I love HubPages, I feel that I have learned so much here and my confidence in writing non-fiction took such a huge leap when I was invited onto the Apprenticeship program last year. I have met some wonderful people here - both staff and other Hubbers. But as may other people have said, the idling and pending system is killing traffic. To illustrate this clearly, let me show you the fate of one hub I wrote in October last year.
A few days after publication this hub (on why airlines don't allow cell phones on airplanes) was hub of the day and was shared in many places. Yet it took over a month for search engines to index it. (I know it was shared because the places it was shared were all that showed up when I checked to see if it had been indexed.)
After remaining un-indexed (is that a word?) for so long the hub took a long time to generate traffic and a few weeks ago it was idled - and therefore de-indexed. I made a few edits, it went back into pending and then became featured again. 10 days later it has still not been indexed by the search engines. This of course means that it has had no traffic since. The hub has little chance but to do anything other than sink back into being idled again - even though out of all my hubs it has the 20th highest number of views (out of over 120.)
If hubs take month to index (as many of mine do) they have little hope of escaping idling and then going through the whole indexing process again, and so have little hope of getting traffic. This is not good for either writers or HubPages. Yes, once a hub has indexed I could share it on Facebook and the like to boost its traffic, but since some index fairly quickly and others take so long, it's requires constant checking to catch the magical indexing moment.
Many people have suggested that pending should be for new Hubbers only and that Hubbers with a proven track record of quality Hubs should be published straight away. Please, please consider this otherwise there is very little point in us producing new hubs.
Frustrating even for a new writer to these pages and I understand your frustration
Do you request that WMT index a hub? I can't conceive of any reason a hub isn't indexed in a month (though I've had one of mine take 6 weeks) and making that request often helps.
Wilderness, I did submit this hub and others through Webmaster Tools. It still didn't index for weeks. Some of my hubs have indexed reasonably quickly, but many have not.
Then I can offer only one other possibility from my own experience.
I've theorized that the couple of times I've seen it that it was because the title was very similar to my previously published hubs, but was never able to actually verify that. I know that google doesn't like it, but that's not proof of why the late indexing happened.
Thanks for the suggestion, and it's good enough theory, but it doesn't hold up for me. This particular hub's title is like none other that I've done. It was an exclusive that I picked up. Other hubs that took ages were also not like other hubs.
I've tried not editing while in the pending phase because I thought that might be slowing indexing, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.
Yes, editing while pending will reset the "pending" clock and thereby indexing, but if you aren't editing then that's not it.
I'm sorry, Melovy - I have no further suggestions or thoughts. I know that it is extremely frustrating. Particularly so as the one that took me six weeks promptly grew to the point it was my #2 producer when it finally DID get indexed!
It happened with me too. Whenever I checked for my article some one else's article with the same title was emerging in the Google. When I changed the title then it got indexed very quickly.
What is Webmaster Tools?
What do you mean by indexing?
My traffic has ever recovered from the recent change in December. I had one that got 200-500 hits a day, now it's slowly crept up to 40. I've used title tuner and put the keywords in the hubs, but nothing has changed.
Just need somebody to speak English so this Boomer can understand. Remember, computers weren't invented when I was in school.....
I'm a Boomer, too - glad to see you here! Check out the Learning Center on this site for a ton of really great information on all of that, and more.
Hope I get these right, but here goes: Webmaster Tools lets you see some specific data about your traffic, and it's helpful for tracking trends in viewing, such as how long people are on a page, etc.
Indexing is when Google recognizes a page exists and allows it to pop up as a link when someone searches for that topic. I believe, at least based on what HP told us, when hubs are 'idled' here they aren't visible to Google, so nobody would find that hub in a search.
You can tell which hubs are idled by looking at your account - on the far right there's a tab called "Featured." and that means those hubs are visible to Google. The former term used by HP was 'idled,' but it wasn't a popular word. You'll also see spinning arrows from time to time if you edit a hub or have just published it. This means it is 'idled,' or not yet visible to Google. The arrows go away after a day or so. Hubs that don't have the 'featured' icon can be resurrected by editing them - they may have arrows spinning right afterward, but then they'll be featured (or indexed).
I hope one of the more experienced Hubbers (like Relache) will jump in and correct me if I stated any of this the wrong way!
Melovy, the only advice I can give you is to revisit the keywords. Here is what I do when my hub is search friendly and I am in a bind. I Google my exact title and see how many people have articles on the same thing. I do the same with my best keywords and see how many articles show up. I search the other keywords and see how many articles show up. If your title is already taken or very close to another then consider changing it. Also use the keyword with the least articles.
You do realize that admin thinks idled Hubs are a really GOOD thing, don't you?
I agree that the pending process, indexing delays and idling of great hubs is a constant negative drain on morale. It means that authors spend too much time on all the negative things and shepherding their featured hubs for little immediate personal benefit. The promise of a reduction in time spent in jail has not occurred - this is especially frustrating when some hubbers have 'get out of jail for free cards' and bypass pending. The entire idling process remains a mystery with no advice on what has caused a hub to be idled and what will fix it in the long term. The editing process is akin to being blind-folded and making stabs in the dark. The indexing delays are worsened by the NOINDEX tags while pending - it would be better to not to publish each hub until the vetting processes, including QAP, were completed. This would mean that a quality hub would never get a NOINDEX tag, and could be indexed immediately after it was published. It is a guilty until proven innocent approach, which is unfair. HP staff have said that this would be too difficult to implement. Meanwhile the negativity and hazzles are sapping the morale of established writers.
Time for a re-think I would suggest!! Idling of a HOTD and delays in indexing are tragedies!! Idling of Exclusives (mentioned on another thread) is another tragedy, especially when you can't amend the titles to get more traffic!!!
Thanks for this Melovy, this is exactly the kind of feedback that help us better understand how this program is playing out in people's experience. It sounds like the hub only got a NOINDEX for a short amount of time about a month after you created it. I believe it is our intention that the Hub should have longer than 1 month to start getting traffic before it is subject to any traffic requirements for remaining Featured. I will look into that. If you could either message me or post a link to the Hub in question, I'd like to take a look at it specifically.
It's my understanding that we have little direct control over how long it takes Google to crawl and update their index and pinging it in Google Webmaster Tools is the strongest action that anyone could take. It's not clear what effect getting a NOINDEX for a short time a month after publishing would have but we are looking into these cases. It's helps to have a specific example and a story to go with it.
One thing that we've found that might help is to increase the content length of the article. It obviously depends on your specific content, but generally speaking more words equals more traffic, and if it's possible to add some more content to the Hub without adding fluff, it might be enough to help get it over the (pretty low) traffic requirements.
Derek, thanks very much for responding so rapidly. The particular hub I used as an example is this one: http://melovy.hubpages.com/hub/Why-Dont … ng-Flights
My hubs are almost all on the long side rather than short and this one is no exception. (over 1200 words.)
Some aspects of how the internet works is still a mystery to me so I'm not entirely sure what you mean by: "It sounds like the hub only got a NOINDEX for a short amount of time about a month after you created it." Would you mind explaining that? (Sorry for my ignorance on that.)
Because I'd had other hubs take ages to index, I'd got into the habit of checking almost daily and this one was definitely not indexed in either Google, Bing or Yahoo for at least a month. I'm not sure when it was idled and de-indexed because I was away at the time it happened, but it would probably only have been indexed for around a month - and was getting some traffic from search engines.
Until a hub is featured it has a NOINDEX tag stuck on it, meaning that if (when) google sees it that the hub will not be added to google's index of all web pages and will not be shown in search results. Instead, google notes that for some reason you don't want that hub to ever be indexed.
