Local SEO Topical Map Guide – Mastering Your Topical Map To Your Advantage

Local SEO Topical Map Guide - Mastering Your Topical Map To Your Advantage

Unlock the Power of Local SEO Topical Map for Enhanced Business Visibility and Success


Welcome to a comprehensive tutorial on creating a topical map that can transform your website’s performance. Whether you’re launching a new site or optimizing an existing one, this guide will demonstrate how to harness the potential of our cutting-edge Topic Builder tool. We’ll be focusing on the niche of “home gym equipment,” a niche that played a pivotal role in refining this tool during its development. Let’s dive right in!

The End Result

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have crafted a topical map structured as follows: Niche > Topic > Hubs > Clusters > Keywords. You can access and download your topical map in Excel Spreadsheet format or as a Mind Map in Markdown.

demo of topical map


The process involves four key steps:

Step 1: Discovering Topics

To initiate your topical map, begin by entering your niche into the search bar.

enter your niche


This guide will provide you with a comprehensive list of potential topics. However, it’s important to note that these topics lack associated hubs, clusters, or keywords. To proceed (to step 2), you must select a topic and either discover or import relevant keywords.

list of topics


Aside from the provided topics, you have the option to manually add topics by clicking the “Add Topic” button. Our tool will scrape additional topics from various sources, expanding your pool of ideas.

One particularly valuable feature is the inclusion of green topics, sourced from Google Trends. These trending topics often present untapped opportunities, as they are relatively new and less competitive.

trending topics


Consider topics like StairMaster, Pilates, Basement, and Electrical Cable, which have exhibited significant search volume over the last three months. By clicking on these trends, you can swiftly incorporate them into your list.

My enthusiasm for trending topics stems from their freshness and relatively low competition, making it effortless to discover and rank for lucrative, low-hanging fruit keywords.

Additionally, incorporating cardio, multi-station, and boxing from the blue list can be valuable enhancements.

more topics to add


If you have a topic in your mind, you can totally enter it manually and click the Save button.

Remember that when adding a topic, it’s crucial to consider how it fits within the existing hierarchy. The scraped topics may not align precisely with your current list, so prioritize those that share the same hierarchy level as your existing topics.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll select “Rowing Machines” as our topic.

Pro tip: There are many ways to organize your topics in this niche. Some other ways:

  • Home Gym Equipments > Cardio Equipments > Rowing Machines
  • Home Gym Equipments > Cardio Equipments > Treadmill

Nonetheless, my choice is to adhere to “Home Gym Equipment > Rowing Machines” while excluding Cardio Equipment. The reasoning behind this decision becomes evident during keyword research (in step 2) when confronted with the abundance of rowing machine-related keywords. Opting for the “Cardio Equipment > Rowing Machines” approach would pose significant challenges in thoroughly covering this extensive array of keywords. Moreover, it would necessitate the creation of numerous additional articles to establish comprehensive topical authority within the “Cardio Equipment” category, a prospect requiring both time and financial resources.


Step 2: Discover or Import Keywords


The reason our tool doesn’t automatically import keywords for each topic is simple: it doesn’t know the unique focus of your website.

Different websites have different SEO requirements based on their goals and target audiences. Some prioritize local SEO, while others emphasize affiliate marketing or e-commerce.

It’s all about your target audiences, your goals, and your budget for the content. No two topical maps are identical, as each keyword list shapes a distinct map. Consequently, don’t fixate on disparities compared to your competitors’ maps. The content structure offers flexibility, and as long as you encompass all topic facets, you’re on the right path.

To proceed, select a topic for exploration and click the “Discover Keywords” button.

discover keywords


A modal will appear, prompting you to enter a seed keyword related to the chosen topic. In our case, with the topic “Rowing Machines” suitable seed keywords might include “rowing machines” or “water rowing machines.”

enter your seed keyword

You can further refine your keyword selection by applying negative filters, excluding specific terms such as countries, Reddit, Quora, or certain companies that don’t align with your content’s intent, such as reviews or best articles.


