As a content creator, developing a content hub and spoke model can be an invaluable strategy to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) and improve the user experience. A hub and spoke model involves creating pillar content that acts as a central hub, with supporting content pieces radiating out from it like spokes on a wheel.
These supporting pieces, or spokes, cluster around a main topic and allow you to rank for a wider range of keywords.
By organizing your content in this strategic fashion, you make it easy for readers to navigate from your pillar content to related topics.
For beginners just starting out with content creation, implementing a basic hub and spoke model is a best practice that can drive more organic traffic and position you as an authority. In this guide, we will explore how to structure your content hubs, choose keywords for your spokes, create linkages between content, and monitor your success. With the right approach, a hub and spoke model can become the foundation of an effective content marketing strategy.
What Is a Hub and Spoke Content Model?
The hub and spoke model is an effective content strategy that centers around creating a main content hub with supporting content spokes.
- The hub is your main content piece that thoroughly covers a topic. It should be comprehensive, in-depth, and link to other relevant content. For example, a 5,000-word beginner’s guide to content marketing would be an ideal hub.
- The spokes are smaller pieces of content that branch off from the hub. They explore specific subtopics, questions or aspects in more detail. For example, the spokes for a content marketing hub could include:
- How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
- The 10 Most Important Content Marketing KPIs
- A Checklist for Creating a Content Calendar
- A hub and spoke model benefits SEO by creating authoritative content hubs that rank well for main keywords and phrases. The supporting spokes then help you rank for related long-tail keywords, driving more organic traffic.
- To structure a hub, start with an outline that covers the topic thoroughly. Then break the outline into sections and create an individual spoke for each section. Link the spokes back to the hub and to each other when relevant.
- Cluster related keywords and phrases into logical groups to determine what each spoke will focus on. Aim for clusters that match what people are actually searching for.
- Monitor traffic to the hub and each spoke to see what’s resonating with your audience. Look for opportunities to create more content in popular areas or strengthen existing content. Measure other metrics like backlinks, rankings and engagement to gage overall success.
A well-executed hub and spoke model will establish you as an authority, increase organic traffic and create a content ecosystem that addresses all aspects of a topic. With the right promotion and optimization, it can significantly impact your visibility and authority.
How Hub and Spoke Content Benefits SEO
The hub and spoke model provides significant benefits for search engine optimization (SEO). By clustering content around keyword themes, you make it easier for search engines to understand your content and rank it higher in search results.
Keyword Clustering Improves Ranking
Grouping semantically related content into themed “spokes” around a central “hub” page allows you to optimize each page for a cluster of keywords. The hub page, in turn, is optimized for higher-level keywords that encompass the theme. This makes it clear to search engines what each page is about and how the content is related. The end result is higher rankings for both hub and spoke pages.
Internal Linking Passes Link Juice
When you link from the hub to each spoke page, and from spokes to the hub, it passes “link juice” that helps search engines determine the relevance and authority of each page. The more links, the stronger the signals. This can lead to improved rankings over time.
Improved User Experience
A hub and spoke model creates an intuitive user experience. Visitors land on the broad hub page, then navigate to more specific content on the spokes. This logical flow and grouping of related content leads to higher time on page and lower bounce rates, which are signals to search engines that the content is engaging. Engaging, user-friendly content tends to rank higher over time.
By implementing a hub and spoke content model, you can significantly improve both user experience and search engine optimization. The key is to thoughtfully cluster keywords and content into logical, interlinked groups so you can optimize each page specifically while strengthening the overall authority and relevance of your site. With time and consistency, a hub and spoke model can help propel your content to the top of search results.
Identifying Your Content Hubs
Once you have identified your target keywords and topics, it’s time to determine what will serve as the content hubs for your site. A content hub is a broad topic that can link to and encompass related subtopics, known as spokes. For example, a hub like “Content Marketing” could have spokes for “Blogging,” “Social Media,” “Email Marketing,” and “Video.”
