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This entry is part 36 of 44 in the series Topical Authority

The lead post in this series is Mastering Topical Authority: A Comprehensive Guide to Boost Your SEO.

Introduction: Topical clusters

A topical cluster is a collection of blog posts about various aspects or nuances of a topic. They often consist of one main or pillar post, and several “subsidiary” or snippet posts.

A topical cluster can however contain more than one pillar post. That is not a hard and fast rule.

The broad topic

There is always one, and only one, broad topic.

For example, this post is part of a topical cluster on the topic of “topical authority“.

The narrower sub-topics

For every broad or main topic, there are some number of sub-topics, each of which becomes one snippet post. Each subtopic (snippet post) answers one question and only one question. More on that below.

Finding sub-topics

I’m a fan of the topical mapping tool AlsoAsked, as it generates a list of questions relative to some main topic that people “also asked” or more accurately entered as search queries.

AlsoAsked has a free level which should be sufficient for most people.

Pillar posts

Pillar posts tend to be longer in-depth articles that cover more than one aspect of a topic. Snippet posts are then “subsidiary” to them.

Snippet posts

Each sub-topic mentioned above becomes one snippet post in which an answer is provided to one question. This blog post is a snippet post within it’s topical cluster.

What makes it a topical cluster is internal links

However, a collection of blog posts does not a topical cluster make.

To help both your readers move easily from idea to idea (question to question) as well as to help the search engines figure out how that collection of posts goes together, you link them.

As appropriate for the topic and sub-topics, you link up, you link down, and you link sideways.

However, you don’t link for the purpose of linking, you link because the specific links make sense for your readers.

In closing

You create a topical cluster one blog post at a time.

I personally take the topical maps generated by AlsoAsked and create a Google Sheets document from them, then I work my way down the list where each identified subtopic becomes a blog post.

When I’ve completed the list, that topical cluster is done, and it’s time to create a new one.

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Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, like many others. The SaaS platform to help writers boost their topical authority came years later after various SEOs said it was something they would like to see.

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