Sep, 27th, 2010

SEO Content: Using the Hub & Spoke Approach to Target the Long Tail

Published by at 11:15 am under Only NZ,Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Hub and Spoke Approach - SEO Content

It’s common knowledge that the “long tail” is where the bulk of searches lie. However, connecting with users searching across this diverse web of search phrases can be a challenge. Solutions exist in the form of user generated content, content management systems and more. This post discusses an approach that First Rate has used with success for its clients.

The “Hub & Spoke” Approach

When brainstorming new content ideas, it helps to use a structured approach. We call this the “hub and spoke” approach to content creation, which expands a root term into increasingly focused variations. If your target keyword is “mobile phone”, first order keyword variations may include “mobile phone stores” and “mobile phone comparison” for instance. In turn, you could expand each of these into second order variations, such as “mobile phone stores in Sydney” or “mobile phone stores in Melbourne” if relevant.

SEO Content – Do’s

  • Create focused pages. Your pages can’t be all things to all people. Create unique pages with bespoke long-tail content for each of your target keywords. Build your target key phrase, and variations around this phrase into your content – these could include singular / plural variations, synonyms or related words.
  • Build links. Build links from your relevant hub pages to your spoke pages and back. You could also create links between each of the spokes to support their rankings. The key here is to provide your spokes with importance and relevance in the eyes of the search engines. An SEO friendly Content Management System (CMS) can help automate the creation of internal links. Alternatively you can turn to your agency.
  • Tailor your anchor text. Link anchor text helps search engines understand what a destination page is about. Tailor your anchor text to your landing page’s target keyword. It’s a good idea to vary your anchor text to keep your content and link profile natural.

SEO Content – Don’ts

  • Keyword stuffing. Creating keyword-targeted content isn’t about keyword density – a popular misconception within the SEO community. Instead, use meta tags and HTML tags to help search engines understand the theme of your page. For instance, H1, H2 and H3 tags can be used to prioritize keywords on any given page.
  • Thin content. It can be a challenge to find the right balance between too little and too much copy. Write too little and your page could capture too few variations around your target keyword. Write too much and your page could lose focus.
  • Duplicate content. Google has filters in place to detect duplicate content and penalize pages it considers have little value. When Google detects pages on a site with duplicate content, it will choose one of them to list. Furthermore, your site could attract penalties if Google believes that duplicate content is shown with the intent to manipulate rankings. Search engines aside, duplicate content reflects poorly on your brand.

Results are fast to filter through

This will ultimately depend on the competitive landscape and the strength of your domain. If your site is authoritative and crawled on a regular basis, your keyword-targeted page could make it onto the first page of Google within days.

If your web page is ranking too low in your opinion, this may be an indication that your key phrase requires additional support in the form of external link building, and perhaps better optimised internal linking.

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