Hubsquat – Round 2

Hubsquat – Round 2

The more technical aspects of SEO are often overlooked. The website can look great on any device, but may fail to perform. There are many common mistakes that must be avoided for a natural search marketing campaign to be successful. Missing a closing tag, or an extra comma can really make the difference. Everyone makes mistakes. Including Hubspot.

Hubspot is a content marketing company focusing on marketing an CRM software. They are by no means newcommers to the scene, with revenue in the region of $100 million. A few oversights are fairly obvious on closer inspection.

SEO 101

As Google moves away from links being the ultimate ranking factor, content marketing has exploded. More emphasis has been placed on highlighting original, quality content. Parts of or whole pages from your site appearing elsewhere will decrease the overall authority Google assigns your website.

Furthermore, a penalty could be placed on the effected pages, or entire domain if considered low quality.

A serious pain if you've spent hours authoring a landing page only to find it fail to convert. Most internet marketers target Google, for obvious reasons.

So we should ask Google what Google thinks of our content...

The top few results are duplicate content. I think we can do better though. A little guesswork suggests trying:

This shows many more subdomains with the same issue. Many of these listings contain content on both, and their customer's websites. Many more examples of this can be seen using these search queries:

Both domains the the canonical tag, just to their own websites. Google will waste resources trying to trace the true author, if it can. The Hubspot version should canonicalise back to the client's page to ensure that is seen as the originating source. From basic analysis of the SERPs, many of their clients appear to be suffering from this issue.

What's the fix?

As noted in my original article for RocketMill, Hubsquat the pages are missing a noindex tag, canonical tag or 301 redirect. A fairly common error to make. All the more understandable when creating a complex custom CMS.

Google is placing more authority on high quality content. Errors like this could be a red flag to Google's very clever, but still very programmatic, machine learning algorithm.

I am a little curious why this wasn't picked up. Again. Not in Search Console, Webmaster Tools, Moz or something similar? Maybe even a yearly vanity search?

What does this say about Hubspot?

I'm picking on Hubspot because they're an industry leader. It's not personal, just an appropriate example. They know content marketing. Natural search does, however require many planets to be correctly aligned, ritual candles be lit in sequence, and a little Penguin named 4.0 be sacrificed for a campaign to be truly epic.

I get bored of finding these issues during my day job as an SEO analyst. So at night, I don my Fairy Code Mother costume and try to help fix them. Mostly exploits, but often fubars like this too. My general "don't be a dick" rule means I will try to help fix issues whenever I can. I often get ignored though.

Follow me on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn for more InfoSec rants and sardonic SEO tips.

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About Adam Davies

General nerd that started playing with web development in 2001.
Before reporting exploits in websites I broke software protection.

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