Hubspot Review – SEO Optimization

IMPORTANT: Please read my new Hubspot Review, published in July 2010. The review below is outdated.

Hubspot is the market leader in the category they invented: inbound marketing systems. They should be pleased with this link, because they teach their customers to ask other websites for links to their website, using the term that potential customers type into Google. Hubspot offers a combination of a hosted software platform and best practices. The software shows how to optimize your site for certain keywords, and how you fare against your competitor’s websites. The best practices include tips, such as the one above: Google ranks your site higher for keywords that others use to link to your site.

hubspot inbound marketing system for seoWhat I like about their offering is the simple packaging: you have the small company package for $250 per month, and the larger company offering for $500 (called ‘Marketer’). As a small company you have to use their content management system, and as a larger company you will use your own website (you just include some tags in the source of your site). Also, this ‘Marketer’ version includes integration with for closed loop reporting: in other words, it will show which Google keywords result in how much revenue.

Their philosophy is that search engine optimization is a better investment than pay-per-click advertising: over time you will only get more traffic, and it doesn’t cost you anything. With PPC, whenever you want more traffic you have to pay more. And if a new competitor enters the market, they will drive up the price for the keywords that used to be cheap. However, PPC is great to get attention for time-sensitive events. Because SEO takes time: if you have a seminar in two weeks, PPC can start promotion right away, but by the time you have a good organic search engine ranking, the event has already taken place. But for less time-sensitive information, SEO will definitely pay off.

I’m fairly sure that Hubspot provides tremendous value to companies who’ve never optimized their site. For my company I’ve already applied several SEO best practices, and we have a decent page rank (6). So for us the benefits are less clear. However, hiring a company to outsource SEO optimization is even more expensive, so I may give Hubspot a try: their contract is month-to-month, so if it doesn’t work I can cancel at any time. I’ll also look at some other vendors such as Raven SEO and Spyfu, because I don’t know how those compare. If you know more about Raven or Spyfu, please leave a comment.

IMPORTANT: Please read my new Hubspot Review, published in July 2010. The review above is outdated.

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72 thoughts on “Hubspot Review – SEO Optimization

  1. Adam Blitzer

    HubSpot provides excellent thought leadership in B2B marketing and takes a lot of the mysticism out of SEO and social media, particularly for SMBs. I really like that they focus on SMBs (and even very small businesses) with their pricing, contracts, and product management.

  2. Jonny

    Never in my life have I encountered a company as poor and overwhelmingly un-supportive as Hubspot. their CMS is so bad I can’t even put it in words, no design flexibility whatsoever , poor WYSIWYG editor brought straight from the 90s’ and generates tons of junk code, and I’m not even going to start about compliance with W3C. their support team is lousy to say the least, no understanding whatsoever in web technology and standards. and the marketing tools they are so proudly giving for heaps of money can be acquired for free if you go to Google analytics. I was totally mislead by their sales guy and unfortunately my company has decided that too much work and effort have been already put into them so we are sticking with them. The first chance I get I’ll move us to Joomla or similar and just use the great tools Google gives out for free. in four words: DON’T WORK WITH HUBSPOT!!!

    1. AntiSpot

      You are right. This post is not outdated, Hubspot still sucks. The ide has lot of bugs, support laks, they became expertises using “That’s your problem” things. But notice, if you google “Hubspot sucks” you will find a lot of posts writen by them, and simply points to “Hubspot is great”. Hubspot is fake, it really sucks. Do inbound market, but with someone that cares about your customers.

    2. Ihabul tirrain

      Finally I found someone that really knows hubspot. The worst support (and product) ever. Every time you open a call from the support, they say the problem is with you. No matter what you say, you may even prove to them that the problem is with their lazy editor, they always say everything is working fine and the problem is with your computer, your browser, your network. WYSIWYG? If you like your code disapearing without notice, you will love hubspot.

      Hubspot has a good MARKETING strategy (for them only), with a very poor product and the worst technical support ever.

      हम इसके लायक नहीं है

  3. Jep Castelein Post author

    I’ve tried to contact Jonny to get more background on this review, but couldn’t reach him. It seems he’s not impressed with the CMS, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare a basic CMS with a full-fledged CMS like Joomla. Also, I’m curious to learn which free Google tools he refers to.

    Jonny, if you’re reading this, please elaborate! Thanks

  4. Anonymous

    Jep, I am a marketing manager looking into SEO products and came across your site in review of Hubspot. A word of constructive criticism if I may. You may want to actually try a product before giving a review of it. That is if you want to be taken seriously. Cheers and best of luck.

