The Basic HubPages Rules - What You Really Need to Know

Making Money on HubPages - the Nitty Gritty

The first question on many people's minds will be money. Whether you make money from HubPages depends entirely on one thing - whether you can get an Adsense account.

If you're a good writer and write magazine-quality Hubs, you have an excellent chance of getting an Adsense account, so don't let that hurdle discourage you (and read on to see how to ensure you're accepted). However if you know you can't get an Adsense account, or if you've ever been banned or disqualified from having one, then stop reading now - HubPages will not work for you.

That's because you need Adsense membership to qualify for ALL other aspects of the HP Earnings Program, including the HP Ads Program, eBay and the HP version of Amazon. Without access to that program, the chances of making any money at all on HubPages are remote.


Adsense - How to Apply

If you already have an Adsense account, you can use it on HubPages (in fact you must, because an individual can have only one Adsense account). If you don't have one, you'll need to apply, but Adsense will want proof that you're committed to writing online. If you've got an existing blog or website or Youtube account, you can apply using that as your evidence.

If you don't have a blog, then Adsense won't even look at your application until you've been a Hubber for at least a month, and have at least 20 Hubs published. I know the wait is frustrating - but experience has shown that Adsense never gives approval on the basis of brand new, untested Hubs, so be patient!

The Rules You REALLY Need to Know

Like any writing site, HubPages has rules, and it can be confusing to work it all out. The Learning Centre is vast! In a nutshell, though, most of that information is advisory not compulsory. So you can start writing once you've grasped these golden rules:

  1. There's a maximum of one Amazon or eBay product per 100 words of text (so, a 400 word Hub can have 4 products). In reality, you'll be wise to use far less than that, due to the next two rules:
  2. Products MUST be VERY closely related to the topic of your Hub. If they're even slightly off-topic, your Hub may be unpublished. For instance, a sewing machine on a Hub about a sewing project is not sufficiently related, unless you need a specific machine for that project.
  3. The products must be selected with care, not at random. If that's not obvious from your text, then you need to add something in the "description" section of the capsule, to explain why you're recommending that particular product.
  4. You can have only TWO links to the same domain in a Hub. If you have more, you'll get a warning that the Hub is "overly promotional" and it will be unpublished!
  5. Links MUST be very closely related to the topic of your Hub - if you have unrelated links, your Hub may be unpublished. So, no links to your other Hubs on different topics, your profile, social networking links, or your blog (unless it's related to the topic).
  6. Hubs are likely to fail the QAP (Quality Assessment Process) if they're too short. Don't bother publishing anything under 400 words, unless you have a LOT of images and/or videos.
  7. A Hub must be not currently published anywhere else on the internet (see below in the Duplicate Content section for more details).
  8. You must not write about prohibited subjects (based on Google's "Prohibited Content"). HubPages applies these rules more strictly than Google, because Adsense is absolutely critical to the site's earning capacity, and they can't afford to take chances!
  9. Do not use HTML affiliate code, including Zazzle links. Most HTML code includes two or more URL's, so they can trigger rule 4. Instead, extract the URL you need from the HTML code and create your own hyperlink.

Stellar Hubs - guidelines, not rules!
Stellar Hubs - guidelines, not rules! | Source

Rules vs Guidelines - Stellar Hubs

Most of the other "rules" are actually just guidelines - how you lay out a Hub, what headings to use etc etc. It's important to understand that they are NOT rules and you don't need to feel bad if you don't follow them.

The most important guidelines to follow are the "Stellar Hub" guidelines. HubPages has analysed the most successful Hubs and encapsulated their features in the Stellar guidelines. You'll see the the group of check boxes in the top right hand corner when you're making a Hub. As you meet the various criteria, those boxes will be checked - but they are just suggestions.

The thing is, not every subject lends itself to all the features. HubPages is not asking you to artificially inflate your Hub with useless information, just to reach the "Stellar" word count. They don't expect you to include irrelevant videos just to get that box ticked, and they don't insist on a poll if there isn't a relevant question you can ask. The closer your Hub gets to reaching those "Stellar" goals, the higher your HubScore will be - but that's another thing about HubPages. Scores are meaningless.

How to Avoid the Duplicate Content Penalty

HubPages hates duplicate content. When you publish a Hub, an automated dupe content checker looks to see whether the text exists anywhere else. If it does, you get whacked with a duplicate content penalty and your Hub will be unpublished.

The HubPages duplicate checker works by checking Google, and a page doesn't disappear from Google the minute it's deleted from a site. That's because Google isn't instant - you have to wait until Google's robots go back and crawl that site again, and discover the page has gone. When that happens is unpredictable - it could be a few hours or it could be a month.

