Blog/SEO
30 April 2024
10 min read

SERP keyword clustering to boost your SEO

Keyword clustering can significantly enhance your website's visibility and relevance. But how exactly does it work? And how can you implement it effectively to boost your SEO strategy?

In this article, we explore the intricacies of keyword clustering, explore its evolution, and provide practical tips on its implementation.

So, buckle up and get ready to take your SEO game to the next level!

What is keyword clustering?

Keyword clustering is a process in search engine optimization (SEO) and content strategy where you group together related keywords and phrases based on their semantic relevance, search intent, or themes. The main goals of keyword clustering are to:

Organize your content: By grouping keywords into themes, you can better structure your website's content and ensure that you're covering all the important topics related to your niche.

  1. Improve SEO: Clustering keywords helps you identify opportunities to target multiple related keywords with a single piece of content, thereby increasing your chances of ranking for various search queries.
  2. Enhance user experience: By creating content that comprehensively covers a topic and its related subtopics, you provide users with more valuable and informative content, improving their experience on your website.

The process of keyword clustering typically involves the following steps:

  1. Keyword research: Identify a large pool of relevant keywords and phrases related to your niche using tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs.
  2. Identify themes: Analyze your keyword list and identify common themes or topics. This can be done manually or using tools that automate the process.
  3. Group keywords: Assign each keyword to a relevant theme or cluster based on its semantic relationship to other keywords and the overall topic.
  4. Map content: Use your keyword clusters to plan and create content that targets each group of keywords comprehensively.

By implementing keyword clustering, you can create a more organized, search-engine-friendly, and user-centric content strategy for your website.

Why is keyword clustering important?

Keyword clustering isn't just a fancy term. It's a crucial part of SEO strategy. Why? Well, it's all about relevance. Search engines love it when your content is relevant to the user's query. And keyword clustering helps you achieve just that.

With keyword clustering, you're grouping related keywords together. This way, you're telling search engines that your content is a one-stop-shop for a particular topic. It's like saying, "Hey Google, I've got all the answers right here!"

But it's not just about pleasing search engines. It's also about your audience. When your content is well-organised and relevant, it's easier for your audience to find what they're looking for. When your users find what they're looking for it leads to more engagement, more time on the page, and ultimately, better ranking on SERP.

So, in a nutshell, keyword clustering is important because it helps improve your SEO performance and user experience. It's a win-win!

The role of SERP in keyword clustering

SERP, or Search Engine Results Page, plays a pivotal role in keyword clustering. It's the SERP that determines how closely related different keywords are. When you use a SERP-based keyword clustering tool, it groups keywords based on the similarity of their search engine results pages. This is a crucial aspect of keyword clustering as it helps in making sense of large keyword lists.

The SERP analysis is done in real-time, in the country and language you choose. This allows for a more accurate and relevant keyword grouping. It's not just about finding morphological matches, but also about understanding the search engine's perspective on keywords that can be effectively targetted on a single web page.

The tool gets the top 10 results on Google for each of your keywords and looks for overlap. Any keywords that share results are grouped together. This is how SERP influences keyword clustering by identifying related keywords that could be targeted together or require separate URLs.

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Types of keyword clustering

It's possible to control the clustering further by managing the URL overlap percentage. By default, our clustering targets a 30% overlap, but you can manage the overlap percentage from within the Strategically dashboard.

40% URL overlap

This is a flexible approach where a keyword can belong to multiple clusters. This is especially useful when you're dealing with keywords that have multiple meanings or interpretations.

For instance, the keyword "apple" could be part of a cluster about fruits, but also a part of a cluster about technology companies.

This method allows for a more nuanced understanding of keyword relationships and can help to create more targeted content. However, it can also be more complex to manage due to the overlap between clusters.

In a nutshell, soft clustering is all about flexibility and understanding the multifaceted nature of keywords.

30% URL overlap

Moderate Clustering is the middle ground in keyword clustering. It's a bit more complex than soft clustering, but not as intense as hard clustering.

  1. Balanced Approach: Moderate clustering strikes a balance between relevance and volume. It groups keywords that are closely related, but not identical.
  2. Flexibility: This type of clustering allows for some flexibility. Keywords in a cluster can share some, but not all, characteristics.
  3. Efficiency: Moderate clustering is efficient for SEO. It helps to target a wider range of search queries without diluting the focus.

