A Quick Guide to Keyword Clustering in SEO

Keyword clustering in SEO allows you to upgrade your strategy for research and really dial into what your customers need from your brand.

keyword clustering SEO

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Does your keyword universe feel like a vast and untamed landscape? Are you constantly trying to organize and reorganize the keywords to better suit the needs of your customers?

If so, you definitely need to learn all about keyword clustering SEO.

Clustering allows you to rein in your keywords, tame their wily ways, and get helpful content in front of your customers whenever they need it most.

You’ll spend less time on keyword research than ever before, too, leaving you with more energy for quality content creation.

Ready to effectively organize your keywords and get great results from your SEO efforts? Here’s what you need to know about keyword clustering in SEO.

    What is Keyword Clustering in SEO?

    Keyword clusters are closely related terms and phrases that customers use to find products and services in your industry. The clustered keywords all align with the search intent, helping you to create content that fully satisfies each query.

    If you sell outdoor dog gear, for example, then your keyword clusters may center around dog boots, coats, life jackets, backpacks, harnesses, leashes, sleeping bags, and the like.

    Within the dog boots cluster, you might find terms like dog boots for hiking, zipper dog boots, grippy socks for dogs, rubber dog boots, best dog boots for summer, and so on.

    In short, all these terms represent what your customers might search for while on the hunt for the perfect boots for their dogs.

    Importance of Keyword Clustering

    SEO keyword clusters help you understand all your customer’s needs while improving the chance of your web pages ranking higher.

    The related terms help you see just what your customers might want from the product or service and how they plan to use your solutions to solve their everyday problems.

    Using those insights, you can create beneficial SEO content that helps guide their journey from research to purchase.

    Better yet, as you infuse the clustered terms and phrases in your content, they’ll cast a wide net and help your page come up more often on search engine results pages.

    Instead of trying to rank for one term, you’ll get to target dozens of keywords with each piece of content you create.

    Keyword Clustering SEO Benefits

    Keyword clustering SEO serves as a powerful way to improve your organic search results. Plus, the insights allow you to create well-organized web pages, cornerstone content, and other works for your site.

    Additional benefits of keyword clustering include:

    • Faster keyword research process without compromising on results
    • Ability to rank for more industry keywords with each piece of content
    • Better ranking performance for both long- and short-tail keywords
    • Even more organic traffic coming to all your web pages each month
    • A big bump to brand loyalty as your content aids in the buyer’s journey

    Overall, keyword clustering allows you to get better results in much less time. You just have to take the right approach during the research and content creation phases to start seeing great results.

    Types of Clustering

    Keyword clustering tools base their findings on the top 10 results for any given keyword term or phrase. This approach goes beyond word meanings alone to identify broad ideas used to create top-ranking content.

    Three are three main types of keyword clustering when using a tool to do the heavy lifting:


    The soft keyword clustering approach matches keywords to the main target keyword. To do that, the tool takes the keyword with the highest search volume and pulls up its top 10 search results.

    Then, it compares those results to the top 10 for other keywords to see which URLs match. If there are enough matches, the second keyword gets grouped with the first and the tool moves on to the next word or phrase.


    Moderate keyword clustering goes beyond the soft approach by seeing if keywords in the group relate to each other, too. The process is largely the same though. The tool starts with the top 10 search results for the keyword with the highest search volume.

    Using that data, it goes through the other search terms to see if enough of the URLs in their listings match the target term’s results. The tool then goes one step further by comparing all the keywords to each other to see if enough of their top 10 URLs match as well.


    Hard keyword clustering creates groups of keywords that all have the same top 10 search results. The process starts with the keyword with the highest search volume, but the comparison process goes much differently. The tool looks for the same matching URLs to determine which keywords to cluster together.

    The number of keywords put into each cluster decreases as you go up the difficulty levels.

    If you want a lot of keywords to choose from, then easy or moderate clustering will give you the right results. Go with hard keyword clustering if you’d like a short list of highly related terms and phrases to use.