  5. Jep Castelein Post author

    Hi Anonymous, it is clear that you’re a demanding consumer. But I’m sure you will put up your own Hubspot review shortly. Feel free to link to it in a comment on this article. Thanks.

  6. Adam Coburn

    Hubspot is undoubtedly a great system. The problem I had was that fact that as a marketing person who needs the tools to use for several clients, the monthly price and demand of a year upfront pay put too much overhead into providing the service for my clients.

    If you like Hubspot you should give a try. The tools are very similar to hubspot, but not as expensive and a marketing person has the ability to add multiple domains and ‘white label’ brand it

  7. Jep Castelein Post author

    Hi Adam, same for me. If you serve multiple clients as an SEO expert, Hubspot is probably not the right choice. I’m using Raven SEO Tools myself.

    If you’re a small business and you’d like to get more business through your website, Hubspot is a great choice. It’s much more affordable than hiring an SEO agency.

  8. Brad

    Hubspot is a fraud. It is a tool set. All their tools have free counterparts that are better. Their CMS sucks. They are merely a tool – there will be no effect on your bottom line unless you invest tons of hours. Stay away, stay away.

  9. Jep Castelein Post author

    Hi Brad, in my opinion Hubspot is a great tool, but not for everyone. If you’re technology savvy, you may be able to use various free tools and Excel sheets to get comparable results. But if you’re a small business owner who would like to get the word out on the Internet, Hubspot allows you to focus on the writing of compelling content, without having to worry about technology. I agree that it DOES take a lot of time to write compelling content, the tool is not going to do that for you.

  10. Craig

    Thanks for the great post. I tried to get a Hubspot account but they require a $500 upfront consulting fee along with $250 a month for a 12 month commitment.

    If you don’t want to make the 12 month commitment they make you use their CMS which kinda locks you in that way and other posts here verify my thoughts on that being a bad idea.

    Overall I am extremely disappointed that they wouldn’t work with me but they are trying to protect their stats of 98.5% retention (which I have to assume is why they lock everyone in). Maybe that is standard but as a part time business I don’t know what next month holds much less next year so a 12 month commitment is too much for me.

    I am looking forward to looking into some of the other tools mentioned on this thread and see if I can find a company that will let me give them my money without a year long commitment.

  11. Jeanne Hopkins

    Responding to @Craig. HubSpot does not require a 12-month commitment for the Small product. What we do ask for – and receive from committed users – is a willingness to use the product. That means writing 3 blog posts each week, building landing pages and forms that help you convert the leads. We have done two ROI studies and both have shown from our customers’ information, that if you use HubSpot, you will get six times the leads in six months.

    I find it interesting that @Craig, @Brad, @Anonymous, and @Jonny all do not leave their last names. Yet, they feel compelled to slam HubSpot. That’s just bad karma IMHO.

    BTW, Jonny posted the same “comment” in this blog to several other blogs on the same day last year.

    Our customer retention rate is based on the fact that we don’t sell to everyone, only those customers that we will retain. We could sell to many more people that “think” they would like our product, but they don’t have the commitment to making their Inbound Marketing program work.

    We appreciate honest feedback and welcome constructive criticism because it makes us a better company.

  12. Jep Castelein Post author

    Jeanne, thank you for giving Hubspot’s feedback.

    I’m not happy with anonymous comments either. I usually email people who leave an email to thank them for their contribution, but their email addresses didn’t work either.

    I also share the opinion that you need to actively use the system to get benefits out of it. Hubspot’s solution is a much about best practices as it is about technology.

  13. Craig Frazier

    Responding to @Jeanne and @Jep (with my full name this time :)).

    I don’t think my comment was a slam to Hubspot but merely my honest perspective which is what this message board should be for. In reality I have ALOT of respect for Hubspot and was ready to sign up for an account but was told that I had to either:

    a) pay $10 per page to convert my whole site over to the Hubspot CMS (about $900 for me) in which case there is no monthly contract (but you have all my pages and I just paid $900) so I am still locked in.


    b) I could keep my site hosted where it is and make my own changes to my pages based on the Hubspot recommendations but I would have to sign a 12 month contract as part of the “Angel Program”.

    If what I was told was incorrect I would love to know about it. The assumption that I am not willing to “put in the work” is untrue.

    I am actively seeking a program to manage my inbound marketing and thought I had struck gold with Hubspot. You can imagine my disappointment (and frustration) when I found out that the retention rate that had been thrown at me in the sales process was due to the way in which customers are retained IMHO.

