Topic Clusters Strategy for SaaS Companies

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies: The Ultimate Guide

Topic Clusters for SaaS companies can help you rank on page 1 of the search engine results pages (SERPs).  They can also increase your website’s authority plus your chances of ranking for several keywords. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to create effective topic clusters for your SaaS business. 

How To Use Topic Clusters for Effective SaaS Content Marketing

Do you struggle to create content that ranks on Google’s page 1? Well, there’s an easy way to solve this problem and create engaging content that the search engines love. 

How? 

By using content clusters strategy for SaaS.

Need help to create topic clusters with keywords to cover for months to come? Schedule a free consultation. 

What Are Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies?

Topic clusters for SaaS Companies are a way for organizing your content, making it easier for your website visitors to navigate your site. They also improve your site’s ability to rank for certain keywords. Here’s an illustration.

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

A topic cluster is also known as a content cluster and is made up of:

  • Supporting pages
  • Pillar pages

Supporting Pages

These are separate pages covering a smaller part of the main topic and are based on informational keywords such as What are and How to. 

Now, I’ll give you an example of a client I worked with a few months ago to help you understand. The client’s pillar page covers each aspect of data mining. 

One of the supporting pages on his site answers this question, “What is data mining?” I then linked the supporting pages to improve their ability to rank for the target keyword using an exact match keyword

I also linked back to the pillar page each supporting page using exact match keywords.  This internal linking structure is important as it creates a working topic cluster. 

When you do this while creating your content, Google sees a lot of related pages linking to each other, which also votes for your pillar page by linking to it. Below is an example of a topic cluster I created for the client.

Pillar Page: Data Mining

  • Cluster 1:Data mining techniques
  • Cluster 2:Data analysis and mining
  • Cluster 3:Data mining model
  • Cluster 4:Data mining process

Here’s a visual image of the topic cluster I created.

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

If your site is new, focus on one topic cluster until your target audience views you as an expert on that topic. Once your site becomes popular, you can cover several topics. 

Pillar Page

This is the type of content you want to rank for a certain keyword that will lead to more subscriptions, sales or customers. Generally, a pillar page covers a particular topic in detail, often comprising several thousand words. 

For  example “What Does the Scalability of a Data Mining Method Refer to.” 

Your pillar pages should be the most high-quality and authoritative in Google for a certain keyword. The page should also be 10X better than your competitor’s pages. That’s why they are known as pillar pages.

Why Should You Use Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies?

When implemented properly, topic clusters for SaaS companies inform SERPs that your content is authoritative and provides in-depth coverage of a certain subject. 

From an SEO perspective, topic clusters funnel relevance back to your pillar page, as well as authority. 

Pillar pages are also your money pages, the ones you want to earn affiliate commissions, traffic, clicks or leads after ranking on Google’s page one. 

Now, let’s look at the reasons why you should consider implementing the topic cluster model for your SaaS content marketing strategy

They Are Good for SEO

Topic clusters for SaaS companies can help you make things easy for search engines by structuring your content in a way that search engine bots make sense of. 

For example, if you have published 20 pages of content on your site, they should all be contained in one topic cluster. 

When you do this, Google will recognize they’re related thematically, and internal linking will make crawling for bots easier. 

Remember, Google is a software that tries to interpret the data on the web. So, it uses topic clusters to organize the data it finds. 

Again, you will be presenting Google with data in a structure it understands because it finds digesting topic clusters easier. 

They Boost Your Content’s Relevance

When Google finds your website, it has to decide what your site is about. 

While your title tags and content provide search engines with lots of information, an important SEO ranking factor is showing the algorithm that your blog posts are authoritative. 

You can do that by ensuring your content is focused on one topic. If you blog about your hobbies such as singing, mountain climbing and vegetarian cooking, Google won’t have an idea of what your site is about. 

Now, compare your blog against a site that only publishes posts about mountain climbing and related content.

Which site will Google find easier to understand its topical relevance? 

Writing quality, in-depth content is fine. However, publishing SEO content that’s relevant to one topic is better. 