Choosing Your Hubs
Select 3-5 primary hubs to focus on for your site. These should be:
- Broad topics that cover a wide range of related subtopics (spokes)
- Topics you have expertise in and want to be known for
- Topics with high search volume that people are actively seeking information on
For example, if you run a marketing agency, good hub topics might be “Content Marketing,” “Social Media Marketing,” and “Digital Marketing Strategy.”
Developing Your Hubs
Create pillar content for each hub, such as:
- An in-depth blog post (2,000+ words)
- A research report
- A video course
- An ebook
This content should provide an overview of the topic and link to relevant spokes. Update your pillar content regularly to keep it ranking high in search and providing value to readers.
You can further develop your hubs by:
- Curating additional resources like blog posts, research reports, podcasts, videos, and graphics
- Interviewing industry experts
- Creating a resource page with tools, templates, and other useful content focused on that topic
- Hosting a webinar to discuss the hub topic in more detail
Monitor how readers interact with your content hubs to determine what’s working and what can be improved. Metrics to track include:
- Organic traffic and rankings for hub pages
- Downloads of ebooks, templates and other resources
- Engagement (time on page, bounce rate) for hub content
- Social shares of hub content
- Inbound links to hub pages from other authoritative sites
Make changes to your content hubs based on what you discover to keep readers engaged and rankings high. Continuous optimization is key to building a successful hub and spoke content model.
Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Spokes
To create an effective hub and spoke model, choosing the right keywords for your spokes is crucial. These keywords should be:
Related to Your Hub Topic
The keywords you select should be closely related to the main topic of your content hub. For example, if your hub focuses on content marketing, good spoke keywords could include:
- Content creation
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Visual content
These are all types of content marketing, so they would make logical spokes for that hub.
High-Value and High-Intent
Focus on keywords that show high intent to purchase or convert. These often include words like:
For example, “buy content marketing services” or “compare content marketing agencies” would indicate strong interest from readers.
Choose niche long-tail keywords as well as head terms. For example, instead of just “blogging,” also target “how to start a travel blog” or “food blogging for beginners.” Long-tail keywords often have less competition but highly targeted traffic.
Try to choose keywords that are semantically similar or closely clustered in meaning. This will make your content hub easier to navigate and optimize. For example, for a hub on “content marketing,” cluster keywords around types of content (blogging, social media, email), tactics (SEO, distribution, promotion), and metrics (traffic, leads, ROI).
Monitored for Success
Once you have selected your spoke keywords, monitor them to see which ones are driving the most traffic and conversions. You may need to tweak or add new keywords over time to maximize the success of your content hub.
By choosing the right keywords for your spokes and optimizing them based on performance, you can create a content hub that ranks well in search and provides value to your readers. Continually improving your keyword selection will lead to an increasingly productive hub and spoke model.
Clustering Keywords Into Groups
To successfully implement a hub and spoke content model, you need to strategically group your keywords into logical categories. This clustering process helps establish your content hubs and the spokes that extend from each hub.
Identify Keyword Groups
Analyze your list of target keywords and search terms to determine logical connections and categories between them. Group together:
- Synonyms and semantically similar terms
- Phrases that relate to the same topic, concept or theme
- Words that share a common root or stem
For example, you may cluster “content marketing,” “content strategy,” “content creation,” and “content distribution” into a group focused on content development and management.
Establish Your Hubs
The keyword groups you identified become your content hubs. Each hub focuses on a specific topic that several of your target keywords relate to. The hubs should:
- Be broad enough to incorporate multiple related keywords and search terms
- Provide an opportunity for in-depth, comprehensive content
- Serve as the foundation for your spoke content
Using the example above, “Content Marketing and Management” could be an ideal content hub.
