How to Create a Topical Map for Your Blog

Ever found yourself drowning in a sea of blog ideas, unsure how to organize them? I get it, and I've got you! Creating a topical map for your blog can be a game-changer.

Not only does it help you structure your content better, but it also makes it easier for readers to navigate and find exactly what they're looking for.

Imagine going into a grocery store… you're there to grab the ingredients you need for dinner. You are in a hurry, you're getting hangry, but there are no labels on anything and you can't find anything!

The store has a name, so you think you're in the right spot… but the aisles aren't named, there's no organization to it, and the products don't even have labels. WTF?! It's just a hot mess.

That's what your readers feel like when visiting your blog if you don't have a topical map created. So let's chat about why this is so important – and how to do it.

Note: My affiliate link for Topical Map AI is used in this post. I earn a commission when you make a purchase through them. 🙂

topical map

This image is from Pete, the creator of Topical Map AI. Confusing? Don't worry, I'll break it down for you.

How to Create a Topical Map

This means you're creating a clear roadmap for all your articles, ensuring every piece seamlessly connects to a central theme – leading everyone to your freebies, and eventually, your low-ticket membership.

The first step to creating this roadmap is understanding the power of topic clusters. By grouping your content into related themes, you can build a more cohesive and engaging blog.

While you can do this manually, or piece together a list of ideas from multiple tools, the tool I highly recommend for this task is Topical Map AI, which can generate a comprehensive topical map based on your niche. With just one click, you'll receive 1,000 ideas, making the brainstorming process a breeze.

Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned blogger, organizing your content through a topical map can save you time and ensure you make more money. Your traffic will go up because of your topical authority, and if you're leading your people through a clear path, your income will go up, too.

Understanding Topic Clusters

When it comes to structuring your blog content effectively, understanding and implementing topic clusters can make a significant difference in your overall strategy. I recently did a training about topic clusters inside the Blog to Membership Formula and several people said it made things “click” for them.

This is a screenshot from the training but essentially, to create a topical map you'll take all of your ideas and group them into clusters that make sense. I use the example of Russian nesting dolls when building out my site structure:

example of a topical map

The biggest doll is the blog niche. Inside of that, the next doll is the category. Inside of that doll is the clusters, and inside of that last doll is the blog posts. Weird, perhaps, but it works in my brain. 🙂

Definition of Topic Clusters

Topic clusters refer to the organization of content around a central pillar topic or theme, with multiple subtopics related to the main subject.

By grouping articles and posts into clusters based on their relevancy and interconnectedness, you create a cohesive site structure that aligns with search engine algorithms and user intent. This can even help you write better blog posts overall.

Topic clusters help in organizing related content by establishing a clear hierarchy and relationship between different pieces of content.

This approach enhances your reader's experience by providing a comprehensive and interconnected resource for them to explore various aspects of a topic in depth.

Search engines reward those who go deep on a topic (instead of a ton of topics with 5 posts each), because it is a signal of topical authority and relevance. This boosts your blog's visibility and credibility in search results, and builds your topical authority with your audience and search engines alike.

Benefits of Using Topic Clusters

Utilizing topic clusters in your blog planning can elevate your content strategy and SEO performance. While SEO isn't the be-all-end-all, in 2024 it is still relevant. SEO isn't the same as it used to be, and it will always evolve. We just have to keep up with it and follow suit.

That's why I write these posts… not because I just loovvvvvve talking about SEO, but because search engines still bring a large percentage of traffic to all of my websites.

The screenshots above are from different websites I own, all of which are still getting a 39.3%-91.4% of their traffic from organic search. My goal is for organic search to be half or less of my traffic, because I like to be diversified, but my search traffic keeps going up LOL.

Enhanced SEO

Topic clusters optimize your website structure for search engines, improving your chances of ranking higher in search results.

By creating a network of interlinked content, you signal to search engines the depth and breadth of your expertise on a particular topic. Google updated their E-E-A-T guidelines in 2022, and part of that update was basically if we want traffic from Google, we now have to prove we know our shit.

