“Somerville restaurant.” You know, it wasn’t long ago that you’d type some broken search term like this into Google. Now of course, you simply ask, “Where should I go for dinner?” That’s because you assume search engines are smart enough to recognize intent. But does your SEO strategy reflect this changing search behavior? Meet the topic cluster model: an SEO strategy that focuses on topics — as opposed to keywords — to improve your site’s architecture, make it easier for Google to discover related content, and ultimately, boost your search engine visibility. Consider how the average website grows. You start with a homepage and a blog. You decide to target a keyword, but learn that there are more than 1,000 long-tail variations of that term, meaning you’re stuck writing post after post to capture the search traffic. And in the end, your site becomes repetitive, bloated, and disorganized. In the topic cluster model, each grouping covers a single topic. You have one larger piece of content — we’ll call this the pillar — that broadly outlines the topic, and a defined group of cluster content focused on specific long-tail keywords. The pillar links to each cluster page, while the cluster links back to the pillar, each time with the same hyperlinked keyword. That way, when one page performs well, the entire topic cluster gets a boost. It’s all about helping web crawlers make connections. Topic clusters signal to Google that there’s a semantic relationship between the content, and more importantly, that you’re a trusted authority on the topic, worthy of a top spot.