Why Hubpages move to topic-specific niche sites is a good move

Hubpages announced recently that they intend to move some selected featured Hubs from the usual hubpages.com domain to a custom niche domain, starting with TatRing, a tattoo and piercing site, and PetHelpful, a pet advice and info site.

While there has been some concern regarding this from Hubbers, as an Search Engine Optimisation specialist I can only see this as a great move.

Why are Hubpages making this move?

Hubpages are making this move mainly due to search engines, in particular Google. Over the past 4 years Google has made a number of changes to its algorithms (the sequence of rules that it uses to index/rank webpages). These changes, such as the Google Panda update, meant that what previously worked to get your page to the top changed. Some websites and Hubs suffered greatly.

Although Google never reveals exactly what changes they have made to the way they spider and index pages, the SEO community know that a number of practices applied by webmasters or bloggers no longer work. For example, Google would once rank your website higher if you had certain keywords in your domain name. A dentist in London with the domain name www.dentist-london.co.uk would probably appear nearer the top of Google's results. But once the rules were changed some websites with poorly written content but keyword-related domain names plummeted down the rankings.

In a similar respect, it appears Google are giving favour to topics or niche websites. A site which focuses purely on one topic i.e. tattooing or pets, and which has lots of quality content (what Hubber know as Featured) is going to be favoured much highly over a website which has lots of different topics all over the place. Google appears to consider the latter a disjoined approach to search and SERPS (Search engine results page).

The change is overdue

This way of presenting sites to Google - in a niche format - isn't new to those working in SEO and it's a move from Hubpages which is overdue. I'm surprised it didn't happen a long time ago.

What about my existing Hub - will it suffer?

Whilst there may initially be a small drop in traffic whilst the new niche website is established, the move will undoubtedly result in Hubbers eventually seeing increased traffic to their topics.

There is no risk of Google 'losing' or 'forgetting' about your Hub as Hubpages have said they intend to use a 301 Redirect to tell Google that your Hub has moved from the Hubpages domain to the new domain. If you don't know about 301 redirects and run your own website or blog, it's worth finding out a bit more about them and how they work (read more about 301 redirects here).

Can I stop Hubpages transferring my Hub to the new websites?

No. Hubpages has clearly stated that there will be no option to opt out of the changes. In my opinion this is a good move and Hubbers should be supporting the move. It makes complete sense.

Content is still King

Regardless of what some people may say to you, good quality and original content is still King.

Well written content, with lots of original content, which is well researched, will eventually put you above the spammy posts of other websites. Google is fighting a war against spam and in the main they are winning it.

Good grammar and correct spelling count. Google have told us. Ignore this at your peril. The same goes for describing your images and photos; Google is indexing those too.

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8 comments

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 10 months ago from Sydney

I agree that the Hubs which move to the new specialist sites should benefit from the move. I agree it's a good strategy.

The concern that people have is about the Hubs which remain on HubPages.com. It's obvious that HP is choosing to create new domains for their highest-traffic, highest-paying niches first - which means that gradually, the best and highest-ranking Hubs will disappear off the main domain. So the average quality of HubPages.com will gradually get worse and worse.


notnym profile image

notnym 10 months ago from United Kingdom Author

I'm not convinced that will happen. Google is interested in good quality content. As long as the Hubs are good, they will be ranked. What is needed is for the rubbish to be removed. Anything which doesn't meet the minimum standards should be booted out.


NateB11 profile image

NateB11 10 months ago from California, United States of America

I totally agree that this is a good move on the part of HP. I think most of us will be pleasantly surprised by the results. It really does just make logical sense from an SEO viewpoint.


Kent Merritt profile image

Kent Merritt 6 months ago from Tulsa, OK

I have recently returned to Hubpages, and I think the idea of niche sites is really good, and will benefit both the writers and those searching for specific content.

My main complaint is with the commenting process. Unfortunately, it looks as though HP is still requiring people to register as writers in order to leave a comment on these niche sites. I wish that wasn't the case, because it will discourage people from leaving comments, which can also help build more traffic to these articles. Using a service like Disqus would be much better. Just my opinion. Anyway, thanks for the clear explanation of what's going on, Ritchie!


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 months ago from Sydney

@notnym, I missed your reply. You say "as long as the Hubs are good, they will be ranked" (referring to what's left on the old site). I suggest you do some research on how a site's Panda score works - it is based on the worst articles on a site, and then that weighting is applied to all the posts on the site. So the good Hubs will be ranked, but they are pulled down by all the rubbish - so if most of the Hubs left are lower quality, that will be a problem. And I don't believe HubPages will put resources into booting out the rubbish on the old site, because their priority will be maximising income on the new ones.


Kent Merritt profile image

Kent Merritt 5 months ago from Tulsa, OK

I think people will continue writing quality content on HubPages, though, in the hopes of 'graduating' their hub to a niche site. That will keep it from turning into a rubbish pile.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 months ago from Sydney

That's certainly true right now, Kent - in fact I recently wrote a Hub myself, which I haven't done for ages, to see whether it would transition to a niche site.

However, what's happening with new Hubs is that they are being transferred as soon as they're written, if they're judged worthy. If they're not good enough to transfer immediately, then they won't ever be transferred. People will realise that, and would be likely to remove unsuccessful Hubs and use them somewhere else.


notnym profile image

notnym 5 months ago from United Kingdom Author

@Marisa Wright - I was referring to all Hubs within the site having good content which is monitored by HP. Nevertheless, the better content will move above the shit.

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