20% URL overlap

Hard Clustering, the third type of keyword clustering, is a more rigorous approach. Here's how it works:

  1. Comparison: Unlike soft clustering, hard clustering compares all queries against each other, not just against the one with the highest search volume.
  2. Precision: It provides a higher level of accuracy, reducing the chance of irrelevant search queries being clustered together.
  3. Result: This method generally results in smaller, tighter clusters, but it takes a bit longer to produce the report.

The evolution of keyword clustering

SEO is ever-evolving, and keyword clustering is no exception. This section will delve into the transformation of keyword clustering, tracing its journey from lemma-based grouping to the more advanced SERP-based approach.

This evolution has been instrumental in shaping modern SEO strategies, offering a more refined understanding of keyword performance. Let's explore how this shift has revolutionized the way we approach keyword grouping.

From lemma-based keyword grouping to SERP-based

The evolution of keyword clustering is a fascinating journey. It started with lemma-based keyword grouping, where keywords were grouped based on their root forms. This approach was simple and straightforward, but it had its limitations.

As the digital landscape evolved, so did the need for a more sophisticated approach. Enter SERP-based keyword clustering. This method takes into account the search engine results page (SERP) and groups keywords based on their performance on SERPs.

This shift from lemma-based to SERP-based keyword clustering was a game-changer. It allowed for a more nuanced understanding of keyword performance, leading to more effective SEO strategies. So, if you're still stuck in the lemma-based era, it's high time to make the switch to SERP-based keyword clustering.

How to implement keyword clustering

Diving into the world of SEO, you've probably heard of keyword clustering. But how do you actually implement it? In this section, we'll break down the process of implementing keyword clustering into manageable steps. From initial keyword research to managing the results of your grouping, we'll guide you through each stage of this crucial SEO strategy.

Remember, the key to successful keyword clustering lies in the details. It's not just about finding keywords, it's about understanding their relationships and how they can work together to boost your SEO performance. Let's get started.

Initial keyword research

  1. Start by identifying your target audience and their search habits. Identify competitors in the space targeting similar customers. For example, if you are a longevity supplement business, you could look at specific medical research content like Pubmed and brands manufacturing supplements
  2. Next, use the Strategically platform to extract your competitors keywords at scale, this can be completed at a domain level for smaller competitors or at a subfolder level for large platforms such at Pubmed in the medical research space. Alternatively you can use platforms such as Ahrefs to perform keyword research traditionally. Remember, the more diversity of keywords and data you have, the more effective the keyword clustering will be.
  3. You can use a Python script or a platform such as Strategically to perform the clustering analysis. If you choose to build your own algorithm, remember there are many data sources and connected APIs required to perform this analysis

Creating keyword clusters

Here's how to create keyword clusters:

  1. Identify Core Keywords: Start with your core keywords. These are the terms that define your business or content.
  2. Find Related Keywords: Use keyword research tools to find related terms. These are the keywords that people often search along with your core keywords.
  3. Group Keywords: Group your core and related keywords based on their relevance. The goal is to create clusters of keywords that can be targeted together.

Creating keyword clusters is an iterative process. You might need to go back and forth between these steps to get the best results.

Choosing the grouping method and accuracy

Here's how you can choose the right grouping method and accuracy for your keyword clusters:

  1. Understand the difference between hard and soft methods: The soft method compares all queries against the one with the largest search volume, while the hard method compares queries against each other.
  2. Consider your niche and keyword list size: If your keyword list is small or you need quick results, go for the Centroid Clustering Algorithm. For more accuracy, if you have time to wait, choose the Agglomerative Clustering Algorithm.
  3. Adjust the URL overlap: The default is 30%, but you can change it as per your needs.
  4. Choose the right grouping accuracy: Higher accuracy gives more specific categories but leaves many phrases ungrouped. Lower accuracy results in broader clusters, which may require manual regrouping.
  5. Consider implementing both automated and manual grouping techniques: This gives you a balance of specificity and broad categorization.

Managing grouping results

  1. Review the results: After the keyword clustering process, you'll have a set of groups. Each group is named after the keyword with the highest search volume. Take time to review these results.
  2. Analyze the data: Look at the number of matching URLs, the top-10 results with the keywords included in groups, and snippets containing these keywords. This information will give you a clearer picture of your keyword clusters.
  3. Export your groups: Once you've identified the groups that work best for you, export them to your project. This will allow you to keep track of your keyword clusters and make changes as needed.
  4. Customize your clusters: Under your project's settings, you can create and name your own clusters. You can also add comments to any keyword. This step is crucial for managing your results effectively.

