A content hub might just look like a normal page at first glance, but it is built strategically to leverage the best of both SEO and content marketing. The result? A ton of links to your pages, rapid growth in organic traffic, and becoming an authority on the topic! Sounds good? Today, we’re going to show you how to create your own content hubs and maximise search traffic to your pages.
How do content hubs work?
If you’re new to content hubs, the reason why they work well is because they help build semantic relationships between content. For example, if you had a page on keto dieting, you might talk about what it is, what to eat, the benefits of keto, and provide some recipes or dietary guidelines. Now, if you were to go into great depth about all of these topics, then it’d be more like reading a book rather than a page or post. Instead, you can create other relevant guides and internally link between pages. This tells search engines that all the content is related to the broader topic of keto. Plus, having a logical structure to your content provides a better user experience for visitors.
The three parts of content hubs
Now, there are three parts to content hubs and the best way to explain it is with a diagram from Hubspot.
1. Pillar content
First you have your hub, which they refer to as pillar content. This page will usually be either an in-depth guide or a resource on a broad topic. And we’ve already talked about the example of a page on keto dieting.
2. Cluster content
The second part is your sub pages – or going by Hubspot’s name, cluster content. These are separate pages that go in-depth on a more specific part of your topic. So an example might be “the side effects of keto.”
And the third part is hyperlinks. These are used to connect the hub to its subpages and the subpages should also link back to the hub.
Now, the reason why this is so powerful from an SEO standpoint is twofold. First, you’re building topical authority on your site and building relationships between the pages using internal links. And second, when you get backlinks to any page within the group of content, all pages can benefit since they’re strategically linked together. So in theory, your pages should rank higher together, helping you maximize search traffic on a given topic.
Who should use content hubs?
Should everyone be using content hubs? The answer is no. Sometimes, you won’t have enough topics that fit into a broader topic. This is especially true for micro-niche sites like one about chicken coops. But for a site about farming, you could probably create multiple content hubs. With that said, content hubs come in all shapes and forms.
So for this tutorial, we’ll be focusing on using a big guide as your hub rather than resource or category pages. Before we continue further, let’s break down a basic overview of an awesome content hub created by Drift on the topic of chatbots.
If you look at the table of contents on the left, you’ll see they link to their subpages on this topic. And scrolling through their ultimate guide, you’ll see they cover subtopics like “How do chatbots work?” Then they have a brief description and at the bottom of that section, you’ll see a link that leads to a page that goes deeper on that topic. And the same goes for the remaining sections like “What are the benefits of chatbots?” “Why are chatbots important?” “How to create a chatbot,” and so on.
Now, if you look at these subpages, you’ll see that they all link back to the hub page, creating a nicely organised group of content. And within around 7 months, they’ve gotten over 500 links from unique websites and rapid growth to around 6,000 monthly search visits on a topic directly related to their product.
Brainstorming ideas for your hub pages
So how can you start creating hubs for your site? The first step is to start brainstorming ideas for your hub pages. And there are a few questions you should ask yourself to determine whether it would be a good page or not.
#1. How many subtopics can fit under the main page?
You don’t want your topic to be too narrow, otherwise you won’t have enough subtopics to write about. But at the same time, you don’t want your topic to be so broad that you have too many posts that would go under it. Aim to have somewhere in the ballpark range of 5-20 pages that fit under the topic.
#2. Does the topic have enough search volume?
“Enough” search volume is a subjective number because it’ll depend on your industry and niche. But hub pages should be targeting popular queries rather than long-tail queries. For example, if you have a site on social media marketing, you might want to create a content hub around the query “Facebook ads,” which gets around 61,000 monthly searches in the US. And there are a ton of topics that fit under it like “how to use Facebook ads manager,” “how much do Facebook ads cost,” and “Facebook audience insights” to name a few. You wouldn’t want to create a hub around something like “Facebook ads coupons,” which barely gets searched and is too narrow of a topic.
#3: Can I match search intent by targeting the pillar topic?
Search intent means the reason behind a searcher’s query. And you can find this out by looking at the top 10 results for your target keyword. For example, if we look at the top-ranking pages for “Facebook ads,” you’ll see it’s a navigational query, meaning most people who search this want to actually reach the Facebook website. But the search results also have informational posts like these ones from Hootsuite, Buffer, and Social Media Examiner, which are big guides on Facebook ads.
Choosing subpages that are relevant to your topic
When it comes to choosing subpages, you’ll want to make sure that they’re highly relevant to your topic. For example, “how to delete a Facebook page” would be too far off from the topic of “Facebook ads.” Good subpages are those that give more information about a related topic. Oftentimes, that might be a subsection on your pillar page, similar to the way that Drift did it in their chatbots hub.
Example of building a content hub
So let’s build a content hub of our own and we’ll use yoga as our example niche since it’s a broad and popular topic. So, step one would be to find topics that could act as your hub or pillar page.
To start, we’ll go to our SEO tool and search for a broad word like “yoga.” Next, we’ll go to the Phrase Match report. And what we’re going to do here is look for queries that have informational intent seeing as we’re creating a content hub; and they’re broad enough topics to house many subtopics. So we would ignore queries like “yoga near me,” which is clearly a local query, and “yoga pants,” which is a transactional query. Now, something like “yoga poses” could be a great top-level page since there are a lot of pages that could fall under it.
Now, we need to find subtopics. We’ll go to Google and search for “list of yoga poses.” We found a nice table with a list of yoga poses. So after copying the list, we’ll go ahead and paste them into Keywords Explorer. And now we have keyword metrics on all of these which we can pick and choose for our subpages!
One final way to look for subpage ideas is to look for your main topic in Wikipedia. With the sheer volume of content Wikipedia has, they have to organise it well for both search engines and users.
In this case, you’ll see a list of asanas, which are basically yoga postures, and then a table below showing you a ton of different poses you could research and potentially use in your content hub!