This is where the topical authority thing comes in: if you cover a topic SUPER thoroughly, you can show Google (and your readers) that you know WTF you're talking about.

Improved User Engagement

Organizing content into clusters makes it easier for readers to navigate your blog and discover related articles that interest them.

This keeps your peeps on your site longer, reducing bounce rates and increasing overall engagement. If you keep someone on your site for a long period of time, you're building the know-like-trust factor as well.

The more they read, the more they realize you actually know what you're talking about – and then you become one of their favorite trusted sources. You build a path for them to follow so you can help them even more.

Perhaps they sign up for your email list, join your Facebook group, or even join your membership from there.

Establishing Authority

Through topic clusters, you demonstrate in-depth authority and knowledge of your topic. Think about it: if I wrote about blogging but only wrote 5 posts on the topic, would I be your “go to” source for blogging information? Of course not!

I have written dozens of posts about blogging here at Passive Income Pathways, my email freebies are about blogging, and my membership is about blogging. I am all in on blogging and that's what search engines – and my readers – love to see.

By providing in-depth coverage of a topic across multiple related articles, you establish yourself as a go-to resource in your niche, attracting a loyal readership and industry recognition (no matter how hard the bro dudes may try to discredit you ;)).

Creating a Topical Map for Your Blog

Having a clear roadmap for your blog's content is one of the most important pieces of the blog success puzzle. When brainstorming relevant topics, you need to identify potential categories that will resonate with your audience and set you apart in your niche. By organizing your ideas into distinct clusters, you can create a cohesive structure that appeals to your target readers (aka future buyers).

Identifying Potential Categories and Clusters with Topical AI

When using Topical AI, it makes it easy to identify different clusters (silos) of topics to cover.

The Russian nesting dolls are back. I'm using an example from a blog about India.

  • Purple = Categories
  • Blue = Clusters/Silos
  • Orange = Blog Post Topics

Remember, these are ideas and tools to use, don't use them as if they are an exact blueprint with zero flexibility.

In the screenshot above, I'm using a blog about India as an example. The niche/topic is India Travel.

One of the categories is Major Festivals. Inside of Major Festivals, you'll find Diwali Celebrations. That will be the cluster of posts (aka silo).

Inside the Diwali Celebrations cluster, you can create 5, 10, 15, even 20 or 25 blog posts! There's so much to talk about:

  • Diwali gifts
  • Diwali lamps
  • Diwali puja
  • Diwali music
  • Diwali fashion
  • Diwali history

The list goes on (and on and on) in Topical Map AI. It gave me 30 different Diwali posts to write, and that's not including any that I may brainstorm myself.

screenshot from Topical Map AI with keyword clusters from India blog

Topical Map AI keeps things organized, showing the exact site structure we need to make these clusters happen. That's one of the things a lot of people get hung up on; they get confused about which is a cluster, which is a category, etc.

To the right, we see Major Festivals. Then, Diwali Celebrations is to the left of that, with the blog post ideas to the left of that.

After the 30-ish posts are written, you can then write a pillar (aka round-up) post that links to all of them. Interlinking is an important part of your SEO strategy, and writing in clusters helps make it easy AF to do!

Creating a topical map is an ongoing process that requires flexibility and adaptation. Pay attention to your audience's feedback and evolving trends to continually refine and expand your content strategy.

Mapping Content Flow

It's important to map out the flow of your content within each category to ensure a logical progression for your readers. I have something I call The PIPs Path – it's a path for my people but it's also the name of one of my freebies.

It looks like:

blog posts — freebies — membership

What is the path you're creating for your people?

Start by outlining the key subtopics within a category and consider how they connect and flow together. This process helps in maintaining a coherent narrative and guiding your audience through a well-structured content journey.

Imagine each category as a roadmap, with each piece of content acting as a milestone that leads your audience from one point to the next. By mapping out the content flow, you can ensure that your readers have a seamless and engaging experience as they navigate through your blog.