What does that mean for you?

If you let HubPages transfer your Hubs, they'll take care of that problem for you. If you transfer manually, you'll need to wait for your lenses to disappear from Google before you republish them here. The neatest way to do that is to create the Hubs, and save them unpublished for a week or two before you publish them.

UnFeatured = Invisible

Hubs can be Featured or UnFeatured. It's important to understand what that means, because an UnFeatured Hub, though it's still published, is effectively invisible.

This Hub explains why and how that happens, and how to decide what to do about it.

HubScores and Hubber Scores

You'll notice that every Hub has a score and every Hubber has a Hubber Score on their profile image.

Both scores are, pretty much, meaningless. Scores are not used by HubPages to make ANY decisions about Hubs or Hubbers, except for one - if your HubberScore drops too low, links in your Hubs will become "no follow". That doesn't matter to most people: all it means is that if you're writing a Hub to promote a website or blog, you lose the value of that link. It doesn't hurt the Hub itself.

HubScore is not a reflection of quality. It includes the QAP score and how close you've got to the "stellar Hub" criteria, but there are so many other factors that you can't make any meaningful judgment from it.

HubScores have absolutely NO impact on a Hub's ability to get traffic, or to make money. They are an internal measure, intended to motivate Hubbers (although some of us feel that, because they're impossible to interpret, they do more upsetting than motivating).

Other "Rules"

There are no other rules. You'll see lots of people on the forums offering advice on what you are and aren't allowed to do - but anything they suggest is just their opinion, not a rule! So don't exhaust yourself trying to follow a host of rules that don't really apply!

There are so many more tips I could offer, but there's also only so much a person can absorb at one time - so I'm going to stop there. Joining a new site is a learning curve and you'll learn more gradually as you go along. You'll find more tips about HubPages on the slider on my profile if you're interested.

Good luck and welcome to HubPages!

More by this Author


Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 5 weeks ago from UK

Good tip about saving hubs unpublished for a couple of weeks. Thanks :)

Masooma Riaz profile image

Masooma Riaz 7 weeks ago

Informative! :)

NuIfEm profile image

NuIfEm 4 months ago from Malaysia

The hub is really informative. Thanks for sharing this with us, Marisa (:

emievil profile image

emievil 8 months ago from Philippines

This is a great hub not only for new hubbers but also for returning ones. I visit my hubs from time to time but not on a consistent basis and I'm really out of touch with the guidelines, etc. I'm actually seeing a couple of violations on my hubs, particularly on the Amazon links. I'm off to start cleaning them up and hopefully, I will go back to writing soon. Thanks for this hub Marissa.

Kendra Dobson profile image

Kendra Dobson 8 months ago

Thank you Marisa! I'm new to Hubpages. Looks like you're one to follow! Great Hub!

Jesse Drzal profile image

Jesse Drzal 9 months ago from The United States

Great article! Thank you!

letstalkabouteduc profile image

letstalkabouteduc 9 months ago from Bend, OR

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Marisa. You're right; there's a lot to learn and a lot to absorb. But people like you on Hubpages are so generous to us newbies.

Rota profile image

Rota 10 months ago

This is a very informative hub! I've written for hubpages for a few months now but the mass of information is daunting..hence I havent really got my head around it all! However, this hub clarified a lot for me.

the rawspirit profile image

the rawspirit 13 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Aruba - Carlsbad, CA - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert, AZ

Thank you so much. This hub has greatly helped me to understand how to be a better Hubber. I am new to writing though I joined three years ago. Best to you.

Benny01 profile image

Benny01 15 months ago from Lagos, Nigeria

Its always nice learning new things. Thanks for sharing this insightful article, it's very useful.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home

your tips are useful not only for squidoo but for bubblews writers too. I am moving my post from there to here , need to add more words to hit 700

LouCannon profile image

LouCannon 20 months ago from Wynndel BC Canada

Very useful hub... I wish I had come across it a few months ago when I was making the transition from Squidoo to Hub Pages!

askformore lm profile image

askformore lm 22 months ago

I was transferred to HP from Squidoo, where I haven't been active for a very long time. I believe that I will like HP more, so I will "brush up" some of my lenses, and I will publish new hubs.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

All valid points. Happily, I'm not here at HP for the money, or I fear I would be suicidal. :)

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

This is the page I should have read when I first got into HP. I had been puzzling over those scores and given them more value. You've explained clearly why some hubs with more traffic are scored lower. I had been deleting some hubs going down to the 60s even when they were getting traffic. Thank you.