If google sees that NOINDEX tag just once (and it often does) then it is difficult to get it to look again so the hub remains without being indexed.
Yea, this looks like a great Hub to me and fits with the length targets that we're currently thinking appropriate. How extensively have you changed it since it was first published?
I did a search and do see the Hub in Bing's results.
So it might be related to the search terms you are using.
The search I used was pretty specific, but shows the Hub in Bing's index
"Why Dont Airlines Allow Cell Phone Use During Flights"
http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22Why+Don … -1&sk=
The hub does show that Bing crawled it 45 hours ago, so maybe it's just indexed. I used the url to search for it and nothing came up.
But I just tried a search using "why dont airlines allow cell phones on flights" and it did show up.
"It's not clear what effect getting a NOINDEX for a short time a month after publishing would have but we are looking into these cases"
Perhaps there is a case for delaying the insertion of the NOINDEX tag into hubs that have been idled to give authors time to edit them. Obviously if the Googlebot sees the NOINDEX tag before the author has a chance to amend the hub, it will mean the hub gets deindexed and this will increase the likelihood that the hub will get ideled again due to low traffic.
Simply delaying the insertion of the NOINDEX tag by 48 hours after idling, would avoid this (with minimum damage to HP).
I quit publishing here, for my answer. So with HP, in 3 months they have lost 100 articles I have published elsewhere.
In total, I have removed 250 articles in the last year. They're doing well elsewhere. In addition, one of my hubs got unpublished when it was getting between 3000 and 18,000 hits a day on the basis that it was published elsewhere first and was selling something unrelated. Not a word of truth in either. I just put the hub elsewhere where it is now gaining traffic and doing well.
Sometimes, It's just to use your feet as your mouth, and walk away.
I used to have around 250 hubs, now I have 136. I started moving stuff when this account got slapped and now I automatically remove them when they are idled. Keeps my deletion programme moving along nicely lol!
How many good hubs have been lost and how many more have never been written that might have been written? I know from the hubbers I follow that many have not written a new hub in months and from broken links how many have been taken down. Can any site survive this kind of attrition?
The sad thing is that the real crud is still here, as many of the 40 and below score hubbers are long gone and will not bother deleting their hubs.
And as for hubber score - I have a hubber score of 96 today and my hubs are being idled for being low quality. So what does that say about hubber score? How can I be worthy of a 96 when what I write is apparently low quality crap that deserves idling? Something just does not make sense or add up.
I agree with you Sophia, Time to vote with the feet. There is only so much obfuscation, lack of respect and lack of transparency you can take before you say enough is enough.
I know it doesn't help much, but your Hubs are not being idled for low quality. Only new Hubs, and Hubs which have been edited, are put through the QAP process.
Existing Hubs are idled because of lack of traffic.
http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/108768? … ost2315660
Yes this is sooo frustrating!! Glad you wrote about it, I was wondering the same thing:(
I understand your frustration, but I've had the opposite experience. Overall, my Google Search traffic has improved as a result of the idling of slow hubs and the 24-hour evaluation period. And I believe there is a method on the forums for notifying Google of a new hub after it has just gone live, and calling in the crawler. That might help you.
Best of luck with this.
Sid, thanks for your suggestions and good wishes. I think you are referring to Webmaster tools. I have used that with several hubs and still those took a long time to index - submitting via WMT made no discernible difference.
I'm curious why you think it's the idling and pending that has increased your traffic? What in your traffic suggests those are reasons for your increase? (Mine was definitely hit by the September panda, though my best performing hubs recovered fairly well some others didn't - but for me it's the length of time hubs take to get indexed and their subsequent poor traffic that leads to me feeling the 24 hour evaluation period isn't working for me.)
I'm not sure if this information will help or not but I would like to add to the discussion that I am currently in month 3 of the hubpages apprenticeship program. Two of my hubs which got very good feedback from my mentor, which have exclusive titles and which I took a lot of care over are now no longer featured. I feel that they have not been given long enough to succeed. One hub is still indexed, the other is not, has been copied verbatim on a bloger blog and is indexed while my hub is not. I am not sure now how I will get on when trying to get this blog page (<link snipped>) taken down because it is indexed while my hub is not and I'm not sure how I can prove publication date to Google. It is VERY frustrating.
This is a very sad result of the hub idling. They are making huge sections of their site completely inaccessible to visitors and search engines, and as a result your original work no longer exists in the eyes of google. Sites that have no such policies are reaping the benefit of traffic off of our work. I loved Hubpages at the beginning but have not written anything in a while because of these policies. New articles have a better than average chance of simply being buried and so what is the point? I agree that they are not being given enough of a chance to be picked up by the search engines. In the past, I have had articles and even sites get little traffic, only to suddenly catch fire. Not giving these hubs a chance to blossom is going to kill this site.
You can explain the whole scenario when filing a DMCA takedown notice. Mention the idle hubs feature of HP. You can also take a screenshot of your hub stats to show when you published your hub.
The recent changes to the layout have also helped to kill traffic. I much preferred the old layout which featured related hubs, and so encouraged browsing and brought traffic to writers who had published on related topics. I also think that the old layout was more seo friendly. There was a noticeable drop in traffic after that for me.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I hope it will lead to improvements in the system. I want to add my voice to the chorus requesting that hubbers with a proven track record of quality hubs be exempted from the publishing delay/noindex situation. I understand the thought process here and quality control is definitely needed but it seems to sometimes hamper good hubbers and quality hubs that don't deserve it. Concerns about the current system have left me hesitant to write new hubs or edit featured ones.
I have started a suggestion thread about reducing the impact of the NOINDEX tag on Quality hubs - see http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/108773
My last two hubs took about three to four weeks to be published. One is an exclusive. It is very frustrating. I used to check on them every day, until it became an obsession. One finally reached index stage and right above it was my scraped one that led to a snippet of the hub with no link back to hub. I unpublished it after much discussion about the spammy site in the forum. Then I revised it, changed title, but it does not get much traffic. I agree with Melovy wholeheartedly.
I do not understand why it is a problem to allow established quality writers to be featured immediately.
My traffic dropped drastically a few months ago, in the middle of the AP. Every time changes were made on HP, it seemed to have a detrimental effect on my search engine traffic.
I often feel like I am sinking in mud. I follow the advice I am given but things don't noticeably improve. I am probably getting around the same amount of search visits now as I was six months ago, and I have done a lot of writing since then! It wasn't what I expected after being told my hubs are of good quality.
Seems like immediate indexing could be made a reward for having gone through the Apprenticeship program.
Or better yet it could be given to those of us, apprentices or not, who have accounts full of well done hubs with proper grammar, punctuation and spelling, no duplicate content, overall plenty of views, etc. I don't think HP wants to have to deal with the uproar that would occur if only apprentices were given instant publication privileges. Morale is bad enough around here as it is.
watergeek, I can understand where the suggestion comes from but playing favorites wouldn't really fix any problem. Melovy's Hub was not initially crawled by Google for 2 weeks after it was published, that's a part of the problem. Immediate indexing would have not changed the situation at all. Google crawled her profile regularly but chose not to index that Hub. Maybe they already have too many articles about cell phones on planes? Who knows. Also the query space for that title is pretty small.
But her issues had nothing to do with the initial state of the Hub because the first time it was ever NOINDEX was 2 months after it was published.
Derek, I am really interested in what you say here - and curious what you
mean by "the query space for that title is pretty small"? Do you mean that it would only be found with a very specific keyword group?
