In February 2018, HubSpot announced that they would be sunsetting their keyword tracking tool in response to changes in SEO trends. As of May 30, 2018, HubSpot has replaced the keyword report tool with a new Content Strategy tool. Below, we’ll discuss why HubSpot decided to sunset keyword reporting as well as explain what its new SEO content strategy tool is and how it can help with your digital content strategy.
Why Did HubSpot Sunset Its Keyword Tool?
HubSpot’s decision to replace the keyword report tool reflects changes in the way that consumers search for relevant information and brands online. Over the past ten years, the way that people look for information online has shifted due to new technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and voice search. While a keyword-focused SEO content strategy may have worked in the past, modern marketers need to adapt their digital content strategy to fit current search behaviors.
Search engines like Google are constantly updating search algorithms to provide more relevant and useful results for their users. Longer and more conversational queries, like those typical with voice searches, have become the norm. This change in search behavior has prompted Google to make improvements that are focused on serving search results based on search intent instead of keywords.
While keywords remain a vital part of SEO strategy today, there is a shift in the way that marketers should approach developing content topics. Instead of just focusing on specific keywords, brands need to create valuable topic-based content built around their areas of expertise. HubSpot has decided to sunset their keyword report tool and replace it with the new HubSpot Content Strategy tool to help marketers develop more valuable SEO content.
What is the HubSpot Content Strategy Tool (And Why is it the New Hotness)?
The new HubSpot Content Strategy Tool enables you to focus on a new approach to SEO content strategy development that emphasizes search intent over keywords. This approach to content strategy helps you create valuable resources based on the topics your target audience searches for online.
With HubSpot Content Strategy, you can organize your content ideas by grouping topics into clusters made up of a core topic (pillar content) and related subtopics (cluster content). As you can see from the diagram below, the sub-topic pages are hyperlinked back to the core topic page, allowing you to create a relevant and valuable resource for your site visitors.
The Content Strategy tool will suggest topics for pillar pages as well as subtopics, based on the content already contained on your website. You can also add your own topics and subtopics based on new opportunities that you discover in keyword research or information that think may be valuable to your target audience.
The Content Strategy tool will then validate these suggested topics to help you determine whether they are worth writing about. The tool will provide metrics like domain authority, monthly search volume, relevancy, and similarity to the core topics. This information enables you to understand how valuable these topics will be for people that are looking for brands like yours online.
Here’s a breakdown of how the validation data can inform your digital content strategy:
Domain Authority –This metric measures the overall authority of your domain. Domain authority is based on a scale of 0 – 100, with 100 indicating the highest authority or the highest likelihood that the page will rank in a search. As this metric is based on your overall domain, it won’t change between topic clusters.
Monthly Search Volume –This metric shows the search volume for the core topic or subtopic. Monthly search volume helps you better understand how many people are searching for this topic on a monthly basis, which can impact your priorities when it comes to SEO content strategy.
Relevancy –Relevancy measures how relevant the topic or subtopic is to the content that’s already on your site. If the relevancy score is low, this means that the topic is most likely not relevant to your core business, and therefore, potentially not valuable to people who search for brands like yours online.
Core Topic Similarity –This metric will display when you click on a subtopic to let you know how relevant the subtopic is to your core topic. Though you do want to have similar sub-topics, you shouldn’t aim for 100% similarity each time as using synonyms can help you reach even more search engine users.
Given the current trends in search engine user behavior, this new HubSpot tool can be a game-changer for your digital content strategy. With more and more consumers using their mobile devices or digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google, and Cortana to search for information online, there has been a rise in voice search queries, which tend to be less keyword focused than typed queries.
Unlike typed search queries, voice search queries are often longer and more conversational. Searchers will also use question-based phrases when searching rather than just a few words. For instance, instead of searching for “San Francisco Restaurants,” a consumer might search using the question, “Where are the best Mexican restaurants near me?”
HubSpot’s Content Strategy tool helps your business adapt your content strategy to account for these changes in search engine user behavior. By helping you organize and prioritize your content based on search user intent instead of keyword ranking, you can capture more relevant search traffic from users that are ready to buy.
But What if I Want to Track Keywords?
With HubSpot's Content Strategy tool, HubSpot is staying ahead of SEO trends and providing a valuable model for businesses to organize and think about their content and SEO. However, even with this shift in the way that consumers are searching for information online, tracking keyword rankings remains vital for developing your SEO content strategy.
Keyword ranking and search volume give you a better understanding of which keywords and phrases search engine users are typing in to find brands like yours. By looking at keyword ranking, your business can identify new opportunities to reach relevant consumers. Not to mention, keyword ranking also gives you a better understanding of where your business fits in among competitors on the search engines.
As an experienced HubSpot inbound marketing agency, we have seen how valuable keyword tracking can be when thinking about your SEO content strategy. That’s why we recommend using keyword ranking information to complement your HubSpot content strategy. If you were using HubSpot’s keyword ranking tool before, you will need to find an alternative keyword tracking tool. (But more on that in the next section.)
What You Should Do Next
To get started with HubSpot's Content Strategy tool, you’ll want to look at your primary business offerings and use those as a starting point for creating your topic clusters. We recommend prioritizing these topic clusters based on the offerings that are most important to your business.
Your core topics should be broad terms between two and four words that have significant search volume. Once you have defined your topic cluster, you’ll want to attach pillar page content to this cluster. HubSpot will automatically pull up any content on your site that’s relevant to the topic you’ve identified.
If you don’t have pillar page content already created, you can develop a pillar page using the tool. If the pillar page content is already created but not hosted within HubSpot, you can also attach an external URL using the Content Strategy tool.
Once you’ve created the pillar page, you will then need to attach sub-topics. These are other pages or blog posts focused on long-tail keywords that are relevant to the core topic. Again, HubSpot will help you find related pages that you can attach, or you can write a new blog post or page to link to on the pillar page.
Even with the HubSpot Content Strategy tool at your disposal, you may also want to continue tracking keyword rankings. In fact, keyword tracking can complement your topic-based digital content strategy. If you were using the former keyword tracking tool from HubSpot, it’s time to find an alternative.
Here are the tools that we recommend to replace HubSpot keyword tracking:
Moz -For many, Moz is considered the authority on SEO. The Moz Pro Rank Tracker is an excellent tool that shows you the search engine rankings for different pages and keywords, allowing you to compare and schedule automated reports to stay updated on changes in ranking.
SEMrush -SEMrush is another popular SEO keyword tracking tool for marketers. With this software, you can track your ranking position for specific keywords while also discovering new keyword opportunities to gain more organic traffic. You can also gain insights into competitors.
Ahrefs -Ahrefs is an excellent keyword tracking tool to help you stay ahead of the competition, allowing you to see the exact keywords your competitors rank for in organic search. You can also use their Keywords Explorer tool to find new keyword opportunities.
Using one of the tools above, you can track keyword rankings and keep an eye on the competition. The insights you gain from keyword tracking can help you improve your overall SEO content strategy by helping you effectively prioritize topics and content.
Though you may be sad to see the HubSpot keyword tracking tool go, the new Content Strategy tool that has taken its place will help you transform your SEO content strategy. By focusing on user intent instead of just keywords, you’ll be able to expand your reach online by providing more relevant and useful content for consumers. Pair this new strategy with insights you gain from keyword tracking, and you’ll be on your way to a winning SEO digital content strategy.