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  • Writer's pictureYellow Lemon

Case study: The power of a Hub page

We’ve mentioned many times before the value that content plays for SEO, which is why it is ingrained within our service offerings. But it’s not just about generating a lot of content, the added value comes from how that content is organised on your site, by making sure that your content is linked together in a cohesive and logical way.


By building out Hub pages and connecting them to their relevant clusters using strategic internal linking helps to create a semantic relationship between the content, which may in turn help boost your authority when it comes to SEO.


Don’t believe us? Here’s an example of the power that a Hub page can have on SEO performance.


The opportunity


One of our clients - an established ecommerce business - asked us to develop a content strategy as part of a wider website migration project. The focus wasn’t on generating new content, but instead helping to identify which content was of the most value and which pages should be migrated over to the new platform.


The solution


This is where the Pillar & Cluster framework fitted perfectly. They had a vast number of content pages and blogs already in existence - 2,684 to be precise - which they had built up since 2011. On one hand, this is great; they have shared a lot of useful information on the topics that they know most about. But in order for this content to be found, it was either shared on social channels or a user had to visit the blog and manually scroll through for what they were looking for. Not great for getting the right people to the right content, right?


Some of this content had also been sat in the archives, gathering virtual dust and seeing no sessions since the dawn of the dinosaurs (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration). In some cases, it had also been written about again, and sometimes even again, with new pages being created each time about exactly the same topic - the only differing parameter in the URL being ‘-2’ appended to the end of it.


This is often a common trap which we see clients fall under - change of responsibility, lack of content tracking or just a memory like a fish; whatever the reason, people tend to forget about the content they have already got. Instead of re-purposing that content which may already be performing quite well, they believe that you have to create new content each time. Of course, Google loves fresh content, however there may be a lot of value in refreshing the content you have already. Hub pages are great at highlighting your evergreen content, which is deemed useful at every stage of the user journey.

So what did we do?


The process


The first task was to crawl the site using Sitebulb to identify all content pieces such as pages, blogs and infographics that already existed.


We then added all of these content URLs into a spreadsheet (who doesn’t love a spreadsheet?) and then exported Google Analytics data for the content pages, running a LOOKUP formula to match up the sessions to the page. Any page which was over two years old and had less than 50 sessions was immediately taken out and not included in the next stage.

Using the remaining URLs which we wanted to keep, we added these into a new sheet. Looking at the URLs, we were able to roughly identify blogs that may be related to the same topic and started to group these together.


Once the initial grouping had been done, we managed to identify five key areas to use as the Hub topics - which were broad in terms of their target keywords, such as ‘weddings’ and ‘decoration’. We then cross-referenced these topics with the category navigation on site, to make sure that we were targeting relevant keyword topics for their offering. Any of the content pieces that we had identified covering the same topic, we looked to see if we could merge the content into one of the URLs to avoid duplication of content.


We used the following format to apply a visual approach to how the content pieces were linked:


It was then easy to identify what the Hub topic was, an outline of the content we wished to include on the page, and where it would link off to.


Although the focus was on migrating over existing content pieces, the Hub pages were new pages so needed to be created. In order for them to be optimised appropriately so they had a greater chance of appearing in the SERPs, we undertook a full keyword analysis for each Hub topic to identify any keywords which the site was already ranking well for, as well as any keyword gaps. We were looking for more informational keywords rather than transactional keywords, especially any longtail keywords which tend to be easier to achieve, in order to write the Hub content.


Using this keyword analysis, we reviewed each content piece which we wanted to keep to see if there was opportunity for optimisation, both in terms of on-page seo (for example meta title, heading tags) as well as the copy itself, and made appropriate suggestions.


The final stage, after the client had reviewed and approved the strategy and suggested content, was to get the content created on site. Using our knowledge in user experience, we had an idea of how the content appear on a page; where images should sit; as well as ensuring links were targeting the right anchor text and opportunities for links to category pages to help boost conversion.


As the fundamental for the Pillar & Cluster framework is a logical linking structure, it is important to make sure that the Hub pages link to all their cluster pages, as well as clusters linking back to their relevant Hub page, and Hub pages linking to other Hub pages where appropriate. It is also worth considering how Hub pages or key content pages can be easily found on site, so in this instance we suggested that every category page included a link to a relevant Hub or cluster page.


Once the pages had been created within the development site, we ran another crawl to ensure that pages were correctly optimised and links were correct prior to launch.


The result


Like most things SEO, it takes time to see results. At the start of the project, we ran a report to understand keyword and page rankings which we could benchmark against. For many of the broad search terms which we identified for Hub topics, our client’s website wasn’t even ranking.


Within 3 months, our client had ranked on page 1 for one of their broadest Hub pages. After 4 months, their SEO performance had never been better - combined with a strong technical performance with the new platforms, the strength of their content strategy and internal linking had meant that their authority had improved, which in turn helped boost visibility and increased organic traffic to the site.


But it doesn’t stop there. Yes, we were brought on a project to develop a content strategy using existing content. However we all know that creating fresh, new and relevant content will be a winning strategy in the long run, we just set the wheels in motion.


Are you ready to see how the Pillar & Cluster framework can help your SEO performance? Drop us a message to discuss your content needs.



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