My overall traffic has never returned to pre the September Panda levels - and it plunged rapidly then so my domain was definitely hit. Could it be that Google are penalising my domain overall in some way? I've read about 'sandboxing' but don't really understand how that works and have not done anything that would be considered black hat.
Melovy, the Panda algorithm awards a score to the domain as a whole, based on the worst posts. That score is then incorporated into Google's rankings of individual posts. Therefore, a bad Panda score will hit all your Hubs, even ones that were formerly doing well - and usually it's a sudden change.
So if you've been hit by a Panda update, then you need to look at each of your Hubs and see if you have any that could be considered "low quality" by Panda. Remember "low quality" has nothing to do with the quality of your writing - robots can't read. Look for things like Hubs that are too short, or keyword-stuffed accidentally.
Although Panda updates are only occasional, the Panda algorithm is run about once a month.
Thanks Marisa. That's very useful, I didn't know it awarded scores based on worst posts. I spent a lot of time poring over information about the Panda update after I lost so much traffic in September, and the only thing I could see that could be causing problems was that a lot of my hubs had large photos at the top, so above the fold there's a lot of ads and a photo but not much else. I've changed quite a few, and stopped putting large photos at the top of new hubs, but I think I'll go back and change some more.
Here's a quote from Google on the subject:
"One other specific piece of guidance we've offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content."
Source: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. … ality.html
I know Paul Edmonson was recommending big photos across the top of a Hub but I agree that could be seen as a lack of content - the robots see a photo as just one line of code. Best of luck working it out!
So if I write a hub that seems to meet "stellar" standards, but it still gets a lowish hub score, how do I know what to change? All but one of my hubs are longer than 1,000 words, so they can't be combined. . . . Maybe split some out to simplify? (BTW by "lowish" I mean in the high 60s.)
Marisa - I may be jumping off the original topic of this forum, but I have had an interest in "content above the fold" for some time now, which you and Melvoy discussed.
According to Google, their page layout algorithm improvement (Jan. 2012) " tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads." http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. … ement.html
So, I think the question is: what is visible content? It seems to me that "visible content" is really any non-ad content that is seen, which may be an image, text, video, table, etc. I understand that an image is just a line of code, but Google bots know it's not an ad, and it seems to me that the spirit of their algorithm is to penalize sites that are weighed down by many ads above the fold, not to penalize the type of non-ad content above the fold.
The majority of my newest Hubs have full-width images at the top, and that practice has not seemed to hurt these Hubs in SERPs or traffic.
Personally, I like the full-width images at the top of Hubs, if they are original to the author, for reasons that overlap with some of the high-quality guidelines given by Google.
For example, if a recipe Hub begins with a full-width, original photo of the final product, in my opinion:
- It immediately creates a sense of trust since I can see that the author actually made the recipe
- I get the sense that the recipe Hub was written by an expert or enthusiast that knows the topic - both of which give it credibility and make me scroll down to see and read more
- I trust the written information more because the original photo is pretty good evidence that the author has first hand experience
- And when the photo is accompanied with good supporting text and maybe even more photos, I am likely to share or recommend it
I guess this was a long way of saying that it seems like a full-width original photo placed at the top of a Hub actually can help an article meet some of Google's high-quality guidelines. Additionally, I get the sense that the page layout algorithm has more to do with number of ads above the fold and not the type of content, be it text or media. What do you think?
I hear what you're saying and I've thought about it quite a bit. I was reading some advice recently which pointed out that it's not a good thing to have your whole home page (on a blog) made up of graphics, because it looks to Google as though it's practically empty. So that's where my concern came from.
I can see how a full-width photo at the top of a recipe or dressmaking Hub could be very successful, because it displays the end result. For other, less visual subjects, I think it's important for the reader to see a few lines of text. After all, why go to all the trouble of writing an engaging first para to "hook" your reader, if they're not going to see it?
Kirsten, I don't think your post is off topic at all. I have wondered at lot about the ads above the fold issue, and before the option to change ad settings was done away with I had started to reduce the number of ads on my pages. But, if it was a huge issue in itself, I guess everyone would be affected, whereas some people are seeing a return of traffic and I am not. (Though today it's nowhere near as bad as previous weekends so fingers crossed.)
I am very interested in what you say about photos across the top not affecting your traffic adversely and do agree with you that on recipes in particular it is a great bonus. And I am still making changes to see if it will get my traffic back, because I can't see much else that I can do. Incidentally, my best performer by far is a recipe with a full size photo across the top, but even it is not getting as many searches as it used to. It used to be number 2 for several keywords, and has dropped a few places in most searches I try.
fixing your hubs probably wont change much because mysite.hubpages.com is not a domain - it's a subdomain, so it's the total pages on hubpages.com that google looks at
let's face it, there's lots of stuff here on HP that is not high quality -- 'reviews' that serve mainly to sell products, many writing hubs, hubs with pseudoscience that are not checked for accuracy, etc, etc - but that's the nature of hubpages. it's not wikipedia, it's a place where there are people can publish almost anything they'd like. HP's idea that they can somehow impose quality on this chaos is dead on arrival
HP constantly try to game google just wont work. just ONE time i'd like to see HP actually betatest a change to see if it has any effect - but instead they just throw it out there and we all be come non-consenting betatesters
it's still worth continung to contribute to HP, but just ignore the accolades, hubscores, etc - google is still the only judge that really counts
The question of whether Google looks at the domain or the sub-domain has been the cause of much discussion here.
At one time, Google looked at sub-domains and domains separately. Then they changed to look at them as a single whole - and that's what most people think is the case. However, if you read the Google documentation, they make a distinction between sub-domains which are managed by the domain owner, and sub-domains which are managed by members of a site.
You can see why that was necessary - because every blog on Blogger is a sub-domain, exactly like our sub-domains here. If Google looked at the total of blogger.com instead of the individual sub-domains, no blogger blog would stand a chance of ranking for anything.
HubPages switched to sub-domains after discussions with Google, precisely because it would enable each writer's work to be judged separately by the algorithm.
You make a lot of good points in your other posts.
i would hope that were true, but we dont manage our own domains --we cant get a webmaster tools account or analytics account for them because we can't verify our subdomain with google -- we dont have access to the code itself (we also thus have no control over the noindex setting) - maybe google does something different for blogger.com since it's part of google.
all subdomains aren't created equal - i also use smugmug and there my cascoly.smugmug.com subdomain is indexed separately by google since i can insert the tracking code etc for webmaster tools & analytics
We can get verified on Webmaster tools and you can use Analytics with HubPages - most people do both.
http://hubpages.com/learningcenter/How- … ster-Tools
http://hubpages.com/learningcenter/sett … -analytics
You can set up your sub-domain with Webmaster Tools and Analytics. In Webmaster Tools, just select "alternate method" for verification. That is how you verify without having access to the code. I believe there might also be specific directions in The Learning Center.
By small query space I mean that looking at Google's Keyword Tool it may be that "the internet" just does not perform a lot of searches for that title.
Just FYI, this Hub turns out to be a really great example and we've probably spent the better part of the last few days researching and discussing it. We're also somewhat at a loss to understand if and what Google doesn't like about this Hub. It seems like you did everything right. It's a great Hub, it's long enough, it has good quality photos, it's definitely better than any of the other articles for it's title, it's well-written and informative (I learned some things from reading it). The only thing we can think of is just that not many people are searching for that.
