There are many ways you can approach structuring your content. Ultimately, we should aim to structure content in a way that’s easily accessible for search engines and is seamless to navigate for users. The Hub and Spoke model is an SEO content strategy that you can leverage to satisfy both groups. Using the Hub and Spoke model could help:
- Improve communication of topical authority to search engines
- Improve internal linking
- Improve distribution of PageRank
- Target a broader range of keywords
- Improve information architecture
- Improve user experience
- Provide a one-stop-shop for your customer’s journey
What Is A Hub and Spoke Model?
You might have heard the Hub and Spoke concept used in other industries. For SEO, the Hub and Spoke model is a way to organize your content topically. Hence, the relationship of your content is easier to understand for search engines and users. This model utilizes internal linking, information architecture, and a better UX.
Hubs: serve as an opportunity to provide your audience a single page targeting a general topic (typically a top-of-funnel search intent or head term). Your hub pages will provide your audience an overview of an entire topic while glossing over some more in-depth concepts relevant to the topic, which are broken down into spokes. The hub page should facilitate easy navigation between the hub and its spokes.
Spokes: pages to target advanced concepts (mid/bottom-of-funnel search intents or mid/long-tail terms) mentioned on hub pages but warranted a separate article to provide full coverage.
Links: act as a web holding this Hub and Spoke structure together. Links will interconnect a hub with all of its spokes and allowing relevant spokes to link to each other within this model. Having all your content connected in this manner will enable them to all work together.
Benefits of a Hub and Spoke Model
Improved Communication of Topical Authority
With the Hub and Spoke model, you can avoid having a content structure with random pages linking to one another, pages siloed from your internal linking strategies, or pages falling deep into your site structure. Instead, this content model allows you to effectively group your content so search engines can understand the relationship between your content in hopes that your brand will be seen as an authority for targeted topics.
Improved Internal Linking
The Hub and Spoke model will provide structure to your internal linking strategies. Ensuring your content is linked together in a Hub and Spoke model will provide a structural foundation for your content to work and rank together.
Improved Distribution of PageRank
Because all of our content is linked together in a Hub and Spoke model, it will allow any page(s) that see success in the form of backlinks to distribute its PageRank to relevant content. All the pages within this structure will signal their eligibility to rank for a query to their fullest. If you do any backlinking campaigns or PR for particular pages, this model will make sure you’re reaping all of the benefits. Botify uses an internal calculation to emulate how PageRank would be perceived on your site, helping you understand how PageRank is currently flowing based on your internal linking.
Target a Broader Range of Keywords
Gone are the days of targeting a single keyword. When your brand has topics it would like to be seen as an authority or thought-leader on, the Hub and Spoke model structurally allows you to target that topic from start to finish.
Improved Information Architecture
Depending on where your Hub and Spoke models live on your site, you can improve your site’s information architecture by keeping it close to the homepage and organizing content topically. It’s typically best practice to keep your most important content 1-4 clicks away from the homepage, and using this model will allow you to make sure content doesn’t fall too deep in your site structure.
Improved User Experience
Since you have your content topically grouped, you can provide your users a seamless navigational experience to explore a particular topic from start to finish. You want to avoid making it hard for users to educate themselves on a topic and convert along the way. Building a Hub and Spoke model that also ties in UX could keep our audience engaged with your content.
Providing a One-Stop-Shop for Your Customer Journey
Hub and Spoke models should target customer journeys while nurturing them towards conversion/advocacy. Suppose you’re able to tie in relevant call-to-action in your Hub and Spoke model for different kinds of search intents. In that case, you can provide your audience an opportunity to be nurtured on their customer journey within your site instead of them finding answers elsewhere.
Steps to Create a Hub and Spoke Model
- Conduct a content inventory to organize your current content to see what topics you’re already targeting and what content can be repurposed, updated, or trimmed. Doing an inventory will allow you to utilize your time efficiently by avoiding spending valuable resources to create content you might already have. For example, some old content may have performed well; before building your Hub and Spoke, capitalize on those resources.
- Define the main topics you want to target with a Hub and Spoke model and what you ultimately want to be seen as an expert on. Then, after defining your hubs, you can reference your content inventory to see what articles would best serve as spokes or even repurposed for your hub.
- Fill in the gaps in your content. Your Hub and Spoke model should cover the entirety of a topic. If any concepts are missing in your model, you should create content to fill in those gaps. You can do this by conducting a competitor analysis or referencing your data in Botify’s RealKeywords to see what concepts you’re already targeting but might be missing the search intent. If your content is missing the search intent, it may be time to add content you’re missing or create an article if the purpose of your article doesn’t align with the current page’s intent. Botify can help your team identify areas in SERPs where your rankings miss out on clicks and potentially go to competitors for keywords you’re currently ranking for.
- Strategically link your content. My favorite way to keep a Hub and Spoke model together is providing users a templated navigation where each page can be linked together. However, it would help if you also accounted for how content should be linked to from the body of your content. Botify can help you figure out what’s already linking together in a Hub and Spoke model, which helps remove the manual labor of understanding how content is currently linked. Whatever is missing in your linking structure should either be brought in through your templated navigation or in the body copy. We can also provide an internal calculation of how PageRank is perceived on your site based on your current linking structures.
- Provide your audience with relevant CTA’s throughout your Hub and Spoke model. Conversion can take many forms, such as sign-ups, downloads, add-to-cart pushes, etc. – make sure to utilize them to nurture your users through their customer journey.
- Report on your Hub and Spoke model after it’s created. Using RealKeywords can help save your team time reporting on keywords your Hub and Spoke about by providing an automated snapshot of keywords your hub performed well for or underperformed for in a given period. With this snapshot, you’ll be able to see keyword performance at a keyword-level, URL-level, and hub-level.
- If your content lacks organization, keeps getting pushed deeper into your site structure, or orphaned, this model will help provide a solution for each pain point.
- If you want to signal to search engines what topics your brand is a thought leader on, the Hub and Spoke model could help communicate the relationship of your content to be easier understood, so your brand is associated with critical topics.
- If you want to provide more opportunities for your audience to convert, no matter where they are in their customer journey, a Hub and Spoke model can help provide a seamless flow for your users to get to where they need to go.