This is exactly what I did in 1988. I'm sure the early date has helped me as well as the fact I have continued to add to it with new information.
I suspect it might be some sort of authority/trusted site as pretty much any article ranks in the top 10 for related search phrases (often top 5) and even on the overall topic which is big (not my specific niche but the term for the hobby) the homepage ranks #5 with the one word search. This is amazing to me and the only reason I can think of is that I am getting some sort of authority/trusted credit. I'm always first if the key nich word is added. Nothing I do seems to change the ranking much.
Now this is just speculation but I have to wonder if the fact that I link to related information on other sites in every article helps. The articles are set up so students or any visitor can go learn more. I know there are questions about outgoing links but I have to think their might be something to the idea that if they go to quality sites it will help.