    How to Cluster Keywords in Three Easy Steps

    Now that you know what keyword clustering SEO is all about, it’s time to get started on your research journey. Just follow these simple steps to get the job done fast.

    1. Understand Your Audience

    You must understand what makes your customers tick before you can figure out what terms they might use to find your products and services.

    To best understand your audience, you can use buyer personas or jobs to be done.

    Buyer personas outline what your customers are all about, including their demographics, likes and dislikes, and top reasons for shopping with your brand.

    Jobs to be done focus on the problem your customers likely want to solve. Instead of learning who your customers are as a person, it looks at their pain points, ideal solutions, and how their needs align with your offerings.

    You can use one or both but it’s not wise to move forward without audience insights on your side.

    2A. Use Keyword Cluster Tools

    Tools make keyword clustering much faster, easier, and more precise – and you have many great options to choose from, too.

    As this newfound keyword research strategy gains in popularity, tools are coming out all the time to help you breeze it all, such as:

    Although each tool works differently, most generate your clusters based on your target keyword. You just have to input the phrase you want to target, and it’ll do the rest.

    For the best results, consider doing a little keyword research first to pick target terms with a high search volume.

    Alternatively, you can pull up your ideal keywords using your preferred research tools, like Semrush, and then process them into clusters using the Keyword Clustering App from Charly Wargnier.


    2B. Choose DIY Keyword Clustering

    If you’re dead set on the DIY approach to keyword clustering, you will need to first research your keywords and then organize them into semantically related pillars. Here’s how.

    Research Industry Keywords

    Start the process by pulling up the keywords used by your top three competitors. You can do this quite easily with a paid tool like SpyFu.

    Within that system, simply:

    1. Type in the URL of your top competitor
    2. Click on their total number of organic keywords
    3. Hit the ‘Export All’ button to get a spreadsheet of the results

    Then, repeat that process for your other two top competitors. Combine the spreadsheets and you’re done with step one of the manual clustering process.

    Pro Tip: Free keyword research tools, like Google Keyword Planner, will work, but it’s going to take a lot more effort on your part.

    Organize Keywords into Pillars

    With all your competitors’ keywords in the spreadsheet, start going through the data line by line.

    You’ll want to remove duplicate terms. Then, delete whatever terms have no relation to your brand’s products, services, and overall purpose.

    Before moving forward, take a moment to identify the main pillars of your web content.

    Figure this out by asking:

    • Which products and services would you like to highlight?
    • What are your customer’s pain points and informational needs?
    • Do you need content to share your mission, vision, and values?

    If your brand focuses on hobby-grade RC cars, for example, you might create pillars focusing on all the top types of radio-controlled cars.

    Your pillars would likely end up being: crawlers, buggies, short course trucks, drift cars, monster trucks, and touring cars.

    Within your spreadsheet full of keywords, creates pages for each of your pillars. Then, shuffle keywords into each pillar to create a list of related terms and phrases.

    3. Create Content Using Keywords

    All that’s left to do is create content based on your keyword clusters. Choose a target keyword and then use a content scoring system to find your ideal topic.

    As for keyword usage, put the target term or phrase in the H1 header, one to two H2 subheaders, and the first 100 words of content.

    You can also add the target keyword once or twice every 500 words after that.

    Beyond that, infuse the content with the terms and phrases within the keyword cluster.

    The keywords in the cluster will help search engines see that your content matches the search intent for the target term.

    Just don’t forget to create quality content that addresses the query in full.

    Do it right and your pages will rank higher than ever and for more industry-related keywords, rewarding you for a job well done.

    If at any point in the process, you feel like you’re heading down the wrong path, let our team lend a hand.

    Are you an agency and SEO has a lot of rules to implement? Check this out! The White Label SEO solutions at WriterAccess let your agency offer a range of SEO services to your clients under your own brand. Get to know more about it by clicking on the link!

    At WriterAccess, we offer a 14-day free trial, so you can get the help you need without any initial investment.

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