Thank you to everyone who has responded to this question and welcomed us noobs so warmly. Since we can only answer questions once, I will do my best to explain, briefly.
As I posed this question here I also posted the subject in our forum (under the same title) and received some great feedback too. From my understanding, Hubpages has some excellent moderators who are quick to pick up on people trying to fudge the numbers and beat the system.
For those who wish to improve their score:
I dedicate about half an hour per day to answering questions, asking them, getting involved in the forum. All of my hubs are well researched, well grouped and well linked - inside Hubpages and to relevant external sites
I have several followers now - though I follow few people. I leave a comment in every hub I enter though I only enter hubs that interest me - I leave long comments like this that offer encouragement, constructive criticism and I am conscious of using keywords that will strengthen the hub's status in search engines. If I love it, I share it (on BookFace...hehe) I always cast my votes (score up/down AND useful/funny/beautiful)
All of this behaviour has happened *naturally.* I believe the system picks up on this and disciplines unnatural trends. Great read here for more info...
Thanks again and good luck to you all xx