As you fetch keywords from Google Autocomplete and our internal database, you’ll also obtain data on their search volume.

keyword list


You can enter more seed keywords or import keywords from external sources to collect more keywords if you want by clicking the Keywords dropdown. The tool will automatically eliminate duplicates for you.

import keywords

Additionally, the Term filter can help you prospect keywords quickly.

term filter

Pro Tips:

  • While in Discover mode, the tool provides keywords specifically tied to your topic. However, when importing your own, ensure they remain closely related and not broader. Here’s my strategy for finding broader keywords: I employ the Word Count filter to isolate 1-2 word keywords. For instance, if I encounter “cardio equipment,” I exclude it as it’s broader than “rowing machines.”
  • Consider archiving keywords instead of deleting them. This way, you can hide them from view and easily restore them later.
  • The quality of your keyword list directly impacts your topical map, so invest time in thorough keyword prospecting.

Step 3: Running Clustering for Keywords


After curating your final keyword list, it’s time to select keywords for clustering. Click the Cluster button.

cluster keywords

Keep in mind that you must select a minimum of 200 keywords, although aiming for over 2,000 is recommended for comprehensive topic coverage.

How Does the Cluster Work?

Our clustering process involves two stages. First, we perform SERP clustering on your selected keywords to generate clusters. Subsequently, we automatically cluster these keyword clusters to create hubs.

This is what keyword clusters look like:

keyword clusters

This is what hubs look like:


Why the Minimum of 200 Keywords? This requirement ensures that our tool has sufficient data to comprehend the intricacies of your chosen niche or topic. It also guarantees comprehensive topic coverage.

To establish topical authority, it’s imperative to cover every aspect of your chosen topic. Don’t hesitate to cluster numerous keywords. The more keywords you incorporate, the more accurate and authoritative your topical map will become.

The cost is 2 credits per keyword (or 2.25 credits for Free plan users). While this may seem costly, remember that clustering 2,000 keywords equates to a month’s worth of work. By focusing on one topic at a time, your credits will replenish as you progress.

Understanding the Search Intent Behind Keywords

One remarkable feature of our tool is its ability to understand search intent during clustering. It can intelligently group keywords, even if they lack certain modifiers. For instance, keywords without “best” may still be included in the “rowing machine reviews and recommendations” hub because our tool recognizes their alignment with review and recommendation-based content.

search intent behind keywords

Pro Tip: You can click on hubs or clusters to examine their respective SERPs, gaining valuable insights.

check SERP of keyword

Tweaking Your Topical Map While there’s no one-size-fits-all tool, our Topic Builder empowers you to fine-tune your topical map by merging two clusters or hubs. Sometimes, you may encounter similar clusters that could be merged for greater coherence.

For instance, clusters like “water rowing machine” and “best water rowing machines” might be suitable for merging, as identified using our SERP Similarity Checker. Merging can be done effortlessly, as our tool will handle the consolidation of keywords.

serp similaritiy

The same principle applies to hubs. If you perceive common themes across hubs, merging them can enhance the organization of your content.

Our SERP Similarity Checker proves handy for making informed decisions. Notably, there may be hubs housing only one cluster due to limited keyword data. In such cases, merging these clusters into another hub or removing them can optimize your topical map.

Finally, I can easily spot the three hubs I can kick off right now.

move clusters

  1. rowing machine reviews and recommendations: Reviews and recommendations for the best rowing machines to purchase for home use.
    • best water rowing machines
    • best budget rowing machines
    • best rowing machines under 500
  2. rowing machine workouts and techniques: learning how to use rowing machines – provide information about technique, beginner workouts, and different workout options for various fitness levels.
    • rowing machine workout
    • rowing machine proper form
    • rowing machine usage
    • rowing machine app
  3. rowing machine benefits and muscles worked: Benefits, proper form, muscles worked, and use of rowing machines for exercise.
    • rowing machines benefits
    • rowing machine knee pain
    • rowing machine muscles worked

Visualizing Your Topical Map

You can export your topical map in two formats: Excel Spreadsheet and Mind Map (Markdown).

export topical map

The Mind Map file can be opened using any Mind Map tool that supports Markdown (.md).

mind map tool

Implementing Your Topical Map on Your Website

First, you need to decide how you want to structure your website’s URLs. Some people like to implement hard-silo in the URL, something like:

hard-silo URL system

The next step is deciding how to structure your website’s URLs. You have two primary options: a strict, hard-silo URL structure or a flexible, flat-URL system. Your choice should align with your website’s needs and goals.

