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10 Topic Cluster Examples To Learn From

Topical authority signifies credibility and trustworthiness in SEO. It’s the degree to which a website or page is considered an expert in a particular topic.

The higher your topical authority, the higher the chances of ranking well on SERPs.

Google uses E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, and trust) signals to the search engine to determine topical authority. By producing quality content, topic clusters can help you showcase your E-E-A-T to search engines.

With topic clusters, you create a comprehensive resource on a particular topic, demonstrating experience and expertise. And users will likely stay on your site longer because they can find all the information they need on a specific keyword on one page.

In this article, I’ll show you how topic clusters work to build topical authority and give you a topic cluster cheat code with ten topic cluster examples you can check and replicate.

What you will learn

  • Topic clusters— what they are and how do they work
  • Five different variations of topic clusters that you can compare and create a topic cluster for your brand— hub and spoke model, content libraries, subject guides, content directories, and databases.
  • Ten examples of successful use of different topic cluster models and how websites like Podia, HubSpot, BBC News, and Wirecutter use topic clusters to increase their online presence and authority.

What are topic clusters?

Topic clusters are a strategic internal linking and content strategy that groups related content into a central topic or theme. They help you create more targeted and engaging content that gives a detailed overview of the topic—instead of creating lots of standalone content pieces.

Topic clusters have different name variations but are basically intentionally grouped and interlinked pages to cover a certain topic. You may see content hubs, pillar pages, and supporting pages when referring to the same.

A pillar page is a comprehensive resource on a broad topic. It is connected to supporting pages that give more detailed information on specific subtopics the pillar page covers. Picture the pillar page as the main branch of a tree and supporting pillar pages as different sub-branches that produce flowers and fruit.

Put simply, a typical topic cluster will have:

  • A page dedicated to the topic “Pillar page.”
  • A collection/ cluster of pages expounding on the subtopics in great depth.
  • Internal cross-linking structure within all the cluster pages and with the pillar page.

With topic clusters, you build many pages around a core topic. The breadth of helpful in-depth content signifies topical authority and industry expertise to Google, helping you rank better in SERPS.

Ten examples of topic clusters in SEO

You can implement topic clusters in different ways. In this section, I’ll dive deeper into some examples of topic clusters in SEO and how you can implement each to enhance your topical authority and online presence.

Hub and spoke model

The Hub and Spoke model is a simple and effective way to increase topical authority that was popularized by HubSpot.

The Hub pages cover the main topic we want to rank better on, and spokes are the supporting pages containing more detailed information on keywords related to the main topic.

  • Hub- Content focuses on high-volume targeted keywords—E.g., Content marketing.
  • Spoke pages- Content contains long tail keywords with a lower volume, E.g., Content marketing for small businesses, how to create a content marketing strategy, Top content marketing trends in 2023, etc.

With the hub and spoke model, you focus on targeting topics, not keywords.

Examples of topic clusters using the Hub and Spoke model

Below I’ll share two examples of topic clusters using the hub and spoke model on different niches.

The examples have three common aspects.

  1. A hub page containing in-depth topics (online courses, Instagram marketing)
  2. Spoke pages containing subtopics in greater detail.
  3. Detailed internal linking across all the spoke pages and the hub page.

Podia’s comprehensive guide on creating and selling profitable online courses

In this guide, Podia covers almost everything about online courses.

  • Hub page: How to create, sell, and profit from an online course in 2023. (Note that the title can be updated to reflect each year)
  • Number of supporting pages/ spokes in this cluster: 8

Podia’s guide on online courses is a classic Hub and Spoke model of the a topic and cluster content strategy that splits long-form content into smaller bite-sized pieces that address all the related sub-topics to the main topic. This shows expert knowledge and subject expertise.

HubSpot’s guide to Instagram marketing

HubSpot used the hub and spoke model to create content centered on Instagram marketing. Let’s break this example down.

  • Hub page: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing
  • Number of spokes supporting the title: >10

The spokes cover topics such as: - How to use Instagram stories: a simple guide for marketers, 80+ Instagram stats you need to know in 2023, Your guide to get more followers on your business Instagram, etc.

The hub and spoke model helps you create evergreen informational content that customers will find beneficial. 

Ensure you conduct comprehensive keyword research to find all the transactional keywords and create content that Google, users and search engines will deem useful to succeed with this model.

Content libraries

The content library model lists parent pages by category or subcategories and links the subcategory pages to existing content.

Related pieces of content are grouped under a “parent page,” creating a centralized content hub. The subtopics are networked, giving comprehensive coverage of the main topic.

With the library approach, you sort fresh and evergreen content in terms of the “similarities” topics covered.

The content libraries approach is common for news and editorial content. It works best for companies that cover a wide variety of topics with diverse subtopics that may not be easily sorted.

Examples of content libraries clusters

Content libraries may include different types of content, such as blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, white papers, case studies, etc.

Let’s look at some examples of content libraries and how they give audiences a variety of content ideas and topics to explore.

BBC News

The BBC News website contains a large content library of articles, videos other formats. The content is organized into categories such as technology news, health, arts and entertainment.

For example, you’ll find articles on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and social media on the first page of the tech page. Each subcategory has various content in different formats but relevant to the specific topic.

