Topic Clusters…Industrial’s Most Potent Marketing Weapon

 

Topic clusters!

Yep, topic clusters are an industrial marketers’ most potent marketing and lead generation weapon.

Especially for industrial marketers! I will tell you why industrial marketers have a unique advantage in a moment.

The use of topic clusters has been an SEO tactic for several years. But few use it and industrial marketers, hardly at all. At least, not yet.

OK…so what are topic clusters?

Think of topic clusters as a bicycle wheel. The hub of the wheel is your primary topic and the spokes are all links of related content to the hub. The hub is called the pillar page.

The more hyperlinks you have linked to the hub (your primary topic) the stronger the wheel is, the smoother it will roll. Typically, your primary topic should have a decent amount of traffic or high search volume. The related topics would have much less traffic, but still important for many web users with very specific intent.

As you create more content, such as blog posts related to your primary topic, the more love you get from Google. Google will say, “Boy, these guys really know their stuff, we better put them at top of the heap”

Keep in mind this tactic is just another form of industrial content marketing. Your pillar pages, with tons of information and related blog posts linked back to them, are simply more content designed to help your readers/prospects understand a core topic related to your business.

This tactic builds a solid foundation for your online marketing efforts and helps both the search engines and your prospects know exactly what your business is about.

Now that your foundations have been built for a specific core topic, don’t rest on your new-found page ranks. Continue to add fresh content like “tips & tricks”, in-depth videos, expert interviews, podcasts, data sheets, etc.  The additional content will continue to keep you at the top of Google.

To build this little used strategy, start by building a hierarchy of topics.

First, start with core topics critical to your business. Don’t let some SEO guru, using advanced SEO tools, tell you what your core topics should be. You know your business better than anyone…you decide. Then do your best to select core topics that have good search volume.  Then build a hierarchy that looks like this:

  • Electric motor repair (9,900 searches per month)
    • Electric motor rewindings (390/month)
    • Surplus electric motor (210/month)
    • AC motor repair (140/month)
    • DC motor repair (90/month)

Then, let’s say “drop-in replacement electric motors” is a profitable portion of your business. This is a sector of your entire motor management services you have provided for years. Yet, when you check your SEO management tools such as SEMrush.com the data tells you there is no search volume for “drop-in replacement electric motors”.

In the “old days” you would dismiss “drop-in replacement electric motors” as a keyword not worthy of your attention.

You know from your own experience there is a demand for “drop-in replacement electric motors”. So, given your expertise, you write a couple blog posts about “drop-in replacement electric motors” and link the blog to your “electric motor repair” pillar page (your core topic).

Now, when a web user searches for any long-tail keyword that resembles “drop-in replacement electric motors” such as, “drop in replacement motors”, or “how to choose a replacement motor”, or “electric motor repair vs replacement” they will be directed to your web site because Google, now using artificial intelligence (AI), marries the searchers specific intent with the expertise of your company.

Now…here is the piéce de résistance.

For those of you that read my blog on a regular basis you know that industrial marketers are way behind when it comes to providing good content for users (i.e. future prospects) & search engine consumption. I have been writing about this void in their industrial strategy since 2014.

By not taking advantage of topic cluster strategy industrial marketers fall farther behind the best online marketing practices.

An additional…yet huge…benefit from this strategy is your topics get the benefit of being selected for Google’s featured snippet box.

When your pillar page strategy gathers traction and your web pages begin to appear in the top 5 of Google’s first page, your web page is now in the running to become a featured snippet.

(an example of a featured snippet for the keyword, “vacuum pressure impregnation”)

To be clear, you must employ a web developer skilled in the specific mark-up language that is defined by schema.org, a collaborative effort by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo & Yandex to improve search results.

Like creating good content for your prospects’ consumption, creating featured snippets is a tactic that is simply being ignored by industrial marketers for a variety of reasons.

Like Christmas gifts that just keep coming, developing your online strategy in this manner also sets your website up to take advantage of voice recognition. Back in May of 2018, Google’s CEO said that 20 percent of all mobile queries are voice searches…and you know that number is climbing.

Another HUGE opportunity for my industrial friends.

To prove my point, I recently checked on 9 competitors of an industrial client of mine. My client is a highly respected regional industrial supplier that often competes against several larger national companies. So, my list of competitors was a mix of regional competitors and larger national competitors…the leaders in my client’s industry.

Out of the 9 competitors I found the following:

  • None of the competitors had a blog. A blog is the very best way to attract visitors, let alone support a topic cluster strategy.
  • None of the competitors were using a marketing automation platform. If you are going to use this strategy it is critical you deploy core topic content and supporting content (such as blog post) via a marketing automation platform. A marketing automation platform is the only way to easily deploy large amounts of content and then measure it.
  • None of the 9 competitors were using schema.org mark-up to take advantage of Google’s gift to your marketing efforts…featured snippets.

Industrial marketers that take the time to understand these online tactics and take advantage of their ignorant (not stupid!) competitors will have a hugely potent marketing weapon

Do I have your attention?

Have you weaponized your marketing tactics?

For more info on what The Repp Group can do for your industrial marketing & lead generation…CLICK BELOW

Author: Tom Repp

A traditional industrial marketer...now a passionate evangelist for leveraging the digital channel for lead generation.

1 thought on “Topic Clusters…Industrial’s Most Potent Marketing Weapon”

  1. The Repp group continues to champion the web as a key tool in industrial marketing. It is a critical component in building your marketing strategy and brand. Every customer that embraces the concept of building their brand through knowledge sharing on the web benefits!!

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