Hello jsquirrel. A great question. More than likely those of more experience than I have that answer. Seeking the answer there at the 'Answer section of Hubpages' is a great method of discovery.
From my experience and using inference when I publish an article I notice readership before the hub is even finished at times. My deductive reasoning is someone at the Leadership or Corporate level is reading it, whether an employee or volunteer or I have no idea, actually.
So, here is my take as novice as it is. the first question in a general statement is 'Yes.' However the exposure of that article is limited to indexing within Hubpages the entity and the hubber's facilitating marketing tools - Social Media outlets.
Once the wizardry of established programming, which constantly is tweaked seeking optimum performance of articles in general for market share, takes hold with categorizing potential, e.g. a Featured Hub, then Google Takes over. Again, it is programming, indexing, categorizing the article potential for marketability within a determined market place by criteria(s).
The hubber has power within that scope with the choice of title, opening imagery, and where a choice places it in a search engine stratum - the initial long tail connections of categorizes the interest of the article. That is done with the Topic Selection Process. A choice is made of Topic.
Then additional choices are drilled down toward a specific for the market place. Those choices will guide those bots and programming niches and tweaks to seek the optimized opportunities for that initial progamming inputs. Those programming choices are of the hubber, not hubpages or Google.
Sometimes just a change of title or imagery or that initial programming prompts made by the hubber may lead to more potential market place opportunities.
It is good to wonder jsquirrel. That leads as this hubber likes to say to pondering. Then comes researching through asking questions. Finally answers are sought through some means - one on one, group, organizations, enterprises, educational assistance and guidance, and even government agencies too. Yet it all bears down on the individual, who may spend a few hours at their laptop, PC, or even smartphone or android. (Odd names, eh?) seeking through independent research those answers to questions
What is cool is we have the opportunity to market those answers sought through hubpages. It may be how to install a faucet easily 1 - 2 - 3, using metaphors in prose