Then, you'll create aligned freebies that go with your path and get your readers to the next step. Your freebies will then lead your people to your paid products (hopefully a membership, for recurring revenue).

Interlinking Your Blog Posts

Like I said earlier, interlinking is important – and tools like Topical Map AI make it super easy to create posts that organically will interlink with each other. Why do we interlink? For several reasons!

SEO Benefits: Search engines crawl linked pages more effectively, boosting overall site visibility.

Enhanced Navigation: Readers can seamlessly navigate between topics, increasing engagement and time spent on your blog.

Authority Distribution: Internal links distribute authority evenly across your site, improving ranking potential for all content.

Reduced Bounce Rates: Readers explore additional content, which keeps them on your site longer, reducing bounce rates.

How to Interlink Your Topical Map

Remember this map from earlier?

The topics are categories. They link down to subtopics (“silos”).

The subtopics are more specific and link up down and sideways.

The p stands for post. These are even more specific topics that link up to the subtopics as well as sideways between them.

By optimizing for user engagement through cross-category exploration and internal linking, you can create a cohesive content experience that serves your audience and boosts the overall performance of your blog.

Monitoring and Refining the Topical Map

Monitoring and refining your topical map ensures that your content stays relevant and engaging for your audience. Tracking performance metrics and incorporating audience feedback help with this ongoing process.

Tracking Performance Metrics

To track the performance of your topical map and individual categories, utilize the right tools and methods. Incorporating analytics tools like Google Analytics can provide valuable insights into how well your content is performing. GA helps you track metrics like organic traffic, bounce rates, time on page, and keyword rankings.

Incorporating Audience Feedback

Audience feedback is a gold mine of information that can help you refine and optimize your topical map over time. Encouraging feedback through comments, replies to emails, or even social media engagement can provide valuable insights into what your audience wants to see more of.

Pay attention to common themes or suggestions that emerge from this feedback to guide your content strategy.

For example, here's part of an email I got recently:

Text reads: I physically don’t have the energy after work to get ANYTHING done. I do have chronic issue that play into it. So any suggestions would be appreciated. Or a way I can plan around those episodes.

One of my readers replied to an email I sent recently, letting me know her struggle is with lack of energy due to chronic illness. This is a common theme for my readers. Many of us (including me) live with chronic fatigue, among other issues.

Because of this, I created a free resource called the Time and Energy Audit.

I haven't been blogging about dealing with chronic illness while running a blog here on Passive Income Pathways, but I do talk about my thyroid cancer journey over on my personal blog. So, I can serve this person by sending some of my blog posts from there as well as my free resource that will help her. That's what blogging is all about!

When this resource helps this reader, that's one more step along the path with me – she already knows and likes me or she wouldn't be replying, right? Now she will have another layer of trust in me, too, because I am helping her solve a problem she has.

I love using my Facebook group and email list to get feedback because it feels more personal than public social media pages. If you are growing a Facebook group, use it for your benefit and gather as much feedback as you can.

By actively listening to your audience and incorporating their feedback into your content planning, you can be sure that your topical map remains relevant and tailored to their interests. As bloggers, our audiences iare the driving force behind our blog's success, so adapting to their preferences is crucial for long-term growth.

It's Time to Create a Topical Map!

Creating a topical map for your blog is essential for organized, targeted content and creating topical authority to stand out in your niche.

Follow what I did above using Topical Map AI (or your own brainstorming abilities), and focus on just 3 categories (max) to start. Then, build out each cluster. If you want to dive deeper into keyword research, you can – but with how SEO works in 2024, it's not 100% necessary.

While you can use keyword tools to dig deeper into finding low competition keywords etc, Topical Map AI is a great starting point to help you get tons of high-quality content out there to attract the right readers to the path you're creating for them. And to build topical authority, of course!

Remember: don't try to be everything to everyone. It's not about attracting the largest audience but the right one. Focus on building a loyal readership eager to engage with your content.

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