Does Quality Really Matter on HubPages?

Introduction

I'm going to start off with a little bit of total transparency! I started on HubPages to make money from home and create backlinks to my other sites. In fact, that's still a factor for me. So, don't think I'm getting self-righteous with what follows. In the short time I've been here, I've learned a lot. I've seen what works well and what doesn't, and I did the research necessary to make sense of why that's the case.

My first hubs here were pretty low-quality. In fact, I ended up unpublishing 4 of them. I'd like to believe nobody will remember those hubs, but I'll tell you that one was insurance related and the other 3 were about home improvement. These were hubs that weren't a whole lot better than the ones we'll be talking about. They weren't terrible, though, and a few of them did have high ratings, but what they didn't have was comments or a decent amount of page views, or anything of real value to offer my readers. I came to realize that not only were these hubs unsuccessful, but they were actually dragging down my traffic and the opportunity to gain new followers. Upon unpublishing them and rebranding my account, I noticed a huge boost in traffic and interest for my hubs.

That experiment taught me something. It taught me that quality mattered and that reputation mattered, and so I began to investigate just how much quality factors in. I'm not ashamed to say that I experimented with a lot of strategies and different focuses on HubPages. That's really the best way to learn, and I did learn. I'd like to share some of what I found to be the case for me, in the hope it might help other authors, especially those who are looking to increase their traffic and income on the site.

Confused About Backlinks?

Find out what backlinks are and discover the common misconceptions and pitfalls. If you want to boost your rankings in Google and drive traffic and earnings, you need to know the basics of backlinks.

Using HubPages for Backlinks

Many people, in the past, have gravitated to sites like HubPages and Squidoo for primarily one purpose: Backlinks. That's not to say that the majority of authors fall into this category, but a quick glance at hubs found using the "hop some hubs" feature, reveals that it is widespread. A dead giveaway of these hubs is that they will always have 2 (or more) external links using anchor text to the same website. These hubs almost never contain pictures or video and consist of around 500 words of very boring text on subjects like insurance or appliances. They often are stuffed full of keywords and have a very low-level of readability.

The thinking among this camp is that the quality of the hubs is irrelevant, so long as they can maintain their Hub Score above 75 to get the dofollow backlinks. Often the attraction to HubPages and other similar sites is the high PageRank that the sites possess. What these guys do not take into account, however, is that the PageRank of the site will not carry over to their hubs. PageRank is calculated per page not per site.

It's a self-defeating strategy, because these hubs will never gain a PageRank high enough to make those links worth even the minimal time you would invest in building them.

Using HubPages for AdSense

Some authors are interested in AdSense and they want to utilize the site to make money. That's totally understandable, but where they can go wrong is building a hub solely around trying to get clicks on their ads, and building them as quickly as possible, with the poorest level of passable quality they can. There's actually some authors who believe producing higher quality hubs makes it less likely for users to click the ads, so they purposely avoid adding images or any links, or any content of real value, with the intention of just bouncing the user onto an ad as quickly as possible.

This strategy is very flawed. Not only will a low quality hub not receive the engagement level that can convert to money-making clicks, readers will bounce from it so quickly that they won't even see those ads to begin with. The back button is a very well-known tool, and people use it almost on instinct as soon as they don't like what they see.

Even if this strategy did work, HubPages would be the wrong place to implement it. Making a "gateway site" that solely acts as a middleman for ads can actually make people money when it's done right. Google doesn't particularly like it, visitors don't like it much, either, and they won't be coming back, but it can get clicks. However, on HubPages, you're not going to receive 100% of your page views, and using this strategy doesn't make sense from even a purely business perspective. The advantage of HubPages is it's platform. If you're not using a publishing strategy that utilizes what the site has to offer (primarily community), you're throwing away your page views for nothing, and you'd be better off on Blogger, if you really don't want to invest in your own domain.

The Negative Impact of Low Quality Hubs

Low quality hubs destroy your brand on HubPages. When I say "brand", I mean your personal reputation with the HubPages community. It makes it clear that you're using the site as a dumping ground for poorly spun, rewritten or just totally unremarkable content that is regurgitated on a thousand other sites across the internet. It gives you a reputation as a spammer, and it guarantees that only other spammers are going to follow you or leave fan mail, and you can bet they won't be reading your hubs or clicking your ads along the way, either.

It also has a negative impact on the entire domain. In fact, not only does it give people a bad impression of the site and it's users, but can impact upon an entire domain. This was the factor involved in the giant plunge in traffic with Google's Panda update, which targeted low quality content by punishing entire sites for the actions of their users. Thankfully, HubPages has introduced subdomains to counter this, which is yet more reason to avoid creating low quality hubs. Google will now be able to downgrade or de-index specific users by targeting their subdomain.

