Ultimate SEO Keyword Clustering & Grouping Guide with Tools

Pankil Shah
by Pankil Shah
Updated On: October 19, 2023
Ultimate SEO Keyword Clustering & Grouping Guide with Tools

Strategically execute content and predictably rank for more keywords using an SEO content audit tool for advanced clustering and competitive analysis based on live SERP data.

What is keyword clustering?

Keyword clustering is the process of grouping similar keywords together based on their search intent or topic. This helps to organize and manage large sets of keywords and makes it easier to optimize for search engine rankings. By clustering keywords, you can identify the keywords that can be targeted in one webpage because they serve the same or similar intent. Clustering keywords can help strategists devise an SEO content strategy for higher organic traffic and topical authority.

Keyword clustering and grouping using SERPs and intent

Look at this example of the keyword “pet blogging

GroupSemantic cluster
Pet bloggingAnimal blogging, Dog pet blog, Cat blog Blog, about pets, How to start pet blogging
Is pet blogging profitable? Pet blogging niche

What is the benefit of keyword clustering?

Keyword clustering is a useful technique for enhancing a website’s organic reach. By logically grouping semantically related terms, such as synonyms or antonyms, keyword clustering can help target keywords more precisely and deliver more relevant search results.

Benefits of keyword clustering:

  1. Build topical authority by covering more grounds
  2. Ability to rank faster for the other group of keywords in your strategy
  3. Helps logically build internal links and organize the website
  4. Reduced risk of keyword cannibalization
  5. Easier to build a silo strategy

Imagine you run a website that sells pet supplies and you want to rank for the keyword “SEO trends”. With keyword clustering, you could also target related keywords like “latest SEO trends”, “New SEO trends” and “Marketing SEO trends” in the same blog post. By including these related keywords in your H2s or H3s, you can increase the number of search terms your webpage targets and rank for multiple relevant keywords, which will ultimately drive more traffic to your website. Keyword clustering can be a highly effective way to create a structured and comprehensive content strategy.

What is a keyword clustering tool or grouping software?

A keyword clustering tool or software is a platform that streamlines keyword research by analyzing a list of keywords and grouping them into related clusters or groups based on their semantic relationships. A keyword clustering tool can help organize keywords more efficiently and quickly, eliminating the guesswork and time-consuming process of manual spreadsheet manipulations.

What are the types of tools for keyword cluster creation and group formation?

1. Grouping based on common terms used in each keyword

This approach involves grouping all keywords related to a main topic and its target keyword phrase into a cluster. If you’re aware of groups based on common terms, you can effortlessly add or remove the groups that you prefer for easy access.

Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs use this method to show the keyword clusters. While this method is helpful for refining your initial list of keywords and keyword research, it is not ideal for keyword clustering.

Keyword grouping based on NLP terms or common words

See the above example of a cluster formation using Semrush. This is totally different from clustering, it does not group similar ideas based on their meaning. I specifically highlighted the keyword with different search intent. So now let’s look at a more definitive way of grouping these keywords.

2. Grouping based on SERP analysis of each keyword

Grouping based on SERP analysis is a more definitive way to cluster keywords based on similar intent. This involves gathering the top 7-10 ranking pages in Google for every keyword and grouping them together if they have at least 3 URLs in common. This allows you to target a group of keywords that are related objectively and semantically.

Let’s look at an example:

Keyword 1: “Types of professional writing”

Below are the ranking pages for the keyword “Types of professional writing”

Three common pages ranking for cluster keyword

Now, below are the ranking pages for “examples of professional writing”:

Same three common pages ranking for another term

Clearly, there are three pages in both search queries common. What does that tell us? They are semantically related and if you optimize your content for both of these keywords, you can rank for both. 

While this approach is more time-consuming if done manually, a keyword clustering tool can automate the process and access thousands of keywords. This method can be highly effective for creating a structured and comprehensive SEO content strategy that leads to higher organic traffic and increased website traffic.

Look at the below screenshot of Outranking’s clustering tool. It analyzed over 1700 keywords and grouped them into 290 distinct groups. 

Analyzing 1748 clusters and auto grouping them into distinct topic groups

How to create keyword clusters and groups

You can cluster keywords using two methods:

  1. Manually: This is time-consuming but if you are on a tight budget and only have 10s of keywords to cluster, this will be a good option.
  2. Automated: Useful when you are analyzing 100s or 1000s. of keywords to build a comprehensive content strategy.

Step 1: Create a list of keywords using your favorite keyword research tool

To start, identify the main keyword or topic you want to build topical authority around. Using a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Outranking, or Ubersuggest, generate a list of all related keywords. If you are using Outranking you can insert the query to create the clustering project.

