HubSpot's SEO strategy to get 13M monthly organic traffic!

The modern search engine loves topics more than keywords. So gone are the days when you could get away keyword stuffing. Today, you have to invest in buildd-ing topical authority. So here's how you do it!

24th March 2022
3 min read

In a nutshell

HubSpot NAILS all parts of SEO!
Their startup gets 13M monthly traffic & ranks for 4.8M keywords! 🀯
Their SECRET?
Focus ➝ Topics > Keywords
Here's how you can buildd your site's topical authority!

But, what is topical authority?
Having topical authority means that you are considered an expert in that topic's field.
Meaning, Google will trust you to answer these search queries appropriately.
So, when you publish a blog under this topic you'll be automatically ranked at the top.

How do you gain topical authority?
Ans => You gain topical authority when you provide good quality content on an entire breadth of search queries under a given topic!
Here's how you can approach this:

1) First, choose your target topic.
2) Research all the possible sub-topics under the target topic.

For example,
Target Topic -> content marketing
Subtopics -> content strategy, content trends, etc

3) Next, internally link all the main topic & sub-topic pages together.
4) This signals the search engine that these topics are related.
5) Finally, gaining external links from websites that already have authority on the target topic can give you a great push.

Hubspot implements this by using the Hub and Spoke model. Here the Hub is the main topic page which connects to Spokes, that is the sub-topics covered under that topic.
Example pages:
1) SEO
2) Content Marketing
3) Blogging


Remember those early internet days when web pages used to look like this?

HubSpot SEO case study

Well, repeating "software development" again and again till you get into the top 10 would have worked 10 years ago. But, search engines have evolved now & so must you!

Today, topics take precedence over keywords. And, the best way to gain topical authority is via creating topic hubs or clusters.

One website that implements this flawlessly is HubSpot! They are acing SEO with 13M monthly organic traffic & they rank for 4.8M keywords!

So, let's learn about topical authority with the help of HubSpot!

So, what is topical authority?

Consider this, you decide to write a blog on a marketing-related keyword. You manage to write the best blog there is but you're still not ranking in the top 10.

Now, you are wondering why Google hates you. But, well, Google doesn't hate you, you've just not established topical authority on the broad topic that is "marketing"!

A website with authority on a topic, means they are considered experts in that field. Google will trust them to answer search queries appropriately, so they are automatically ranked at the top.

You gain topical authority when you provide quality content on an entire breadth of search queries relating to that topic.

Okay, but how do you establish topical authority?

Well, here’s how you can go about establishing topical authority:

As you might have guessed, establishing topical authority takes time. You have to start by writing good quality, SEO optimized blogs on keywords that come under the umbrella of a broad topic.

Firstly, you have to choose your target topic & then research all the sub-topics you can cover here.

So, suppose "content marketing" is your target topic, then you'll aim to cover all possible sub-topics under that niche.

Next, you'll have to internally link all the blogs covering the sub-topics. This signals the search engine that these topics are related.

Finally, getting external links from websites that have already established authority on your target topic will give you a great push.

Now, you either implement these steps randomly by writing on one topic after another, or you can do it in a structured fashion using say, the hub & spoke model.

The Hub-spoke model

The hub-spoke model has 3 components that together form a topic hub.

HubSpot SEO case study
  1. The Main Page (Hub)
    • This is the page that connects to all the other pages.
    • Usually, this page covers a very wide topic & doesn't target long-tail keywords.
  2. The Sub-pages
    • These are a set of pages that cover all the topics under the main page.
    • Here we target long-tail keywords with good volume & less difficulty.
  3. Internal Linking
    • Now all the main and sub-pages are connected to each other by internal linking.
    • This helps search engines make a connection that these pages are related.
    • Spotting the connection, search engines eventually establish that the said domain has authority on the topic covered by the main page.

Overall, apart from helping with topical authority, these hubs also help organize all the blog pages on your site.

Got it! So how did HubSpot implement this?

HubSpot nails all parts of SEO. Especially, the blogs. The blog.hubspot.com subfolder gets 10M monthly traffic according to Ahrefs. That's ~74% of HubSpot's monthly traffic!

If you take a look at the top subfolders, immediately you'll spot 2 folders that do incredibly well.

  1. blog.hubspot.com/marketing
  2. blog.hubspot.com/sales

So, the blog pages are mainly divided into these two categories. But, "marketing" and "sales" are very broad topics. So, HubSpot goes a step further to create more topic hubs under the umbrella topic that is "marketing" & "sales". HubSpot calls these hubs as "topic clusters".

For example, under the /marketing subfolder, you'll find clusters on topics like

  1. SEO
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Blogging
  4. Technical SEO
  5. Instagram SEO

How HubSpot creates topic clusters

Let's take the example of the topic "technical-seo".

1) The Main Page

This page is titled "The Ultimate Guide to Technical SEO" & it basically covers all aspects of the topic in a very brief way.

URL structure ➝ /marketing/technical-seo-guide

HubSpot SEO case study

2) The Sub Pages

The "Technical SEO" topic has these sub-pages:

  1. Audit Fundamentals
  2. SEO Crawlability
  3. Indexability Checklists
HubSpot SEO case study

These subpages are the different chapters to the main technical SEO guide.