Here’s an example of how Typeform uses topic clusters to rank for several keywords focused on the topic of “Brand Awareness”.

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

Source: Typeform

The dark green circle in the middle of the cluster is their pillar page, while all the light green circles are supporting pages. Their goal is to boost the pillar/money pages relevance

They Result in a Better User Experience

Generally, bots sent out by Google prefer navigating data that’s structured in an easy to understand format. You can achieve this by developing a winning SaaS link building strategy and linking to other pages on your site to help your SaaS SEO strategy

If you don’t use internal links, your visitor can bounce off your pillar page/website, and go back to the search engines, affecting your ranking ability. 

Topic clusters for SaaS companies make it easy for Google and users to find the relevant information they’re looking for in one place. That’s why smart internal linking is crucial. 

Helps You Plan Your SaaS Content Marketing Strategy

Topic clusters help you come up with an effective SaaS content marketing strategy instead of publishing any topic that comes to mind. 

It also helps you choose the topics your audience is interested in and select the keywords they type into search engines to find those topics.

You also need to evaluate the commercial value of the content clusters, something I usually help my clients do. 

This means you need to choose your clusters based on data. If you don’t, you may not make money from your pillar posts. 

Helps You Grow Your Audience

One of the greatest mistakes I see most SaaS businesses make while talking to them is publishing content for the sake of getting traffic. 

The content you publish should help you grow your audience and convert them into subscribers. 

You should cover topics that are relevant to your audience if you want more email signups and returning visitors to your website.

How To Create Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

Now that you know organizing your website into content clusters is crucial for your content marketing, let’s see how you can group keywords and pages into topic clusters. There are three ways to do this:

  • Automatic method
  • Similar SERPs method
  • Manual method

Automatic Method

Although keyword research tools are great, they usually give you several keywords as shown below to work with because they’re not designed to facilitate content clustering. 

So, you will still have to automate the process.

I like using Surfer. The tool helps me skip the tiresome keyword and grouping process. It also helps me group topic clusters quickly as it automates the entire process. 

Additionally, Surfer analyzes Google for the search query my clients are targeting. The tool generated 96 clusters as shown below.

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

Here’s how the generated clusters for data mining looks like:

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

Note that each cluster has a small number of target keywords, along with the estimated total traffic plus monthly search volume. 

Here are the keywords for the data mining cluster, along with their monthly search volume and total traffic.

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

Note that the final total traffic for a well-optimized cluster page is usually higher than the above numbers. 

You can’t take the figure you see literally because keyword tools tend to approximate the traffic you’ll get from certain keywords. 

This is also a good opportunity to plan out the internal linking between your content clusters. While a single cluster can bring you a lot of traffic, a good idea is to link them together. 

So, your supporting pages should link to your pillar page, and to each other. This helps distribute your website’s link juice throughout your topic cluster while boosting your pillar page’s topical relevance.

Here’s how that illustration looks.

Advantages

  • Uses Google information for thematic accuracy
  • Exports data in an easy to understand format
  • It takes a few minutes to research
  • Scalable 

Disadvantages

  • Reliant on Google

Similar Serps Method

This involves analyzing SERP (a search engine result page) and comparing it to another given keyword. The results are then grouped by the overlap percentage identified between thematically related phrases. 

What’s more, you won’t have to guess how Google approached this topic cluster. Instead, you’ll use the data as your reference point, allowing you to speak to your target audience using the language they understand. 

Advantages

  • You won’t go wrong with search intent
  • Great for finding single clusters
  • Offers a high level of accuracy
  • Delivers data-driven results

Disadvantages

  • Susceptible to human errors
  • It consumes a lot of time

Manual Method

The first thing you need to do with this method is to research and write down the keywords related to the topic you want your website to rank for. 

To do this, you can use Google and a free keyword research extension tool such as the “Ubersuggest” for Google Chrome. 

Now, enter a broad keyword like “data mining” into Google and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Check 

‘Related Searches” for some keyword suggestions. 