KathyMcGraw2 profile image

KathyMcGraw2 24 months ago from California

Pretty good info here. I like the no nonsense way you say things, and appreciate you putting this together. Even though many of us ex-lensmasters read the rules, and figured out some things, it's good to go back and read when our minds are a bit clearer :)

Wednesday-Elf profile image

Wednesday-Elf 2 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

Just found this page. Thanks for the Squidoo to HubPages welcome and the 'overview' you've presented so clearly. I am really liking my new 'home' and especially the 'neighbors' like you. I feel right at home.

ThatMommyBlogger profile image

ThatMommyBlogger 2 years ago from The Midwest

I'm still getting used to all of the changes! I have a second HP account, and that's the one that was imported from Squidoo. I've got a lot of work to do.

PaynesGrey 2 years ago

Thank you for the info, you have made things much clearer for me.

DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

This was a great refresher. Thanks!

GiftsByDiana profile image

GiftsByDiana 2 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

Great stuff - thank you !

I am still trying to get my old Amazon account going again, but it is attached to an old email that I can't get into so I'm working with them to figure it out.

I can't remember if I ever got Adsense before or not - yikes - what a mess - LOL

Shades-of-truth profile image

Shades-of-truth 2 years ago from USA

Thank you, Marisa. You put a few things into "layman's terms" for me. The explanation about the ratio between Amazon products and the number of words of text was especially helpful. Bookmarked this for future reference!

Country-Sunshine profile image

Country-Sunshine 2 years ago from Texas

This article has so much good information, and it answers a lot of my questions. Thank you! Bookmarked for future reference.

Deborah Swain profile image

Deborah Swain 2 years ago from Rome, Italy

Thanks for taking the time to write this guide. Am enjoying this new experience so far...and I love the WYSIWYG editor - makes updating our old lenses so easy.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

The H in the black circle means it's Featured. "Featured' just means it's published, really. If it's unFeatured it's published but it might as well not be - because it's invisible to everyone including the search engines.

Craftypicks profile image

Craftypicks 2 years ago from Las Vegas

OH! That explains why my personal adsense says I earned a few bucks and my Hub account says MUCH MUCH more. I get it now.

MartieG profile image

MartieG 2 years ago from Jersey Shore

Thank you Marisa - at this stage of the game I am reading everything I can about HubPages-this was a big help!

favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

Making sure to pin this so I can keep up with all the new questions. If a page has the big H in the black circle it's published, but not necessarily featured? Yes or No? How do we make sure they get featured?

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Your Adsense income is paid directly into your regular Adsense account. However, if you're enrolled in the HP Ads program, you will earn little or nothing from Adsense because there will be only one direct Adsense ad on each Hub. The bulk of your income will be earned from HP Ads, which are paid directly to you by HubPages. Most people find that HP Ads pay a LOT better than Adsense alone, but you can switch off HP Ads for a month or so at any time (which will cause Adsense ads to display throughout each Hub), and test which one works best for you.

junecampbell profile image

junecampbell 2 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

My Squidoo lenses transferred yesterday. I am busy working on tidying them up for HubPages. I am pleasantly surprised at how nicely the transfer worked. There is not nearly as much cleaning up to do as I had anticipated.

I have a question re Adsense. I have had an account with Adsense for years. Does HubPages pay me directly for Adsense traffic (when the threshold is reached), or does it show up in my regular Adsense account? Thanks.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Provided you have ONE Featured lens, the whole account will transfer over. As for the lens disappearing - it's hard to tell, it may be an hour or it may be a month! You can check by pasting the first line of the lens into Google Search - if your lens doesn't come up in the results, it's gone!

allpurposeguru profile image

allpurposeguru 2 years ago from North Carolina

I have very little content at Squidoo and haven't visited there for a while. Will most of that content get transferred? Or considerably less? You say that if a lens is not transferred, I can't post it here until it disappears from Google. That's a good warning, as I planned to do that pretty quickly. How long does it take for something to disappear from Google? And how will I know?

ecogranny profile image

ecogranny 2 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this capsulization. I wish I'd seen it two weeks ago. It very nicely reinforces what I've learned so far about writing for HubPages and reminds me of some of the bits I'd already forgotten. Most useful!

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Even though I've been a HubPages writer for awhile, I'm still a beginner in that I still have lots to learn -- and to re-learn, because I forget easily. This hub is quite helpful to me; it has taught me some information that I had not known or had misunderstood.

