If we can safely assume anything about search engine algorithm changes, it’s this: Search engines will continually look to evolve their algorithms to better capture the way users think, behave and search. The latest updates are no different.
SEO is shifting toward a topic cluster model in which one page acts as the central content hub and multiple pages with related content link to that central page and to one another. Pages that follow this model may be favored in search engines and rank higher for the topics they cover.
While this tactic may just be the latest way to influence SEO, the best content marketers — and even journalists — have been using it for years to create targeted content that answers a specific need. Aside from SEO benefits, here are four reasons you should adopt a topic cluster model for your content.
- One Piece of Content Doesn’t a Thought Leader Make
The content that your brand creates naturally should speak to your capabilities, thought leadership and unique value proposition. If you’re a hospital that seeks to be the go-to provider of heart care in your area, a lone piece of content on your website featuring heart-healthy tips won’t do the trick. Imagine instead the impact you could make with a section of your site devoted to heart health and wellness — with a central hub page offering why heart health is important to overall health and linked pages with patient testimonial videos, heart-healthy recipes, heart tips specific to women and more.
- You Can’t Cover It All in One Piece
When it comes to creating meaningful, valuable content that your audience wants to engage with, most of the time, saying everything will get you nothing. By slicing up a topic into more digestible sub-topics, you avoid overwhelming your audience with a piece of content that’s too time-consuming or cumbersome to read. And you keep them coming back for more. It’s actually no new concept: Newspapers and magazines have created multi-part series since who knows when.
- You Lack Diversity in Content Formats
Is your website full of text pages with little visual, audio or video content? The cluster model approach also lends itself to content format diversity. In addition to providing complementary sub-topics through a satellite of pages, you can offer those sub-topics in different formats including photos, video and audio.
- You Can Create Efficiencies in Your Content Creation Process
Who doesn’t like finding efficiencies, especially when it’s paired with increased value? Planning and creating a set of content pieces on a complementary topic requires less time and effort than planning and creating disparate pieces. Less research time and fewer interviews with subject matter experts are needed, and freelance costs can even be reduced if you outsource.
Sure, moving to a topic cluster model might pay off down the road — or right away — in higher search rankings. But it also makes sense to adopt this method on so many other tangible levels.