Keyword clustering tools and techniques

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, keyword clustering has emerged as a powerful strategy. This section delves into the tools and techniques that can help you master this approach. From understanding the nuances of various tools to learning effective techniques, we aim to equip you with the knowledge to enhance your SEO strategy. Let's explore the world of keyword clustering tools and techniques.

Techniques for effective keyword clustering

  1. Understanding Search Intent: The first step towards effective keyword clustering is understanding the search intent behind the keywords. This involves grouping similar phrases together to target a topic instead of a single keyword. This approach is more likely to cover the user's intent and provide them with the information they're looking for.
  2. Maximising Keyword Potential: Instead of targeting single queries separately, keyword clusters allow you to rank for a number of related keywords united by the same intent. This helps maximize the number of terms you can rank for.
  3. Removing Irrelevant Keywords: Keyword grouping can help make a large list of keywords more manageable. It allows you to spot irrelevant queries and remove them from your strategy easily.
  4. Analysing Semantic Relationships: Keyword clustering can help you analyse the semantic relationships between your pages and improve your site architecture. This can boost your site's visibility and authority in the eyes of search engines.
  5. Automating the Process: Keyword clustering can be time-consuming if done manually. Using automated tools can help you achieve the benefits of keyword clustering quickly and efficiently.

Common challenges and solutions in keyword clustering

Navigating the world of keyword clustering can be a complex task. It's not just about grouping similar keywords together but also about overcoming the various challenges that come along the way. From dealing with high search volume keywords to matching URLs with keyword clusters and maintaining your strategy over time, there's a lot to consider.

In the following sections, we'll delve into these common challenges and provide practical solutions to help you master the art of keyword clustering. We'll explore how to handle high search volume keywords, match URLs effectively, and maintain your keyword clustering strategy over time. Let's get started.

Challenge 1: High search volume keywords

When it comes to keyword clustering, high search volume keywords can be a real pain in the neck. Here's why:

  1. Competition: High search volume keywords are often highly competitive. This means you're up against a lot of other websites trying to rank for the same keywords.
  2. Relevance: These keywords might not always be the most relevant to your content. Just because a keyword has a high search volume doesn't mean it's the best fit for your site.

It's not just about the volume of searches but the quality of those searches that matter.

Challenge 2: Matching URLs to keyword clusters

Matching URLs to keyword clusters can be a tricky task, but it's not impossible. Here are a few common challenges and their solutions:

  1. Identifying Relevant URLs: It can be tough to find URLs that match your keyword clusters. A good practice is to use a keyword mapping tool. This can help you identify the most relevant pages for each keyword cluster.
  2. Dealing with Multiple URLs: Sometimes, you may find multiple URLs that seem relevant for a single keyword cluster. In such cases, consider the content of each page. Choose the one that provides the most value to your audience.
  3. URL Structure: Your URL structure should be SEO-friendly and reflect your keyword clusters. If it doesn't, consider restructuring your URLs.

The goal is to create a seamless user experience while boosting your SEO. So, take your time and do it right.

Challenge 3: Maintaining keyword clustering strategy over time

Maintaining a keyword clustering strategy over time can be quite a challenge. Here are a few common issues and their solutions:

  1. Algorithm Updates: Google's algorithm is constantly evolving, which can impact your keyword clusters. To stay ahead, keep an eye on SEO news and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  2. Changing Search Trends: User search behavior changes over time. Regularly review your keyword clusters to ensure they still align with current search trends.
  3. New Competitors: New players in your niche can affect your keyword clusters. Keep track of your competition and adjust your strategy if necessary.

Maintaining a keyword clustering strategy is not a one-time task. It requires regular review and adjustment to stay effective.

Wrapping up: The power of SERP keyword clustering

In conclusion, the power of SERP keyword clustering cannot be overstated. It's an essential tool in the SEO arsenal, enabling you to streamline your content strategy, enhance your website's relevance, and ultimately boost your visibility on search engine results pages.

The journey from understanding the concept to implementing keyword clustering may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and techniques, it becomes a manageable task. Remember, the goal is to create content that resonates with your audience and aligns with their search intent.

Overcoming the challenges associated with high search volume keywords, matching URLs to keyword clusters, and maintaining your strategy over time may require patience and persistence. But the rewards—improved SEO, increased traffic, and better user engagement—make the effort worthwhile. Master the art of SERP keyword clustering, and watch your digital presence grow.

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