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Keyword Clustering Explained

Learn what is Keyword Clustering & How to Cluster Keywords in Semantic Groups

Colton Miller
Keyword Clustering Blog

Keyword optimization is crucial for any marketer. While SEO's many aspects need to be perfect, keyword optimization is what most people think about when they consider search engine optimization.

Keywords and the phrases that you optimize your site for make your page appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).

They are also a measure of how well-known your website is among the vast web world. Search engines pay more attention to keywords than anything else on your website, so it’s essential to make sure you have a solid strategy for optimizing your site for search engines.

Keyword optimization is a process that has been around since the early days of SEO. So it’s not a new thing. But SEO changes, and so does keyword optimization. This article will help you understand how to optimize your content for different keywords and why it matters to focus on keyword clusters instead of individual keywords.

TL;DR - Keyword Clustering for SEO

Keyword optimization is the process of structuring your web content in such a way that it will rank higher within unpaid search results. Therefore, keyword research and optimization are among the most crucial parts of SEO.

But today, you can't just use a single keyword and expect to win since people are doing more sophisticated, nuanced, and long searches. This is where keyword clusters come into play.

Keyword clusters are groups of words that contain similar meanings and actionable intent. They help you optimize your website and pages for a topic and intended user action by focusing on multiple keywords rather than one single keyword.

Keyword clusters are a much more effective way to target your content and rank in search engines because they help you attract traffic from a much wider audience. Jump straight to section: ‘Keyword Clusters Optimization Steps’ for a step-by-step guide on optimizing your website for keyword clusters and topics.

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What Is SEO Keyword Optimization?

Keyword optimization is structuring your web content to rank higher within unpaid search results -specifically, on search engine results pages (SERPS). Keyword optimization focuses content on topics that are central or key supporting themes of the page. Clever use of specific words (a.k.a keywords) is critical to clearly indicating the set of topics to end users and equally to search engines scouting for connecting their searches to the best content.

If you optimize your site for specific keywords and phrases, you will start to see additional and better keyword ranks. In turn, providing more traffic and eventually an increase in conversions.

Keyword research and optimization are one of the most crucial parts of SEO.

Unfortunately, nowadays, too many people think this process of reviewing and improving search terms is just about getting your keyword to rank #1 on Google. That assumption is not entirely accurate, especially when you consider how much search engines and their ranking algorithms have changed over the years - if not each day at this point.

You can't use a single keyword and expect to win. Instead, you need to find all the relevant and related keywords to your business or topic and utilize them strategically like a commander directing a large army.

As briefly mentioned above, SEO is constantly changing, and so does keyword optimization. Which begs the question: how do you know which keywords to target and how best to leverage them?

This article will cover the latest best practices around keyword research, topic/keyword clustering, and on-site optimization for getting better rankings in organic search results.

The Evolution of Keyword Optimization

Search engine optimization has come a long way in the past 25+ years. Over those years, the practices and optimization trends have slowly shifted to align with the ever-evolving user search behavior, queries, and patterns. Traditionally, SEO was solely focused on optimizing web pages for the broadest keyword you wanted your page to rank for.

For example, if you were selling a scarf that was only available in blue, you might optimize your web page for the keyword “scarf” or “blue scarf.”

Keywords like this are called head terms or even simpler single keywords. Single keywords have been the main focus of SEO and webmasters for years. This is what traditional SEO keyword research was initially designed for. Moreover, it was to help businesses and websites find the words that people are searching for. This would enable said business or website to optimize their website’s content around those keywords to rank higher in search engines.

The problem today with single keywords is that they aren’t as effective or practical as they used to be.

People are doing more sophisticated, nuanced, and long searches. People are also constantly researching and refining what they are searching for. In fact, in 2017, Moz noted that 63% of all queries had 3 or more words. Furthermore, Statista reports in a 2020 study that 40% of all queries were 3 words or greater. Finally, Backlinko conducted their research and concluded that 92% of all queries contained 3 or more words.

Regardless of who or what stat you want to believe regarding the length of a query, it is clear that SEO experts and the data indicate a dramatic rise in multiple-word searches by users. This is where keyword clusters come into play.

Semantic Keyword Clustering Explained

Semantic keyword clustering automatically organizes related keywords into clusters based on contextual relevance and user intent. This method streamlines keyword research, optimizes search engine content, and enhances the targeting of potential customers.

When someone conducts a keyword search, search engines look for related terms, not just the exact keyword. For instance, a search for “running shoes” might return results for related terms like “athletic shoes,” “sneakers,” and “tennis shoes.”