Once you’re done, scroll back up to the “Ubbersuggest” sidebar for more keyword ideas. 

Next, add your keyword list to Google sheets and group the keywords into logical clusters 

Advantages 

  • You can use free research tools to get data
  • Delivers some results
  • Very easy to do

Disadvantages

  • Vulnerable to human errors
  • Requires a lot of time
  • Not scalable 

Now you could be wondering which of these methods is perfect for creating topic clusters. If you don’t want to spend hours of research, the first method is a great option.

Topic Clusters Case Study

Probably you’re doubting whether this works in real life. Let’s look at how I helped a client (FreshService – Contract Management Software Company)) create a topic clustering strategy for his new site to build a 4-figure monthly income in under 12 months.

The client provides contract management software to his U.S. customers. I advised him to choose contract management software as the target keyword as it is broad enough to capture the interest of most readers. 

His goal was to build organic traffic to his website with a zero DA domain without building external backlinks.

Here’s a screenshot of the 114 topic clusters I created for his pillar pages and posts. 

Each cluster focuses on a subtopic of his main keyword contract management software

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

Read the full case study to see the results I generated for the client within five months with an effective SaaS content marketing strategy. 

Why Are Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies Important?

As illustrated above, topic clusters for SaaS companies take a while to gain traction in search engines. However, once they do, your website will start getting a lot of relevant traffic. 

Also, each new cluster you add positions you as an expert in your industry and adds to your topical relevancy while building on your existing success. Additionally, topic clustering allows you to answer hundreds of search queries. 

Just because you’re busy or don’t know how to do it, it doesn’t mean you can’t build a profitable business. 

In fact, top SaaS companies that leverage this model either dominate the search engines for search queries and topics relevant to their products or pioneer niche categories. 

Note that content clusters shine when the blog posts you’re publishing answer all questions including transactional and informational across the SaaS sales funnel (top, middle and bottom), which your user has on their journey before becoming a customer. 

Why Your SaaS Product Needs the Topic Clusters Strategy

The #1 reason why your product needs this strategy is that it can help you rank higher in search engines and drive growth for your business. To achieve that, you need an effective SaaS content marketing strategy. 

A survey shows content marketing produces 7.8x more website traffic for SaaS companies than other marketing channels. 

Again, B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts before becoming paid customers. This means your posts should move your prospects from site visitor to lead to customer. 

You should also create blog posts covering each aspect of a topic. This allows you to enjoy longer on-site sessions as readers can navigate easily to related posts linked together.

Topic Clusters Examples: How 2 SaaS Businesses Leverage the Model To Drive Growth

When you use the content clusters strategy to fuel your SaaS content marketing, you can develop new categories or build topical authority and drive growth faster. 

Below are two SaaS brands that use the topic cluster model to reach their target audience.

Hubspot (Pioneered a Category Using Content Clusters)

This SaaS company is known for spearheading the inbound marketing category. It also dominates the search engines for most indirect and direct search queries involving inbound marketing by leaning on topic clusters. 

The brand ranks #1 on Google for the “what is inbound marketing” keyword.

Do you know why Hubspot beats off the competition and retains the top spot? They have implemented the SaaS content clusters strategy rigorously. 

They also have related topic blog posts that rank higher on Google’s page 1 for closely related queries such as “inbound marketing strategies”, “inbound marketing examples”, “inbound marketing tools” etc. 

To make the most of this strategy, each blog post on this topic has internal links to related posts, covering both transactional and informational queries across the sales funnel. Here’s an example:

This way, Hubspot keeps readers longer on their website while making it easier for them to interact with other relevant posts. In turn, this improves customer experience and drives visitors down into their sales funnel. 

HotJar (Dominates a Topic Using Content Clusters)

HotJar uses the hub-and-spoke model to create comprehensive pillar content with its related blog posts included on the same page with clickable links. 

When this model is implemented effectively, search queries for its supporting content pieces and main topics rank on search engines. However, they redirect to the same page.

When you type in Google’s search engine “SaaS startup guide”, you’ll find HotJar’s post ranking No.1 (at the time of writing this piece).