I'd be curious if the Title Tuner comes back with any missed keywords, maybe the title could be improved. Also be curious to see where it ranks once Google gets it back into their index. They crawled it yesterday and today but I'm still not seeing it.
@cCliff mendres. Others had tried various takedown notices to no avail with the site. The reason given was the link to the hubs, even though link was dead. This site involved many hubs.
In this case, the site has only three posts and none of them have links. I'd be reporting it direct to Adsense. Even though the site is not indexed, it's still published and visible to a manual search, so they will be able to see it exists - that's all that matters.
@brakel, do you know if the takedown notices were sent to Blogger or to Adsense?
Marisa, in the case of my article, I reported it to blogger. The other worrying thing for me is that the Amazon ads had also been copied, placing my amazon link on a site that does not comply with Amazon TOS - I could potentially lose my Amazon account too if it was discovered.
I am totally discouraged from writing a single word for HP. What's the point if hubs are going to be idled without any explanation as to why? Besides, I spend too much time on the forums or tweaking idled hubs. So OK, sometimes it improves them a little but at other times I can not see what could be wrong with an idled hub, so I move them to my own site.
There must be a simpler, less ambiguous, less frightening solution to ensure quality content on HP while retaining a strong work force.
If all the idling and pending is not combined with the scores, then why have hubber scores and hub scores?
Here is a suggestion:
1. Wave the 24 hour waiting period for new hubs for Hubbers with a score of say higher than 90.
2. Evaluate all hubs for permanent and irrevocable publication according to their score. For example, any hub consistently scoring below say 65 after 1 month from publishing could be idled.
It seems to me that sometimes HP are making too much work for themselves. They keep coming up with new ideas and then don't monitor them, forget about them. It's more fun launching new ideas I suppose. What happened to deleting all RSS capsules? What happened about deleting all images asking for comments? What happened about monitoring 50 descriptive words for Amazon capsules? All that time we wasted on the new design... etc.
My motto is "If it don't broke, don't fix it". But something definitely needs to be done about this disaster issue.
Tell me about it, every time HP comes up with a change we have to re-negotiate our contract as it were. Let's all go on strike until this issue is resolved to our satisfaction, OK?
(I hope I'm not going to get banned for this).
I experienced a hub going on idle today. It has a middle hub score in relation to my other hubs, and has had traffic where others haven't but they are not idled. I wish someone would tell us why a hub has been put on idle. It doesn't make sense.
How much traffic was it getting? Likely because it wasn't getting traffic. I'd give the Title Tuner a try.
Derek, I've raised this question many times on the forums but no staffer has ever responded.
From what I understand, existing Hubs are not idled for quality reasons, they're idled because they don't get traffic.
What is the reasoning behind that?
Money. Unfortunately getting human ratings on Hubs is not free. (We do get some free ratings from Hubbers in the Hopper but not enough to cover even the newly published Hubs.) It would cost a significant amount of money to get all that old stuff rated. We desperately want to, but we're trying to get the QAP process refined to a point that we can get the entire corpus rated with some level of confidence without going bankrupt. But at this point the only proxy we have for 'quality' level on those old Hubs is traffic, which is why we have the traffic threshold. Unfortunately that's probably also one of the biggest sources of angst and misunderstanding in the community too. Also throughput on the human ratings is a limiting factor. Our quality standard for being a turker rater are currently so high (I, for example, do not qualify) that most people can't do it, so currently we have a hard time getting just the new stuff rated. We are constantly trying to hone the whole system on multiple levels but so far, this whole thing is pretty darn hard.
"But at this point the only proxy we have for 'quality' level on those old Hubs is traffic, which is why we have the traffic threshold."
I think this is a shocking revelation. HP wants to lift the quality of pages on HP, but it does not have the money to do a quality check on old hubs. So it applies the test - "any hub that does not get traffic, is probably of low quality and gets idled". If its revised and QAP is assessed as OK, it gets featured again, but will get idled again if it still gets insufficient traffic. If a hubber has 50 stellar hubs that get high scores, but low traffic, he or she will be faced with a seemingly endless cycle of 50 hubs getting idled, edited, re-featured and idled again and again (with no feed back on what is wrong). Hence the frustration. What's the point? Where's the benefit to HP or the author, who appears to be the victim of a flawed system, driven by a flawed assumption that good quality equals good traffic.
Low Traffic DOES NOT EQUAL poor Quality!
If traffic is the king forget all this QAP stuff. Get people to focus on getting traffic at all cost.
The other consequence of this is that HP will not achieve its objective of improving the overall quality of hubs. All the low quality hubs that get traffic won't be detected!
The take home message is that focusing on quality is a flawed approach:
=> HOTDs get idled
=> AP hubs get idled
=> Exclusives get idled
=> Stellar hubs get idled
IF they don't meet the traffic threshold in a month or so.
Also, even if you have a fabulous system for choosing a set of popular keywords that are competitive, perhaps only 25% or less of the hubs will probably be successful.
So it may be better to focus your time on writing MORE hubs of MODERATE quality. This suits the hubber, but is probably not what HP wants.
Hmm. Not sure I agree entirely. I totally agree that traffic doesn't equal quality. But would you say we should leave Hubs that haven't gotten a search hit in 2 months? Even though Google has clearly crawled it many times but still doesn't send it any visitors we should just pretend it's fine and not hurting anything? Google has been pretty clear in their guidance, poor content can hurt the whole domain. If they are not sending it traffic, I think we'd be better off assuming it's for a reason than just ignoring it.
HubPages is committed to educating, supporting and encouraging writers and the creation of quality online content. "Getting traffic at all costs" is definitely not our mission.
When a hub gets idled for low traffic or a hub gets reviewed after an edit, it goes through the QAP process. Why not record the QAP score, and if its rated as 'high value', label it as "retain this great hub" and don't test the traffic again for 12 months. It's a great hub perhaps it was a HOTD, perhaps is from a great author on an obscure topic that does not get much traffic, perhaps it's a fabulous reference article. Why dump great stuff!
Retaining it would keep quality authors writing new hubs, it could get traffic after 2 months. Surely this qualifies as "creation of quality online content". Dumping it make no sense - it decreases the overall quality.
Instead of this you ignore the high quality QAP score and if there is low traffic you go through the whole process again - you have the score why waste money doing it over and over again.
Surely retaining a quality hub on the site benefits HP and the author by lifting the overall score.
Only IDLE low traffic hubs that have LOW quality - saves money, boosts morale and aligns with the objective of the idle hubs policy (removing low quality stuff). De-indexing quality hubs is contrary to this policy.
We do that. If a Hub gets a high rating by a human rater then it no longer is subject to the traffic requirements. As you said, we want to Feature good work, and if we "know" (a relative term in this context) it's good then we want it to stay Featured forever. The bar for that is fairly high for that and related to how strongly we "know" that it's good.
re: Only IDLE low traffic hubs that have LOW quality, the problem is that it costs money to "know" that it's low quality too. If it does turn out to be low quality, we've just wasted some money and the person who created it likely doesn't agree with the assessment so we have no improvement in morale. They may choose to change a comma and cost us all some more money.
Perhaps a simpler way to explain it, your Hub needs a heartbeat to stay Featured. The Hub initially gets a free pass for a few months to get a heartbeat. We've seen Hubs that eventually draw traffic typically start off with a little spike that would easily get them over this threshold. Even Hubs that don't get a lot of traffic for a long time but do eventually get some traffic typically have at least a heartbeat while they are in their "dormant" stage. That's all we require. If it's been out there for a while and it doesn't have a heartbeat, we currently feel that, if search traffic is your goal, it truly does need your attention and it's important that we remove it from the index until it gets that attention.
