keyword cluster

Keyword Clusters are Worth the Work (Here’s Why…and How)


If you’re a small business owner or marketing manager, chances are you’ve heard of a keyword cluster. This SEO strategy involves grouping together similar keywords to target a specific audience with your content.

For example, let’s say you own a women’s clothing store. You might create a keyword cluster around the following terms: “women’s clothes,” “ladies’ fashion,” and “women’s apparel.” By targeting these related keywords, you can attract searchers who are specifically looking for what you have to offer.

But is all this effort really worth it? In short, yes! Here’s why keyword clustering can be such an effective advanced SEO strategy.

What is a Keyword Cluster?

Keyword clusters help you identify a large number of keywords surrounding a similar topic. For instance, “toasters” may include “best toaster,” “how to toast bread,” and “what type of bread makes the best toast.” Imagine how many dozens, or hundreds, of articles, are closely or loosely related to toasters. This can be helpful when you’re trying to target a specific audience or market.

If you only attempt ranking for “toaster” or “best toaster,” you do more than limit your market.

Google more clearly sees your goal is to rank for one keyword—not serve those looking for good toast. 

But if they see you trying to serve the search intent of all toast-searchers, they’ll be more likely to reward your content with spots in the top 10.

If you want your web page to rank for big “money” or “transactional” keywords, focus on related subtopics. This will often result in your page ranking for 10-20x the number of keywords and increased traffic.

Google has focused its engineering efforts on understanding natural language and the relationships between on-page content in the past couple of years.

Neural matching has helped search engines better understand synonyms.

With each new update to its core algorithm, Google is becoming more and more like a book.

Many website owners are still optimizing their sites with only a few keywords in mind, despite Google’s increasing intelligence. This outdated method can lead to your landing page being ranked for hundreds of irrelevant search terms.

This outdated practice is unnecessary, especially since we know that our landing pages are usually ranked for hundreds, if not thousands of different search terms.

For some of us who have been in the SEO game since the beginning, this feels a little like a new frontier.

As Google’s NLP technology continues to evolve, our on-page SEO strategy must also adapt to reflect these changes. This will ensure that our content is properly optimized for search and provides the best possible experience for users.

How do we optimize our on-page SEO to keep up with Google?

Clustering keywords is the solution.

Benefits and Examples of Keyword Clusters

Keyword clustering is a strategy that requires you to spend a lot of resources on a certain topic, through multiple (often dozens or more) articles. This strategy requires extensive amounts of research, planning, and implementation.

However, once the plan is in place, it often provides months (if not years) of content ideas, as it needs more keyword research, more topics for blog posts, and more.

In the end, creating clusters of related keywords and topics on your site will make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site. The benefits also include:

  • High rankings for low comp, long tail keywords (often in the top 10).
  • Overall better rankings for main keywords of the same topic.
  • More pageviews, sessions, and visitors.
  • Achieve results quickly (with bulk publishing).
  • A strong interlinking profile (since so many articles are similar, yet unique).
  • The non-SEO-related benefits (including your site becoming an authority in the space).

Keyword Cluster Examples

Once you find the cluster of core words, pair them with complementary terms.

Including relevant, longer tail, low-competition, and informational terms on your landing pages can help increase your page’s relevance for those search terms.

Now let’s take a look at a keyword cluster example.

These terms are all related to scheduling interviews and are a great cluster of related words. People searching for these are likely looking for an interview scheduler, making them ideal candidates for a targeted campaign.

The most valuable core term is “Interview Scheduling Software,” and it’s paired with complimentary terms which have fewer searches but a higher cost per click.

Now, here’s our second example of a keyword cluster:

These search terms are semantically different and indicate a different level of interest. These users are looking for tools to help them interview candidates virtually.

Our primary target term is highly competitive, but we have also included other terms in the niche that are easier for us to compete for and have strong conversion rates. By doing this, we increase our chances of ranking well for our primary keyword while also driving traffic from other related keywords.

If you’re confident in the niche you’re targeting, you can categorize your search terms into different groups. By doing this, you can focus on low competition, high converting terms.

Keyword clustering tools can automatically group your search terms into categories.

As you start creating your segments, keep in mind that not all of the words in your keyword lists need to be included in your cluster.

The most valuable keyword phrases are the most critical to incorporate.

What makes a high-value keyword? Highly relevant keywords, high searches, and high cost-per-clicks.

Why Keyword Clustering is Essential

Using keyword clustering, you can target multiple keywords at once, giving you an edge over your competition.

This is because they respond to Google’s powerful search, which utilizes its natural language and indexing capabilities.

Think about this. Search engines like google understand all the various keywords and key phrases that individuals use across different industries and topics. This allows them to provide you with results that are specific to what you are searching for.

It understands that certain words or phrases are related while others are not.

Google has spent years developing its natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, which are designed to interpret the content of a web page and determine how relevant it is to the query.

When you create multiple pages with content that cover the same topic, you demonstrate to search engines that your site is an authoritative source and is packed full of useful, in-depth information.

You also give search engines like Google rich, informative content that helps them identify what your site is about and rank it accordingly.

In a keyword cluster, you need to think bigger than just keywords. It’s the way of the future.

If you really want your pages to stay at the top of search results, it’s high time that you pay attention to your on-page SEO.

Conclusion

Overall, a keyword cluster is a great way to improve your SEO and attract more targeted traffic to your website. So if you’re not already using this strategy, it’s definitely worth considering!

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About the author

Josh Slone

Josh is Chief of Staff at Content at Scale, running the in-house portfolio of sites as well as customer success for clients using our Content Machine.

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