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are very important to readers, so some of the key tasks our Editors tackle are fact checking and bringing outdated information up to date.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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Intro paragraph. Include lots of relevant content.
- Beautiful full-width photo of option #1.
- 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).
- Recipe or instructions for option #1. Be as detailed as possible.
- 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:
- 10 Drinking Games for Two People by Tealparadise
- Kickass Shots: Delicious, Good-Tasting Shots by cocktailsexaminer
- 50 Ways to Show Your Mom You Appreciate Her by homewiththekids
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!