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Are Content Clusters the Answer?

You hear that setting up and posting to a blog will help you and/or your business get noticed. Writing random keyworded posts you watch the search engine ranking and wait and hope that your website will be noticed. Unfortunately you will probably be waiting a very long time. There are a lot of blog posts competing for attention these days. How can yours stand out from the rest? Content Clusters may be the answer. In this post we take a look at what are content clusters and how to use them in your blog.

What are Content Clusters?

Basically content clusters are a way of organizing the posts in your blog . Moreover, their use helps your blog to gain more traction in the search engines. Content clusters have been around for a number of years but are still considered one of the best ways to improve your search engine rankings.

You put a lot of time and effort into writing your blog and you want to be recognised as the expert you are. In other words you want Google and other search engines to recognise your authority in the field and reward you in the rankings accordingly. Therefore you need a blog structure that reflects the quality of your writing and gives you a greater chance of being noticed.

Have you heard of a cornerstone or pillar post? These are those long (often 3000) word posts that explain a topic. The use of such posts indicates to Google and other search engines that you are an expert in your field.

How to use Content Clusters

Organizing content in clusters makes use of these cornerstone or pillar posts as well as shorter, more detailed posts that link to these pillar posts. The diagram below should more clearly show how these content clusters work.

Content Cluster

The pillar post is written as a broad overview of a topic  summary. Linking into it are posts which focus on a specific subtopic. Each providing more detail for a specific long-tail keyword related to the main topic.

To clarify let's take a look at the steps involved in creating a content cluster.

  1. Create a list of broad topics based on what your audience are interested in reading
  2. Build out each of these broad topics into sub topics ( each of which relates to a specific long tail keyword). For help with this visit answerthepublic and LSIGraph
  3. Write your pillar post. A unique, general but all encompassing view of your broad topic.
  4. Write your cluster posts – a minimum of three, which each go deep into their topic area.
  5. Make sure each page is optimized for SEO by including the long-tail keyword in your:
    • Page title
    • Heading tags
    • Image alt text
    • Body
    • Meta title and description
  6. Create internal links between the pillar post and the cluster posts.

Let's say, as an example, that you have a blog about dog training. You could write a pillar post about training dogs in general and then write cluster posts on topics such as clicker training, rewarding good behaviour, dog training commands, and toilet training. Such a content cluster will show to Google and other search engines that you are an authority on dog training.

Once you have created the content cluster review it from time to time. It is important to update the pillar post to keep it relevant and useful to both your audience and the search engines. Do have a go at a content cluster in your blog and let me know how you get on.

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