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At the top of the Google ranking? Start with a topic cluster


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What is the best place to hide a corpse? Page two from Google! Because nobody comes there anyway. So how do you ensure that your content is high in Google on competitive keywords? By creating a topic cluster.

In the B2C sector, but especially in the B2B sector, you attract customers by discovering what they are looking for in Google and answering the questions they have.

And to make your content rank high in Google, you will have to improve the structure of that content.Topic clusters, sometimes also called content clusters, are the perfect answer for the coherence of content on your website. The DOALP content marketing framework that I developed can help you create such clusters.

In this article I discuss important aspects of content marketing that ensure organic growth:

  1. Goals: how to set goals for various types of content.
  2. Research: how to do strategic keyword research.
  3. Authority: how you structure your content for maximum authority in Google.
  4. Link building: how you can easily build links to your content.
  5. Promotion: how to successfully promote your content.

1. Develop clear content marketing strategy goals

We want to develop a content marketing strategy with which we achieve consistent organic growth. But then we must know what we want to achieve.

Goals can be:

  • More conversions: if you want your business to become more profitable.
  • More visitors: therefore more visible to your audience.
  • A higher domain authority in Google: if your website is supposed to rank well on competitive keywords.

With one type of content it is difficult to achieve all goals, each goal requires different content. For example, we create viral content for a higher domain authority. If we want more search traffic, we provide content that inspires. Is the goal more conversions? Then we go for how-to information.

  • Viral content provides more qualitative backlinks.
  • We teach the consumer and solve his problem through how-to content.
  • With inspiring content we score well on valuable keywords.

2. Investigate which keywords are valuable and create your framework

Creating content without first conducting keyword research is a missed opportunity. But at the same time, keyword research is not good, because Google does not necessarily have to rank your content for the keywords you want.

The difference between high-intent keywords and low-intent keywords

Before I explain how you can conduct content and keyword research, we first make a distinction between 2 types of pages for which you want to generate traffic.

  • Selling pages ( high-intent )
  • Informative pages ( low-intent )

What are selling pages?

Improve your complex website with advanced SEO

Have you mastered the basics of SEO and do you want to specialize further? Then you don’t want to miss the SEO (advanced) training.More infoBy selling pages I mean converting pages. Pages that are optimized for high-intent-based searches. These are pages that offer a solution for a problem, ie for a high purchase intention and optimized for selling keywords. Selling pages are usually pages for people who know they have a problem and know the solution to their problem.

An example of a high-intent keyword is, for example: ‘buy SEO software’. If someone searches for ‘buy SEO software’ then there is a good chance that he will actually want to purchase SEO software.

Image: an example of a high-intent search

It is of course difficult to rank well for these types of keywords due to the competition and commercial nature of these keywords. Also, people are usually not inclined to link to these types of pages, making it difficult to recruit backlinks for these types of pages.

What are informative pages?

Informative pages are pages that are optimized for informative keywords. They are usually pages for people who know they have a problem but don’t know that there is a suitable solution.

With informative searches, your audience is not always willing to make a purchase, but they hope to learn something about their problem. These keywords for this are often less competitive than selling keywords.

For example, blog pages are an example of informative pages. We therefore focus on blog pages for our informative keywords.

Image: an example of a low-intent search

An explanation of the content organization system

Your website and blog must consist of one or more main topics. These are often general topics that are relevant to your business. You will find subcategories within those subjects. 

Take the ‘marketing’ category, which can be divided into subcategories such as: digital marketing, SEO , SEA , et cetera. The subcategories can be further broken down: digital marketing for blogs, link building and SEA texts.

By dividing the main categories into more specific subcategories, many content options are created and it becomes easy to research long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords convert much better than short tail keywords even though the search volume on long tail keywords is lower.

By subdividing the main subject into specific subcategories, we understand the depth of the subject and we can better identify what consumers are looking for.

This process can be time-consuming, but the result is valuable long tail keywords that provide the necessary traffic and conversions. It is therefore an indispensable part of the framework.

Create your own DOALP content organization system

The categories of the system are:

  • Search term: enter the main category here.
  • Monthly search volume: how much search volume does the topic receive per month?
  • Competition: how competitive is the keyword?
  • Possible title: enter the title for your content here.
  • Possible page URL: enter the URL that you want to use here.
  • Similar pages to link to: enter relevant third-party web pages that enrich your content.
  • Link candidates: enter potential link partners that you can approach for backlinks by offering them your content.
  • Possible video title: enter the YouTube video title here.

The long tail page and subcategory page are the same as the category page. So you can easily duplicate the category page.

On the subcategory page, repeat the above points but then for suitable subcategories. On the ‘long tail’ page you determine the long tail keywords that you will use and enter them in the ‘search term’ column. You also enter the monthly search volume and the competition level on the long tail page.

Image: example of a category page

Create enough content to rank faster and higher

Content authority is a process. By working with a ‘topic cluster’ you can get that authority in Google. If your content belongs to a certain category, then visitors and Google will regard your website as an authority. It is important to consistently write content for the topic. If you publish on other topics, Google and visitors are unlikely to regard your website as an authority.

The structure of the content cluster strategy

Ultimately, you create a web of related topics on your website by producing content. The more content you create, the more complex and comprehensive the content clusters can become. The data on the category sheet of the DOALP content organization system forms the guideline for the ‘pillar article’ that you are going to create.

3. The pillar page, the webpage in question!

Your pillar page is central to your content cluster. It is the page to which the subcategories link. A pillar page is a page on your website about a specific main topic, divided into short pieces of information about subtopics that connect to the main topic. From your pillar page it should be easy to visit other pages on your website.

Instead of writing one article about your main topic, you write for several relevant subcategories that you all ultimately link to your pillar page.

The structure of a content cluster is similar to the structure of a mind map . Your pillar page is central and around it the subcategories that all link to your pillar page. For each topic cluster you write 15 to 30 posts that link to that important page.

But all this is of course useless if your content is not read, so therefore also attention to link building and promotion.

4. Quality backlinks to your content

High-quality Backlinks are an important ranking factor in Google and you need a system to scale link building. By scaling your link building you will consistently get backlinks.

The right tool for discovering link building opportunities

Performing outreach manually is very labor-intensive and therefore not effective. So you need a tool for cold outreach . There are many great tools to choose from and Reply.io is one of them. Reply.io is an affordable alternative to Pitchbox . To prevent you from making yourself guilty of sending spam and possibly getting a fine, I advise you to read the latest legislation .

5. Promote your content on YouTube for many: likes, shares and visitors

Consider making a YouTube video in which you or a colleague talk about your content. These videos generate traffic on YouTube and also via Google. Consider the video as an introduction in which you explain what the content can mean for your visitor. Visitors often like to see ‘the face of the makers’ and in the video you can also promote your other content and ask your visitors if they share your content.

To conclude

What are your experiences with topic clusters? Do you perhaps have additional tips on this subject? I like to read your response and sharing is appreciated.

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