Also, if you look for related search phrases like “SaaS product/market fit”, you’ll still find HotJar’s content piece on Google’s 1st page. 

However, even though “grow SaaS startup” (their main topic) will redirect you to HotJar’s first section content, other phrases will take you to their other sections on the same page as shown below. 

Topic Clusters for SaaS Companies

How Content Clusters Powers the Saas Sales Funnel

As I mentioned earlier, the topic clusters for SaaS companies enable you to create blog posts that address each section of your sales funnel. 

It also eliminates the guesswork on how to interlink related blog posts and lets you know the buying stages your target audience is in your sales funnel.

You can know this depending on how they navigate your site to other linked pieces or what they download. 

If they’re navigating straight from your top of the funnel -TOFU content pieces (informational posts) to bottom of the funnel – BOFU content pieces (transactional posts), that indicates they’re ready to buy. 

When you have such data, you can segment and develop custom audiences to retarget those readers who didn’t become trial customers or subscribed. 

Your website visitors could also be downloading middle of the funnel – MOFU content such as ebooks and case studies which is a good thing. It shows they want to know how your SaaS tool can help them. 

This data gives you site navigational metrics, allowing you to improve your marketing tactics so that you close the sale and retain more monthly subscriptions. 

How To Develop a Winning SaaS Content Clusters Strategy 

If you execute the strategy properly, it will propel your site to Google’s top pages for your targeted keywords and topics. The steps that will yield long-term results for your SaaS business include:

Researching Topics Your Business Should Be Ranking for or Needs

Before you create your topic clusters, you need to prioritize the most important problem your product solves. 

For instance, Drift (SaaS product), solves many business problems. However, they’re known for pioneering conversational marketing. 

As a result, they’re a topical authority for that keyword because their content marketing strategy is driven by their content clusters. Due to this, Drift ranks #1 on Google for that phrase.

So, once you have chosen your main topic based on what your service or product does, research other topics that are relevant to your business. 

Topics worth covering are those varied queries, where it won’t be practical to cover them with one large content piece. 

The other topics will become your supporting subtopics to the primary topic and aid in pushing your site higher on Google. 

They also help the search engines understand your website more, making it rank for related and varied queries relevant to your business. 

Sometimes you may realize that some topics have been covered by sites with higher page ranks and domain authorities. In such scenarios, you don’t have to try becoming an authority because it is almost impossible. 

Instead, pioneer a category for your company using the supporting topics you discovered from your research. 

That’s what Hubspot did. Instead of trying to dominate the CRM niche, which Salesforce had already done, they focused on inbound marketing. 

Drift employed the same tactics and they now dominate the conversational marketing space. These brands weren’t the first to provide the solutions they offer.

They realized they couldn’t compete against their rivals. So, they decided to create a new category for themselves and used supporting topics to push themselves to the top. 

Based on this information, you should first identify what you want your business to be known for or the challenges it solves.

Once you have determined that, build a topical authority and develop the theme and tone of your website’s homepage copy. Next, research topics related to your primary topic to propel the main topic. 

Identify All the Queries and Keywords Related to Each Topic

This step involves researching all your supporting pillar topics or identifying related search queries and keywords to support your primary topic. This is where the actual creation of a topic clusters strategy begins. 

You must review all related search queries and keywords. In our Drift example, the brand provides a website chatbot product to help businesses converse with website visitors in real-time. 

However, Drift already knew the industry they were entering was dominated by established brands. So, they carved a new category for themselves using a message that was appealing to their target audience.

That’s how conversational marketing was birthed. After defining the category, Drift identified essential topics to support their business. Here’s an example of the topic the brand has developed content clusters around.

As you already know, Drift didn’t build authority to rank for such a competitive phrase with one large content piece. 

This means you need to research all search queries and keywords related to all the topics you discover to put your business in front of your customers. 

You can identify these search queries and keywords using paid and free keyword research tools. To find keywords you can use to create your content clusters strategy, type your main topic in any of the tools. 