OhMe profile image

OhMe 2 years ago from Pendleton, SC

Thank you for this very useful information. I am looking forward to learning the ropes at Hubs and this will surely help.

Brite-Ideas profile image

Brite-Ideas 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

very useful page, thank you - especially on hub scores, which is what I was looking for!

Linda BookLady profile image

Linda BookLady 2 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

Thanks for the pointers... I very much am looking forward to my time here at HubPages!!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

@Glenn, Relache did a good job with her introductory Hub, but it was more of a "big picture" intro and I felt there was a need for a practical guide as well. It's hard to cover just enough to get started and not overwhelm people!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

No Marie, that has never changed. Unfortunately there is a perception amongst Hubbers that ad capsules are somehow "bad", and that while HubPages allows one capsules per 50 words, we mustn't trust that they know what they're doing. The key with both Amazon and eBay is RELEVANCE - if a product isn't directly relevant to your topic, it's not only a waste of space but it's un unrelated link and could attract a penalty. So quite often, in an informational Hub, you'll be able to find only one or two relevant products - so one or two capsules is the right number in that case.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

I used to have some lenses on Squidoo but I closed that account a long time ago. I chose to concentrate my efforts on HubPages and I'm glad I did.

So even though I don't need this information I was curious to see how you wrote it Marisa. You did a great job and this is very useful for all those who are coming here from Squidoo.

We all look forward to welcoming transformed Squids as Hubbers.

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

Marisa Wright, I found what I am looking for as far as being able to easily find new followers. The notification "Arachnea, here are your recent Notifications from HubPages!" which arrives in my email everyday, has a section of new followers. Perfect. I don't have to scroll through the already existing followers to find the ones I've not followed. I just visit their page, thank them for the follow and follow back if I've not already done so. Again, love this thread as your generous help is so much appreciated. :D

TreasuresBrenda profile image

TreasuresBrenda 2 years ago from Canada

Thanks for a helpful hub. A lot of people are going to stress over those numbers and your explanation will prove helpful.

Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Thank you, Marissa, for posting this. I've never written at Squidoo, but payout has eluded me for nearly two years of writing at Hub Pages here. I didn't know one Amazon capsule per 50 words was acceptable, for example. I thought two or three ad capsules, either Amazon, eBay or combination, was the recommendation. I guess I need to go back to the Learning Center, as it seems there have been some changes.

Voted useful.

ndasika profile image

ndasika 2 years ago from NAIROBI

Thanks Marisa, at least that is comforting.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Ndasika, I understand the Amazon capsules on Squidoo have a better setup than HubPages and that HP is considering a revamp of theirs now.

ndasika profile image

ndasika 2 years ago from NAIROBI

This is good hub for people who will be writing at HP and they have been writing at Squidoo. The two sites have many differences, with Squidoo, I found that selling at Amazon was working and I used to sell much more at Amazon, but the same cannot be said about HP, where most of my income come from Adsense. Maybe its only me and I would like to hear from other hubbers about the same. This is great Hub for welcome people from Squidoo.

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

Thanks, like I said, I've found that. The new follows don't always seem to be there even when not in edit mode. You'd be surprised how good I can be about visiting various hubs even with a large number that I follow. I always learn something knew when I read the articles by fellow lensmasters and the same will be true for fellow hubbers, I'm sure.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

@Arachnea, go and look at your profile (not in edit mode). You'll see a button, "followers". While we're on the subject, though, be aware that following on HP is no about being friends - it's about signing up to read the Hubs of people you follow. So in practice, you're unlikely to be able to PROPERLY follow more than a handful of people. If you're a good writer, it's normal to have far more followers than you follow yourself.

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

Another question. Is there an easier way to track new followers? I've found the follows in my account tab but it only seems to include hubbers or hubs etc I'm following. I've discovered that for some reason new follows (of people I haven't followed already) aren't making it to the followers tab on my profile (where the fan mail, following and activity tabs are). I have resorted to going through the email notifications, but that's rather time consuming. As for wiki, I use only those entries with a list of references below the article. I have found much of the information I use from articles there to be supported elsewhere in my research.

Faye Rutledge profile image

Faye Rutledge 2 years ago from Concord VA

Thanks so much for this information. Have bookmarked it.

SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

Definitely lots of information to absorb regarding the move, but this was very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

viryabo profile image

viryabo 2 years ago

I agree with you, and i'm glad i took the decision to allow the HP transfer. A couple of lenses out of the lot are doing really well, and i think (hope) that they may do even better here. It's good to keep their reputation going :)

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

@viryabo, there are very strong reasons for letting HubPages transfer your lenses, IF they have been doing well on Squidoo. However if they weren't getting much traffic and you have only a few lenses, you're probably better off deleting them from Squidoo and moving them to your existing account.

viryabo profile image

viryabo 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this article Marisa.

