Unlocking the Secrets of HubSpot‘s Powerful SEO Strategy

As a leader in the world of inbound marketing, HubSpot has mastered the art and science of search engine optimization (SEO). By implementing a comprehensive and data-driven SEO strategy, HubSpot has achieved impressive organic growth, with search now accounting for over 60% of their total website traffic.

So what exactly goes into HubSpot‘s winning SEO approach? We‘ve gathered insights and advice straight from the content strategists on HubSpot‘s SEO team to bring you an in-depth look at the tactics and best practices they use to improve rankings, drive traffic, and generate leads through search.

1. Align Content with Searcher Intent

One of the key pillars of HubSpot‘s SEO strategy is creating content that aligns with user intent. Rather than just targeting keywords based on search volume, HubSpot‘s content team digs deeper to understand the underlying goals and needs of searchers.

"It‘s not enough to just rank for a keyword—you have to deliver on the promise of that keyword by providing content that actually solves the user‘s problem," explains Aja Frost, Senior SEO Strategist at HubSpot. "We spend a lot of time analyzing search results and understanding what type of content is ranking well for different queries, so we can create something that not only ranks but also resonates."

For example, when creating content around the keyword "social media marketing," HubSpot‘s team noticed that most of the top-ranking results were comprehensive guides and tutorials. So rather than just publishing a short blog post on the topic, they created an in-depth, step-by-step guide called "How to Create a Social Media Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide."

By matching the format and depth of content to what searchers are looking for, HubSpot was able to rank in the top spot for this highly competitive keyword and drive over 10,000 monthly organic visits to the page.

2. Optimize for Topics, Not Just Keywords

While keywords are still important for SEO, HubSpot takes a more holistic approach by optimizing for topics rather than just individual keywords. By creating clusters of content around specific topic areas, they‘re able to demonstrate their expertise and authority to search engines.

"The key is to think about all the different subtopics and questions that fall under your core topic, and then create content that addresses each of those areas," says Victor Pan, Head of Technical SEO at HubSpot. "By interlinking all of this content together and providing a comprehensive resource on the topic, you can really establish yourself as a go-to source."

HubSpot‘s ultimate guide to SEO is a prime example of this topic cluster approach in action. The guide serves as a "pillar page," covering all the key aspects of search engine optimization. It then links out to more specific, in-depth articles on subtopics like keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO, and link building.

By creating this network of interconnected content, HubSpot has been able to rank for over 890 keywords with this guide, driving over 5,000 organic visits per month.

3. Invest in Original Research and Data

One of the most effective ways to earn high-quality backlinks and stand out in the search results is by publishing original research and data. HubSpot has made this a priority in their content strategy, regularly conducting surveys and analyzing data to uncover new insights.

"By providing new data points and findings that other sites can cite and link back to, you‘re not only attracting backlinks but also positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry," notes Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of Marketing at HubSpot.

Some examples of data-driven content HubSpot has created include:

  • State of Inbound Marketing Report: An annual survey of thousands of marketers on their challenges, priorities, and tactics
  • Social Media Benchmarks Report: An analysis of social media performance data from over 2,500 companies
  • Website Traffic Benchmarks: A study of website traffic and acquisition data from over 80,000 HubSpot customers

To date, these reports have earned hundreds of backlinks from authoritative sites like Forbes, Inc, and Social Media Examiner, and continue to drive significant organic traffic month after month.

4. Update and Repurpose Top-Performing Content

With over 33,000 blog posts published to date, HubSpot has no shortage of content in their archives. But rather than always starting from scratch, their team regularly updates and repurposes their top-performing posts to get even more mileage out of them.

"We use data from tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs to identify blog posts that have performed well in the past but may have declined in traffic or rankings over time," explains Pamela Vaughan, Principal Marketing Manager of Web Strategy at HubSpot. "We then update these posts with new information, examples, and visuals, and often see a significant boost in traffic as a result."

For example, HubSpot‘s post on "How to Start a Blog" was originally published in 2006 and has been updated over 10 times since then. By keeping the post fresh and current, it now ranks in the top spot on Google and drives over 17,000 organic visits per month.

HubSpot also looks for opportunities to repurpose well-performing content into different formats, such as turning a blog post into an infographic, video, or podcast episode. This allows them to reach new audiences and acquire links from a variety of sources.

5. Collaborate Closely with Web Developers

Effective SEO requires close collaboration between content creators and web developers. HubSpot‘s SEO team works hand-in-hand with their web development team to ensure that all content is optimized from both a user experience and technical standpoint.

"Technical SEO issues like slow site speed or indexing problems can completely negate all the hard work you put into content creation," stresses Pan. "It‘s crucial to have open communication between your SEO and dev teams so you can identify and fix any technical roadblocks."

Some of the technical optimizations HubSpot has implemented in collaboration with their developers include:

  • Moving to a responsive, mobile-friendly site design
  • Improving page load speed through caching, image compression, and minification
  • Cleaning up indexing issues and broken links
  • Implementing structured data to provide rich snippets in search results
  • Creating XML sitemaps and submitting them to search engines

By making these technical improvements alongside their content optimization, HubSpot has been able to achieve impressive gains in organic traffic and keyword rankings.

6. Measure, Test, and Iterate

Finally, one of the core elements of HubSpot‘s SEO strategy is a commitment to continuous measurement, testing, and iteration. Their team closely tracks key performance metrics like organic traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates, and uses this data to inform their ongoing optimization efforts.

"We‘re constantly looking at the data to see what‘s working and what‘s not," says Frost. "If a piece of content isn‘t performing as well as we hoped, we‘ll dig into the reasons why and test out different optimizations to see if we can improve its performance."

This culture of experimentation and analysis has led to some significant breakthroughs for HubSpot‘s SEO. For example, when they noticed that their blog posts with a particular type of featured image tended to have higher click-through rates from search, they started creating more of those images and saw a corresponding boost in traffic.

Over time, these small optimizations and improvements can compound into major gains. In fact, HubSpot‘s blog traffic from organic search has grown by over 300% in the past five years, thanks in large part to their iterative approach to SEO.

Putting It All Together

As these insights from HubSpot‘s SEO team demonstrate, there‘s no singular "magic bullet" when it comes to driving organic growth. Instead, it takes a holistic and data-driven approach that encompasses everything from content creation and on-page optimization to technical SEO and link building.

By focusing on creating valuable, intent-aligned content, optimizing for topics over keywords, investing in original research, updating and repurposing top performers, collaborating with developers, and continuously measuring and iterating, HubSpot has been able to achieve consistent and impressive SEO success.

Whether you‘re just getting started with SEO or looking to take your organic strategy to the next level, these tips and tactics from HubSpot‘s team can serve as a valuable roadmap. By putting these principles into action and staying committed to ongoing learning and optimization, you too can unlock the power of organic search and drive meaningful results for your business.

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