This list can be quite long, so it is important to exclude any keywords that aren’t relevant. For example, if you sell organic dog food, you wouldn’t want to rank for “dog walking service”. Instead, your focus would include keywords such as “organic”, “food”, and “nutrition”. A tool like Semrush does the trick, allowing you to exclude irrelevant keywords by clicking the eye icon to filter your search. See the below example, we will search for “Organic dog food” and “Healthy Dog food” in Semrush, remove the keywords that aren’t fit and combine both the list of keywords into one.

Create a list of keywords using your favorite keyword research tool

Step 2: Collect the URLs and group keywords with at least three URLs in common

Group keywords with common URLs by using a keyword clustering tool that employs the Agglomerative Clustering Algorithm. In this approach, all keywords are compared against one another and are clustered into a group if they share at least three URLs from the top 10 search results. This method is more accurate than grouping keywords based on common terms, as it eliminates irrelevant search queries.

Outranking is a great tool that completely automates this process. It allows you to upload content from any keyword research tool or use its built-in keyword data source. If you have your GSC integrated, it will even map the keywords you currently rank for, making it super easy to identify areas for improvement in your content.

Complete automation of keyword clustering using Outranking

if you are using Outranking for clustering your keywords, you can use the below methods to get your data in:

  1. Use Outranking’s data source (Similar to Ubersuggest)
  2. Semrush using upload CSV file
  3. Ahrefs using upload CSV file
  4. Custom CSV file
  5. Search console keywords data

Step 3: Identify the primary keyword in each cluster or group

Identify the primary keyword in each keyword cluster or group. While this can be tricky, there are several techniques and tools available to help circumvent common mistakes that can waste time and effort.

Primary keywords should only be chosen after evaluating the entire cluster. Here are some common techniques for identifying primary keywords:

  • Employ keyword research tools to identify keywords based on competition and difficulty stats
  • Analyze the backlinks of top pages to identify potential keywords
  • Use the “allintitle:” operator to find keywords with low competition
  • Select keywords with the lowest competition or difficulty

However, gathering and organizing this data for all the cluster keywords can be difficult and may require a complicated Excel sheet. Alternatively, using a tool like Outranking can automate this process and help you identify the most promising target in each cluster to rank easily. After you have your groups, this should be your next step before you dive into creating content.

Picking primary keyword in each cluster with higher potential of ranking

Step 4: Identify the main topic that connects most topics in your project to create a pillar page

Once you’ve determined a primary keyword for each cluster in your main group, find the page that you can link to the most or the page that can give the most links to other pages.

For example, if your group name was “SEO team” and your main topics are as listed below which one would be the most linkable?

Pillar page and supporting pages identification

In this case, the primary keyword “SEO team” would be the most suitable choice for the pillar page. It can provide links to other pages, and vice versa.

Step 5: Create subtopics for your project that link to the main topic

At this point, other topics in your group can be used to create subtopics that link to the pillar page. Writing about similar topics that cover different aspects of your main topic can help build your topical authority.

You can use a tool like Outranking to seamlessly integrate this keyword refinement into an audit report or write new content using the AI-assisted SEO content editor. You can even prioritize and manage your document workflow all in one place.

Best Tools for Keyword Clustering

In this guide, we have written three main keyword clustering tools.

  1. Outranking: Complete solution and goes beyond just analyzing keyword groups, it gets “allintitle:”, backlinks, difficult and keywords search volume data automatically.
  2. Keywords Cupid: For pro SEO and people willing to work with clunky UI and spreadsheets.
  3. Keyword insights: Dedicated clustering tool, works mostly with spreadsheets, intuitive UI but limited data and analysis.

Many would refer to the below tools as clustering tools but they are not:

  1. SurferSEO
  2. Frase
  3. Semrush
  4. Ahrefs
  5. SEO Scout

Keyword Cupid

Keyword Cupid is a popular keyword clustering tool that uses machine learning to generate accurate results. The software helps users build content silos using large inputs of data, such as keywords and claims to use neural network models to reverse engineer Google’s Knowledge graph in real-time. The mind map feature is also available, which provides visual representations of information for easier data interpretation.

Keywords cupid clustering tool


  • Highly advanced keyword clustering software
  • Accurate data that can help plan out accurate campaigns
  • Relatively well-priced with extra features


  • Does not integrate with the Google search console for accurate mapping of your own ranking data in clusters.
  • Limited keyword credits for the basic plan
  • Poor UI/UX design, making it difficult to use
  • Missing important features such as keyword assessment on SERP level for backlinks, “allintitle:” and competition
  • Unclear if missing features will be added in the future


Starter500 keywords$9.99
Freelancer5000 Keywords$49.99
Agency2000 Keywords$149.99
Enterprise80000 Keywords$499.99

Keyword Cupid may be suitable for advanced SEOs willing to invest time in assembling more data for a complete solution.