I got started with my transfer today but my main concern is that i now have more than 2 accounts and it's such a chore keeping up with even one of them.

Plus i may have to build this new one up, since i'm only transferring a few lenses, but i barely have the time and inspiration to write/publish new hubs these days.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

@Arachnea - yes the two link rule does apply to images as well. You can get around that rule in a couple of ways. The easiest is not to put the source URL in the image capsule - just state the source, then add a text capsule at the end of your Hub called "Photo credits" and put all the links there. You may get a warning about having a list of links together - just ignore it, I have no idea why they worry about that and you don't get penalised for it (I do it all the time for both photo credits and "further reading" and it's never done my Hubs any harm!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

@Arachnea, sorry I missed the other part of your question! There is a whitelist of domains to which you can link multiple times: Wikipedia, Wikimedia and Flickr. However multiple links to Wikipedia are frowned on because it can make it look as though you haven't done your research properly - if you had, you'd probably have found a more authoritative source than that!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

@Arachnea, there WAS a rule saying you couldn't link to the same domain across multiple Hubs - it no longer applies. Now you could include the same link in every single Hub if you wanted: the only rule is that the link MUST be to a site which is relevant to the subject of your Hub.

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

Another thing I just found out is that the links included in the images are also counted toward the two domain link rule. In each image I include the source for the original image (I thought that's what was needed there). I use mostly images from morguefile and them alter them per their use requirements. I guess I'll have to go through and delete those as well?

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

Ooops! The edit option doesn't work well for some reason. Probably the browser. Anyway, I use Wiki a lot for links to more information. I suspect that will also be a problem here I suspect with the two link rule, unless of course it's on a list of domains which don't trigger the flag.

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

I have a question regarding the duplicate domain rule. In my recipes I usually include a link to a conversion chart for metric measures. I recall reading somewhere that the "overly promotional" flag will wave if you use the same link in more than one hub. I believe it read something like if you only use a link to the same domain once in a hub but do so in multiple lenses that will trigger the flag. Is there a white list of domains for which that isn't true?

Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili Bisson 2 years ago from Canada

Hi Marisa and thank you...I have been on HP for two years and I always learn something from you :-)

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

I've gotten a few hubs (dang! i keep writing lens) posted. They've passed muster, fortunately. Where's a good place to post a request for feedback on a hub?

LisaAuch1 profile image

LisaAuch1 2 years ago from Scotland

There is so much to do, and it makes it all the easier having solid information directly from successful hubbers. Thank you for your time in putting this together for us all. Your right there is SO much to absorb so its appreciated the breakdown , But more importantly, a Huge thank you all for making us feel very welcome .

AcornOakForest profile image

AcornOakForest 2 years ago from Western Wisconsin

Thanks for the tips! There are a lot of changes to absorb right now and I like how straightforward your points were. It's disappointing that AdSense can take so long to get approved, but it will be good in the end.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Thanks all, glad you found it helpful. @DenmarkGuy - no, Google won't see having two accounts as spammy. I have only one, but there are several successful Hubbers with two or more.

Donna Cook 2 years ago

Thanks for all the info! I have some lens aimed at promoting my Etsy shop so I'll drop the outbound links on them to 2 right now!

Merrci profile image

Merrci 2 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

Thanks for sharing this. It has a lot of helpful info!

ILoveLegosToo profile image

ILoveLegosToo 2 years ago from Naperville, IL

I've been looking for some straight up advice on the move from Squidoo to Hubpages. I've just been looking at other people's articles for the most part, I need to get over to the learning center and poke around there too.

Brite-Ideas profile image

Brite-Ideas 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

terrific information here, thank you

Ibidii 2 years ago

Thank you Marisa for this great information! I am sure it answers a lot of questions!

Denmarkguy profile image

Denmarkguy 2 years ago from Port Townsend

Useful stuff! As someone who has been both places for years and years, one of the things I found myself researching was that not only CAN you have two HubPages accounts... when your Squidoo lenses are moved to HubPages you WILL have two accounts.

I'm a little concerned that Adsense will look at my having two HubPages domains as "potentially spammy." I've worked hard to KEEP that account and be completely "above board" for 7+ years and I'd hate for its undoing to be the result of this merger...

UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

THIS IS MUST READING for anyone joining HubPages-- as well as veteran Hubbers. I've been a Hubber for three years and learned from it. Great job, Marisa. Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

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