Content Hubs: An Underutilized SEO Strategy

Didit CEO Kevin Lee recently interviewed Joseph McElroy, an SEO expert who runs Galileo Tech Media and has had years of experience with content-heavy categories, including travel. Mr. McElroy is an advocate of “Content Hubs,” which provide site proprietors an opportunity to gain high-quality editorial links by deploying high-quality, branded content.

What is a Content Hub?

Content hubs aren’t new and many brands already deploy them. For example, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer runs, a site exploring the intersection of health and science. Consumer goods giant Unilever runs, a hair care site. American Express runs Business Class, a content hub built for business travelers. Similarly, Liberty Mutual runs Viewpoint, a site filled with high-quality articles addressing business insurance issues.

These content hubs all share some common characteristics:

  1. They are populated with high-quality articles that discuss topics of interest to each of the brand’s consumer groups. These articles are hopefully good enough to attract high-quality inbound editorial links.
  2. The links on these articles point either “up” (toward the brand’s main site) or laterally “out” to resources that may live outside the branded site. (The links pointing “up” convey link equity to the main site.)

In effect, these brands have all collectively realized that the odds of getting quality inbound links to a high-quality article are much greater than getting links to any of their product, service or “money pages” (where conversions occur).

The Content Hub Advantage

While content hubs – when executed property – increase the odds of attracting high-quality editorial backlinks, they’re also valuable from a branding perspective. Mr. McElroy recalls his work with a B2B client selling a patented product which improved safety for construction crews. To generate awareness for this valuable (but somewhat obscure) product, a content hub organized around the general topic of constructions safety was built.

“All of a sudden you create two things,” says Mr. McElroy. “You create awareness for the patent but you’ve also now built a reputation for safety that’s really good for attracting great talent. Now you look safe and you look innovative.” In effect, content hubs can move a company from mere participation in an industry vertical to perceived leadership of it.

Is a Content Hub For You?

Content hubs have the potential of elevating the status of your company in its business space, creating  awareness for the business’ products and services, and attracting high-quality inbound links that will boost SEO performance. But content hubs – because they consist of objective, journalistic-quality articles published on a relatively frequent basis – can be expensive to run and require resources that management may not wish to set aside unless they can be convinced that actual ROI can be delivered.

As Mr. McElroy observes, management at many companies, especially in the B2B space, continue to believe that all that’s necessary is a “brochureware-style” site that’s little more than an electronic sales sheet. Consequently, it’s often difficult to convince these managers that hosting more robust content — in the form of a content hub (or even a standalone blog) will provide ROI.

One possible solution that may convince management that more budget should be invested in content is, as Mr. McElroy puts it, “play on ego.” “You can create a branded content hub. Tell them that you’re going to create a magazine, for relatively little money, that is going to be a leader in the industry. And when people talk about the industry and are looking for relatively agnostic, journalistic-quality content, they’re going to go to that branded magazine.” (Another obvious way of convincing management that a content hub is a necessary investment is to point to any competitors currently fielding such a hub).

To learn more about the advantages of content hubs, including tips on how you can surface useful content ideas from within your own organization, watch the complete interview between Kevin Lee and Joseph McElroy at the link below:

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