URL structure ➝ /marketing/technical-seo-guide/audit-fundamentals

Apart from these, there are many blogs that come under this topic. If you scroll down to the end of these blogs you can see what main topic the blog belongs to.

HubSpot SEO case study

These blogs basically target long-tail keywords like "how to unindex pages from search engine".

So, following the hub-spoke model discussed, these pages are all internally linked together to form a cluster of content on technical SEO.

How we gained authority on our "skill" pages at Flexiple

At Flexiple, we have also implemented a similar strategy to HubSpot.

To give you some context, Flexiple helps companies hire top freelance tech talent.

Now, we've organised our website such that all sub-folders are based on technologies like React, Node, Angular, Python, etc. So all of these technologies are content hubs on our website.

Let's take the example of the "Python" hub.

The main page is a comprehensive guide on everything related to Python, while the sub-pages are short blogs/tutorials on high-volume keywords.

For example,

1) The Main Page

URL structure ➝ flexiple.com/python

HubSpot SEO case study

2) The Sub Pages

URL structure

➝ flexiple.com/python/numpy-reshape

HubSpot SEO case study

➝ flexiple.com/python/python-infinity

HubSpot SEO case study

➝ flexiple.com/python/not-equal-python

HubSpot SEO case study

These pages are again internally linked & serve as a comprehensive guide covering most python-related topics & search queries.

Key takeaways

So, what do we learn from this?

  1. Well, firstly, Google loves topics more than keywords. So Google will surely reward you for writing consistently on the topics in your domain.
  2. Ultimately, you should focus on creating content for your users, and only optimize for Google. As search engine algorithms get smarter, great content will always win over any SEO trick!

But, of course, we're always here to help you carve out the exact path to your SEO success πŸ˜‰

2

Read the entire article to get 100 buildd points Sign in to gain points

Tag wise split:

    Stage 100

  • 0-10 Users 25
  • Early stage 25
  • Growth 25
  • Mature 25

  • Topic 100

  • Marketing 25
  • SEO 50
  • Distribution 25

  • Content Type 100

  • Learning 40
  • Startup Analysis 60

Comments

You'll love these articles too!

How Indigo beat Kingfisher, Jet Airways & SpiceJet to stay profitable for 10 years!?
How Indigo beat Kingfisher, Jet Airways & SpiceJet to stay profitable for 10 years!?
How Glassdoor dominates backlinks through data-driven content
How Glassdoor dominates backlinks through data-driven content
How Zerodha transformed a 145-year-old broking industry?
How Zerodha transformed a 145-year-old broking industry?

How Indigo beat Kingfisher, Jet Airways & SpiceJet to stay profitable for 10 years!?

The aviation industry is ruthless. Since its inception in 1938, the government of India had a strong hold on the space with Air India. But, in 1994 things changed. The regulations were repealed and private players could enter the market.

This change allowed full-service airlines like Jet Airways, Kingfisher, and Sahara, to make their entry. At that time, air travel was considered a luxury. But, with the entry of low-cost carriers like Indigo and SpiceJet, air tickets became more affordable.

In 2005, two such players entered the market at the same time - Indigo and Kingfisher. But, while Kingfisher crashed and burned, Indigo soared!

In the first couple of years, both players were making losses proportional to growth. But, during the financial crisis when markets crashed and fuel prices skyrocketed, Indigo turned profitable. Kingfisher, on the other hand, 5x its losses & eventually closed operations in 4 years.

Indigo pulled this off using their "sale and leaseback" strategy. With this strategy, Indigo bulk orders aircraft from Airbus at a discounted rate. Then, they sell these aircraft to a lesson like BOC aviation. And, then they rent back the same aircraft for 5-6 years.

But, that's not it! Indigo's operations are highly efficient. They started with a ONE configuration model and reduced their charges by only providing travellers with a seat and leg space. On top of that, their fleet has only 1 kind of aeroplane which reduce their maintenance cost.

When you combine all this, you get a highly efficiently run company that was able o produce profits for 10 years straight!

How Glassdoor dominates backlinks through data-driven content

Simply put, Glassdoor offers 'data-driven content'. Let me explain.
It is a:
1) Job posting portal β€” employers can post & advertise open jobs
2) Job review portal β€” employees can share feedback about their company

On Glassdoor's website users share about everything from bosses & salaries to work culture & the hiring process. This data is then organized by the platform across different parameters.

Glassdoor uses the data to create:
1) Lists of top founders, companies, etc
2) Surveys presenting employee choices
3) Reports about trends & employee preferences

Data-driven content is shared extensively.
A couple years ago we published a report titled 'State of Remote Work'. People loved the insights that were included and shared it.
This report generated backlinks from 141 unique domains.

The Glassdoor website is full of data-driven content.
For example, they recently published the Workplace trends for 2022. This has insights around economic recovery after Covid-19, for instance. The information can be used by employees, newspapers and politicians.
So, the content is bound to be shared. When that happens, it generates backlinks.
This Glassdoor article has 360 backlinks in just over 2 months.

With so many high authority website backlinks, Glassdoor's domain authority is bound to go up. Glassdoor's DR is as high as 91, so they always rank at the top. Competitors would be lucky to beat Glassdoor!

So, finally, here's what you can learn from Glassdoor's SEO initiative:
1) Use data-driven content to get attention and links.
2) Website authority is key! It takes time & effort to buildd authority, but it's a huge boost to rank any content on your website higher on Google.