    I have checked out the toolsets and services of RhinoSEO as well as RavenSEO over the last week or so based on recommendations from others on this board (thanks guys). I have been generally impressed with both of them as solid competitors of the Hubspot platform – with their own differences and specialties of course.

    I am not here to run down Hubspot because I respect the tool but in the way of constructive feedback Hubspot should lose the CMS requirements and 12 month contracts, earn my business from month to month with great customer service, and be more small business friendly.

    BTW – I think my e-mail address has been acting up lately so anyone on this board can reach me at cfrazier77 (at) if my signature link doesn’t work.

  14. Jep Castelein Post author

    Craig, sorry I was not referring to you when I mentioned “anonymous posters”. I saw you linked to your real website. Your concerns are valid. As a small business owner myself I don’t like lock-in either. On the flip side, SEO requires at least a 6 month investment to see results, so – whichever solution you choose – you should commit for 6 months anyhow.

    I don’t know the details on Hubspot’s pricing, but I’ll ask Jeanne for clarification.

    If you are fairly technically savvy, you may be better off with RhinoSEO or RavenSEO and your own CMS. You could use Google Alerts or something similar if you want social media monitoring (not as good as Hubspot’s, but you get the basics). To learn more about SEO, you can buy a book and/or subscribe to

    If you’d rather have 1 place to do it all (CMS, SEO, Social Media monitoring, SEO best practices), than I can definitely recommend Hubspot. Last week I talked to a friend of mine who had his site migrated to Hubspot last year and is very happy with it (

  15. Kirsten Knipp

    @Craig & @Jep, thanks for keeping the dialogue going.

    Pricing wise, Craig you are pretty accurate in your description. For small businesses, we offer:

    1) a monthly option for $250/month with NO annual contract on our CMS. Typically, most of our Small customers are migrating a smaller number of pages often in the 15-20 page range. Note that, aside from the initial investment, using HubSpot’s CMS doesn’t tie you into our systems. Any content you create as a customer is yours and you can take it all with you should you choose to leave. Something to consider might be a reduced number of pages if some of those 90 don’t have much SEO value at this time.

    But why the CMS requirement? At the core of Inbound Marketing is the ability to create and update your remarkable content with speed and ease. The majority of our small business customers are not code-savvy and really need a tool to make managing their content ultra-simple. If they are locked into a designer or using HTML – they usually cannot do inbound marketing effectively. There is a sub-set of customers who are tech savvy enough to use a non-WYSIWYG CMS and for those, the ‘angel’ experiment is being discussed.

    2) Angel Experiment (limited availability). HubSpot takes feedback really seriously, hence the existence of the Angel experiment. This subset of tech savvy small business owners who CAN quickly and independently update their existing websites have told us that they want HubSpot. Which is why we are experimenting with a CMS-less option. But, as you can imagine, it is in both our best interests to ensure that every customer has the opportunity to become successful. Without the automated CMS integration into the remainder of the HubSpot tools, there are more variables in play. HubSpot customers typically see phenomenal results in the first six months, but results will vary. (see our ROI study: 2300+ customers agree. As a growing business, we too take measured risks and this experiment is one of them.

    Whatever path you decide to take Craig – we wish you great luck with your inbound marketing efforts!


  16. Craig Frazier

    Thanks for the comments and feedback Kirsten.

    I decided to go with RhinoSEO as they have a services based offering where they do the link building and offer support for landing pages and overall SEO strategy so I can focus on writing content and watching my rankings / sales. There is no monthly contract and they actually told me they want to earn my business from month to month which was music to my ears.

    I called a reference of theirs that had been using RhinoSEO for awhile and had seen results and he couldn’t say enough good things about them so I was sold.

    To your point Jep – I definitely agree it takes time to see results but it is nice to have the option to get out if you realize that the support / and or service isn’t what was sold. I believe Hubspot to be a great company so I doubt that would be an issue but unfortunately it was a dealbreaker for me as a small business.

    At the end of the day all three companies (RhinoSEO, Hubspot and RavenSEO) really have different specialties but they all have free trials so I recommend getting a trial and see which one fits.

  17. Rodney McCabe

    I have a client that uses Joomla AND HubSpot and I think its great because both systems have their advantages. Landing pages are hosted on HubSpot allowing the sales and marketing staff to manage the sales funnel, while content staff can use the CMS. Through DNS it all looks seamless so there aren’t any issues/concerns.

