Can You Use Content Analysis Data To Pick Topic Clusters?

Christy Walters


September 15, 2022 (Updated: January 23, 2024)

big and little animated wooden blocks with smiley faces on them to show you can use content analysis to pick topic clusters

How do you structure your content marketing strategy? Knowing where you plan to post all your content and how you plan to connect it with past and future pieces is a good start. But where do you get the ideas for content that fit within that structure or strategy? Today, we’re looking at how you can use content analysis data to pick topic clusters for your structure with information like:

What Are Topic Clusters?

Topic clusters are a content organization strategy that makes it easier for searchers and search engines to find content on your website. Each cluster has three pieces, which are:

  • Pillar content: Pieces that explain what your company does and why it matters to your audience
  • Cluster content: Pieces that take the pillar content in-depth to explore more niche details of the topic
  • Hyperlinks: Connect pillar and cluster content to make it easier for searchers and search engines to travel between them

Developing and publishing content in clusters is good for both usability and SEO. When you link related content together based on topic headings, you make it easier for your audience to explore a topic in depth. They always know they can come back to the pillar page and find relevant information about subtopics as their needs and knowledge grow. This process works the same for search engines, using hyperlinks.

Connecting related content this way helps bots and crawlers understand the organization and hierarchy of your domain. This shows search engines that your content doesn’t just hit a bunch of relevant keywords but addresses the “why” factor associated with a user search.

Related: What Are Pillar Posts in Content Marketing?

How To Pick Topic Clusters From a Content Analysis

Reviewing content analysis data is a quick and easy way to spot the right topic clusters to add to your next brand content creation cycle. We’re using examples from CopyPress’s content analysis report to show you, step-by-step, how to convert competitive analysis data into an actionable content marketing strategy plan. Review these steps when picking topic clusters with the help of your content analysis results:

1. Select the Right Tool

The most important step when using content analysis data to pick your topic clusters is choosing the right tool for the job. When researching options, make sure you choose one that provides enough in-depth analysis of topics and keywords across your industry and brand. The CopyPress report includes multiple ways to look over your current ranking keywords and potential topics for new or updated content. The dashboard shows your organic keyword volume compared to your top three competitors.

Keyword Dashboard Content Marketing Analysis

Tabs within the report that let you explore topics and keywords further include:

  • Low-Hanging Fruit: This tab shows quick opportunities for topics and clusters. The keywords in the list represent keywords that all three of your top competitors rank for in the top 100 search results and your content doesn’t.
  • Your Top Keywords: This tab shows your top 5,000 keywords that rank in the top 10 on Google search results.
  • Competitor 1-3 Top Keywords: These tabs show your competitors’ top 5,000 keywords that rank in the top 10 on Google search results. Keywords your brand ranks for and appear in your competitors’ lists have a highlight to make them easier to find and compare.

Other considerations for picking the right content analysis tool include integration and cost. Your first content analysis report from CopyPress is free and doesn’t require integration with any additional programs. All you need to view the results is access to a spreadsheet program, like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel.

Related: 12 Things To Look For in a Content Strategy Analysis Tool

2. Run or Request Your Analysis

Once you’ve picked the right tool for the job, it’s time to conduct your content analysis. Depending on the tool you select, your strategy team may input and collect the right data and share it with marketers, writers, and other creatives involved in the content development process. Other programs make the analysis data collection simple and run the process automatically with the click of a button. Anyone, from a strategy professional to an intern, can do it.

You can also use our free content analysis tool. Share your name and email address with us below to create your login information and come back and complete your analysis report at any time. Customize your report to compare your top content competitors and find valuable content promotion opportunities.

3. Review the Data

When your report is ready, it’s best to go through all the results first before you conclude your best pillar and cluster topics. Look at all the data provided, even if some of it isn’t directly relevant to topic selection. Besides the keyword tabs, our content analysis report gives additional insights useful for other aspects of publishing, promoting, and auditing your content. These tabs include:

  • Dashboard: This section provides a high-level overview of where your content stands against your competitors. It includes information like traffic performance, comparison of link portfolios, and additional competitor suggestions based on common keywords in SERPs.
  • Potential Syndication Partners: This tab provides a list of websites with similar link portfolios to your domain to encourage outreach for content syndication.
  • Your Best Pages: This tab shows the raw keyword data your content ranks for and clusters it based on the URL or page for which those keywords appear in Google.
  • Your Best Links: This table shows your top 5,000 backlinks based on Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) to determine the link value.
  • Competitor 1-3 Best Pages: This tab shows the raw keyword data your competitors’ content ranks for and clusters it based on the URL or page for which those keywords appear in Google.
  • Competitor 1-3 Best Links: These tables show your competitors’ top 5,000 backlinks each, based on TF and CF to determine the link value.

It’s important to review all the information your analysis provides because otherwise, you might miss key information that influences your pillar and cluster topic choices. For example, if you only looked at the keywords tabs in your CopyPress report, you’d miss the important cluster information available in the Best Pages tab.