Develop Spoke Content
The content spokes extend from each hub, focusing on individual keywords and search terms within each keyword group. The spokes should:
- Be optimized for a specific keyword or search phrase
- Link back to the relevant content hub
- Provide an in-depth look at that particular topic
- Include the target keyword in the page title, URL, and content
For the “Content Marketing and Management” hub, potential spokes could include:
- “Content Marketing Strategy: The Beginner’s Guide” optimized for “content marketing strategy”
- “How to Create Engaging Content” optimized for “content creation”
- “The Complete Guide to Content Distribution” optimized for “content distribution”
Monitor and Measure
Track how well your hubs and spokes are ranking for target keywords and driving traffic to your site. Make adjustments to the content or internal linking as needed to improve performance. Adding new hubs and spokes, refreshing existing content, and optimizing pages are all part of an ongoing process to maximize the success of your content model.
Creating Your Content Hubs
Creating content hubs is the foundation for implementing an effective hub and spoke model. A content hub is a centralized resource focused on a main keyword or topic. From this hub, you create spokes—related pieces of content that link back to the main hub.
Choosing a Topic and Main Keyword
Select a broad topic that you want to cover in-depth. The topic should be focused enough to cover thoroughly but broad enough to generate several related subtopics. Within that topic, determine your main keyword or keyphrase. This will be the focus of your content hub.
Creating Your Hub Page
The hub page should be the definitive resource on your chosen topic. It should be comprehensive, covering all aspects and related subtopics. Include the following:
- An H1 header with your main keyword
- Thorough information on your topic, aiming for at least 2,000 words. Provide value to the reader.
- Relevant visuals like images, charts, graphs and infographics
- Internal links to your existing related content (spokes), linking to them organically where relevant. This connects your hub to your other resources.
- A list of related topics at the end of the post linking to your spokes. Group them under an H2 header like “Related Resources.”
Building Your Spokes
Your spokes are separate posts that cover subtopics related to your main hub topic. They should:
- Contain keywords and phrases semantically related to your hub’s main keyword
- Be at least 500-1,000 words in length and provide in-depth, useful information
- Link back to your hub page where relevant to improve flow between resources
- Be published around the same time as your hub for the best SEO impact
Monitor how your content hub and spokes are performing by:
- Tracking traffic to your hub and each spoke in your Google Analytics
- Monitoring rankings for your target keywords in tools like SEMrush
- Checking for backlinks to your content, which signals to Google that your resources are authoritative
- Analyzing reader engagement metrics like time on page and bounce rate to see if people are finding value in your content
Over time, you can create additional hubs and spokes, interlinking them to build a comprehensive content model and become an authority in your niche. With an effective hub and spoke model, your content works together cohesively, leading searchers to the answers they need.
Developing Content for the Spokes
Choosing Relevant Keywords and Topics
To develop compelling content for the spokes in your hub and spoke model, carefully consider your target keywords and topics. Review keyword research and group related terms into potential spokes, choosing options that would provide value to your audience. For an SEO content hub on content marketing, potential spokes could include:
- Content creation
- Content distribution
- Content promotion
Outlining Each Spoke
For each spoke, develop a content outline that addresses important questions and covers key points. Flesh out each section of the outline with details, examples and recommendations. Aim for a comprehensive discussion of the topic that provides useful guidance and actionable advice.
Writing a First Draft
Compose a rough first draft of the content for each spoke using your outline as a guide. Aim for a friendly and accessible tone with an authoritative voice. Keep sentences concise while thoroughly explaining concepts. Use headings and formatting to visually break up sections and make information easy to navigate.
Optimizing and Finalizing the Content
Review and refine each draft to ensure the content achieves your goals. Check that keywords and related terms appear naturally throughout. Verify all facts and examples. Ensure a logical flow and structure. polish the language and tone for your target audience.
Once your content hub and spokes have launched, monitor how each page performs to determine what is resonating with your audience. Track pageviews, time on page, bounce rate, and other key metrics. Make note of any content that emerges as a clear leader. Consider developing additional spokes on related topics or diving deeper into popular subjects. Refresh existing content as needed to keep information up to date.
