A topic cluster is a group of articles on a website that are all about a specific subject matter, often a set of smaller articles answering sub-questions to establish authority and full topic coverage of the main subject.
When categorized in a hierarchy with one main subject and multiple smaller articles, each linking to the main article and each other, it’s also referred to as a content silo or “silo structure.”
Entities and the topic cluster
I like to see a topic cluster not just as a way to write more articles answering questions about the same main topic, although this strategy can work very well for underserved topics and gain momentum in a niche, but also as a way to show you grasp the subject fully.
Not many SEOs are talking about entity coverage of the main topic, but it has a very important role for Google to understand how much your website is an authority on a certain subject.
A subject matter can be looked at in different ways. You can write about Japanese fish cakes as a main page and write about all questions you can find about these kamaboko fish cakes:
- how to use them
- how to make them
- best recipes with kamaboko
- can cats eat kamaboko
I call this looking downward from your topic. Each question is more specific than the main topic and down in the hierarchy.
While these are all great to answer if it can get you organic traffic that you can use (either with display ads, other affiliate products, or signups), Google actually wants to see you discuss more of the topic upwards.
If you are an authority on the subject matter, you’ll know everything there is to know about the make-up of your subject.
In this case, what is kamaboko made of, you need to talk about surimi, the flavorless fish paste that makes kamaboko.
You need to talk about the different ingredients that are in kamaboko and give it the consistency that is has.
You need to talk about different types of kamaboko AND you need to talk about fish cakes in general, so you show Google you understand how Japanese fish cakes relate to fish cakes as a whole.
Link all of these articles together and you’ve got a good topic coverage.
This is called the first layer of coverage.
If you really want to go for topic coverage, create a second layer of topic coverage around kamaboko and write about the ingredients and processes that make up surimi, the other ingredients and the ingredients of the different types of kamaboko.
If you’re an expert, you’ll know WHY kamaboko has the texture that it has and the flavor that it has so you can use it in any way you want.
You just need to show Google you have all of this knowledge by writing about it and interlinking your articles.
Why use a topic cluster?
It allows for better organization and easier navigation of information.
Topic clusters can be used in various ways, such as to create a hierarchy of information, to show relationships between topics, or to provide a way to filter or search for information on the website.
In the context of SEO, a topic cluster is a group of related keywords that are clustered together in order to target a specific topic or theme.
This allows for more targeted and effective SEO campaigns, as well as better organization and navigation of information on a website.
Topic clusters are an essential part of an effective SEO strategy to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you want to improve your SEO, consider using topic clusters as part of your strategy.
Joost Nusselder is The Content Decoder, a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new tools en tactics. He's been working on a portfolio of niche sites since 2010. Now since 2016 he creates in-depth blog articles together with his team to help loyal readers earn from their own succesful sites.