    I have also created a Community Builder plugin that allows registration information to transfer as a lead in HubSpot when someone registers in Joomla.

    The plugin is FREE on my site ( Installation and download link can be found at

    Bottom line is that these are all tools at your disposal. Through integrating them and leveraging the strengths of both systems, your business stands to have a far Superior system!

  18. Jep Castelein Post author

    Rodney, thanks for sharing your experiences. I think passing on Joomla registrations to Hubspot is a great feature: in the past I’ve worked on a similar think for Drupal and another Marketing Automation system. That was lots of work, so thank you for making this plug-in available for free.

  19. Adam Coburn

    @Craig, thanks for the kind words about RhinoSEO. We try to do the best by all of our clients!

    I do believe that the services combined with the DIY software makes us stand out from any competition out there right now. Not many people offering both in conjunction.

    We find that even though the tools help with the research part of SEO, there is still the true work factor that many small businesses cannot find the time to do.

    This is not true for all of our accounts, but that is why we offer different packages.

    As far as being locked in with contracts, we just take the approach as if it was us. It’s not about the money or the sale. If I don’t like the service, you should not be obligated to continue with it. We all hate phone contracts enough as it is. We don’t want to be one of those guys.

    Thanks again! This post has sent us a ton of leads.

  20. Kirsten Knipp

    @Rodney, Thanks for sharing your experience & the plug-in! I see that it is already posted in HubSpot’s customer forums within – it is great that you are helping support the community so others continue to get value.

    @Jep et al, I wanted to point out one other set of services & offerings that HubSpot recently created to help customers who don’t have the time to do all their own inbound marketing. We’ve published a list of partners who do everything from a full “Do HubSpot for Me” engagement through to smaller items like a few blog posts, CTAs or even lead nurturing tactics. What is unique is that we share the customer success statistics of the people they help so that there is a totally transparent marketplace.

    FYI – even non-HubSpot customers are welcome to use the services marketplace to engage folks who know how to do Inbound Marketing. Feel free to check it out:

  21. Will Johnston

    Wow, I’m so glad I found this discussion. I was about to sign up for hubspot and just couldn’t get myself to do it. I definitely need something like what they offer but have no need for their CMS and don’t want to be locked into a one year contract. I also don’t like to have to pay for consulting unless I specifically need it. I think there is a savvy set of customers that hubspot would do well to address. I guess I’ll give Rhino a shot, although the fact that they have no ‘About Us’ page and their UI is so weak, is a turn-off. But hey, at the end of the day duct-tape and a straigh razor aren’t pretty but great tools.

  22. Chris McCarty

    Great thread Jep.

    I have been speaking with Hubspot and am thinking of using their services so the conversations here have been very helpful.

    It looks like their fee’s have increased dramatically in the last year, but their product must have come a long way from the time of your original post. After reading all of the reviews, unfortunately , I’m a bit more confused than I was before coming here, but I’m definitely going to look into RhinoSEO.

    Jep, could you please let me know what the main differences are between Hubspot and RhinoSEO? I’m fairly tech savvy and have the time to create content for my company, I just want to go with the best product.


  23. Jennifer Melwani

    This was a very helpful post and discussion. We are considering Hubspot, but will definitely look into the other products mentioned. Does anyone have experience with Kutenda ( I saw a demo and was interested in them, but they are a fairly young company and do require you to use their CMS as well. If anyone has any knowledge of them, I would appreciate any insight you can provide.

  24. Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

    I ran across this thread regarding Hubspot and felt quite compelled to add my thoughts here.

    About 15 months ago I was a small business owner who was in trouble. I knew consumers were using the net more and more to find content/answers/businesses and I also knew that my website stunk. My problem was that I didn’t understand SEO, I didn’t get Content Marketing, had no idea how to start a blog, and didn’t know web design, code, etc.

    Enter Hubspot….As soon as I saw their site I knew I was home. It was obvious they cared about empowerment through education. I devoured their articles, videos, webinars, etc. It was awesome and I could see the light quickly turning on.

    To make a long story short, we signed on with them and have since become the #1 swimming pool website in the country in terms of traffic. The amount of leads we get due to SEO just over 1 year later is unbelievable. We’re spending way, way less on PPC and I’m now able to design all of my site’s pages with their CMS. Our website, is now about 250 pages and I designed every one of them…and I still don’t know almost anything about code.

    The fact that businesses complain about the monthly cost makes me laugh. Frankly, I just don’t get it. I’m saving over $6000 a month right now on organic search, which makes squawking of $250 pretty laughable.

