Building a Hub Site: Thinking About Linking

With Google providing every indication that hub sites will be given special consideration in the search engine rankings, it makes good sense to consider turning your site into a hub. To start on the road to constructing a hub, it’s best to start thinking in terms of linking.

Building your website into what is called a Hub Site is not something that occurs to many webmasters. While Hub Site is not as well known as its equally important cousin the Authority Site, achieving Hub Site status will propel your site to the top of the Google search engine rankings.

Note that a hub site can also be an authority site, while an authority site can also be a hub site, although but not necessarily so. The two Google designations are not mutually exclusive. An authority site is largely based on an abundance of incoming links, large page numbers, huge amounts of content, and high Google PageRank.

A hub site is based on having large numbers of outgoing links, along with the other features of the authority site. Because a site can have both large numbers of incoming and outgoing links, a site can be both a hub site and an authority site at the same time.

To start on the road to constructing a hub, it’s best to start thinking in terms of linking. Forget any preconceived ideas about gain and loss of Google PageRank. Hub sites are based almost exclusively on their linking factors. As we will see, the linking out from your hub site is equally as important as adding incoming links.

A hub should be seen as almost as an Internet train station, with incoming and outgoing tracks. Those link tracks can lead just as easily to a direct competitor to your business, as to a web page with a similar theme. In many ways, the various Internet directories, like the Open Directory Project or the Yahoo! Directory, are almost ultimate hub sites. Both feature numerous incoming and outgoing links making them terminal stations and hub sites.

You should seriously consider turning your existing website into a hub site. The additional boost to your Google ranking will be enormous. Your site will rise much higher in the search rankings than other related and similarly themed sites. They will lack your site’s abundance of incoming and outgoing thematic links.

Your site’s staying power, through possible algorithm changes, should be infinitely stronger as well. Once the hub status is accorded to your site by Google, the accompanying high search rankings are less likely to be removed. That is the power and the attraction of achieving hub site status.

Becoming a hub site is first and foremost about linking. That link thought must extend beyond the ordinary thoughts of simply collecting inbound links. The hub site mode of thought extends much farther. It includes linking out to a huge number of theme related sites as well. Those outbound links may even include your own business competitors.

For many webmasters, the idea of linking out to large numbers of sites is often the opposite of their ingrained ways of thinking about links. When most people think in terms of linking, they have visions of an unlimited number of incoming one way links, pouring traffic and Google PageRank into their sites.

A hub site is designated by having numerous outbound links to other related sites. In that sense, developing a hub site runs counter to conventional thinking. A hub site webmaster thinks outside that box.

A major problem facing a webmaster seeking to create a hub site is to find and attract incoming theme related links. To achieve that goal, a website owner must provide high quality content that is both interesting and informative to attract unsolicited inbound links. Incoming links are required to build up PageRank, and to gain link popularity to move up the search engine rankings.

The incoming links difficulty can be solved the old fashioned way. The solution is always to add as much informative and useful content as possible. In fact, to gain authority status, along with hub status, abundant content is absolutely essential. For seekers of the hub site level, content is required to attract incoming links.

Hubs are distinguished by their willingness to link out to other sites whose contents are based on similar themes. Google appears to have already given its blessing to hub sites. That endorsement by Google can be readily seen with blogs.

For blogs, linking out has not proven to be the drain on PageRank, that many people would ordinarily expect. In fact, for many blogs, linking out has helped to enhance their search engine rankings. Linking out may have turned a number of leading blogs into hub sites for their theme area.

The reason for that blog linking out success in the search engines is similar to the power of the hub site. It’s based on linking out to other blogs that are written on similar topics and themes. All website owners can use that empirical data to their own benefit. There are enough blogs linking out, while maintaining strong PageRanks and search rankings to back up that concept.

If you link out to other sites and web pages that are similar in topic to yours, you will not be held down by Google. Any drain on PageRank will be minimal at worst. It’s thought as well that Google is not kind to sites that attempt to hoard PageRank. If that is true, then seeking hub site status is a wise goal. In any case, even if there is a minute loss of PageRank, the overall rise in the search engine results pages (SERPs) makes that more than a fair trade off.

Many webmasters, instead of attempting to develop a hub site, express the unfounded concern that they may turn their site into an undesirable link farm. Nothing could be further from the truth. A hub site is not a link farm.

A link farm tends to be automated and its sole purpose is to gain links to exploit the search engines. Usually, the link farm demands a link back from all participating sites, plus all listed sites usually link to one another. There is virtually no concern for themes and topics with any of the links. Linking out to bad neighborhoods like link farms is always a bad move for any website owner. A hub site does not work like that in any way.

The purpose of a hub site is to link out to other related and valuable sites. It is especially helpful to link to authority sites in your topic area. Some great benefit accrues to the hub site’s visitors, as they are able to find similar themed sites, already linked from the hub. Because of the high user value of a hub site, it gets rewarded in the search engines. The hub benefits through higher search engine placement in searches for the most important keywords and phrases.

Google and the other major search engines, are highly unlikely to consider your well themed out linking hub site, to be a link farm. On the contrary, they will reward your efforts, to provide a site with links to the most relevant and important sites on the topic. It is generally considered by most SEO professionals, that Google is especially fond of hub sites, and ranks them highly as a result.

One way to build a hub site is to design your website to become a mini directory for your subject area. By linking out to the most important sites, and especially to the major authority sites, you can find yourself well on the path to becoming a valued hub site.

A hub site builder must not be afraid to link out to similarly themed sites, including competitors, especially id those competitors are authority sites. To be seen as a true hub, links need to be created to the most important, as well as secondary and less important but closely themed sites. It’s thought that Google is now placing strong emphasis on themes, so that very strong possibility should always be kept in mind.

Add a blog element to your website. Blogs are, by their very nature, ideal candidates to become hub sites. Because of the number of outgoing links, with many links to authority sites for the theme topic, blogs can become hub sites very quickly. Many blogs are probably already considered hub sites due to their numbers of links combined with their high search engine rankings.

A more ambitious goal, would be developing a larger, more all encompassing directory as a hub site. Directory sites are usually ranked very well in the search engine returns for almost all keywords. Creating a directory, to take advantage of that probability is a good way to achieve the level of a hub site. In fact, a well designed directory can result in becoming a recognized hub site for more than one theme.

Conclusion

With Google providing every indication that hub sites will be given special consideration in the search engine rankings, it makes good sense to consider turning your site into a hub.

By linking out to authority sites, and other related sites for your theme, you can turn an ordinary website into a hub site very quickly. It’s very easy to link out from a site.

Be certain to add lots of fresh theme based content to attract incoming links as well. They are needed to boost your PageRank and to build the necessary link popularity. Incoming links will cement your site’s status as a hub.

Turning your site into a mini directory, or even into a fully fledged directory, will ensure your hub site level. Your positioning on the SERPs will be long lasting and are highly likely to survive any unexpected algorithm changes. Becoming a hub certainly has its advantages.

Consider creating a hub site today.

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