In the early days of digital marketing, content was either written for people, or for search engines—but rarely for both.
High-quality, informative content was buried away in the lowest pages of the search engine results, while Page 1 of Google was littered with low-value articles and blog posts—written to game algorithms rather than educate an audience.
Today though, the way Google ranks content is a whole lot different.
The algorithms are far more sophisticated, capable of rewarding content that has depth, detail, and nuance.
Content that provides quality information on complex subjects.
For marketers in the finance space, this presents a significant opportunity to ramp up the visibility of your brand, and connect you to those that are in need of your expertise.
Read on to find out how Topic Clusters can provide the answer…
Changing behaviours and the birth of the Topic Cluster
As human behaviours have changed, so have search engine algorithms.
In the early days of Google, search queries were much broader, usually consisting of two or three words at the most.
Eventually, searches became more detailed—more conversational and complex, taking the form of fully-formed questions and sentences, rather than choice words and phrases.
This forced Google to evolve.
To effectively respond to these more nuanced queries, and retrieve the results searchers were looking for, the Google algorithm had to recognize context as well as content.
Not just keywords and phrases, but the relationships between them, and the reasons why those words might be used in the same sentence, and typed into a search engine.
That’s how it works today.
When you type words and phrases into Google, the results you see aren’t based on the words in isolation, but the context in which they are used, and the perceived intent with which you are using them.
This means the way marketers aim to rank on Google and generate organic search engine traffic has changed.
Enter the Topic Cluster.
What Topic Clusters are, and why they work for SEO
A Topic Cluster is a strategic approach to arranging your content that Google likes. A lot.
They’re made up of two key elements – a pillar page, and a number of different cluster pages.
A pillar page is a detailed asset that delves into the detail on a broad core topic. It could be anywhere from 2000 to 5000 words.
Examples could be Everything you need to know about bonds, or The ultimate guide to cryptocurrency for businesses.
Cluster pages on the other hand look at subtopics which sit under the umbrella of your overarching core topic.
Referring back to the examples above, examples of cluster pages that shoot off from these might be What determines the price of a bond, or How cryptocurrencies can add value to your financial systems.
When it comes to publishing your content and arranging it on your website, your cluster pages should all link back to your core pillar page, like so:-
The reason this works so well is that when one core page is linked to by multiple other pages, it tells Google two things.
Firstly, that there’s a contextual relationship between the subject matter of those pages. And secondly, that the core page being linked to is an authority on the subject matter.
Topic Clusters also signal to search engines that the content in question is comprehensive and deep, and therefore of high value.
The Topic Cluster model also makes your website architecture much more structured and orderly.
This makes the content of your site easier for Google to search and understand, which allows you to rank more favourably in the results pages.
Essentially, this strategic framework leverages all the criteria that Google uses to recognize an authority on a specialist subject.
That’s why it’s so effective.
Why Topic Clusters are perfect for financial markets businesses
Your role as a financial markets business is often to function in an advisory capacity.
Using your subject matter expertise to answer any questions your clients or prospects may have.
This just so happens to also be the exact goal of a Topic Cluster.
Topic Clusters are designed to respond to user search intent, and point them to an authority on the subject, whose depth of knowledge can provide the answers they need.
If you’re a financial markets business, you already have the tools to do this.
The topics in your niche are complex and nuanced, and your understanding of them is informed by years of experience.
Often the value you offer to your clients is your ability to explain them thoroughly, distilling these detailed topics into terms your customer can understand.
As a result, financial markets businesses are incredibly well placed to benefit from the way Google ranks content today.
So why not translate your knowledge into some detailed content, level up your website SEO, and ramp up your inbound leads in the process?
How to get started
When it comes to planning a Topic Cluster, think about topics within your niche that you want to own, and establish yourself as an authority on.
Get started by listing 5-10 core problems, challenges or questions that your target demographic has.
Next, categorize them into broad groups. Each group can be a core topic, which can then form the basis of a pillar page.
Then, you want to support this core topic with cluster content that looks at specific subtopics.
If you need help coming up with ideas, we recommend using a keyword research tool—Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Semrush are some of the best professional ones.
Or, as a starting point, you can even use the autocomplete function on Google for free.
Start by typing in broad search terms related to your core topic, and see what longer search queries Google suggested.
For example, here’s what came up when we searched for bonds:-
From there, it’s a case of strategically devising content that aligns with the topics and subtopics you’ve listed.
Other things to bear in mind
The goal of topic cluster content is to be evergreen.
To create content that has lasting value, and goes beyond a momentary need or short-lived trend.
This means that when creating Topic Clusters, you have to focus on each cluster page serving a unique purpose.
No page should repeat something you’ve previously written.
If you’re wondering how deep a Topic Cluster should go, your goal should be to answer every question that your prospect could have on that topic.
Once you’ve achieved that, consider your work done.
It’s a long-term project. It means continuously updating your content, so each page is as comprehensive and valuable as it can possibly be.
In short, it’s hard work. But once you start reaping the benefits of more traffic to your website and more eyes on your brand, it’s all well worth it.
What Topic Clusters are and why every financial markets business needs them: Key takeaways
- Google has evolved to recognize context as well as content—not just words and phrases, but the relationships between them.
- Topic Clusters are a way to strategically arrange content that takes advantage of Google’s more sophisticated ranking system, and allows businesses to climb the Google search results by demonstrating authority on a niche topic.
- The Topic Cluster model consists of a pillar page addressing a large core topic, with links off to multiple cluster pages, which delve into more specific subtopics.
- Topic Clusters are well-suited to financial markets businesses, as their goal is to demonstrate authority and depth of knowledge on a niche subject, providing the audience with all the answers they need.
- The goal of Topic Clusters is to create evergreen content with lasting value. It takes time and continuous refinement, but the potential returns are huge.
We’ve helped countless businesses in the financial markets create high-value content that moves them up the search engine rankings.