Derek - The heartbeat analogy is helpful, but can you explain how it relates to seasonal Hubs?
For example, I recently published a Hub with winter driving tips. If I'm understanding you correctly, it is currently getting a "free pass" for a few months because it is new. When winter subsides in a couple months, I would not expect it to get any traffic until next winter, but my "free pass" will be up long before next winter. I'm guessing it will go idle.
It seems to me that my winter driving Hub will be in a catch 22 situation: noindex because it needs traffic (not improvement); but unable to get its seasonal traffic because it's noindex.
Even seasonal Hubs that do well typically have a heartbeat the whole year. But the free pass currently happens whenever you edit it. So you can edit a bit, perhaps you may choose to even add a new photo or freshen it up a bit with some things you've learned in the last year, a month or two before you expect it to take off.
Derek --- Last question - promise!:
"Only IDLE low traffic hubs that have LOW quality, the problem is that it costs money to "know" that it's low quality too."
This statement, and one elsewhere by Simone on another threat, implies that hubs Idled due to low traffic don't go through the standard QAP (which would cost money), but merely get checked to see whether some changes have been made and some software checks. If edited they get featured and marked to get traffic checked again in a month or so. This implies that you don't check for quality, and this process does not weed out bad quality hubs (except for those that are not edited). If this is true the only way to keep the hub 'featured' is to get more traffic. All the stuff about improving quality of idle hubs only applies to new hubs. So the idling of hubs for low traffic only weeds out low quality hubs if authors don't edit them and leaves them idle. So the process for new and old hubs is different
New hubs => focus on quality to pass the QAP test
Old hubs => focus of getting more traffic, improving quality is useless if the traffic does not improve. Improved traffic is the only test of success for changes and edits.
HP's strategy to improve overall quality is to
=>apply a QAP test for new hubs to ensure a minimum quality standard is met
=>Idle all hubs (good and bad) that get low traffic, but don't test for quality
=>No Quality tests are applied for old hubs to eliminate low quality ones (if they get traffic they must be OK)
Not sure how efficient these processes will be to improve the overall quality of content on HP. There are two tests => QAP and traffic (if a hub gets traffic Google must think it has good quality). The flaw is that QAP is a poor predictor of G traffic. Many pages on HP that get traffic may be regarded by G as having low quality, and this may cause a downgrading of scores for all hubs on HP - -via Panda.
I think at this point many are wondering what this standard is in light of so many high quality hubs being in the idle state.
Sounds like a Catch 22 for both the business and hubber. It's interesting to hear your (staff) candid perspective, which has been missing from the forums for a while. It sounds like it's as frustrating for you as it is for the writers. It should be helpful for those who need to edit, but aren't sure of what to change. Changing a word or punctuation mark probably isn't in anyone's best interest.
This is a rather illuminating response and I think it sheds light on at least what you're looking for. So a heartbeat means that the hub is quality enough to deserve search engine traffic? I remember the days when we were told that it takes about 3 years for an evergreen hub to reach prime. Now we're reading in the forums that quality evergreen hubs get axed after a month or two. How does that correlate with the money that is spent on human raters? Wouldn't it save time and money to keep a quality evergreen hub featured for a longer period? Doesn't it deserve time to gain traffic, shares, links?
BTW, thanks to you and Matthew for staying engaged with this thread and giving us your insight. I've only had a couple hubs that went idle, but now they're all featured. But I check my hubs daily and want them to remain featured. And yet I feel the frustration that so many writers are sharing. It has to affect morale. Simey's Green Day hub is a perfect example of wondering what the standard is. It was/is an excellent hub, and yet he got stuck with a bad exclusive title which probably affected his search traffic.
Derek, I wonder if you missed something in JAnderson's post.
"When a hub gets idled for low traffic... it goes through the QAP process"
I didn't think that was the case. Is it?
Derek - to pick up on the point about "educating, supporting and encouraging writers" - here's the problem as I see it.
Writers who are going through your education program, and whose hubs are passing the AP guidelines, are still producing hubs that get idled.
Writers who are being encouraged by being awarded the HOTD are getting those hubs idled.
Writers who are using the support of "Exclusive" titles are still getting those hubs idled.
For me, the dots just aren't joining up. I know that none of us are infallible, but really, if a long, well-written Exclusive title by an AP graduate that's worthy of being HOTD can't stay featured, is it any wonder morale's sinking? (And of course, this isn't just about Melovy's hub - we've seen threads by SimeyC and Habee this week in a similar vein.)
I don't know why you think this is a revelation. It's old news. HubPages has stated several times (both in the FAQ and in several forum post), that existing Hubs are idled for low traffic, not because they've been put through a quality test.
I agree that low traffic does not mean low quality and that's why I asked Derek to explain why they would implement such an apparently cock-eyed idea.
better to do NOTHING than to impose a system that makes things worse or is unreliable
there are simpler changes that could improve googles opinion of hubpages: eg, supposedly google ranks pages based on above the fold content -- look at an average hubpage -- the margins are blank for about 40% of the screen, leaving 60% for content. of the actual content, text takes 40% of what's left, 'ads from google' takes 40% and 'like this hub' and its cohort take 20%. so even ignoring the wasted header space, at most google is going to see 40% of 60% or about 25% of the first page as having valuable content. so arguably, the most damage done was HP's decision to redo presentation and push more ads to the top. this is exactly the sort of thing google seems to be trying to penalize
That was my point! The hub that got idled was getting some traffic even if it wasn't much, compared to other hubs that are featured and have had no traffic for a while.
This is what is confusing me. The hub that was idled had a hub score of 78 and I have hubs with a score below 70 that are not getting traffic, yet they are featured.
If idling is about traffic then this doesn't make sense. I don't think it's anything to do with the title.
Some of my lowest hubscores belong to hubs I have written during the AP that I was told were of good quality. They initially had a great response but after the Panda update, I suffered badly.
What happens when there is another Google update and we get practically no traffic? It wouldn't take long before lots of our hubs were idled. How is this fair?
If idling was about the title, why would hubs with exclusive titles be getting idled? Especially in the period immediately after publication when, in the case of more competitive keywords, there is no possibility of appearing highly in Google's search ranking if we are relying on gaining 'organic' backlinks instead of by means that contravene Google's guidelines/TOS? I personally feel really disheartened, I joined the apprenticeship program specifically to improve my writing, was excited about using Exclusive titles because I thought that this might help traffic. I have got good feedback from my mentor and yet hubs I have created with these Exclusive titles are getting idled even though I am only in month 3 of the program and in my view, these hubs have not been given a chance to gain backlinks organically through likes, shares and links from other hubs and blogs.
Idling is not about the title.
If you have an existing Hub that gets idled, it's because of low traffic. There is a very small possibility it might've got picked up in a random check, but apparently that's not likely.
If you edit an existing Hub, it gets put through the QAP - if it gets idled then, it's probably because of quality. But if you haven't touched it, it's traffic that's the problem.
In case some of you have not read all the entries, here is a simple solution:
Use Hubber Scores and Hub Scores for Pending and Idling
1. Pending: Wave the 24 hour (or is it 48?) pending period for new hubs for all Hubbers with a Hubber Score of higher than 90 (say). So only new or low scoring hubbers are submitted to the pending period.
2. Idle all hubs that do not reach a minimum threshold of (say) a 65 score within one month of publication.
All hubs above the minimum threshold should be left well alone unless they fall below the threshold of (say) 65 when they are idled for revision. But here again, no re-pending period for high scoring hubbers after revision.