Analyze Search Queries and User Intent of Keywords 

While the keyword research tools help you to find search queries and key phrases your target audience use to know more about a topic, they can’t tell you the user intent. 

That’s your job. Your ability to know the intent can step up your clustering strategy. You need to think the way your user thinks when researching.

How?

These three questions will guide you.

Question #1

Were They Searching for General Information on This Topic? 

Going back to our Drift example above, users may be asking “what is conversational marketing?”

Such queries are usually informational. So, blog titles for such queries should provide them with in-depth information to know more about the topic instead of your service or product. 

Such queries should guide you in developing your top of the funnel (TOFU ) blog posts. 

Just use the queries to build your brand by promoting your main category or topic. Also, keep it purely entertaining and educational. 

Question #2

Were They Looking for Certain Ideas or Steps To Solve the Problems Covered in the Topic?

Here’s an example:

You must analyze the search queries and keywords carefully to choose the phrases that answer this second question perfectly. 

This is because the titles you’ll use to create blog posts fall into the middle of the funnel (MOFU) – the user’s product discovery and buying journey.

Most likely people using these keywords understand the topic. They just want to know the benefits they’ll get if they purchase the product and whether it will solve problems posed by the topic. 

Thus, content pieces for these people include case studies, white papers and ultimate guides.

Such pieces drive your potential customers down into your sales funnel by offering them free downloads in exchange for their emails. 

You should also mix these pieces with transactional and informational blog posts relevant to your business. This is because MOFU pieces link between your top (awareness) and bottom sales funnel.

Question #3

Do They Want To Subscribe to a SaaS Service or Product That Solves Their Pain Points?

Unfortunately, most SaaS companies only care about these types of queries and keywords because they indicate people using such queries are ready to buy. 

Don’t be like them.

Keywords that are likely to be answers to this question include “top website chat solutions” or “best website chatbots”. These are the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) queries. 

So, do not compete to rank for such keywords, especially if your industry is very competitive, 

That’s because search engines prioritize ranking expert round-up posts and review sites for them. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Even if you opt to run Google ads to target these keywords, they won’t perform well and may drain you financially. 

This is because the search intent behind those queries is to learn while comparing several products and not to buy one immediately. 

Besides, few people will click on your ad, which means such keywords do not correspond to the search intent. 

If you create and link blog posts for all the topics you’re targeting correctly, you won’t have to compete on Google to rank posts relevant to BOFU keywords.

Instead, you’ll be sending the posts as personalized emails to people that interacted with your TOFU and BOFU blog posts. 

Develop Your Pillar Content and the Pieces Related to Each Topic

At this point, you need to choose the topics you want to create content clusters for and indicate the titles depending on how they fit in your sales funnel stages. 

Once you’re done, begin writing your content pieces. First, create blog posts for TOFU, MOFU and BOFU.

These should be long-form blog posts (1,500-1,800 words) and must answer one keyword or search query exhaustively. Next, create a pillar content, which is your ultimate guide with more than 3,000 words. 

Additionally, this pillar content should be an overview or a summary of the topic. Avoid addressing in-depth a specific search query with your pillar content posts. 

Instead, use it to give your target audience an overview of the target topic. 

Link Each Pillar Content Piece to Your TOFU, MOFU and BOFU Posts

After writing blog posts for each topic, interlink them appropriately. Avoid hazardous internal linking to allow search engines bots to crawl your website easily and reward you with consistent organic search traffic. 

For all your supporting topics, link the cluster blog posts to correlate to your sales funnel. Linking correctly also enables your website visitors to find easily relevant posts on your site. 

In turn, this pushes those visitors down into your sales funnel increasing the chances of converting them into paying customers and subscribers.

How Can You Attain Your Content Marketing Goal With Topic Clusters?

While content marketing is great, you need to publish lots of high-quality posts frequently, especially if you value SaaS SEO. If you’re looking for a SaaS SEO consultant to help you create content clusters with a long list of topics for months to come and keywords to cover, schedule a call.

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