Users can access fresh up-to-date content with the latest news and still get older content in the topic verticals.

Wirecutter

The Wirecutter is a product review website owned by The New York Times. They use content libraries to cluster their content around comprehensive guides and reviews.

The content libraries are grouped into home and garden, kitchen, tech, gifts, style, etc.

Each topic is divided into subtopics. For example, camera reviews are within the electronics segment. The camera content library includes reviews, articles, and guides on camera technology, brands, features and images, and other forms of content.

With content libraries, Wirecutter has managed to maintain a consistent voice and style across diverse topics with regular high-quality content, establishing itself as a trusted source of information.

Subject guides

In theory, a subject guide comprises a collection of resources on a particular area. You identify and group related topics and themes together.

The subject guide method is commonly used by educators to organize educational resources and materials for students. Libraries also use this content cluster method to group information.

Examples of subject guides in content clusters

Subjects guides can be a great content cluster model, even outside traditional education institutions. Here are some great examples of content that uses subject guide clustering.

Brainstation

Braistation uses subject guides to provide comprehensive resources on various topics related to career development and digital skills training.

Each guide has a collection of related articles, videos, and resources that give users an in-depth overview of a topic.

For example, in the subject guide “How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst,” there are articles on cybersecurity tools, cover letters and career prospects.

Each guide is logical, easy to follow, and links to related resources—providing context for the users and a variety internal links of high-quality resources on a given topic.

Coschedule

CoSchedule uses subject guides to provide resources and tools that educate business owners on marketing. Their website has blog posts, e-books, and articles providing detailed information on different marketing topics.

Their content is comprehensive, well-written, and well-researched, covering different aspects of marketing and giving actionable tips and strategies.

Each subject guide gives thorough subject matter knowledge on a few topic ideas a certain marketing topic. E.g., the purpose of marketing, goals of marketing, history of marketing, etc.

Content directories

Traditionally, a content directory is a file that directs you to other files where you’ll access the content.

In topic clusters, content directories act like a directory page, with many links directing users to different topics.

You have one central hub page that contains links to other pages with more detailed information on the subject.

With this model, you organize content logically and efficiently while users navigate and access content better.

Zapier’s content directory

Zapier is a great example of a website that effectively uses content directories in topic clusters. For example, this directory of remote work, it’s a collection of all their content related to the topic cluster.

Each link from the directory contains relevant articles, guides, and resources related to remote work. For instance, the “Tools for Remote Teams” cluster includes links to articles on how to use Zoom, Slack, and Trello. 

Databases

Databases are used in content clusters by grouping a large number of pages and content into specific categories. The database stores all the files on the website.

With this model, each cluster can be assigned its own database that contains the metadata about the content in the cluster.

The metadata may include the author, topic, date created, relevant tags and related keywords, etc.

Content databases are particularly useful when you have a ton of pages that need to be filtered.

If you have a large website or a digital library, it makes it easier to navigate, retrieve and access relevant information fast.

Examples of Databases content cluster model

Let’s look at some companies that have perfected the database model.

AppSumo

AppSumo is an online marketplace that offers deals on software, tools, and even courses for learning about growing businesses.

Their website uses databases that group similar products under categories such as marketing, design, productivity, and more.

Within each category is a product database that includes metadata such as the product name, a brief description, pricing, user reviews, etc.

This perfect database content cluster model allows users to filter and make search queries for products within a specific category or across multiple categories based on their needs and preferences.

Burpee

Burpee sells seeds and plants and uses a content database to organize their product catalog.

Each plant variety has its entry in the database, which includes information such as the plant name, a description, growing instructions, and customer reviews.

For example, if you’re looking for Oregano seeds, you can see different varieties categorized based o origin and pricing.

You can filter them by criteria such as plant type, growing season, and disease resistance and find what’s suitable for your garden.

Verticalized Clusters

Verticalized content clusters model groups content based on a particular industry, topic, or audience.

This model works best when creating more targeted content for different audiences.

For example, a company that sells accounting software can create verticalized content clusters for different industries such as education, healthcare, construction, etc.

Each cluster would contain content tailored to that industry’s specific needs and challenges.

Signaturely’s use of Verticalized content

Signaturely, a digital signature software uses verticalized content clusters to group content focused on contracts.

They provide a range of resources and content tailored to specific audience needs. For example, they offer a range of pre-made contract templates that users can customize to make contracts. The contract templates are for different industries, such as real estate, finance, healthcare, wedding planning, etc.

Key takeaways

  • Topic clusters are a powerful internal linking strategy that groups related content into a central topic or theme to showcase content authority and provide users with relevant content.
  • One way to succeed with topic clusters is to have a pillar page dedicated to a topic, a collection/cluster of pages expounding on the subtopics in great depth, and an internal cross-linking structure within all the cluster pages and with the pillar page.
  • There are different topic cluster models that you can borrow and customize to your brand’s needs. They include the hub and spoke model, content libraries, subject guides, content directories, and databases.

Conclusion

The topic cluster model will only stand out when it is user-focused— easy to use and understand, and meets the user’s needs and preferences.

Invest in giving comprehensive coverage of topics and subtopics, choose a great hierarchal structure based on your industry, and ensure interconnectedness to help with discovery.

Did I leave out a great topic cluster example? Got any questions?

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