  • https://your-website.com/best-rowing-machines
  • https://your-website.com/best-water-row-machine
  • https://your-website.com/best-rowing-machines-under-500

soft-silo URL system

Factors to consider:

  • If you prefer a rigid structure and seldom update your topical map, opt for the hard-silo URL system.
  • For flexibility and frequent map adjustments, choose the flat-URL system.
  • Your CMS platform plays a role; WordPress accommodates both approaches, while others may not support nesting URL structures.
  • The order in which you create content matters. With hard silos, start with hubs and then create articles. With soft silos, begin with clusters that target low-competition keywords.
  • Analyze your competitors’ approaches for additional insights.

Clusters and Hubs

Each cluster represents an article on your website. Include cluster keywords naturally within your articles or utilize them as anchor text for internal or backlinks to rank for multiple keywords.

Hubs serve as pillar pages that link to supporting content through internal links. They categorize and organize related content, simplifying navigation for users and helping search engines comprehend your site’s primary topics. This enhances the likelihood of your content appearing in relevant search results.

By this definition, a Hub represents a tangible webpage on your site. But how do you gather inspiration for creating a Hub? Here are some strategies I’ve found effective:

Think of a Hub as a comprehensive, all-in-one guide on your website where users can access detailed information about a specific sub-topic. Take this page, for instance: https://www.rowingmachine-guide.com/reviews.html

Alternatively, you can designate the cluster with the highest number of keywords as your Hub page.

For example:

cluster can be a hub page

The “rowing machines” cluster could serve as a hub page since, upon examining the SERP for that cluster, it’s evident that it aligns with the same purpose as the Hub—to provide reviews and recommendations for the best rowing machines suitable for home use.

Local SEO Topical Map Guide - Mastering Your Topical Map To Your Advantage


On affiliate websites, it’s common to choose “best rowing machines” as the main keyword for the “rowing machines” cluster. This approach is also applied to “review” hubs due to algorithm favoring keywords with the highest search volume as the main keyword.

set main keyword

Pro Tip: Consider a “CORE” page, like “best rowing machines,” which can represent the entire “rowing machines” topic.


  • The “rowing machine workout” page should feature exercises, proper techniques, and beginner workout guides.
  • “Rowing machines benefits” should highlight the advantages, proper usage, and targeted muscles.

Step 4: Maintaining Your Topical Map

Creating a topical map is challenging, but maintaining it can be even more demanding. With the Topic Builder tool, you can enhance your map over time

For example, if I’ve already completed the “rowing machines” topic and come across a new set of keywords a month later, I can effortlessly import them. The tool will distribute these keywords among existing clusters/hubs, or create new ones if needed.

After import, I can filter out keywords not in a cluster, select them, and rerun the clustering process.

My new keyword list now exceeds 1,300 keywords.

re-run clustering

Before re-running clustering


After ru-running clustering, we have more hubs and clusters:


Now, let’s delve deeper into this.

The “rowing machine reviews and recommendations” hub boasts 191 clusters, a significant increase from its previous count of 131.

To pinpoint the newly added hubs or clusters in the latest cluster run, you can refer to the cluster run number. For instance, in Cluster Run #2, the “rowing machine in the gym” cluster joined the “rowing machine reviews and recommendations” hub.

cluster run

You can view all new clusters with the Cluster Run filter, or even check if any new keywords were added to existing clusters, so you can create new articles or update existing articles.

cluster run filter

Upon importing keywords, notice that numerous clusters revolve around “brand” reviews. Examples include “Sunny Water Rowing Machine,” “Snode Water Rowing Machine,” and “XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rowing Machine,” among others. If the volume is substantial, I have the option to manually establish a distinct hub separate from the “rowing machine reviews and recommendations” hub. This allows for the relocation of all relevant clusters to this new hub.

move keyword clusters to new hub



1. How many articles do you need to cover a topic? The number of articles required varies based on the topic’s scope. There’s no fixed quantity.

estimate article counts

Review competitor websites and their article count to gauge your content budget.

2. What if I already have a website and want to use the Topic Builder? You can indeed utilize the Topic Builder tool for an existing website. The key difference lies in your awareness of which topics your site has already covered. Soon, we’ll introduce a feature allowing you to input your website, mapping your page URLs to clusters or hubs for a clearer overview.

3. With hundreds of clusters, where should I start? Begin with clusters containing low-hanging fruit keywords. Using our Keyword Finder, identify keywords ranked by weaker pages, providing opportunities to outperform them with superior content.

Final Thoughts

Creating a topical map is a long-term strategy. It requires patience as you establish your authority within your niche. Stick to your target audience and focus on internal linking.

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