What ever criteria are used for idling hubs, surely those should be integrated with the Hub Score. Otherwise what is the point of having Hub Scores? Why are high scoring hubs being idled? That is what we do not understand.
This will cause anger among those who believe scores don't reflect anything However, I would go along with this procedural change. Something is better than nothing.
Hubber Scores and Hub Scores
Why have hubber scores and hub scores if they don't reflect anything? Might as well make use of them for assessing which hubbers get pended and which hubs get idled.
To sum up, here is what we want:
1. No pending for high scoring hubbers.
2. No idling of high scoring hubs.
Has the Idling of hubs, which started in September 2012 achieved its objectives for HP and for subs?
Perhaps it has a while to run?
I still cannot see why de-indexing a good quality hub for not meeting a target threshold provides any benefit. Sure, editing it to get more traffic may be a good thing, but surely that is a decision that should be made by the author, who may work on links etc, instead. If an author has 200 'stellar' hubs and 100 get idled and de-indexed, won't that decrease the author's reputation and HP's reputation with Google. Idling of poor quality hubs is justified, or course.
Wow! That is crazy! It should take months or weeks even for hubs to get indexed by search engines. And it shouldn't take that long for hubs to be featured either. And it is not good that hubs become idle because that drastically decreases the traffic to those hubs. Lately I've noticed that a lot of my hubs are in idle state . I can't believe it. And my overall traffic has drastically dropped as well... That is so unfair!
I can't help but wonder what would happen if HP simply put things back the way they were a year ago. It would be interesting to see how this would affect page views and morale. I personally think they are making too many changes, which makes a lot more work for writers and causes frustration. I say, let's get back to the good old days!
The unfortunate reality is that things that worked a year ago don't necessarily work today. This is related to many factors, but the web is not a static environment and every change to Google's algorithm makes many user-generated content sites have to reconsider their past strategies.
Amen! If you can get Google to agree to it, we're all for it. If Google would stop changing things, we'd be thrilled to stop changing things as well.
I share your frustration. I've edited most of my hubs several months ago only to find out last week that about one third of my hubs are now back to the idle status. It is frustrating, my payout is very low and I'm feeling discouraged. Well put, Melovy.
If you make a minor edit, it will get a Hub Featured again, but only for a few weeks. Existing Hubs aren't idled because of quality, they're idled because of traffic - so if it's Featured for a few weeks and still gets no traffic, it'll be idled again.
That's why I'm moving my idled Hubs elsewhere. They weren't getting a lot of traffic, but even a trickle of income is better than none - and if you have a bunch of idled Hubs, those pennies mount up eventually!
Thanks Marisa-when you mention moving your idled hubs, are you referring to moving them to a website or blog?
I've been spreading them around Wizzley, Seekyt, Infobarrel, Xobba, ThisisFreelance and PubWages. For my dance-related Hubs, which I can use to create backlinks to my dance blogs, I've been seeking out guest posting opportunities with other bloggers.
I take the opposite approach. Old hubs of varying quality are idled because of low traffic. If there are no obvious spelling mistakes etc., I focus on things to try to improve traffic
=> Do some research to find a more competitive title - you can change it.
=> Do some internal and external linking via social pages etc.
=> Add a couple of fabulous extra photos and Pinterest them
This works well most of the time. I only add extra text to hubs that are getting traffic, rarely to an idle hub, except if it is >12 month old. If you edit the hubs within 24 hours after they go idle the hubs will say indexed (the bot won't see the NOINDEX tag). Its a lot of work moving them to other sites and if the low traffic issues are not addressed they will be unlikely to get traffic on other sites. IMO
I wasn't saying that I edited them to wake them up again - I'm saying that will work but it's not worth doing, as it's only temporary.
Like Mark Ewbie, I've actually deleted many of my idled Hubs. They're either on topics with low search traffic or with too much competition. I don't think I'm alone in having written several Hubs on subjects I really know nothing about, either because I felt like getting something off my chest, or to enter a contest. All they do is add to the plethora of junk on the internet, no matter how carefully I wrote them. I mean, isn't there enough weight loss advice out there without me offering my two cents? Who cares how I make my bolognese sauce? I like it but it's not an award winner. And so on.
That's fine - if they have no real value, dump them. What I am saying is that many good hubs can be edited to increase their changes of getting traffic by changing the title etc. Good hubs - that simply need some tweaks to get more traffic. 10-15 minutes extra work on a hub that may have taken 3 hours to research and write ---- Its worth a try ---- It works for me. The beam of light is "GET TRAFFIC". Thinking positively - HP tells you which hubs are not getting traffic, so you can edit them to get traffic.
you're confusing cause & effect - traffic doesnt come because HP says it's good - it comes because google looks at it and indexes it, thus generating traffic. HP says they idle a hub when it has low traffic, but that's an internal HP designation, and google doesnt know whther a hub is idle or featured.
eg, i have several hubs that are idle here but appear on page 1 of google searches
best way to get hubs in google's search is to submit them directly to google yourself
You're right, traffic doesn't come because HP says it's good, but if it's idle there is a code change that tells Google and other search robots not to index it.
When HP makes a Hub idle, the meta tag becomes content=noindex. What this does is prevent search robots from indexing the page.
This is what Google says:
"When we see the noindex meta tag on a page, Google will completely drop the page from our search results, even if other pages link to it."
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bi … swer=93710
So let's say you have a Hub that is indexed by Google but gets very little traffic. If it falls into idle status, HP changes the code to say "noindex." When Googlebot next crawls that Hub it should fall out of their index or search results.
However, like you I have an idle Hub which still is in Google's index. It appears to me that it has been re-crawled since it went idle so I'm not sure why it's there.
This is what Google says,
"Note that because we have to crawl your page in order to see the noindex meta tag, there's a small chance that Googlebot won't see and respect the noindex meta tag. If your page is still appearing in results, it's probably because we haven't crawled your site since you added the tag. (Also, if you've used your robots.txt file to block this page, we won't be able to see the tag either.)"
This is what I've been saying all along and no-one listens:
If idling is related to traffic why not integrate the traffic threshold into the hubscore and use a hubscore threshold for idling hubs. Then at least authors would accept and understand why a hub is being idled.
@Melovey - Any snippet taken from the hub in question produces a search result in google that shows this snippet, but goes to a page with this url http://www.answers.travel (Link broken here to avoid giving this page a backlink!)/ ?page=melovy.hubpages.com%2Fhub%2FWhy-Dont-Airlines-Allow-Cell-Phone-Use-During-Flights
however, clicking on the link brings up a page which appears to be answers travel home page with none of your text on it.
I have had a look at the source code and can't find any of your text 'hidden' there but this is very strange indeed.
Perhaps someone from hubpages could look at this more closely as it might throw some light on why your hub has had these problems.
Alison, thank you very much for that! I haven't come across this, but it looks as if it could be significant. I know nothing about HTML, so don't know how to find code etc, so that is very helpful of you. Maybe it will shed some light not just on my hub but on others too - I will be very interested to see what Derek or Matthew think about this! Does it suggest my content has been copied?
Is this the same issue that Marcy was experiencing on another thread? Google search was showing a host of other pages for her hub snippet - none of which appeared to have the text on them.
It sure looks similar - and the hub that is producing those search results gets lower and lower traffic every day. It used to be the highest volume of views I had, and is really low now. Something isn't right, and I don't even know where to report this, since it's a Google search result, not someone who is visibly stealing content.
I don't know enough about the mysteries of hidden text, etc. to know where to look . . .