Strategies that Work

HubPages is a social platform. That means that to take advantage of what it offers, and not just try and use it to capture some Google traffic or get a backlinks, you need to engage with others. You also need to produce engaging content.

Focus on building relationships with users on HubPages and providing hubs that are unique, either in their approach or in their purpose. Give people something useful that they will enjoy, and you will slowly build a following that not only reads your hubs when you publish them, but promotes them and adds to the conversations that you begin.

Incorporate graphics and video where appropriate to your hub to avoid it looking like a wall of text and set it apart from the 2 backlinks and 500 words crowd. That's not the camp you want to be in.

You can build valuable, relevant backlinks to your site by producing valuable, relevant hubs. It might take more time and effort, but the payoff is much bigger, over the longterm. You'll also be making something you can be proud of, instead of just dumping some text into a hub and hoping to earn a couple of cents off of it.

AdSense and the HubPages Ad Program are great! Take advantage of them, for sure. You can focus a hub around a product, so long as it's not overly promotional and really adds value. And you'll find you will be much more successful doing this when you've built trust. The same type of techniques that will build trust with the community, will build trust with even a random user who stumbled across your hub through Google.

Get the Guide!

Check out the HubPages GIANT Guide To Getting Traffic And Making Money for a huge hub filled with tips!

Try the Experiment

Quality does matter. If you'd like to prove it for yourself, conduct your own experiment. Go ahead and post a 30 minute unresearched hub about a subject of your choice, and then create a similar one on that same topic, but spend 90 minutes on it, and really make it something to be proud of. Check your results even after a few days, and you will see you're already going to notice more than 3 times the level of engagement with that hub. It's not only more efficient and time-effective to produce a hub of higher quality, it's a lot more profitable, as well.

And this small experiment doesn't take into account the most significant benefit of producing high quality content on a regular basis: you will build a high quality follower base. That is what is going to explode your traffic and your earnings, and give you sustainable passive income for as long as you choose.

Source

Know Your Platform

It's important to know your platform, and how to leverage it for the best results. HubPages isn't going to do all it can for you if you're using it just to get a couple backlinks. If you want quick backlinks, go after some PageRank 3-4 pages (not sites) on blogs or forums.

If AdSense is your thing, but you want to build a low-quality gateway page where people just click an ad and never come back, pay $8 and buy your own domain from NameCheap, then find some inexpensive (or free) hosting services. They do exist. HubPages isn't the place for that strategy.

If you want to make money and gain traffic on HubPages, you need to know what it's strengths are, and you need to capitalize on those. Connect with the community, build your reputation, produce trusted, high quality content and do so regularly and with persistence, and you will earn the traffic and the income you want.

What Do You Think?

Do you believe quality is important to achieving your goals on HubPages?

What advice do you have for building better quality hubs?

More by this Author


Comments 23 comments

Lets Learn profile image

Lets Learn 5 years ago

Good information


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Lets Learn.

Glad you liked it!


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

To be honest, Bud Gallant, I have seen several hubs similar to this one, but there's that old adage that one has "three seconds to catch someone's attention." I could be wrong on that, the thing is, I gave those hubs longer than three seconds but this one kept my attention from the start. Sort of like a "Dare to be Great" speech. Anyway, very interesting. I'm not saying the others weren't useful, they just didn't capture my attention.

As for photos I have hundreds of transparencies that I would like to use. I even bought one of those contraptions to convert to digital but haven't yet taken the time to learn it. I'm sure photos could help.

And would you tell me what a backlink is, as you're referring to it...? And thanks for a really good hub.


.josh. profile image

.josh. 5 years ago

Excellent hub, Bud. Lots of good info here, and you're clearly taking your own advice. Thanks!


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

SubRon,

That's a very big compliment. Thank you! I'm really glad this caught your attention and held it. I've been working on starting off hubs in a way that stands out, so maybe it's paying off for me.

I find adding photos can be a bit time-consuming and tedious initially, to be honest, but I do think it can pay off to offer some visual stimulation. The great thing is, once you add the photos in, they are available to you under "my photos" when you add an image capsule, so you don't need to import or upload again, and that can make a big difference! I bet those transparencies would be great. Finding usable photos online can be a hassle.

Yes, actually I realized shortly after I wrote this that I should have defined those terms. I was planning on making a new hub all about backlinks, but got distracted. The short form is that a backlink is any link that points to your site (or in this case, hub). They come in two varieties: external and internal. If I had a blog and linked to one of my hubs from it, this would be an external backlink because it's a link coming from a different website. A good example of an internal backlink is when you link to one of your hubs from a different hub. That's the same domain (hubpages.com), so it would be considered internal.

