Content Hubs: What They Are and How to Use them to Skyrocket Your Authority

Content hubs are an increasingly popular strategy for boosting search rank and increasing web traffic.

Their effectiveness lies in the organic and logical nature of the themes and internal links that bind them together as an authoritative whole.

Also known as content clusters, content hubs represent a content strategy that anyone can use in developing their brand or blog.

If you are publishing or organizing content – whether it’s video, text or any other kind of rich media – content hubs ought to be one of the most fundamental strategies you employ in order to gain the trust and favour of Google, as well as the reach of your potential audience.

If this is the first time you are hearing about content clusters or hubs, here is an outline of what they are and how they can work to organise your content strategy and content marketing efforts.

What Is a Content Hub?

A content hub consists of a set of content, usually individual web pages within a single domain, organized around a specific topic.

This hub-and-spoke structure helps content marketers to conceptualize and create a logical and cohesive flow of information which gathers authority through its internal links.

It also encourages site visitors to continue to navigate your site by maintaining a logical flow of information.

How Content Hubs Boost Search Rank

Through Authoritative Links

Did you know that Google treats your internal links as backlinks?

They do – and the more links pointing to a single item, the more significant that item is.
Content hubs boost search rank by forming a hierarchy of relevant, keyword-rich links for the search engine to crawl.

The key is:

  • Relevance (all themes must be naturally related to the topic) and,
  • Anchor text (Link text must use keywords relevant to hero page).
  • Since Google places a premium on on-site metrics, this simple link architecture can improve a site’s ranking overnight.

Through Increased Time on Site

Time on site and dwell time are well known algorithmic metric among marketers. The evidence suggests that Google recognises time on site as a reliable standard for measuring popularity.

Logical linking within themes and topics has been shown to improve time on site dramatically, leading to better rankings in Google (not to mention increased conversions).

When users can more easily locate information within your website, they are more likely to hang around, read more and potentially buy more.

Search engines take into account how long users remain on a site, so such lingering further boosts its rank.

How to Build an Effective Content Hub

Content hubs simplify the often overwhelming task of building a website by providing a roadmap to success.

The structure allows designers and content marketers to easily organize the content they want to include in a user-friendly manner.

Not sure where to start? Following a few basic steps will get you there in no time.

Choose a Core Topic

What is the product, service or topic for which you hope to rank?

Are you providing a product or a service, or are you educating visitors about a particular subject?

The core topic will be developed into an article, video, or some other piece of content that we will call the “Hero Page”.

Choosing your core topic or hero page for your cluster should be a simple task. Bear in mind that you may have multiple services, topics or products.

Do not try and force everything into one cluster. Good on-site search marketing will include multiple clusters.

Build your Subtopics

Your subtopics will be related themes or subjects that occur naturally within the main topic. I would aim for at least 3-5 pieces of content for each cluster. On a large site, it may be as many as 20 additional pieces of content for every hero page you create.

Once you adopt this strategy as a regular part of your content marketing and on-site optimisation, you will find the subject matter, and resultant articles will come easily.

No more writer’s block! No more asking, “what shall we write about”, and then drawing a blank.

For example, a website designed around the core topic of dogs might be divided into subtopics of puppies, training, life stages, breeding, diet, veterinary care or any other related subject.

Take the landscape industry as another example.

  • Your website is about landscaping services in Texas.
  • A hero page or article may be on lawn mowing services
  • Cluster topics might include weed management, lawn care, allergies, lawn types, soil types, etc.

Each of these subtopics could be further divided into separate pages featuring different related articles, videos or further topical divisions.

Connect your Cluster to the Hero Page

Once you’ve started creating your cluster or subtopic pages, you’ll want to link them all back to the core topic or hero page.

The obvious way to accomplish this is through internal links. Natural keyword anchors work well, but variety is the spice of life so generic terms (click here), and even the occasional naked URL are all acceptable means of linking up to the main page or article.

Once the topic cluster is created, you can continue to add to it over time using the same hub-and-spoke model used above.

Driving Traffic and Ranking Further

Bookmarking, social signals, social sharing and content sharing such as Youtube, Slideshare and infographic submission sites may all represent a third tier in your cluster.

These can boost rank, increase traffic and create even more authority for the hero page in each of your clusters.

Content Clusters are an excellent way to plan and organize your content calendar and content marketing strategy. They are natural, organic ways which not only reaps the rewards in Google but make good sense.

David Trounce

David is a business consultant and writer with a background in publishing and marketing. David writes about customer relations, digital marketing and management for small business.

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