Semantic keyword clustering helps search engines understand the full context of a search query by organizing these related terms into clusters, delivering more relevant results to users. This approach enables businesses to create content that addresses multiple related terms within a single piece, improving their chances of ranking for a broader range of keywords and generating more leads.

Benefits of Keyword Clustering

1. Increased Visibility: Keyword clustering simplifies the task for search engine crawlers to find and index content related to specific search terms, enhancing the likelihood of your content appearing in search engine results pages (SERPs).

2. Improved Content Structure: Organizing related topics under one main theme through keyword clusters helps users quickly find relevant information, improving their overall experience.

3. Higher Ranking Potential: Using keywords in clusters can significantly increase a webpage's relevance compared to non-clustered pages, resulting in better search engine rankings.

4. Reduced Competition: Targeting long-tail keywords and low-competition terms through keyword clustering can boost your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.

5. Easier Optimization: Keyword clustering allows for more accurate and efficient content optimization, ensuring you consistently target the most relevant keywords for your page.

Keyword Clustering For SEO: How it Works?

Keyword clusters are groups of words that contain similar meanings and actionable intent, often collectively defining a topic (or a graph for related sub topics). They are not necessarily required to have the same word or phrase to be considered related or part of a cluster. Keyword clusters once defined help you optimize your website and pages for a topic and intended user action by focusing on multiple keywords rather than one single keyword.

When you focus on a specific topic or theme, rather than just going for one high-volume term, you increase your chances of successfully ranking for your target terms.

Furthermore, you also help improve the usability of your content and the semantic relation between other keywords. This can also help increase brand perception by showing your expertise on a whole subject rather than a singular word.

Taking our earlier example, if you were selling blue scarves and wanted to rank for the keyword “blue scarf,” you could also optimize for the words “blue scarf for sale,” “buy a blue scarf,” or even “blue scarf for winter.”

This allows for easier content writing and enables users to see several terms related to what they were originally looking for. They may even see variations they would have never thought over. In the case of our example, it helped provide much-needed brand trust, which can help with selling our imaginary blue scarves.

Keyword clusters are a much more effective way to target your content and rank in search engines because they help you attract traffic from a much wider audience.

Instead of trying to get people searching for one specific word or phrase, you can get them searching for a group of words that have similar meanings and intent. By focusing on related terms like these rather than just one, you increase your chances of ranking for all of them with one article. This helps save time and resources while also saving users from needing to view multiple pages to get answers or accomplish their desired goals.

How To Optimize Your Page For Keyword Clusters?

Keyword optimization is a fundamental element of search engine optimization (SEO) that involves creating content focused on specific keywords and phrases to drive traffic to a website.

One effective and enduring tactic for keyword optimization is topic and keyword clustering.

Keyword clustering is the process of grouping similar keywords together to form a keyword cluster.

This holistic approach focuses on multiple related keywords and phrases, enhancing the relevance and search intent alignment, which leads to more targeted traffic. Rather than ranking for a single keyword, keyword clusters increase the likelihood of appearing in search engine queries for a broader range of terms.

From a content creation perspective, keyword cluster optimization is beneficial as it allows for more organic opportunities to expand content, especially for long-form pieces. Additionally, keyword clusters improve user experience by presenting more relevant topics, enhancing the overall usability of the content.

Keyword clustering should be integrated with other optimization strategies. For instance, when optimizing a page's copy with a set of keywords, include these keywords and variations in image alt text, headings, metadata, and video content.

Overall you should be building a hub for the topic your keyword clusters pertain to. Also, note that ensuring the user can accomplish their desired actions is also being considered. For example, this could be directing a user to a different page or resource, learning about a subject, or purchasing something.

By ensuring that every page on your website is valuable to users and search engines, you create a more robust and effective SEO strategy.

Learn more about topics vs keywords for SEO in our guide.

Keyword Clusters Optimization Steps

1. Keyword Research & Grouping

Use your favorite research tool to ideate, find, and confirm what keywords potentially match your site and offers. At this stage, grab anything and everything. Don’t worry if the words are not an exact fit for what you currently need. Your mantra at this stage should be “all the things!” which will all go to use eventually. During this phase, you can begin making initial groups based on what you might assume the intent to be.

How to cluster keywords
How to group keywords?

2. SERP Review & Intent Matching

Once you have your inventory of keywords and terms, you will need to layer on more data to make things concrete and complete. This additional data is essentially labeling your keywords by their search intent.

