Why Google Loves Internet Hubs

How Google chooses to rank sites on broad phrases like “investing advice”.

What’s an Internet Hub? A simple, easy-to-use website that offers users free content and community in return for registration and brand loyalty. The hub’s primary goal is to build a permission-based email, bookmark or RSS relationship with each visiting user.

How do we know that Google loves Internet Hubs? Just take a look at the evidence. When you Google a term like “investing advice”, almost every result on page one is an Internet Hub. It’s good to see publishers like Kiplinger, Forbes, and San Francisco Magazine all show up.

For the term “investing advice”, these are the top contenders:

  1. fool.com
  2. money.aol.com/investing/stocks/basics
  3. thestreet.com
  4. kiplinger.com/investing
  5. youngmoney.com/investing
  6. freundinvesting.com
  7. forbes.com/finance/guruinsights
  8. investmentu.com
  9. investingworldtoday.com
  10. sanfranmag.com/story/best-investment-advice-youll-never-get

As you can see, our online publishing poster child Fool.com shows up first. We consider them the poster child of online publishing because their business model encompasses what we feel make up a great online publishing system: content-driven, Google-friendly, email-centric and profit-minded.

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So what makes Fool.com show up above the rest of the pack for the search term “investing advice”? It’s not a mystery to find out why they outrank 8 of 9 other results: they easily beat them in keywords (3,391 according to Compete.com) and with inbound links (2.3 million according to Yahoo! Site Explorer).

The mystery is why Fool.com outranks Forbes.com, who doubles Fool.com in every category. Well, the reason why Fool.com outranks Forbes.com is simple: Fool.com is niche site. This is the advantage we have as niche online publishers.

In other words, Forbes.com doesn’t get ranked directly on “investing advice” because their entire website isn’t about investing advice. That’s the same reason why some other results ended up being topic pages instead of home pages.

When Google looks at Fool.com, they see a portal of investing advice: lots of content and information products, a true Internet Hub of investing advice. When they look at Forbes.com, they see a lot of investing advice, but a good amount of other topics (which is why they rank the topic page instead of Forbes.com).

What can you do as a large online publisher to compete with fierce niche Internet Hubs like Fool.com? Create portals of content!

On your topic pages, make sure that you list every article you’ve published on the topic, every book you’ve written, every forum topic that’s been generated by your users. About.com for example, has become the head of the class by creating mini Internet Hubs. Every topic has it’s own writer, newsletter and discussion forum. Some even have dedicated podcasts, videos, shops and e-courses. Create mini Internet Hubs out of your topics by making your topic pages portals of niche information.

On the other hand, if you’re all ready a niche online publisher, now the pressure is on you to create an Internet Hub that’s ranked first for all of your niche target phrases. Remember the keys to a successful online publishing business: be content-driven, Google-friendly, email centric and profit-minded.

Piece of cake, right?


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