Keywords Insights

Keyword Insights is a keyword clustering and AI content briefing tool that helps users generate the best content by grouping keywords and building an outline in minutes. It is a standalone clustering software that provides features that are usually only available on tools with a broad assortment of offerings. Keyword insights like organizing the groups and clusters into well-organized spreadsheets and tabs.

keyword insights clustering tool and excel report


  • Easy to use: uploaded keywords can be used to build an outline in minutes
  • Accurate results with correct search intent and search volume
  • Cluster multiple keywords much faster than other tools, saving some time and effort


  • Cannot upload your own list of keywords, a drawback for those who have already done extensive keyword research
  • Output is formatted in a Google sheet
  • AI content briefing tool cannot be customized
  • No mapping of google search console data, which means a heavy bulk of analyzing your own website information still needs to be done by you
  • Lacks important features such as keyword assessment on SERP level for backlinks, “allintitle:” and competition stats


  • Basic: 60,00 Keywords, $49
  • professional: 15,000 Keywords, $99
  • Premium: 45,000 Keywords, $299
  • Agency: 100,000 Keywords, $599

Overall, Keyword Insights is a useful tool for keyword clustering and AI content briefing, with accurate results and a fast clustering process. However, it lacks crucial aspects like clustering custom keywords, mapping ranking data and deeper analysis of what keywords you can rank for easily.

Why Use Outranking for Keywords Clustering Tool? Keyword Grouping Software Features

1. Use keyword data sources from any keywords research tool

Use Semrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, Outranking, or any other keyword research tools to collect and analyze data. Simply upload your keywords list into a new clustering project. 

2. Checks live SERPs to find common ranking pages and patterns for grouping keywords

Outranking analyzes every keyword by checking SERP results live to find the number of common pages in each keyword’s SERP data and groups them based on similar intent.

3. Gather data for “allintitle:” results for every keyword in the cluster project

Use “allintitle:” data to gather information on keywords that are underutilized and use this data to prioritize which keyword to target from the group.

4. Get in backlinks found on SERPs for each keyword in the cluster

Determine the true difficulty of ranking for a keyword by using a backlink assessment of the top-ranking pages and finding the minimum number of backlinks needed to outrank them.

5. Map every keyword with competitions with the most topic authority

Don’t be fooled by difficulty numbers – instead, look at the domain with the highest authority among the clusters in the keyword to assess if you can rank in the top 3 without too much effort.

6. Map your search console data for better optimization and keyword targeting

By linking your clustering project with Google Search Console, you can map every keyword in a cluster with the URLS that you currently rank for. This will help you decide on an optimization strategy by choosing a more suitable primary keyword.

7. Build an SEO content strategy for topical authority using a built-in content planner

After using automated grouping and selecting the primary keyword, create a content planner to build topical authority using silo strategy.

8. Analyze up to 100K keywords and build clusters on automation

Automatically analyze thousands of keywords at once or incrementally add and analyze keywords in a group to build your SEO content strategy as you grow. 

9. Cluster entire website keywords using Google Search Console for optimization and new content opportunities

To leverage your ranking data, cluster your website keywords by URL or commonality and find opportunities to optimize existing content and create new content.

10. Leverage GSC to build better internal linking using AI

Use Google Search Console data to find pages to optimize internal linking and rewrite the target passes by infusing internal links in the same silo. This can boost page rank and connect pages for more organic traffic.

11. Comes with comprehensive On-page content optimization and content Audit tool

Extremely easy workflow to go from a primary keyword in the cluster to a complete first draft and then perform a comprehensive audit using SEO content optimization tool build into Outranking. You can also create extremely thorough content briefs using the same workflow.


What is a keyword grouping tool?

A keyword grouping tool is a helpful tool that can analyze every keyword in the group. It looks at the top competitors for each keyword and groups keywords with at-least 3 competition pages in common. It then performs additional data extraction techniques so that users can choose a primary keyword in each topic cluster.

To establish topical authority, it’s important to write about many similar topics. Each topic will have its own cluster of keywords that you can target and try to rank for.

What is a topical cluster tool and is it different from keyword grouping?

In essence, they are not different. However, sometimes people refer to topic cluster tools as tools that analyze content to identify common topics and group them.

Should you use topic cluster generators?

Using AI generators and cluster generators that rely solely on common terms to map may not be the most effective way to group them accurately. Instead, a data-driven approach is necessary for achieving more precise keyword clustering. This involves accessing SERPs for each keyword and grouping them based on common competing web pages.

How does Outranking’s SEO Keyword Clustering tool work?

  1. Add a list of keywords extracted from Semrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest or Outranking
  2. Import the list into a project to analyze every keyword in the uploaded list
  3. Download the Excel file with keyword clusters or click variations to see the group

What data does Outranking provide for each keyword that is analyzed?

Outranking provided the following list of data:

  1. Search volume
  2. Competition
  3. CPC
  4. Allintitle
  5. Min backlinks found
  6. Top competitors with authority
  7. Ranking URLs

Create winning keywords and SEO content strategy

Create winning keywords and SEO content strategy