I had it happen once, last month. It was a Christmas hub which had done really well the Christmas before last, but did nothing this past Christmas. I found a page coming up in search and the preview on the search page pointed to a section of the page that wasn't visible when I clicked on the page. Very mysterious (and costly).
Imagine writing a hub on the next Justin Bieber only to find it idled when he hit celebrity!
I have to admit it's a bit contradictory to be advised not to delete hubs, that they will catch on one day, and then to have hubs idled, which nobody will see them in a search, so there's no way they can 'catch on' without edits, tweaking and other attention. There are many writers here who have proven their skills over the years, and on top of that, there are AP graduates who, as was mentioned, appear to have demonstrated they consistently produce good work.
These writers are not the ones who have been on the site less than a day and are already producing low-quality, spammy hubs.
There really is added work when hubs are idled. Often, we like write the hub and then post it various places to help it get seen. That's part of our 'publishing' mode. With idled hubs, even experienced and proven writers have to go back after the fact and do that promoting. And, they have to check for recently idled hubs and try to unravel why they were stalled. Sometimes, hubs that appear to be performing well are the very ones no longer featured, while hubs with far fewer views are still active.
It's additional work that many of us don't have time to add to the mix.
I just decided to bite the bullet and count my idle hubs to see how many I actually I have, it was only half a dozen before christmas, but I just don't have the time to go over them all again and re write parts so have been pretending the problem isn't there (ostrich, head in sand moment!) I was really shocked to see I now have 25 out of my 106 in Idle. A few of them have good hub scores, fairly decent views and I have put a fair amount of work in. 2 of them never even got featured and I have no idea why. A little miffed. Will be spending next week altering and updating these current idle hubs, but if they don't get featured again I will be pulling them to try them on Squidoo instead. Fingers crossed it will be fine though, as I love Hubpages so much! I havent really managed to work out squidoo properly yet!
You will be surprised at the boost you'll get if you do a bit of editing - and if your hubs are like mine, you might see very obvious ways to improve them with just a few tweaks. Then, wait a day for the arrows to stop spinning, and share them somewhere (if they haven't been shared recently).
In my case, subheads were the biggest area where I could improve - my early hubs did not have subheads with search terms in them. It does help to freshen things up a bit!
Just FYI, Squidoo has had their own version of an idled/featured format going for lenses for several years now. It's called WIP there, meaning a lens can fall back into WIP (unfeatured) status it they think it's not fresh or getting enough traffic too.
Related to the help Derek and others on the HP staff are offering, can someone unravel the mystery of why this particular hub suddenly went from being my highest performer to mediocre? The drop was very sudden, which tells me something happened. I went in and edited it, freshened things up, etc., but I still can't find the problem.
In checking for duplicate content (someone stealing it), when I search for random phrases in it, I get some very odd results about chiropractors and other unrelated things. Hope it's okay to ask for advice here. Help!!!
http://marcygoodfleisch.hubpages.com/hu … -interview
Did you see specific phrases from your hub in the results you found?
It looks like a well-written hub with useful information. The only thing that came to mind is wondering if this may be considered duplicate information on a popular topic, not that you copied your information, but that it is seemingly the same content as many other articles on this topic. ?
I saw this article this morning on seomoz. It helps clarify what unique content is.
It's all original content, and based on my management background. It had great traffic for a long while, and then . . . phffftt! I cannot find it duplicated anywhere. I am certain there are many online articles about the same subject (as is the case for just about everything on the web), but the odd search results are the most puzzling thing. Some of the dates on the bogus search results are recent, and the drops just happened in the last month or two.
If you watch the video in the link above (in my previous comment), you will understand what I mean by duplicate content. I'm not saying your content wasn't original, but is it unique content. I doubt if that is the case with this particular hub because of what you have said about strange search results, but I do think it's an issue that more and more user generated content sites may be facing. Google does not want to list search results that all basically say the 'same' thing, as it doesn't add value to their SERPS.
I may be facing a firestorm when I say this, but I also believe it may be a reason so many apprentices are saying their traffic is falling. I understand that part of the program requires that you write on 'search friendly topics'. Maybe HP is publishing 'too many' hubs on popular 'search friendly topics', so the domain is suffering from too much duplicative content.
A couple of things that might help.
Take a look at your time on page since the drop. If people are immediately leaving you need to find the reason. Given that many will immediately leave, you still should have an average time on page of a few minutes. You could look at the HP indication (stars) but that will be averaged over a long time, not just since traffic dropped.
Look at the keywords being used to find your hub. Are they reasonable, and does a search for those keywords produce other articles similar to yours? If not, Google may be misunderstanding your topic and sending people that are actually looking for something else, which takes you back to the first potential problem.
HP metrics still shows a full row of stars - but that could be historic time rather than recent. The odd search results are the truly puzzling thing - and even if those sites do not have the text shown, I am wondering if there's hidden text? And I do not know how to figure that out.
If there was hidden text in a site (for example, if somebody tried to game the SEO thing by creating websites that have hidden text to increase their rankings - if that is possible at all), would Google flag it as duplicate content and lower your search results? Heck, I am not even sure what I am saying here. So sorry! Still learning the tools of the trade!
Marcy, I could be way off base here, and would love to see something from a real SEO expert (if there is such a thing anymore), but I think there's more to it than simple keywords.
Google has made an algorithm that is increasingly complex and increasingly "smart". They continue to expand attempts to determine what your hub is about, what the subject really is, and they look at a variety of things.
#1 on the list is probably the actual keywords you provide them (and it needs repeated enough to drive into G that this is what I'm talking about), but additionally they look at synonyms, they look at the time on page of visitors they send for various search terms, and I'm sure they look at a hundred more things as well.
If Google has made a mistake in understanding your topic it will absolutely send the wrong traffic, which will eventually tell google that your hub is junk when no one stays. If you are getting visitors with search terms that don't match your topic you will have trouble, and absolutely have to find the reason. You will always have a few (you might be on page 5 for something that a searcher is having a hard time finding and they still end up on your hub), but the large majority of search terms had better match your topic.
Make sure, as well, that your summary tells a searcher what the hub is about. You don't want to "hook" a reader that is looking for something else, so tell them, very plainly, what your subject is. If they aren't someone that is looking for what you provide, sent them on their way!
Wilderness - the text I entered to find this is not generic - it is some basic, candidly written phrasing that is unique to the hub. It happens with multiple searches, and my photo appears in some of them. It looks like links for the hub, but the results are crazy - chiropractic? The hub is about job interviews!
I think we're talking two different subjects - duplicated material and how G sends traffic.
I can't address why parts of your hub is found on other sites. Or am I misunderstanding?
Yes, that is what is happening. If I enter random, original phrases from my hub, these odd sites pop up in the search results. Apparently, there are also pieces of the hub on them. They are totally unrelated to the topic of the hub. I filed complaints with Google, and I hope they pay attention (and unravel what I tried to say to them).
Some of the sites have recent dates on them, and since the traffic to that hub tanked in recent weeks, I think there's a connection. There's no logical reason for a chiropractic link to appear, and the top text on the search results (above the link to the unrelated site) is still my language.
Wilderness - check out these search results:
http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d& … mp;bih=681
I entered a specific phrase from the text in my hub, and these links appear. Mine is currently the SECOND one listed.
I see that, although your hub comes first on my search.
I tried several longer phrase searches, though, and found nothing. Just your hub.
