I’ve been stoked about this topic for a quite a while now (total nerd, I know). But mainly because once I discovered it, my website completely transformed. So welcome to your crash course on content siloing and how to create topic clusters.

As you read, some of these strategies can seem obvious.

But when you’re first starting out, there’s a lot to learn about Google and how ranking really works. And content silos are definitely something that get easily overlooked.

So I’ll be showing you exactly how to silo and cluster your content – for a fully organized and more optimized blog.

OK, enough small talk – let’s get it!

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What Is Content Siloing + Topic Clustering?

Before we dive in deeper, let’s get some working definitions for these concepts. If they’re still confusing after this, don’t worry – the “tree method” below should help clarify any questions.
Content silos are are groups of related sucniches and related topics within your main niche.

OK that makes sense. So what about topic clusters, are they similar or completely different? Well, they’re strongly related, but actually a bit different.

Topic clusters are groups of related content for specific subniches, or content silos.

The separation between silos and clusters can be difficult to grasp, and they’re often used interchangeably. However, I see them as very distinct and individual ideas.

To help explain this difference, let’s jump to the next section and use my tree method as a metaphor.

Visualizing Content Silos + Topic Clusters

My Tree Analogy

My self-coined term is really just a way to better visualize content silos and topic clusters.

When I first started researching these concepts, it was difficult to find a clear and concise explanation.

So I came up with a metaphor to explain it more simply.

It looks a little something like this:

  • Tree trunk (this is your main niche and includes pillar posts and general blogs)
    • Tree branches (these are your content silos and represent your main sub niches)
      • Tree leaves (these represent your topic clusters and include groups of related topics on each silo)

Let’s use my website as an example, so we can get the full picture of silos and clusters in action.

My site’s core niche is digital marketing for creatives and solopreneurs. I have a collection of long-form pillar posts that target this “general” audience.

For example, my ultimate guides Blogging for Creative EntrepreneursSocial Media for Creatives and Digital Marketing 101 are all general and relevant for every single person and subniche audience on my site.

These are my pillar posts and every blog should have pillar posts, which target larger, more general keywords in your niche. These posts make up the tree trunk of my site.

Next, I have various content silos. Here are a few of my main subniches: artists and musicians, handmade crafters, nutritionists and dietitians, graphic designers and filmmakers or photographers.

Each of these subniches (or siloed groups) are within the larger niche of creatives or solopreneurs. However, they’re more specific and represent the tree branches of my website tree.

Finally, I have groups (or clusters) of specific content for each silo. These are my topic clusters and they represent the tree leaves on the branches of each silo.

For example, my post Tips for Selling Artwork Online is a cluster article, part of my artists content silo. And my post on the Perfect Target Market for Handmade Jewelry is part of my handmade crafters content silo.

All the topic clustered articles on a content silo are really just leaves on a branch.

So there it is, the tree method to content siloing and using topic clusters. I hope this helped to clarify things for you – I know it helps me immensely to visualize things.

Now let’s explore some benefits of content siloing, before briefly discussing how to set up your own silos and clusters (if you’re feeling stuck).

How to Create Content Silos + Topic Clusters​

OK, now that we understand what silos and clusters are, we can start using them.

Below is a quick step-by-step format to follow.

This should help you organize your site’s architecture and give you a clear path forward for establishing content silos and clusters.

  1. Identify your main niche
    1. Create a small collection of long-form, “general” pillar posts for your website
    2. You will link back to these pillar posts within your niche, clustered articles
  2. List the main subniches (audiences) branching off your main niche
    1. These will be your content silos
  3. Create hyper-specific topic ideas for each subniche audience
    1. These will be your topic clusters

    4 Sweet Benefits of Content Siloing

    The concepts in this article are things that can add a serious boost your overall website performance and quality. And yet, it’s something I completely ignored for my first two years blogging…

    But after implementing this simple tweak into my content strategy, I’ve realized their importance and experience some amazing benefits.

    Here are four of my favorite benefits for creating silos and clusters.

    Organization + Structure

    This one is huge. When I first started my site, I was all over the place. To say I was experiencing shiny object syndrome would be an understatement.

    (Seriously, every niche, topic and idea seemed like a goldmine…)

    So adopting a siloed approach to your blog will greatly improve your organization, strategy and overall website structure. Now I can ignore the noise and focus on the content that is most relevant for my site and audiences.

    Optimization + Ranking

    Having a clear site architecture will optimize your website – especially for Google. In fact, the Google algorithm frequently crawls websites, trying to analyze its pages, posts and layout.

    If your articles and topics are sporadic and without organization, there a good chance that Google may misinterpret your goals and audience targets.

    However, if you have a clearly defined structure and have mapped out your content using interlinks, menu shortcut and even categories or tags, then this can help Google to better understand your website and its content.

    Ultimately, this can translate to better rankings and more traffic over time.

    Better UX

    UX, or user experience, is not just a buzzword. It’s extremely important and also another ranking factor. After all, if you have a website with poor functionality and ease of use, then people are less likely to stick around for very long.

    By using content silos and clusters (and interlinking between relevant posts and pillar pages), you can increase the dwell time of your site and create a better overall experience for readers.

    It makes sense too. I know when I visit my favorite websites for music marketing or production, I end up spending much longer on their website than originally planned – simply because they’ve recommended and interlinked to other, relevant and interesting articles on their website.

    This creates a better experience for me and signals to Google that your website is high quality (since people are spending more time there – i.e., dwell time).

    Better Interlinking

    Finally, creating pillar posts, content silos and intentional topic clusters will increase your interlinking agility. This is actually one of the more exciting benefits I realized after implementing this strategy.

    As you’ll see below, I recommend first creating a collection of core, pillar posts. This way, you can easily reference and link to them within each new, topic cluster article you create.

    This is something I’ve found to extremely rewarding and beneficial. It’s an eye-opening realization when creating new articles – being able to quickly link to other relevant posts that expand on specific topics.

    This enhanced interlinking is like a tangible feeling to all of your silos and topic clusters coming together in a cohesive site architecture.

    Conclusion

    This post has provided a simple, user-friendly guide on content siloing and creating topic clusters.

    During my initial research into the topic, I found it difficult to understand these concepts and their various nuances. So this post adopts a tree methodology to visualize their use.

    We discuss a simple four-step plan to implement silos and clusters and reviewed some of the top benefits of this strategy. So now it’s your turn to upgrade your site architecture.

    Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you found the information helpful and interesting. Let me know in the comments: have you ever organized your blog content in this way before?

    Categories: General

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