Continually optimizing your content hub and spokes based on performance metrics will help maximize value for your audience and benefits for your SEO and content marketing strategy. Focusing on relevant, high-quality content and an engaging user experience will make your hub a trusted resource.
Interlinking Hubs and Spokes
Interlinking your content hubs and spokes is key to improving search engine optimization (SEO) and creating a cohesive content experience for your readers.
Link relevant spokes to your main hub page and also link individual spokes to each other when appropriate. For example, if you have a hub on “Content Marketing Strategies” with spokes on “Blogging,” “Social Media,” “Email Newsletters,” and “Video Marketing,” link to these spokes within the hub content. You should also link to the hub page within each spoke.
Internal linking helps search engines understand the relationship between pages on your site and improves rankings for important keywords and phrases. It also provides readers with an easy pathway to related and relevant content.
When linking hubs and spokes, use keyword-rich anchor text. For example, instead of linking to your “Video Marketing” spoke with the text “click here,” use the actual phrase “video marketing.” This passes link equity and importance to that spoke for the target keyword. Varied, natural-sounding anchor text is best. Don’t use the exact same anchor text for every link.
Build high-quality backlinks to your content hubs to increase their authority and boost search rankings. As the authority of your hubs improves, the spokes linked to those hubs also benefit. Reach out to industry influencers and resources to earn backlinks to your hubs. You can also build links on relevant online communities, Q&A sites and by creating outreach partnerships.
Monitor and measure the success of your interlinked content hubs and spokes through Google Analytics. Track traffic sources, pageviews, average time on page and bounce rates. See which hubs and spokes are generating the most interest and engagement. Make changes as needed to improve the user experience and SEO value. With regular promotion and updates, interlinked content hubs and spokes can become powerful assets for your website.
Measuring the Success of Your Hub and Spoke Content Model
To determine the success of your hub and spoke content model, you’ll want to monitor key metrics and make adjustments as needed to optimize content and improve search rankings.
Track where your website traffic is coming from, especially search engines like Google. See which hubs and spokes are driving the most organic search traffic. This indicates those content pieces are ranking well and resonating with your target audience.
Monitor your keyword rankings in search engines to see how your hubs and spokes are performing for important search terms. Rising rankings, especially for competitive keywords, show your content model is effective. Dropping rankings may require optimizing content, building more authority, or adjusting your keyword targeting.
Your content model’s goal is to drive qualified traffic that converts into leads, sales, or other desired actions. Track conversion rates for each hub and spoke to determine which content is most persuasive and engaging to your audience. Low conversion rates indicate content may need improvement to become more compelling or helpful.
The number and quality of backlinks to your hubs and spokes reflect how authoritative and useful your content is to others. Monitor backlinks to see which content is gaining the most credible external references and links. This shows which hubs and spokes you should invest more heavily in and can use to build authority for new content.
The amount of time visitors spend on your hubs and spokes is an important signal of content quality and user engagement. Longer dwell times, especially for your most important content, demonstrate you are holding visitors’ interest and providing value. Short dwell times may require content improvements to become more engaging, useful, or visually compelling to readers.
Continuously evaluating these metrics will enable you to enhance the effectiveness of your hub and spoke content model and achieve the best results for your business objectives. Monitoring and optimizing your content based on performance data is key to long term success.
Creating a hub and spoke content model is a proven strategy to improve your search engine optimization and drive more organic traffic to your site. By organizing your content around a central hub topic and creating spokes of related subtopics, you make it easy for search engines and readers to explore your content and find what they need.
With some thoughtful planning and consistent effort, you can build a network of high-quality content that establishes you as an authority in your industry. Measure your success through analytics like pageviews, time on page, and bounce rate to see the impact of your content hub. By following the steps outlined here and staying dedicated to continually improving your content, you’ll reap the benefits of higher search rankings and more engaged readers. The work you put in now will pay off for years to come.