You’ve probably heard of content hubs if you have any involvement with digital marketing. It’s a concept that people talk about like it’s the answer to something.
Except, it is exactly that: the answer to something.
What that ‘something’ is and who is asking the questions will be unique to your business and its aims.
What’s certain is that your clients, customers or audiences are seeking something, and you ought to be able to help them. If not, your competitors will.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. Let’s answer the question properly first.
In its simplest form, a content hub is a collection of articles relating to a specific topic that’s important to your business.
The reason these articles exist is acquisition - or bringing more prospective customers, clients or readers to your site by making use of good SEO principles, which we’ll explore later.
Let’s look at an example. A business that sells bikes online might want more users/customers but has already optimised its homepage, main product category pages, and product pages. For the sake of argument, let’s say there’s somehow nothing more that can be done to make these pages perform better.
Sounds like a lot of work? We understand. Why not leave it to us? Our team is ready and waiting to create a top-performing content hub for you.
At this point, I’m going to labour a metaphor, so bear with me.
From an organic SEO perspective, product or service pages are a bit like a single fishing rod. They’re loaded with bait (keywords) that works well for a certain type of fish (users that have a high intent to convert).
A content hub, however, works more like a vast net, trawling the sea for a much wider variety of users. Each separate article increases the reach of the net (your website) by using product-adjacent longtail keywords.
Ditching the metaphor, this wider variety of users is valuable because some of them don’t know they are customers yet. Some of them don’t even know about your brand yet. But they might be interested in something you can say or show. And this may convince them there and then to convert or bring them back in future.
So, what are product-adjacent longtail keywords? How do I build my net?
The goal here is to determine what you’ll write about and why it is worth covering. This will depend on what your site is meant to do and who it caters for.
You may already have a clear idea of some topics you can explore but, if you’re unsure how to get started, it’s worth doing a brainstorm.
Try answering these questions:
Going back to the online bike seller example, let’s think about putting some of these questions into practice.
Thinking about customers, we can put ourselves in their shoes. What stages of life might they be at? They may be parents thinking about their kid’s first bike. They could be wondering what the best bike for commuting is. Maybe they just want something for the weekend.
These questions lead us down interrogative avenues that again present topic and keyword exploration potential. Buyer’s guides seem a logical concept, populated with content that explores what kind of bike is best for commuting, or the best commuting bikes of 2023, how to measure bike size for kids, etc.
You can hopefully see the potential here but, to prove appetite, we should hop on over to a keyword tool.
Your favourite flavour of keyword tool will have functions to help you break down topics/core keywords into useful subtopics and longer tail keywords. For example, in Semrush, you have the keyword overview and keyword magic tools that can suggest variations and adjacent keywords to a seed keyword. You’ll also see question-based keywords, and these can be particularly useful for content hubs.
Bikes have many components, some of which can wear out or be damaged even with normal use. The online bike seller may offer these parts. There are a lot of keywords relating to ‘bike brakes’, as the image below shows. This is quite a specific search - most users will be looking for products, not advice or schematics - so the intent has been marked with a ‘c’ denoting a commercial or transactional aim.
You can see clear opportunities for keywords relevant to the main bike parts category page, as well as subcategories (e.g. ‘hydraulic brakes bike’).
Also shown in the image is the question-based keyword ‘how to tighten bike brakes’.
This shows that people might want to fix their bikes, but need guidance.
This means they might be interested in ‘how to’ style content - but this isn’t relevant for a category or product page. It is, however, an excellent topic starting point and shows potential for a maintenance advice hub.
Your next stop would be to look at further question-based keywords relating to brakes or other expanding to other obvious areas - how to replace a chain, how to fit an inner tube, etc. to populate the hub with.
Keeping the bike brake example, question-based keywords represent a monthly search volume average of 31,420. That’s 377,000 a year. If you were to harness 5% of that volume, you’d be looking at an extra 10k+ visits per year - and that’s for just this one topic.
Scale up your approach and you can see how valuable this activity could be.
Each of these articles should include well-signposted internal links to appropriate products. This way, you’re providing an answer to your visitor’s query in two ways - knowledge and the item they need to complete it.
Using the keywords in the most effective way is also crucial - title tags, headings and early in the content hierarchy is a good rule of thumb.
If you need help writing that content, we’re the agency for you. Our copywriting service is powered by expert writers and safeguarded by rigorous quality control measures - all at an impressive scale. Get in touch if you need support with your content production.
Written content is the obvious format for a content hub. It’s easy on resources, it can probably be managed by just one person, and it allows access to a huge potential audience depending on your niche.
Supercharging your content with visuals is an easy way of distinguishing you from your competitors. It also offers further opportunities to capture searches.
Images can be optimised for image search - something that lends itself nicely to query/guide/how-to style content in some niches. If you have easy access to your products, putting this sort of content together can be as simple as showing key moments in the text with equipment as simple as a smartphone.
Even if you have a more service-based business, it is still well worth including ‘stock’ style imagery to punctuate your text and using image alt text for high-value keywords.
Video can also be a powerful if expensive inclusion for your content hub. Not only are you able to show and tell your audience how much of an authority you are, but you’re also likely to gain access to further search benefits.
We’d suggest hosting your video content on YouTube and optimising each video’s listing/description. YouTube is regularly touted as the second-largest search engine in the world, so having a footprint on this service can be valuable.
Video and creative design is a huge topic in itself and something that deserves its own post. For now, if you’d like to know how to supercharge your written content, why not get in touch with our creative design team?
Once you’ve started populating your content hub with content, it’s worth putting a few measures in place so you can understand the value it brings to your site.
Here are a few methods of tracking exactly what these pages are doing for your business.
It’s good practice to become a relentless notetaker when you’re making changes to your site. I recommend making good use of the annotations function each time you create a new page or make significant changes. Doing so means you don’t have to remember exactly when you made a change to the site as it is all recorded over a timeline for you. This makes attributing fluctuations in traffic or behaviour a little easier and means you can report on much more exact timelines.
As for reporting on the impact your hub has had on your site, it's as easy as looking at the subfolder in isolation (e.g. /maintenance-advice).
GA’s landing page report (Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages) will show you how frequently this area of the site is visited directly from a source, such as organically in the search engine results page (SERPs).
What you’re looking for is a steady increase in traffic across the subfolder over time. On an individual page basis, you’re still looking for traffic increases but also engagement metrics.
We could spend all day talking about these but, simply, you want to see people staying on the page for a reasonable amount of time (avg. time on page) and, ideally, navigating further into the site instead of away (low bounce rate and 1+ pages/session).
You researched keywords and used them thoughtfully in your content, so why wouldn’t you keep an eye on how you’re performing from a ranking perspective?
Set up a project in your keyword research tool and make good use of its position-tracking functions. Whichever keywords you’ve used per article should be tagged appropriately so they can be tracked over time. You’ll end up with a handy dashboard that gives overall improvement for the project as a whole as well as more granular insights, such as page-level reports.
Ultimately, researching, writing and maintaining a content hub is a time-heavy pursuit. Bringing it into your marketing mix is certainly a good idea but one that can have a significant impact on your internal resources.
Let us make it easy - we’ll do it for you. Our content marketing services enable you to capture a high-funnel organic audience and remain competitive - and we love making it work for you. Get in touch today to find out more.