Specifically, this is NOT the assumed intent you might make by looking at the keyword. Instead, it is actually searching the keyword in question and reviewing what is shown to users on the first, second, and third pages. There are 4 core categories of search intent: navigational, transactional, commercial, and informational. Learn how to optimize web pages for search intents here.

After the intent classification is in place, you can further refine your initial keyword clusters.

Keyword Clustering strategy
Keyword Clustering based on Key Search Intents

3. Page Strategization Planning

With your newly completed keyword and intent groupings, you can begin outlining what pages and clusters might fit your brand. This planning should include your existing pages and some high-level hierarchy needs, as well as figuring out how you intend to potentially use search traffic to drive your site's goals and objectives. You want to create or optimize pages based on the user’s purchase journey and create topical hubs that would benefit your brand.

4. Competing Page Research

Now that you have a site strategy, page goals, and keyword clusters. You can begin doing your homework around what you need to compete and beat your competition in organic search. This research should include word count, keywords, content types, tools offered, page layout, page headings, and more.

When using the Quattr platform, the keyword recommendations view allows you to see what keyword clusters your existing page is ranking for. The Quattr platform scores your pages and allows you to make changes to the metadata, headings, body copy, image alt text, and structured data. Any copy edits are immediately reflected in score changes. You can then implement these changes on your website.

Keyword Clustering Tool
Keyword Cluster Optimization with Quattr

Quattr’s sandbox environment lets you test copy changes to see how that impacts the top keyword clusters for that page, compare results with competitors and make changes with the assurance that your updates will bring results.

Keyword Clustering with Quattr
The Quattr Platform offers a sandbox environment to Optimize Keyword Clusters & Benchmark Improvements Against Top Competitors

5. Topical Needs and Headings

Once you know what the competition has regarding content and offers, you can begin outlining what your page needs. The easiest way tends to be with the topic, intended action, and headings. For example, you may outline that the top of your page needs a detailed copy section. While the middle portion of the page may require a mix of calls to action and resources. The bottom portion of the page is dedicated to questions, selling points, and more topic detail. Ultimately this is your chance to plan how you want users to use and navigate your page.

6. Content Creation

Having an outline for the page allows almost anyone to write helpful, engaging, and valuable content. Utilizing your keyword groupings, you can begin writing copy and adding these terms naturally within it. Keep in mind who you ultimately are writing for; in some cases, your content will need to be more technical or require more straightforward phrasing and terminology. A lot of this can be gleaned from your desired audience or even competitors directly - try to learn from those with the most experience and history.

7. Resource and Internal Linking

Eventually, you will need to ensure the page has logical links to references made, data citations, and where they could go next. This should become part of your content strategy and writing process, but giving your own time and thought is good too. Especially once you have a semi-completed page that can give you an idea of what a user might see and what they might want or expect to do next.

Pro Tip - Don’t overdo it with interlinking; keep things simple and logical. Always make sure there is a clear purpose or reason for creating links, whether internal or external.

8. User Validation & Testing

Once the page is complete and published, you can begin understanding how search engines and users interact with your content. This data can come from Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, Crazy Egg, SEMRush, Quattr, etc. Overall this data can help you understand if your page is getting the right keyword rankings, page usage, and hopefully conversions. As time progresses, you will be able to gather more data and validation for what is working and what is not.

9. Additional Page Refinement

Lastly, leveraging everything you have gained to this point would allow you to make further page refinements and content optimizations. This should be naturally part of the content creation cycle in a perfect world and SEO process. You never end up with dozens or hundreds of pages that yield little to your website's end goals. This continual content optimization and refinement has some additional benefits with keeping pages fresh and robust.

Keyword Clustering Tool

A keyword clustering tool identifies, and groups related keywords, allowing businesses to better organize their content strategy and target specific audiences. By grouping related keywords, businesses can create more focused and targeted content that is more likely to rank highly in search engines and attract the right traffic.

A keyword clustering tool can also help businesses identify gaps in their content and opportunities for new content creation and inform their keyword research and SEO strategy. Benefits of using a keyword clustering tool: 

1. Helps businesses create targeted campaigns: Clustering keywords allows companies to segment their campaigns by related topics and phrases, making creating ads with a cohesive message easier.

2. Improves search engine rankings: Grouping related keywords together can improve rankings, as search engines will more quickly identify the content as relevant to the search query.

3. Enhances keyword research: A keyword clustering tool can help businesses identify new related keywords to target in their campaigns.

4. Simplifies data analysis: By grouping related keywords, companies can more easily measure the performance of each cluster and make informed decisions.

