HubPro Best Practices: Give Your Own Hubs a HubPro-Style Makeover

So far, the HubPro program has been even more successful than we hoped.  HubPro Edited Hubs have seen a 20% traffic increase (and still growing) compared with equivalent non-Edited Hubs, and edited Hubs have also seen significant gains in reader satisfaction, which we believe is one of the most important factors in protecting a Hub’s existing traffic for the future. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share some of the HubPro findings and best practices today.

First and foremost, we have strong reason to believe that Google is increasingly placing a higher value on engagement and reader satisfaction. Accuracy and trustworthiness are very important to readers, so some of the key tasks our Editors tackle are fact checking and bringing outdated information up to date. These are things every Hubber should be doing regularly; if a Hub hasn’t been edited in over a year, it’s time to make sure all your facts are still current and correct. Take some time to check your Hub’s content against the latest news, peer-reviewed journals, and other credible sources on the subject. Having a second (or third) pair of eyes on your content, if possible, can also make a huge difference.

Second, it’s a good idea to review your Hubs to make sure they contain all of these elements:

  • Excellent grammar and spelling. Pay special attention to cases in your title and subtitles; this is one area where mistakes are common.
  • Free of spammy elements (Hubs should contain no unrelated or tangentially related links, excessive products, etc).
  • High-quality, clear, attractive images (avoid pixelated images, blurry images, and images with watermarks).
  • Search-friendly and descriptive subtitles.
  • A relevant summary.
  • A mobile-optimized layout. Making all capsules full-width can make a big difference for mobile.

It’s also a good idea to consider whether your Hub might benefit from the addition of some of these elements:

  • Data summary as a numbered or bulleted list, just like this one.
  • Additional beautiful, relevant photos (Creative Commons photos are a great place to start if you don’t have time to take your own).
  • A user opinion survey on the Hub’s topic using a  poll capsule.
  • Relevant, related video.

We’ve also discovered that one format tends to work particularly well for improving the traffic and visitor satisfaction of Hubs. Here’s the secret recipe if you’d like to try your hand at making an organized, scannable Hub that readers are crazy for. If your Hubs are not yet eligible to be HubPro edited and you’d like to take a crack at editing them yourself, or if you’re looking for an advantage when publishing new Hubs, I encourage you to try out this format:

  1. Start with a topic that consists of a list of related things (5 Delectable Chocolate Cake Recipes, 10 Best BBQ Sauces, 8 Ways to Cook Salmon, 6 Ways to Tie a Tie, etc).
  2. The first capsule should be a beautiful full-width photo. Bonus points for including the Hub’s title in your first image. It’s great for Pinterest traffic.
  3. Intro paragraph. Include lots of relevant content.
  4. Beautiful full-width photo of option #1.
  5. Paragraph with more information about option #1. Include any information your reader might find useful and interesting (like background on why option #1 is great, fun facts about option #1, or interesting details about its history).
  6. Recipe or instructions for option #1. Be as detailed as possible.
  7. Repeat this formula for all of your options. Beautiful photo for option #2, paragraph about #2, recipe/instructions/explanation of option #2.

Here are a few examples of great Hubs using this format that have benefited from a significant traffic increase after editing:

Keep in mind that these Hubs all have at least 1,000 words of content; all Hubs should be substantial, in-depth, and completely cover the subject promised in the title. They should also include personal experience. If you haven’t actually made all of the recipes or tried all of the methods you list, you probably shouldn’t be writing a Hub on it.

By following these guidelines, it should be possible to give your own Hubs a HubPro-style makeover. Best of luck and happy Hubbing!

14 thoughts on “HubPro Best Practices: Give Your Own Hubs a HubPro-Style Makeover

  1. What’s the rate of reversion? More specifically, among hubs of active accounts that have been edited, how often do active authors go back and change the hub after pro editing?

    • Hi Maury,

      That’s a really difficult thing for us to answer because having Hubs edited often inspires Hubbers to go back to their Hubs and add new content, which we love! 🙂

      However, complete reversion is extremely rare (like in the range of only 1 or 2 Hubbers out of all Hubbers we’ve edited so far). The feedback we’ve received from active Hubbers about the editing process has been overwhelmingly positive as well.

  2. I’m sorry but a hub of basic cocktail shooters with swear words, drug references and insults to women is not a great hub by any standards to me.

    • I don’t think that any of the examples are great hubs. Yes, clearly an editor went through and made sure that they’re optimized for mobile reviewing with full sized images that have captions. Otherwise there is nothing even noteworthy about these examples. For years, we’ve been encouraged to write long, in-depth articles with multiple types of capsules. None of these articles fit that criteria.

    • When we talk about “mobile traffic” we mean people who are reading your Hubs. Hubbers still need to use a computer to compose Hubs, as always. Hope that makes more sense, Patti!

  3. I’m extremely surprised that there is such an emphasis in this post about using numbers in titles. HP staff have always discouraged this practice, claiming that it was detrimental to building steady, long-term traffic. Personally I have great numbers on the few hubs that I do have with numbers in the titles. The sole reason that I don’t structure my titles this way more often is because of the strong position that HP has always taken on this topic in the past.

    I also agree with the commenter who mentioned the drinking hub examples. I think that it’s in poor taste to list not one but two examples that both center around drinking. HP is filled with excellent writing samples. Why not diversify the small list a little bit more?

    • Hi Rose,

      We have never discouraged the use of numbers, but we have always discouraged (and still do) the use of numbered Hubs in a series; Hubs with titles that include “Part 1,” “Chapter 2,” “Vol. 5” etc.

      • Yes, I’m well aware of HP’s stance on numbered hubs in a series. I only have one article with two parts that is labeled as such because the practice is so strongly discouraged here. Maybe the use of numbers isn’t discouraged now, but it was for many years, such as during the Apprenticeship Program. I understand that we need to adapt our article writing to meet the ever changing requirements for best internet practices. However, it’s frustrating as a writer to get conflicting advice within a single community without explanation.

  4. When you say “A mobile-optimized layout. Making all capsules full-width can make a big difference for mobile,” are you suggesting that we *should* make all capsules full width? I’ve been deliberately inserting photos, Amazon capsules, quizzes and polls beside paragraphs, to make the hub more interesting to read online. I never considered how the hub would look on a smart phone, mainly because I don’t have one.

    • Hi Marian,

      Yes, that is exactly what we are suggesting. We advise making all capsules full-width whenever possible. Of course, some photos do not have a high enough resolution to be full-width without looking blurry or pixelated, and we recommend leaving photos like those half-width until you can find higher quality replacements. 🙂

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