I have a confession to make.
When I was younger, I used to have this strange habit of not taking my grocery list with me when I hit Coles or Woolies. I used to challenge myself to memorise every item on the list and then leave the list behind.
I was quite decent at this, actually. From time to time, though, I’d end up missing out on a few things and would get them on my next trip (if I could wait that long).
This one time I was adamant about getting every single item without forgetting anything from the list.
Someone recommended that I divide the items into distinct clusters so I could remember the clusters (condiments, grains, dairy etc.) instead of individual items. When I got back from the supermarket, my efforts were rewarded; I hadn’t forgotten anything.
Being as curious as I am, I was a little intrigued by the science behind this; especially as a budding marketer at the time.
It turns out that humans can only remember around 7-9 things at a given time. By grouping similar information together, we tend to recall more information than usual.
This made me really think about how I could use this hack to cluster information and market my content more effectively.
In this post, I’m going to take a two-pronged approach to explain the uses of clustering in content marketing; the human approach and the search engine approach.
The human approach
Clustering is all about grouping information based on their similarities. If you think about it, this is actually a natural human inclination. Clustering information makes recalling it easier.
The human approach is all about being mindful of this technique and its effects on memory retention while creating content.
Making content that speaks to the natural inclination to cluster will make your content much easier to remember across your audience (and who doesn’t want that?).
To give you an idea of what this looks like when it comes to content marketing, consider grouping related information under one subheading and use bullet points and numbering to share similar information. These will improve the readability of your content while improving memory retention.
The search engine approach
To understand this approach, think of Google’s search engine like a human being.
The same principle of clustering applies here as well. This is more apt now that Google is actively improving itself to understand more complex search queries.
While the human approach tends to focus on a single piece of content, this search engine approach focuses on topic clusters.
Topic clusters are groups of related topics that are linked to each other. For example, if you create exercise-based content, you can cluster all your exercise-related content under a topic cluster.
Clustering topics will help Google and other search engines recall related topics faster and more effectively, making your content rank higher on search results. The result? Increased traffic and revenue for your site.
Here are a few quick guidelines to help you incorporate topic clustering as part of your work:
- Understand the core topic: the core topic is the main topic in your topic cluster. Understanding it in-depth will help you identify related topics.
- Create a pillar page: pillar pages serve as the hub for all your content and include links to related topics in that cluster.
- Build internal links: build internal links on your pillar page. Make sure you only link related topics to that topic cluster.
- Fill keyword gaps: find all the keywords relevant to your topic cluster. Produce content that focuses on keywords that are missing content.
Employ clustering effectively to help your audience remember your content and your business
Clustering is a very human process. As content marketers, this human trait is a great way to make your content more memorable to your readers and to search engines.
Use clustering in your marketing strategy to supercharge your visibility online and revenue!