4. Identify and Select the Best Top-Level Pillar Topics

As we mentioned, pillar content includes the foundational topics of your content marketing strategy. Pillars hold the important keywords you want people to relate to your business. For CopyPress, some of our pillar topics include themes like:

  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • Custom design
  • Marketing strategy

For your brand, you might already know what some of your pillar topics should be, even if you haven’t covered them yet in your content. Even if you don’t know your pillars, you might be able to guess. What products or services does your brand provide? What industry is your company in? These are some of the most common clues to help you discover the best pillar topics for your brand. Your competitors’ top keywords are another place to get hints about what pillar-level topics to cover.

screenshot of competitor best keywords for content analysis

For example, here’s an analysis for one of CopyPress’s competitors using our content analysis tool. We’ve redacted any brand-specific keywords to protect the competitor’s privacy, but look at the other high-ranking words. Could these be potential pillar-level keywords for CopyPress content? When you find topic suggestions like these for your own brand content, ask yourself a few questions about how they relate to your company:

  • Does our brand provide products or services related to this topic as one of our main sales offerings?
  • If our brand doesn’t provide direct products and services related to the topic, is it important enough in our industry to cover it, anyway?
  • Have we already covered niche areas that relate to this topic without pillar content to back it up?

If you can answer yes to any of those questions, it’s worth adding the keyword to your pillar topic list.

5, Explore Cluster Content Niches

After you find your pillar topics, you can start breaking them down into smaller, more specialized content niches. Good content analysis tools help with this process, too. Let’s look at how you can find cluster content within each pillar topic using the CopyPress content analysis report.

screenshot of your best pages data from content marketing analysis report to pick topic clusters

The “Your Best Pages” tab shows the raw keyword data from your website and which URLs or pages rank for those specific keywords. Our 22 Types of Marketing Strategies for B2B Companies article appears here. The analysis shows this piece ranks for 32 keywords organically and brings an average of 450 visitors to our site from those keywords. When you expand the information, you get a list of all the keywords for which this piece ranks. There are so many they don’t even fit within the screenshot.

This article fits within the pillar topic of marketing strategy, but look at some of the additional keywords it targets. These go beyond the who, what, when, where, and why definitions of the head term. The keywords ask for lists, methods, and types. These words are indicators of niche or cluster topics that fit within pillars. The report also lets you look at your competitors’ pages and how they’re ranking for pillar and cluster content.

screenshot of competitor keyword breakdown

6. Do Additional Keyword Research

Even with thorough content analysis results, it’s beneficial to do additional keyword research to see which cluster topics will help you get the best reach and pull in the most organic traffic for any term. Using a keyword research program like Ahrefs can give you more insight into the ranking difficulty and search volume of any keyword or cluster suggestion from your content analysis. For example, ranking for the term “target audience example” is hard, even though it has a decent search volume and traffic potential.

screenshot of target audience example metrics for picking topic clusters

If this is a cluster topic you want to cover in your own content, you might then turn to the matching terms for keyword suggestions. These features help you find related keywords with lower competition and higher search volume.

screenshot of keyword suggestions

Combing through addition keywords allows you to pick clusters that touch on the same topics as your competitors. But you can rank for direct keywords that are easier to target.

7. Consider Secondary Clusters

After doing more extensive keyword research, you may find that your cluster topics actually have secondary clusters or subclusters, too. This image from SEMRush shows an example of how clusters break down even further and, more specifically, to cover topics or tools.

diagram of pillar pages and how to pick topic clusters

Looking for a SEMrush alternative?

While not every cluster has these highly specific subtopics, it is possible. If you find them, you may stretch your content creation further with more topics. This strategy helps you create strong bonds among your pillar pages and clusters by providing additional information for your audience and search engines.

8. Create Pillar and Cluster Content

After you’ve chosen the right pillar and cluster structure for your topics, it’s time to create the content. Sometimes, this means updating and reorganizing content you’ve already created and published on your site. You may perform an SEO update to include more relevant keywords. Or you may perfect your internal linking structure to better connect clusters to their primary pillar pages or pieces.

In other cases, you’ll start from scratch. First, you’ll create a pillar page for your top-level topic. Then, you’ll develop additional cluster content that links to the pillar page and links the clusters to one another. Once you publish the content and it hits search engines, the bots and crawlers can understand how the content relates to each other through the links. That helps your SEO and reach potential for the topic.

Read More: How To Create Topic Clusters To Boost SEO

Take The Next Step and Schedule Your Strategy Call

Now that you have your data and direction, it’s time to shore up your content marketing strategy. Get expert help with additional keyword research, site audits, or content direction suggestions for your clusters by contacting CopyPress. Schedule your no-obligation, one-on-one meeting with our strategy team to review your content analysis results and topic cluster plans.

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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