    The reason I’ve concluded Hubspot is the best CMS out there for small businesses like mine is because they offer so much training. They are constantly innovating and updating their CMS. Their forum gives me killer tech support when a question or issue arises.

    When it comes down to it, Hubspot teaches people how to fish versus just giving them a fish, which is pretty freaking powerful in my book. All I needed was for someone to provide me with the knowledge and tools, and I knew I could make it work from there….which it did.

    When people talk about how Hubspot doesn’t work what they are really saying is that they weren’t serious enough about content marketing. They didn’t want to invest the time. They wanted everything just to happen without the effort. Such expectations are silly, especially when it comes to SEO….or business and life in general for that matter.

    You might ask why I’m so passionate about HS considering I don’t work for them and I’d simply answer by saying they’ve changed my life. They’ve changed my businesses. If I had not found them just over a year ago my company may not have survived the 2008/2009 economic disaster. These have been tough times for pool companies and with the money we’ve saved in advertising, combined with the crazy lead generation we now have, it’s been simply a Godsend.

    Finally, with everything that I’ve learned during this time having impacted me so much, I started a small business marketing/sales blog that talks about my story with Hubspot. If you want to further read my thoughts on their company, just google ‘The Sales Lion’…(….I hope everyone who is considering Hubspot found this helpful and feel free to email me with questions.

    Marcus Sheridan

  25. Jep Castelein Post author

    Hi Marcus, that’s a great testimonial, thanks. Good point that you need to invest enough time in content creation to make the an inbound marketing strategy really pay off.

  26. Zadees

    One thing that I like about hubspot is the free website grader they offer which allows me to keep track of what links I’m getting. They offer it at (its sponsored by hubspot) and it shows you all of the inbound links you have as well as bookmarks and your blog. Pretty neat little piece of software that can be used for informational purposes. There is a LOT of data on there that is useless to most people,so don’t get overwhelmed with everything on there, just use the data you need.

  27. Carol Johnson

    Since we migrated our site to HubSpot late last year, we’ve had an over 200% increase in leads. I have found their support response to be quick and easy to understand. The training was instrumental for approaching our website with a specific strategy aimed at attracting potential clients. Prior to HubSpot, our strategy was weak. I can’t say enough good things about them. I highly recommend HubSpot.

  28. Pingback: Hubspot Review -LeadSloth | LeadSloth on Marketing Automation

  29. Julia M Lindsey

    We are looking into Hubspot for out website. Or statisties are not bad for our industry but we have lots of room for improvement. We rarely get visitors from a google search. Most are from social networking and commenting on other blogs. I am not sure how much it will help to convert.

    I have used wordpress and currently I use squarespace for my content management. Both have their pros and cons. Has anyone compared the content management systems. Are their similar features. I have looked at a few of the sites using hubspot and the look and feel seems similiar.

  30. Jody Urquhart

    I hired Hubspot a week and a half ago and so far my emails have bounced and my website is completely down. I have lost alot of business as a result, not to mention the hassles we have had with our customer communications.

    This has not been a smooth transition at all.

  31. Gary

    I was considering Hubspot seriously and have read ALOT Of bad reviews… more bad than good. I’m looking to resell SEO for my business. I’m pretty disappointed to see all the bad reviews, now I’m not sure where to go.

  32. Jim

    Hubspot is for small businesses owners….. really says who? How can a small business afford $18,000 a year or even $9,000. Even if they weren’t tech savy they can probably hire someone for less than $1000 to build a wordpress blog and install Google analytics be good to go. Hubspot doesnt offer anything worthy more than that. Hubspot, has some very aggressive and snake oil salesmen who prey on ignorance and they seem to succeed. Use common sense and dont fall for companies who only want your hard earned money.

  33. Dale Sizzini

    Not sure why my comments were deleted? Guess i will have to try again on every single comments section that i can find re: hubspot, just like they do haha.

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    My ecommerce company is dumping HubSpot. We integrated them as part of our ecommerce platform, and we decided we either had all the tools or functionality in place already. The basic package is $3k a year, the middle tier package is $9k a year, and that’s a lot of money for web tools these days. They try and lock you in, and there is constant upsell cold calling from recent college graduates in their Boston call center. You have made up your mind that your love HubSpot, but we decided to terminate our relationship with them. Their Head of Marketing accused us of never having been a customer, that we signed up for their “Free content”, which I did not appreciate. We the HubSpot product a fair shake, and we decided not to move forward with them. Your mileage may vary.


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