The power of topic clusters in SEO, UX and everything else

With search engines putting more emphasis than ever on websites ensuring their content is helpful, useful, rooted in true expertise and experience, and can therefore be relied upon by users, it’s no surprise that topic clusters are becoming part of the SEO strategy for many brands and organisations in order to build authority and increase organic visibility.

In this blog, we look at why topic clusters are so useful in SEO, but also how they can impact the user experience and their buyer journey, to maximise the positive impact and benefits of this approach.

What are topic clusters?

Topic clusters are groups of separate, but related, pages on a website that collectively contain content which covers a range of different aspects of the wider ‘topic’. Topic clusters demonstrate a depth of knowledge and expertise on the subject matter.

Topic clusters basically provide a strategic way for websites with significant amounts of content to structure and clearly organise it in a way that delivers the most value and ease of use to both the target audience and search engines.

The benefits of SEO topic clusters

There are several reasons why topic clusters can bring SEO benefits to a website. These include:

  •   Demonstrating topical relevance
  •   Demonstrating expertise and authority on the subject matter(s)
  •   Matching search intent to useful content
  •   Improving internal linking
  •   Providing focus to your keyword strategy

Demonstrating topical relevance

There’s nothing search engines like more than clear signals about what content is about and who it helps, because it enables them to provide the most useful results to users. Topic clusters play right into this, because every piece of content sitting within a cluster gives its focus to a particular subject matter, and all of the related content in that cluster ties into the main theme. It’s therefore very clear to search engines (if your on-page SEO elements are all on point too) who the content is aimed at.

Demonstrating expertise and authority on the subject matter

By having topic clusters that incorporate content on many distinct areas of a central theme, you’re demonstrating your breadth of knowledge of the subject matter. Showing a good level of expertise and that your brand is an authority on the subject is exactly what search engines are looking for, as shown by Google’s quality rater guidelines, which help determine how the search engine ranks content in their search results.

Google call their key evaluations of content quality E-E-A-T, which stands for:

  •   Experience
  •   Expertise
  •   Authoritativeness
  •   Trustworthiness

An effective topic cluster strategy can demonstrate all of these elements in a well-structured way, for maximum SEO impact.

Matching search intent to useful content

The true sweet spot of any SEO-driven content marketing strategy is to attract the right searchers at the right point in their journey and directly address their needs with your relevant and valuable content. However, that isn’t always a straightforward task, as some search queries may have mixed intent behind them.

A topic cluster strategy provides an opportunity to explore these different angles and intents with unique and useful content that is separate, but associated with the larger general theme. On their own, each piece has a use and provides important information for a smaller audience, but corporately, they complement and build on each other to become a true resource that meets a myriad of user needs.

Improving internal linking

An often-understated SEO opportunity, the way that pages on the same website link to each other can give search engines valuable information about individual pages, topical themes and the website as a whole. The clear and organised structure to topic clusters, when linked to other related pages effectively, can improve crawlability.

Anchor text is an important consideration for internal linking, by using keyword focused anchor text when linking internally between our clustered articles we reinforce signals discovered by search engines about a page’s intent and what keywords we would be expecting that URL to rank for..

It’s not only search engines that benefit from good internal linking practices used within topic clusters; users have a much more positive experience on a website if they can easily find content that aligns with their interests because it’s all linked together nicely. A user that can easily find and navigate to different pages of content exploring various facets of a larger topic is more likely to spend longer on your website, view more pages and have greater exposure to your brand. This can serve you very well when it comes to their decision time.

Providing focus to your keyword strategy

Taking a topic cluster approach to your content strategy means that you are able to target a wider range of keywords around a certain topic that you simply couldn’t replicate if you just had a single page on the broader theme. The ability to rank for lots more terms brings great opportunities for driving additional highly relevant organic traffic to your website.

It’s important to take a strategic approach when implementing topic clusters, ensuring that you are clear about which keywords you are targeting on which pages. This helps avoid cannibalisation (where you compete for the same keywords on different pages, which confuses search engines as well as users, and can be detrimental to the organic visibility of your entire site), and again helps to build authority on the general theme over time.

Topic cluster examples

Topic cluster strategies don’t all have to look the same and the way they work can be a bit different, depending on your industry and audience, so we have compiled some different topic cluster examples to provide a bit of inspo that might be useful for your own project.