Not to confuse the issue anymore than necessary, but there is also an additional factor at play with backlinks. Some are "dofollow" and others "nofollow". Put simply, dofollow backlinks can act as endorsements and raise the search engine's estimation of the value of a site, which results in higher rankings. Nofollow links are said not to have this same effect. I'll put together something a bit more comprehensive on this, because I've been meaning to dispel some misconceptions that I've finally sorted out for myself.

Josh,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, absolutely. I'm a firm believer in doing what works, and I'm focused on the longterm, so I really do aim to produce a higher level of quality now than I was aspiring to when I began. I had some hubs that I really thought of as "tests", where I spent a very minimal amount of effort just to see if they'd actually go anywhere. Thankfully, I've seen in my own statistics a very clear indicator that quality pays off in magnitude.


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

I finished that hub. I think this will really clarify the issue of backlinks:

http://hubpages.com/business/Backlinks-Definition-...


parrster profile image

parrster 5 years ago from Oz

This was really interesting and gave me a better appreciation for what is required in manufacturing a worthy hub. Thanks for the work you put into this.


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

EXCELLENT Bud - loved it - Annie


Temirah profile image

Temirah 5 years ago

Writing for the (hubpages) community because you feel like a member valued of it is a really important point. After all, you don't want to let your followers down or bore the people who have made the effort to hop to your hub.

Great hub.


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

Parrster, Thanks for your comment! I really enjoyed doing this one, and I'm sure I'll update this or create new hubs on this topic as I gather more information. So far I've found focusing on quality really does make a big difference.

Ann, Thanks for the compliment! Glad you enjoyed it!

Temirah, Absolutely right. I think that's often overlooked. If one of your followers takes the time to read your hub and it's something you just put out there to try to get some fast and easy Google hits or something, it does impact upon your reputation. The same with hopping hubs, as you point out. Thanks for your comment!


Jason Oleinik profile image

Jason Oleinik 5 years ago from Richmond, BC, Canada

Useful and straightforward Hub. You sound like you have had some experience with making money online.


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment Jason!

I trifled with making money online for the past 5 years or so, but finally started taking it seriously and putting in effort to really get all the information I could. I've definitely learned a lot, but still have a long way to go. And this industry is not at all a static, so really the learning never stops. It's only recently that most people's focus has shifted from outsourcing and keyword stuffing to actually producing quality work. That is probably in large part to algorithm changes with Google. I think it's a step in the right direction, but who knows where we'll end up down the road.


Jennuhlee profile image

Jennuhlee 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Very interesting hub, with a site like that low quality writing for clicks is to be expected. I don't use this for money like I probably should, but if I did I would absolutely take all of your advice:] I agree it is important to build relationships and keep people interested using a unique layout with real capturing writing. You are such an intelligent writer, always love your hubs:]


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

Jennuhlee,

Thanks so much! Yeah, it's sort of inevitable. Luckily, those people either find they aren't making money with that sort of thing and give up, or realize there's a correlation between time and effort and results, and start making better stuff.

I've been really enjoying your hubs, too. You've been posting some absolutely masterful poetry, that just continues to blow me away and fill me with jealousy and rage... Except for that last part. ;)


Jennuhlee profile image

Jennuhlee 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Lol yes I'm sure I've filled you with rage:]


The Odd Spartan profile image

The Odd Spartan 5 years ago from Hamilton, NJ

up and useful! great hub I will try some of these techniques out.


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

The Odd Spartan, Thank you for your comment. That is great! I'm sure you will do well.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Thanks again for helpful info in a well-done hub. I would like to link this to my milestones hub if you have no objection.

Voted up and useful.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

More great advice here and I have voted up again and tagged as useful!


Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Author

RTalloni, Thank you! That's very nice of you. It'd be an honor for my hub to be linked.

Bard of Ely, Thanks so much!


writeronline 5 years ago

This is a very helpful, very well-presented (imho) piece, Bud. Thanks for posting it - I'll certainly be trying to put what you say into use. TBH, after 4 months on HP, I'm struggling. I believe (and have always believed in my past life as a copywriter) that engaging, well-written work that entertains rather than preaches, yet delivers some insight, or element of uniqueness, is not only the minimum standard to aim for, but, as you say in your piece, also the only standard that can be expected to draw and hold readers, and ultimately, influence earnings.

That's what I've tried to deliver; and, I think I have. Yet, my page views are abysmal, my earnings non-existent.

Go figure....

Anyway, this piece of yours rates up and useful and interesting, from me.

Cheers.


Abby Lysach profile image

Abby Lysach 5 years ago from Singapore

hmm... very interesting... thanks for sharing this information :-)

voted up and useful, really!


tobint44 profile image

tobint44 4 years ago from North Carolina

Great information, as an inspiring writer I don't understand why anyone would want to submit low quality work. I want people to enjoy my writing and create a following of dedicated readership. Your hub directs all of us new hubbers on to the right path.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working