5. Identifies new target markets: Clustering keywords can reveal new target markets and potential customers.

Finding a keyword clustering tool is hard when there is a sea of so many platforms. A good keyword clustering tool should have the following features. The tool should be able to automatically group related keywords into logical clusters and allow users to customize their segmentation parameters.

Clustering is about making your keyword optimization process faster and smoother for SEO.

A good keyword clustering tool should also be able to generate reports, graphs, and analytics so that you can easily monitor your campaigns’ results. The tool should also help you identify long-tail keywords you may not have considered before.

Finally, a good keyword clustering tool should provide insights into how the keywords are performing, how they’re being searched, and the corresponding competition. This will help you make more informed decisions on which keywords to focus on.

Automate Keyword Clustering with Quattr

Quattr offers a keyword clustering tool designed to help businesses optimize their SEO strategies. It utilizes natural language processing to analyze large amounts of keyword data and quickly group related keywords together.

With Quattr, businesses can easily identify high-value keywords, monitor their ranking performance, and create targeted content that resonates with their audience. The tool also allows users to visualize their keyword clusters in a user-friendly interface, making it easy to understand and act upon the insights gained.

By taking advantage of Quattr's advanced keyword clustering capabilities, businesses can improve their website's search engine rankings, attract more traffic, and ultimately increase their revenue. Whether you're an SEO agency, digital marketer, or business owner, Quattr SEO Plaform is an essential tool for optimizing your online presence and staying ahead of the competition.

SEO Beyond Keyword Optimization

SEO is more than just keyword optimization. It’s about creating content that is informative, entertaining, and engaging. It’s about telling a story, providing the right answer at the right time, and being there when and where your customers expect you to be.

It’s about giving people what they want when they want it, and in a way that is easy for them to access wherever they are. SEO is all about providing your audience with valuable information that creates a better understanding of what it is you do and why it matters.

Keyword optimization may be the first thing you think of when it comes to SEO, but it is not the only aspect. Today SEO is a complex process. Search engines want to serve any search query in the best way possible. As a result, with almost every search query, millions of pages pop up in the results, but a user only navigates to the first few.

To make sure your web page ranks first for user search queries, you need to optimize your web pages keeping both the user and search engines in mind. Optimizing a web page for search engines includes several aspects like focusing on search intents or providing authoritative and trustworthy content.  While this can seem like a daunting task at first, with the keyword cluster approach discussed above. You can easily conquer any search page and landscape by applying effort, thought, and practice.

Using keyword clustering, you can ensure that their content is optimized for the right keywords, targeted to the right audience, and engaging and relevant to their target market. Keyword clustering can help improve SEO performance and increase the quality of the content offered.

Keyword clustering provides insight and direction for creating content that resonates with customers and ranks higher in SERPs. It is an essential step in the SEO process that should be noticed, and when used correctly, it can increase website traffic, conversions, and visibility.

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Keyword Clustering FAQs

What is Keyword Clustering?

Keyword clustering is a process of grouping similar keywords into clusters. It is used to organize and simplify large keyword sets into short, meaningful clusters that can be used for SEO campaigns. This process helps to refine keyword research and allows users to create more targeted and effective SEO strategies.

How Keyword Clustering Powers SEO?

Keyword clusters enable webmasters to optimize content for search engine rankings better. They allow them to focus content around a particular keyword phrase or topic, improving the relevance and visibility of their content. By grouping related keywords, they can better target the search engine algorithms, increasing the chances of obtaining higher SERP rankings.

How to Optimize Keywords for SEO?

When optimizing keywords for SEO, webmasters should conduct keyword research to identify the most relevant terms for their websites. They should then create keyword clusters to group related words and focus content around those topics. Finally, they should use specific keywords in meta titles, descriptions, and headings to further improve the ranking of their content.

About The Author

Colton Miller

Colton Miller has 12 years of experience in selling, servicing, supporting, and strategizing SEO. He has dealt with thousands of sites across hundreds of verticals and has also helped create and define scaled solutions for hundreds of thousands of SMBs and enterprise clients alike. Colton writes about SEO, search engine insights, and algorithm updates.

About Quattr

Quattr is an innovative and fast-growing venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California USA. We are a Delaware corporation that has raised over $7M in venture capital. Quattr's AI-first platform evaluates like search engines to find opportunities across content, experience, and discoverability. A team of growth concierge analyze your data and recommends the top improvements to make for faster organic traffic growth. Growth-driven brands trust Quattr and are seeing sustained traffic growth.

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