If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have a lot of good content for your visitors. But can they easily find all the content they need? To simplify things, you might consider creating topic groups. Subject groups, or content hubs, will help your visitor and search engines find all the content related to a particular category in a more convenient and logical way.
Without a logical plan, your content can become repetitive and very spread out, making your website harder to navigate. In the end, you end up with multiple web pages and blog posts that cover similar topics.
What are subject groups?
Thematic clusters are organized groups of content around a specific topic. Each specific topic has a page that provides an index or table of contents. The main page, sometimes called the pillar page, is an overview with links to the many other pages covering aspects of this topic. Also, more in-depth content links to the pillar page.
By creating this linked structure, you allow your visitors to easily find all the information on a particular topic. In addition, this uniform link structure allows search engines to crawl your pages quickly.
What makes a page a pillar?
A pillar page can be a main page of your website or a detailed blog post that resides in your website’s navigation. It should be focused on your target topic and the content should be high quality and comprehensive. Your pillar pages should completely cover the main subject areas, but at a high level. This allows you to link to other website content related to this topic that goes in more depth. These detailed articles should also link to the pillar page. These cross-links allow the content to form a cluster that helps the visitor find all the information they need.
The topic cluster model also tells search engines that your pillar page is an authority on the topic. By linking all of the content for that topic to a single page, you are signaling to search engines that your content has significant coverage and depth around the topic.
Advantages of thematic clusters
Organizing your content into clusters has benefits for you, your visitors, and search engines. These include:
- A more organized website with content that completely covers a topic across multiple publications.
- Better user experience and conversions of visitors to leads. Well-organized content sends a strong message to visitors that your business is the expert. You can get more engagement in all cluster posts.
- Improved SEO that helps your blog become an authority on a particular topic. Bundling your content allows you to optimize not only the main keyword, but also many long-tail keywords that can help drive additional traffic.
- More comprehensive content that better serves your audience. This increases the perceived value of the content for your visitors.
- A streamlined content marketing strategy focused on topics relevant to your target audience.
How to start revamping your content
Creating these subject groups will require some planning. The implementation of the thematic clusters will certainly take time. Here are some tips to get started.
Start with a content audit
You need to know what content you have and whether it needs to be updated or removed. A content audit will help you determine what content you have, if it’s still relevant, and if you need to update or eliminate it. Weeding out old content that is no longer relevant is the first step in streamlining your content.
If you have a WordPress website, install a plugin called WP All Export. You can export your blog posts to a custom CSV file. You can choose what data to export including date published and modified, title, full content, keyword, categories, SEO title, meta description, permalinks, all taxonomies and custom fields .
Once you have the content insights spreadsheet, use it to organize your posts. I hope you have used strategic categories in your blog, which are similar to topic groups. You can use it to sort your content and start the grouping process.
Align your content with customer needs
Your ideal customers have problems you can solve. What do they want to know that you can help them with? Use this information to make a strategic list of subject groups you need on your website.
Your content needs to address these issues so your audience sees you as someone who understands them and can help them. If your content doesn’t align with how you help your customers, you may need to rethink your content.
If you’re not sure, do a keyword search to define the topic further. Use tools like Answer the Public to give you a list of questions related to your topic.
If your topic group is about remodeling, Answer the Public has 76 questions you can use to write content. For example, one of the questions is “Which remodel increases the value of the house”. You can easily turn this question into a blog post in the remodeling topic group. Keep in mind that you can break a cluster down into more granular topics such as kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling. It will help your visitor even more if they focus on a particular renovation project.
Map your content into your strategic clusters
Go back to your content spreadsheet and organize your existing content into your strategic topics. This will allow you to see where you are missing content. If you have a cluster that contains multiple posts of recent and relevant content, start there.
Create your pillar page and link to your existing content. If there’s a part of this topic where you don’t have content to link to, you’ve found a gap in your content. Filling content gaps adds to your credibility.
Determine what to do with content that doesn’t match
If you have content that doesn’t fit into any of your strategic topic groups, you need to have a plan for what to do with it.
Is it still relevant for your business? If so, this may provide the basis for another cluster that you can populate with additional messages. You may have only written a few articles on this topic, but now you can add it to your content strategy. If no longer relevant, eliminate outdated or irrelevant content.
All content is strategic
I use this phrase often when speaking with small business owners. The content you spend time writing should add value to your web presence and help attract your ideal customers. Using topic groups is a great way to organize your content and make it relevant. Without this type of organization, you risk drifting away from important topics for your business.
But take it one step at a time. You cannot rearrange all your content quickly. Start with your most important topic and organize it. Then keep working on others until your website becomes a source of expert, quality information.