Need Some Goals?

Hubbers frequently ask if the most highly-trafficked Hubs have any attributes in common such as word count, number of photos, or capsule configurations. While we would love to offer the HubPages community a guaranteed formula for creating a hit, the data suggests that there is no perfect formula. But, even though, there are a few trends that we believe are helpful to be aware of when considering goals for your Hubs.

700 - 1250 words, Three Photos, Two Capsules

HubPages’ general purpose recommendation for Hubbers that are interested in writing Hubs that acquire search traffic is that they be 700-1250+ words, include three or more photos and two or more non-revenue capsules. This recommendation is based on generalized search traffic trends we’ve observed in our data, our company’s combined knowledge and experience in this field, and our growing emphasis on in-depth, media rich content.

It’s important to note that some of the HubPages community’s most wildly successful Hubs are over 3,000 words or under 500 words. Some have only one text capsule and no images; some have over a hundred images. There is no specific consequence or penalty associated with failing to meet these guidelines, and your understanding of your content and audience should supercede them. HubPages shares these generalized trends to help you understand how your content compares to them, but only you can decide which goals are appropriate for your content.

Words = Traffic

On average, more words equals more traffic. From a high-level perspective, the number of words in a Hub has a strong (and almost linear) relationship to traffic. The average traffic per 100 words does not change significantly as the content becomes longer.

The graph below illustrates the high level relationship between average traffic and word length. The average length for all Hubs is currently around 500 words long. As you can see, Hubs that are at least 1,250 words long on average receive about 300% more traffic than those with only 500 words.

HubPages has always recommended updating and enhancing your currently published Hubs. Our data suggest that even improving your highest performing Hubs with more content, added media (including video and original or legally used and attributed photos), and other interactive capsules could increase your traffic even more. We recommend taking a look at your highest performing Hubs and seeing what you can do to make them even better.

Delete Unnecessary Words

Today’s online readers frequently scan content first to decide if it’s worth reading more closely. Creating concise, easily-scanned content by removing unnecessary words helps “scanners” become readers.

But wait, didn’t you just say that adding words gets more traffic? Therein lies the rub. It takes substantial knowledge, skill, and a bit of creative inspiration to successfully create content that is both longer and more concise. But the raw data is much more irregular than the nice smooth trend line in the visualization above, indicating that, unsurprisingly, the specific words are more important than their number. Adding fluff is not advisable.

Three or More Photos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and while that might be a slightly inflated number when it comes a correlation with search traffic, we do find that a rich visual experience tends to give a Hub the traction it needs to start gaining traffic.

Why? Here’s our hypothesis.

  • Pictures are shareable. And Pin-worthy. Great photos get Pinned to Pinterest and shared on Facebook. Both Pinterest and Facebook can be valuable sources of initial traffic to your Hubs.
  • People like pictures. Engaging visuals add layers of meaning and context and that words alone cannot, increasing your readers’ engagement with your content (and time on your page).
  • Pictures grab attention. Visitors are busy and distracted, and pictures help you keep their attention on your content.

As well, great photos are a key ingredient to getting your Hub Featured on HubPages, the highest goal being "exceptionally crafted" visuals that add “concrete and vivid detail.” Also, Hubs with several great, high-quality photos are more likely to win contests or be selected as Hub of the Day.

Open up your favorite magazine, or just survey the magazine covers of a newsstand. Note the proportion of text to images. Magazines use words and images in powerful combination. We live in a highly visual world where sites like YouTube, Pinterest, and tumblr draw traffic from visuals alone. Keep these things in mind as you construct your Hubs.

Two or More Capsules

HubPages provides a great selection of capsules like videos, polls, maps, tables, and quizzes that help visitors engage with your content and see and understand information in new ways. Capsules make your Hubs more fun and useful for readers—plus more competitive with their plain Jane competition in search results.

Recipe and Ratings Capsules provide the bonus of additional visual details in search results, like images, star ratings, and cook times. These little details can give your Hub a big advantage on the competition in search results. Polls and quizzes help readers engage with your work on a deeper level than print allows. Maps, videos, and tables make it easier for them to see information in a new, possibly more succinct way.

So we recommend adding at least two additional capsules to your Hubs. Not every capsule is appropriate for every subject and format, but in many cases, a little creative use of some interactive capsules can go a long way.

Will This Guarantee Success?

This is not a recipe for guaranteed success. You need to decide which goals are appropriate for your content and where your time is best spent.

We believe the best goal is to create content that your visitors enjoy, and watching your metrics is not always the best place to focus your attention. Metrics and graphs are like the dashboard instruments in your car. They’re great at telling you how fast you’re going, but looking out the window will frequently yield much more actionable information.

Engage with your readers. Focus on understanding why they are here. What are they expecting? How you can get them interested, even more than when they arrived? What techniques can you use to keep them engaged and interested in your content? What new content can you include to enhance their experience and understanding? These simple considerations can make all the difference when it comes to the long-term success of your Hubs.

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