Effectively designing and executing on a “hub and spoke” content model can create lasting benefits for your business.
Starting with your high-quality hub content; you have the opportunity to drive links, grow traffic, and grow brand awareness and authority.
To grow your hub-and-spoke model, though, you need to come up with topical, related, and quality topics to serve as your spokes.
In this article, we show you how hub and spoke content work, and provide several ways to brainstorm effective topics to support the interlinked structure.
How Hub and Spoke Content Works
SEO best practices constantly evolve, and websites must adjust to ensure their web content is organized in a way that allows Google bots to crawl and rank their content.
Thanks to the growing amount of users, websites, and online content over the past 20 years, Google’s algorithm has undergone six major changes in attempts to best serve its users.
Source: Hubspot Academy
Today, Google attempts to consider the quality of your website and its content when determining how it will rank in the search engines. This is helpful to companies producing high-quality content, but only if your website structure is formatted in a way that allows Google bots to digest and record the information properly.
For example, piling more and more content onto a site with a disorganized site structure can make it difficult for Google bots to locate and rank your content, eventually harming your SEO.
A hub and spoke structure provides a way for websites to showcase their high-quality content to both visitors and search engine crawlers.
Hub and spoke content improves your SEO in several ways:
- Helps search engines realize your content is related
- Builds authority for your website
- Improves the user experience
- Creates an intuitive path to conversion for users
- Generates more internal links
Hub and spoke linking was created for humans, not robots, so it emphasizes topics over keywords. In the process, it’s likely to boost your SEO and improve your position in the SERPS.
Create Topic Clusters to Support Pillar Pages
The hub and spoke system uses “pillar” pieces and “topic clusters” to organize content in a way that’s friendlier to site visitors and search engine crawlers.
Pillar content is authority content, usually a feature article or ungated in-depth resource, that you want to rank in the search engines.
Topic clusters are a collection of relevant articles related to a pillar page.
For example, if you operate an online health food store, you might publish a pillar piece titled “The Ultimate Guide to How Food Affects your Health.”
Topic cluster pieces for “The Ultimate Guide to How Food Affects your Health” might include subtopics such as:
- Which diet is best for you?
- 10 Foods that are good for your heart
- How to eat healthy when you’re too busy to cook
Ideally, your website will house many pillar pieces, each with supporting topic clusters, to create a full hub and spoke architecture.
Choosing Topics for Cluster (“Spoke”) Content
There are several ways to brainstorm cluster topics that support your pillar piece.
2. Google’s predictive search provides a dropdown list of popular search topics as you type in your query. It’s an excellent tool for discovering topics related to your pillar’s key phrase.
3. Google’s related search terms feature, located at the bottom of its search results pages, provides relevant topic ideas based on popular searches.
4. Answer the Public app uses artificial intelligence to deliver a visual representation of ideas related to your main topic or keyword.
5. Quora helps you dig deeper into subjects and discover questions people are asking about almost any topic.
6. Buzzsumo content research helps you discover what topics and headlines get the most engagement on social media.
Creating topics for cluster content is more successful with the use of software and keyword research that provides insights on the topic and audience.
Link Your Hub and Spoke Content
A well-structured pillar page links to each of its cluster pieces and each cluster piece links back to its pillar. Interlinking pillar pieces and topic clusters can help site visitors find and consume your valuable content while improving your SEO.
When linking between your web of related content, create unique anchor text for each link, including a relevant phrase or longtail keyword.. This adds more context for users and Google about the topics your content relates to.
Brainstorming Spoke Article Ideas
The hub and spoke linking structure consists of pillar pages and topic clusters that interlink to each other.
To discover topic ideas for spoke content, make use of services that help you discover what information your audience is most interested in reading.
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