From Blog To Hubs: How We Did It, And How You Can Too

January 15, 2014 Yoav Schwartz

B2B Content Hub

We’re so happy you’re ready to take the next step towards content marketing supremacy. Just like we did, you’re thinking about moving your site’s blog to an Uberflip Hub. I’m here to walk you through it and address your valid SEO concerns.

Before I walk you through the steps to move your blog – let me tell you how we moved ours and what has happened since we did it.

Bonus: Scroll down for a video on how Hubs affects your content's SEO.

How we moved our blog from WordPress to Hubs

Our old blog lived at uberflip.com/blog. It was powered by WordPress but we never actually used WordPress other than to author the content. We created our own RSS feed from the content using WordPress’ API and more natively included it in our site because of security concerns with the out-of-the-box WordPress software.

When we moved to using our Hub (hub.uberflip.com) as the primary place for our blog, there were two things we had to do:

  1. Make sure all of our old blog articles were migrated to our Hub (we did this by generating a mega RSS feed that had all of our articles in it).
  2. Map all old links at uberflip.com/blog/xxx to their new location on our hub (i.e. hub.uberflip.com/h/i/xxxx) with a 301 redirect so that Google would know the new location of the old blog links floating around out there. This also ensured that people visiting an old link would be automatically redirected to the new link in our Hub.

Oh no! What if it didn’t work? What happened to our traffic?

Good news! Our traffic has increased by 20% since switching to our Hub for a number of reasons.

Regardless of the pure increase in traffic, we’ve also seen an incredible boost in engagement – time on site has increased by 80%, pages/visits increased by about 50% and our free trial signups saw an 800% boost from the old blog CTAs to the new Hub driven CTAs. Check out this post for a breakdown of how Hubs has affected our content marketing.

While I would take this with a grain of salt, another positive indicator is that our Alexa ranking skyrocketed! In August 2013 it was around 35k, while today it’s hovering around 12k. It had been fairly stable for years until August, where the only variable was the transition from our old blog to our new Hub. One reason I figure could cause this instant spike was the that our Hub has so much more index-able content than our old blog.

Ok, so that was our experience – let’s talk about yours. How do you move your blog to your shiny new Hub?

Step 1: Fill your Blog Stream with all your Blog Articles

Just like we created a mega RSS feed, you’ll need to do the same – it’s fairly trivial with many systems. With WordPress for example, there are a couple of steps to take:

1. Make sure your article’s entire content is added to the RSS feed – not just excerpts. This can be done in the “Reading Settings” under your WordPress “Settings” tab.

2. Set the RSS feed limit to a really high number (more than the total number of posts/articles on your blog) and you’re set.

If you’re using another blogging platform then the steps may be different, but the result should be the same – consult with your webmaster!

Next, our trusty dev team will take that RSS feed and either update your existing Blog Stream on your Hub with any missing articles, or create a new one for you. This is a manual process that we’ll do for you. In the future we’ll automate this but for now just give us a call to get started.

During the migration process, you can enable an option on your Blog Stream that tells search engines like Google not to index your Hub’s Blog Stream (for now) to avoid “duplicate content” penalties. (The option is called “No Robots Meta Tag”).

Step 2: Redirect your old blog articles to their new home

Moving sites, or in this case blogs, can be tricky depending on how much control you have over your existing site. There’s really only 1 step that’s required to move from one blog to another without losing any ‘clout’ or SEO efforts – 301 redirects.

Google, and people for that matter, just need to be told that each old link is moved to a new permanent home.

If you’re using WordPress, there are are many plugins (like this one) to help you with these redirects.

If you’re using HubSpot, they have a built-in tool to manage 301 redirects. They even offer a “Bulk add URL mapping”. Which makes this process even easier.

In any case, we’ll provide you with a full mapping of your old blog article links to your new, Hubs powered blog article links so that you populate your 301 Redirects on your existing site or blog.

Step 3: Let the indexing begin

Once your blog is redirecting to your Hub, you should first disable the “No Robots Meta Tag” option on your Blog Stream so that search engines know they can crawl the content again.

If you haven’t already done so, connect your Hub to Google Webmaster Tools (you’ll find the integration option under “Add-ons and Widgets”). This will speed up indexing by letting Google know directly that you want your Hub indexed.

Why Hubs are better for SEO than your old Blog

The first reason should be obvious – your blog only included your blog. Hubs includes your blog content as well as everything else you’ve added to it – videos, photos, Flipbooks, etc. There’s more for search engines to discover, and that’s a good thing!

Second, structurally, Hubs are well positioned for SEO success. I won’t BS you – we’re not perfect. There are still a few areas where we can improve Hubs to be even more SEO optimized. But out of the box, all of your content has well structured URLs which include the title of the content. We also account for scenarios where, if you edit a blog article’s title, the old link continues to work and will automatically redirect to the new link (using 301 redirects of course!). This is an important, yet often overlooked area of SEO – when you change stuff, search engines need to know.

Last, if your blog is currently at http://www.yoursite.com/blog and your Hub is at hub.yoursite.com then I will be completely upfront – your SEO score of http://www.yoursite.com is going to take a hit. That’s because you just told search engines that your blog content is no longer there. That’s ok. You still own hub.yoursite.com – and its SEO score is about to go through the roof.

As we continue to make strides in this area we’ll update this article. In the meantime, please leave your questions in the comments below.

Happy Hubbing! :)

Here's a quick video about how Hubs works with SEO. 

 

Uberflip Demo

About the Author

Yoav Schwartz

Yoav is the co-founder and CEO at Uberflip and is responsible for driving the mission, vision, and goals of the company. He spends considerable time working with his team to continuously delight and surprise Uberflip's customers.

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