It’s probably not really any surprise to anyone in marketing that one of the most often cited examples of an effective topic cluster strategy is from Hubspot. To be honest, we could have chosen almost any aspect of their business as a topic cluster example, but we’ve picked their Instagram Marketing pages.

With an absolute beast of a pillar page (the central theme of the topic) which essentially acts as a hub for all content on this topic, they have created a wealth of other content on more granular Instagram marketing topics, which sits on their blog. The blog posts all link to the main pillar page and vice versa, establishing the relationship between the content for both search engines and users.


Another great example of topic clusters in action can be found throughout Canva’s product offering pages on their website.

Their primary page on presentations provides a real wealth of information about why and how to create presentations with Canva, and then includes many links to the wider information available in various parts of their site on presentations, from blogs to tutorials in their design school and video content too.


TakingCare provide personal alarm systems for older or vulnerable people who want the peace of mind that they can always reach assistance at the push of a button. The topic cluster strategy on their website is designed to provide users with highly relevant and useful information on a topic, as well as highlighting products that will be relevant to that audience too.

Their home safety topic cluster is one example, where the hub page provides links to detailed content on areas within the main topic, such as preventing falls at home, home security, general safety advice and protecting older people from scams. All of these topics tie into the main theme and are relevant to those looking for information or advice on home safety for the elderly.

How to create topic clusters

There are many different ways to create topic clusters on your website, and what works well for one might not be suitable for another, but the basic principles remain roughly the same, so we have outlined an example process below.

Audit and understand your existing site structure and content

Unless you are starting a brand-new website from scratch, you’ll probably already have some pretty useful content on topics that your audience need, and making sure you understand how your current site and content works, and how it is organised and categorised, can give you a good starting point.

Once you understand what you already have, you can decide how your core topic pages can be introduced to the navigation and into the site structure.

Identify core topic(s)

Identifying the core topic or multiple topics is a really important stage of the process, as it’s the pillar around which other content can be mapped. If you already have a bank of content that naturally forms themes then you may need to produce a new core page to act as a hub for all of the supporting subtopics, or you may already have a suitable piece that can be altered to become that page.

The core topic page is likely to be fairly top-line, with the other cluster pages providing the really specific information.

Map out your audience user journeys and content needs

It’s essential to understand your audience’s content needs at various stages of their buying journey so that you can ensure that your topic clusters meet these requirements comprehensively. This will involve keyword research and can help you find gaps in your current content which you can create new pages to fill as part of the cluster. This will help ensure that you have a main topic and subtopics for each theme that align with searches and intent for your specific audience.

Create your optimised content

You may already have some of this content in one form or another, with other pieces you’ll probably have to create from scratch. Ensuring that everything you publish or update on your site meets the latest SEO best practice for on-page elements is important when populating topic clusters. This will help to maximise the SEO impact and can benefit your wider site visibility too.

Each cluster piece should focus on a specific subtopic of the main theme and link internally to not just the main topic page, but also to other pages within the same cluster where relevant and natural, preferably using the primary keyword for each destination piece as the anchor text for links.

As always, taking into account Google’s Helpful Content criteria is important when planning to update existing pieces or create new content.

Are topic clusters just an SEO fad?

If you’ve been around SEO and digital marketing for a while, you’ll probably have seen several ‘next big things’ that have come and gone. Usually, this is due to technological developments, search engine algorithm updates and changes in search behaviour. However, a search engine focusing on rewarding quality and useful content is nothing new. Topic clusters are simply a way of organising and clearly structuring optimised content to provide a better experience for the user, which is not likely to ever go out of fashion in SEO.

Whether you’ve already got a large website or are just starting with creating content for your online presence, the thought of introducing topic clusters can be daunting, but ultimately it will help ensure that you can better meet the informational needs of your target audience and move them along the path to conversion into becoming customers. Achieving greater organic visibility is a great by-product of a topic cluster approach, but if your primary focus is on meeting user needs in the best way possible then you won’t go far wrong.

If you’d like No Brainer to help with your SEO and content strategy, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch using the form below.

Picture of Laura Rudd

Laura Rudd

I’ve worked in digital and content marketing for over 20 years, specialising in SEO since its inception. My career has spanned both agency-side and in-house roles, working alongside brands like HomeServe, Taking Care, Checkatrade, and My expertise centres on SEO and content marketing, where I’m passionate about audience-first strategies that drive long-term organic performance.

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