Migrating to any new CMS or marketing automation system is a challenge.
From publishing content to making sure your pages are well optimized, there’s a lot you need to do to be successful.
If you’re new to HubSpot CMS, here is an SEO roadmap that will guide you through:
(Full disclosure: I work with HubSpot’s highest-rated partner agency, SmartBug Media.)
What Native SEO Functionality Exists in HubSpot
HubSpot hosts your site when you sign up for the CMS subscription.
This is one less system you need to worry about when deciding where your actual website will live.
When building your site on WordPress or other open-source CMSes, you’ll have to sign up with a hosting provider to serve up your site.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
This is a must-have for global businesses that need their website to load quickly in any country and need to reduce risk from DDOS attacks.
HubSpot’s CDN (which uses Cloudflare’s technology) is built into the CMS with no added costs or setup needed.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate
This is much more common nowadays across hosting providers but is a need for SEO.
Having your site on HTTPS is a must for ranking well across most verticals.
HubSpot provides an SSL certificate as part of your subscription, and it renews automatically as long as your site stays on HubSpot.
HubSpot’s redirect tool allows you to bulk import your redirects via CSV or build them out one by one.
This WYSIWYG tool is user-friendly l for marketers that don’t have experience updating .htaccess files or setting up redirects on the backend.
HubSpot automatically generates a sitemap that you can submit to Google Search Console, so you don’t need to build these manually or with any other plugins.
HubSpot CMS has a monitoring and firewall system in place to identify threats and stop DDOS attacks from occurring.
You’ll need a third-party tool, like Securi or something similar, if you are running on WordPress or another CMS.
HubSpot manages all of the updates on the CMS, so you don’t need to update your CMS version or plugin versions manually like you do if you’re on WordPress or another CMS.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
HubSpot provides the ability to enable AMP on your blog which allows your users to find up an AMP-versions of your blogs on mobile devices.
On-Page SEO Tools
HubSpot content planning tools provide a visual schematic if you’re pursuing a topic cluster approach for your SEO.
This tool provides lightweight keyword research, internal linking, and analytics to understand how certain topics are helping you generate organic traffic, leads, and customers.
Here is an example of a paid media topic cluster with all of the sub-topic pages (and associated keywords) that are linked (or not linked) to the pillar page:
This functionality allows you to see specific recommendations at the URL level and the relative impact of fixing such issues.
Here is an example:
There are also optimization recommendations built into the CMS page editor that ensure all of your on-page SEO bases are covered.
SEO Tool & Analytics Integrations
Google Search Console
Because Google encrypts most organic keyword referral data, Google Search Console is one of the only sources where you can find what keywords are driving SEO traffic to your site.
The Google Search Console integration is tied into your page publishing tools.
For each page, the integration allows you to see:
This data is effective for your CRO efforts.
When you are designing calls to action on the page, use the exact keywords data based on your top-ranking queries to help improve overall conversion rates.
HubSpot standalone analytics is not enough for all marketers.
Most of our clients use Google Analytics in conjunction with HubSpot analytics to pull granular data by page, device, channel, and so on.
HubSpot’s Google Analytics integration is useful to ensure all pages of your HubSpot-hosted content have proper tracking.
At the moment, there aren’t other uses for this integration, other than making sure that all of your pages have Google Analytics tracking code.
Similar tracking functionality exists for Google Search Console and AdRoll.
Third-Party CMS Integrations
HubSpot is a platform company that allows most other marketing, sales, and customer success apps to integrate.
Its app marketplace lists all of the third-party integrations.
Many integrations are free or low cost as long as you buy the integrated software package.
What SEO Tools Are Missing From HubSpot CMS?
Though HubSpot is an all-in-one platform, it doesn’t have every SEO tool that in-house SEOs or SEO agencies use daily.
Keyword Discovery Tools
Though basic keyword discovery tools are found in HubSpot’s publishing and pillar page tools, you’ll want to use Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush if you are looking to pull keyword research from pages you aren’t ranking for in Google.
Crawling Diagnostic Tools
There are some crawling diagnostic tools for SEO in HubSpot.
However, if you are trying to do a full-scale technical SEO audit or understand the site structure of other sites in your industry, you’ll need Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, Sitebulb, and so on.
Crawling Diagnostic Tools
If you’re looking to track a fixed set of keywords over time, keyword rank tracking is not built-in natively.
Although you can see the specific keywords that individual pages are ranking for, you’ll need to use another tool for daily or weekly rank tracking.
Link Building Tools
A little outside of specific CMS usage, link building tools are minimal in HubSpot.
You can see the inbound links that your pages are receiving from other sites, but there is no tool in HubSpot to do link building research if you’re looking for new acquisition targets.
You also don’t have a centralized link building dashboard to see all of the links that your entire website has earned or lost over time.
Professional Services for Migrations or Redesigns
Planning on migrating your site and don’t have time, team or know how to do it yourself?
Here are are your two options:
HubSpot’s Migration Services
HubSpot offers migration services for rebuilding your existing website page by page on the HubSpot CMS.
This is a good solution if you’re not a developer and are looking to keep the same look and feel like your existing site.
It can be an affordable option if you don’t have a large or complex website.
There are some limitations around what HubSpot will migrate as part of this project, but you can see the full specifics and pricing here if you are considering this option.
HubSpot’s Agency Partners
On the other hand, if you do have more complex needs or need a full redesign, there are also thousands of HubSpot Agency partners that execute migrations and redesign projects for clients.
Any migration or redesign project is going to take months of planning, implementation, and optimization.
Though HubSpot has a higher sticker price from an ongoing hosting/subscription perspective than other CMS, there are a number of embedded features and support that would replace the need for additional hosting, CDN, security, and ongoing IT requests for CMS updates.
Advanced SEO professionals may still want technical SEO, link building, and keyword research tools.
But for most generalist marketers, HubSpot CMS has all of the foundational content publishing, integration, and analytics tools needed for a successful migration or redesign project.
All screenshots taken by author, September 2020