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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