connected back to the main topic of affiliate marketing tips through internal links.

By doing this, I showed search engines that my website is a good source for affiliate marketing advice. It also made it easier for people to find the information they were looking for.

This way of organizing my website helped me cover many different affiliate marketing topics and hopefully made my website show up higher on search results.

Why are topic clusters important for SEO?

Nowadays, search engines are getting smarter at understanding user intent and delivering relevant results. That's where topic clusters come in.

By strategically organizing your content around a central pillar topic and interlinking related keywords and web pages, you create a web of valuable information that search engines love.

Not only does this show search engines that you're an authoritative source on the subject, but it also enhances the user experience by offering a cohesive and interconnected content experience.

With topic clusters, you can:

  • Boost your organic search rankings
  • Drive more organic traffic
  • Establish yourself as a go-to resource for your audience's queries.

This is a search engine optimization strategy that ensures your content is not only found but also valued by both search engines and readers.

How to create topic clusters

Once you have a clear understanding of what topic clusters are and why they are important, it's time to dive into the detailed steps of creating one.

Here are 4 steps I personally use to create topic clusters that help me rank on Google.

1. Doing Keyword Research to Identify The Main Topic

This is the crucial step when it comes to creating effective topic clusters.

And as you know, we're not here to play a guessing game. We need a trusty tool by our side to make this process a breeze.

And SEMrush is one tool I've found incredibly helpful.

I used to be a die-hard Ahrefs fan, but I eventually made the switch to SEMrush. As SEMrush doesn't limit me with their reports as Ahrefs does. It gave me the freedom and flexibility to dive deep into all the juicy data without any restrictions.

Now, let's talk about how I usually find the main topic using SEMrush.

When I'm targeting a particular niche, like the AI industry, I start by using SEMrush's Keyword Magic tool.

I enter keywords like "AI" and "artificial intelligence" to see what SEMrush suggests. It gives me a whopping 1.1M potential keywords related to AI!

That's way too many to handle manually or even with a clustering tool.

finding main keyword wit

As an affiliate marketer, I'm particularly interested in commercial-related keywords. So, I use the include modifier and select keywords with "best" in them.

This narrows down the list to commercial-oriented terms like "best ai art generator" and "best ai image generator." Still, it's a massive list of nearly 12.5k keywords, which is overwhelming.

narrow down keyword ideas with ahrefs

To make things more manageable, I apply volume and difficulty modifiers. I set a minimum search volume of 50 searches per month and a maximum keyword difficulty of 35%. This helps me focus on keywords that have decent search traffic while are not too hard to rank.

The keyword filter metrics are totally personal and can vary depending on your preferences and goals.

keyword filter metrics in Semrush

SEMrush then filters the keywords and presents me with around 181 relevant ones. That's a good number to work with.

Now that I have my refined keyword list, I will go through it from A to Z and carefully select the ones that fit my niche.

This process can be labor-intensive, but it is essential to ensure that I am targeting the right keywords that will help me achieve my SEO goals and attract the right audience to my website. 

2. Strategize Your Subtopics

Once you've found your core topic, it's time to develop your pillar page and cluster content. I'll show you exactly step-by-step with a tool called WriterZen.

To start, I open up WriterZen, which is an amazing tool for clustering analysis. In my exported keyword list, I found an interesting keyword, "best AI paraphrasing tool," which has a monthly search volume of 70 and a difficulty of only 13%.

best ai paraphrasing tool

I'll use this keyword as an example to show you how I find supporting articles using WriterZen.

WriterZen is one of the best keyword clustering tools out there that not only helps you find supporting articles for your topic clusters, but also provides you with valuable insights into keyword research, content optimization, and more.

In WriterZen, I'll use the Topic Discovery features for this purpose.

With this feature, I can efficiently research and discover relevant topics related to my chosen seed keyword.

topic discovery in WriterZen

To begin, I'll enter your seed keyword into the search bar and optionally specify the location and language if different from the default settings. 

After clicking the search button, WriterZen will scan the top 100 search results returned by Google for my keyword and analyze the content of my competitors. 

It will then filter out headlines and sub-headlines to identify the topics and subtopics that competitors are covering.

There are 76 related topics listed, relevant to my content creation.

76 related topics

Scrolling down, you'll see a lot of related topics that I can create as relevant content. Then, I'll take a look at each topic card to find informational topic ideas that can support my transactional post on "best AI paraphrasing tool."

Here are some topics that I found: 

  • How do you paraphrase AI writing?
related topics to "best ai paraphrasing tool"
  • How do AI paraphrasing tools work?
  • Is paraphrasing tools plagiarizing?
  • How does paraphrasing enhance your copywriting skills
finding supporting ideas with writerzen

In each article, I'll mention "AI paraphrasing tool" and then link to my pillar page using internal linkings.

3. Connecting Everything Together with Mind Mapping

Once you have a list of sub-topics, you can use a FREE tool called MindMeister to create a colorful map. With the free plan, you can create 3 different mind maps. 

In the middle, you put your main topic "best AI paraphrasing tool" and then you connect it to all the sub-topics with lines.

So, 'How do you paraphrase AI writing?', 'How do AI paraphrasing tools work?', 'Is paraphrasing tools plagiarizing?', and 'How does paraphrasing enhance your copywriting skills' will have lines connecting them to 'best AI paraphrasing tool.'

mind mapping with MindMeister (1)

This map helps you organize your ideas and see how everything is connected. Now you have a clear plan to write about 'best AI paraphrasing tool' and all the cool supporting topics that people want to read about. 

4. Write Helpful and High Quality Content

Once you have organized everything neatly with mind mapping strategy, write separate blog posts or pages that address the various subtopics identified in your keyword research

Make sure each of these articles is helpful and answers questions that people might have. Use headings, bullet points, and bold text to make it easy for people to read and understand.

Also, don't forget to connect these smaller articles to the main one. You can do this with internal linking that takes people from one article to another.

When you do this, search engines can understand that all these articles are related and important. 

You can also use AI writing tools to speed up the writing process, but make sure to add your personal touch to humanize your content.

Besides writing for humans, please also remember to please the search engines by using SEO on-page software like Page Optimizer Pro or NeuronWriter. This will ensure that your content is well-optimized and will rank higher.

Conclusion: Creating Content Clusters for SEO can be easy!

In conclusion, creating topic clusters is a powerful way to improve your website's SEO and attract more traffic.

By following the step-by-step tutorial outlined in this post on how to create topic clusters, you can create a comprehensive content strategy that is both user-friendly and search engine optimized. 

Remember to start with your pillar content, then create subtopics that support it, and link everything together using relevant keywords.

By doing so, you'll not only improve your website's ranking on search engines but also provide your audience with valuable content that answers their queries.

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About the Author Millie Pham

Meet Millie Pham - an SEO content marketer and video editor who loves exploring the latest tech and AI tools. She provides honest reviews and demystifies the world of AI, SEO, and blogging, making these complex topics accessible and easy to understand for everyone. Her work has been featured on Marin Software, jobillico, Nicereply, and other sites.

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