As most technology advances as time goes on, it should be no surprise that Google and other search engines have become more sophisticated over the years.
It wasn’t long ago, when a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy included packing your web pages with keywords that had the greatest numbers of searches. This method (almost) always assured you would appear high up on search results and have visitors to your website.
However, search engines caught on, and now the single keyword approach is a thing of the past…kind of like the side part.
So, now what? Enter keyword clustering.
What is keyword clustering?
Keyword clustering (sometimes referred to as keyword grouping) is the process of grouping keywords into categories relevant to your website pages.
Examples of keyword clusters:
- cooling sheets
- best cooling sheets
- sheets that keep you cool
- cooling sheets for hot sleepers
A cluster includes a core topic and several related subtopics, supporting and pointing back to the core topic.
How to do keyword clustering
First things first, you should know that this strategy takes way more time, resources, and work than most of us are used to when creating content that ranks. However, it can be a real game-changer! (more to come on that below)
Collect keyword data
The key to keyword clustering (see what we did there?) is keyword research. And lots of it. We are talking tons.
Where should you look for said keywords?
- Existing keyword research (which keywords are currently working for your ranking?)
- User behavior/customer data for your business
- Which keywords your competitors are using
- Google Search Console and Google Analytics
You’re going to want to document everything you find. We recommend a spreadsheet that includes the organic difficulty, semantic relevance, search volume, and cost-per-click metrics of the keywords.
Helpful tip: Quantity over quality here. You will reduce the number significantly in the following steps.
Narrow the List
See, we told you there would come a time to decrease that massive keyword list!
Look at your list and look for patterns. This will help you narrow down the search words until you have a workable list.
Most likely, you’ll notice that many of the entries share the same focus keyword, just different subcomponents. For example:
- “Best running shoes”
- “Most affordable running shoes”
- “Outdoor running shoes”
- “Best affordable running shoes”
Running shoes is the main keyword, but notice which subcomponents occur most often. In this case, it’s best and affordable.
Recognizing which terms pop up the most across keyword variations is critical when it comes time for grouping.
Determine themes and group together
So you have your giant list narrowed down to a slightly smaller list. From here, you need to identify the best keyword terms to drive traffic and content relevance for your audience.
To select the appropriate keywords, ask yourself questions like:
- What words are most applicable to my business/product/service?
- Which terms are the most competitive? (use tools like Google Analytics for this)
- Which words speak directly to your audience?
Once you have found your golden keywords, you should organize them into groups. This can be done manually (using a spreadsheet) or with an online tool.
If you go the manual route, you can use the spreadsheet to analyze how often each keyword is searched for and which are the most important, and then divide them into topics.
There are also various online tools that you can use to create your keyword clusters. While some are free, they do have limitations. So if you go this route, we recommend researching both free and paid tools.
Use keyword clusters to create optimized content
You’ve got your keyword clusters! It’s time to integrate your keyword clusters into your website’s content, including:
- pillar pages
- on-page SEO
- alt-text for images
Whether you revamp your old content, create fresh new content, or a little of both, you’re improving your content and your SEO.
Why you should be using keyword clusters
Utilizing keyword clustering to gain more organic traffic is not only underrated, it’s essentially ignored. But you should not ignore it. Why?
Implementing keyword clusters in your content makes search engines extremely happy because it allows them to:
- Detect semantic relationships between pieces of content
- Identify your content as a trusted source
As a result, they find your website worthy of a top spot in search results!
In addition, keyword clustering allows you to target many keywords per page rather than just one or two words. This increases the opportunities for your website content to be found online.
The old ways of optimizing web pages with only one or two keywords are a thing of the past. Keyword clustering is the approach to SEO that businesses need to rank high and stay competitive, now, and for the foreseeable future.
Are you ready to implement a strong SEO website but just not sure where to start? At Firon Marketing, we work with our clients to create a digital marketing plan that gets results. Let’s connect and get started!