A few of these have the hub copied, word-for-word. A dear friend here on HP checked things and figured out the hub text is being used to create fake back links. That was hugely helpful, because it makes more sense now (crazy as it is). So I reported everything I could find that was in violation. Hope Google parses it out and takes care of it.
@Marcy Goodfleisch I checked out the search results for a phrase from your hub - it seems like these are all totally unrelated and again, as in the previous hub of melovy, I could not actually find any of your text on some of the pages that showed up whilst I found one (spinalcordinjury.collectingpowder.info) - I haven't put the full link - which is a verbatim copy of your hub. Some very strange things are happening!
Alison, I think it is very kind of you to check these things out for my hub and Marcy's. Thank you very much.
So, I've been trying to follow this discussion. I'm new to Hubpages--it's been over a month since I've been contributing. I've added 14 Hubs since then and they have all been featured Hubs. I thought this was a good thing--maybe it is not or doesn't really matter?? Most of you that have posted are successful writers here and other places. I really don't understand much about non-indexing, idling, and such. Your frustration and disappointment is clearly evident (and catching). So, as I read all of these posts, should I conclude that it is not worth continuing to write for Hubpages?
This thread seems to get us no-where. People are talking about Panda, Google policies etc. trying to figure out why their hubs get idled. But remember, the reason traffic and earnings are dropping is that:
"Idling and pending hubs are killing traffic"
It must be very difficult for HP staff to join in and do something about this forum unless we define exactly what we want them to do. This is what I want them to do:
1. Relate Pending and Idling to Hubberscores and Hubscores.
2. No pending for high scoring established hubbers.
3. No idling of high scoring hubs (if a hub does not meet traffic threshold after gestation period, then give it a low score and idle it).
Please everybody, support this request, then we might get some results.
I'm not sure I agree with tying the idling and pending thing into traffic and scores. We don't know all the factors that go into the Hubber scores, or the hub scores, but since we have so many groups of 'buddies' here who all read and 'vote up' their friends' hubs, at least some of it is a popularity thing. I don't think HP would benefit by rewarding incestuous clicks and votes.
On the other side of it - I do agree there might be room for some writers to have their pending period eliminated if they have a consistent record of producing the quality of work HP wants. By that, I mean the basic thresholds of good work, not all the elements in a 'stellar' hub (because not all hubs lend themselves to maps, polls, videos, etc.).
If the writing quality is known to be good, the writer has a history following the rules here (no promoting, no spamming, always produces original work, proper use of photos, etc.) it might benefit HP as well as the community to allow their hubs to bypass the pending period.
As others have mentioned here, the Exclusives titles present an additional problem - those are supposed to be search-worthy and on topics that are under-represented here. But many of us have seen them go idle in a short period of time. Yet, at the same time, we are told hubs need time to gain traction. If all of that could be worked out in a way that doesn't create extra work for Hubbers who have to constantly rework an Exclusives hub that is a late bloomer, it sure would help!
Sorry Sue, I can't support that idea because HubScores are not an accurate measure of quality. I created a thread suggesting they should be discontinued, so I'd hate to see anything that would entrench these meaningless numbers even further.
I think you're suggesting it's a 'better than nothing' solution, but personally I think it would be worse than nothing.
Why throw away the baby with the bath-water Marisa?
We need Hubber scores and Hub scores to see how well or poorly we are doing. But for it to work effectively these, as you say, currently "meaningless numbers" could become the backbone of quality on HubPages provided they reflect pending and idling criteria.
I am convinced that people like janderson and the HP engineers are capable of making it work and kill 2 birds with 1 stone: Sort out the scores (give them true meaning), and sort out pending and idling all in one go.
problem is, HP is making these changes BEFORE making hubscores relevant or meaningful - as i've mentioned, i'm skeptical of any claim to be able to rate hubs for quality, and current efforts and suggestions haven't addressed the fundamental problems i've mentioned re accuracy
An even better idea, Sue, would be to call on them to scrap pending/idling all together. It is THE worst thing that they have come up with in the history of HubPages.
I agree Bronwyn, but now we are in this mess, we must try and help HP improve standards somehow. I think my method would work. People have always been saying: "Oh, don't worry about your Hubber score or Hub scores, they don't mean anything. So why do they exist? Now is the time to tweak the parameters and make some good use of them. It is absolutely ridiculous that so many high scoring established hubbers get pended and high scoring hubs are idled, it makes no sense at all.
Please vote for my proposal:
1. Relate Pending and Idling to Hubberscores and Hubscores.
2. No pending for high scoring established hubbers.
3. No idling of high scoring hubs (if a hub does not meet traffic threshold after gestation period, then give it a low score and idle it).
i agree completely - this whole search for 'quality ' is self defeating -- no computer program is going to be able to rate hubs on quality, since there are no easy ways to rate quality in the first place. Evden factual accuracy is a non starter since there are plenty of hubs about astrology, snake oil cures & creationism which have no basis in fact, but may still produce traffic - and how many humans are quaified themselves to judge hubs about Proust, civil war tactics or darshan in Tirpati?
the 'mech turk' itself is a bad metaphor for an automated quality system - whoever coined that phrase obviously didnt know that the ORIGINAL mechanical turk was a HOAX with a human inside providing the answers.
I'm an mTurk rater and I'm not an expert on many things out there... but I do know how to judge writing. I do know when grammar sucks (mechanics) I do know when it's poorly laid out (organization) and I do know when a whole hub is nothing but BS double talk that really doesn't say anything or only has two paragraphs and contributes nothing to the reader (content).
The fact that I'm not an expert on *X* actually makes it easier to judge content. If after reading a hub I know nothing more about whatever the subject was (or would know nothing more if I didn't have the knowledge before) than the hub lacks content.
I never rate on subject matter.
but isnt that the whole POINT of quality when someone is using google to find information? the rest is window dressing! i'd rather find a hub that tells me what i need to know, than a pretty, well written hub that tells me nothing, or worse, has mistakes or inaccuracies.
Yes... the point is to find information.
As a reader I would like to be able to READ it. I don't want a wall of text or a slew of grammatical errors to splodge through to get the information. If it's ugly or poorly written I won't trust the information. So I'd have to do another search to confirm the information anyway.
Nothing that any author writes is so amazing that I will waste my time trying to decipher it to get the information. If I have to scroll through 100 pictures or links to find that "Nugget of Gold" I'm hitting the back button. I'll find a page where the author actually cares about my experience and is not using his page as simply a place to put ads.
all true, and i was exaggerating a bit - but these problems are a necessary part of quality, but not SUFFICIENT -- if you dont address the actual content of the hub, then it just becomes a beauty contest
I think the content is addressed just not the subject.
If we are talking about zodiac signs for example... I personally know little to nothing about the zodiac/astrology and could not care less. I don't believe in it's validity.
However I can judge whether an article on that topic has substance without establishing it's validity.
"The zodiac is made up of some animals based on some stars"
is a bit different than
"In both astrology and historical astronomy, the zodiac (Greek: ζῳδιακός, zōidiakos) is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centered upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year" (Stolen from Wiki)
Thanks! It's for the parts that Wiki can't quite reach.
I have absolutely no idea how to respond to that... I think I need more coffee.
Yet I feel that something in me has profoundly been altered. I generally feel this way after even brief interactions with you.
I still want you to make me an avatar... icon... profile picture. Whatever it is we call them in these parts.
I agree with scrapping it completely too. Going on Hubber Score will just have people obsessing over the score which actually has very little point anyway. It yo yo's on a regular basis when you are posting hubs, so doesn't seem to have a proper function - I believe there is a thread calling to retire Hubber and Hub score completely also.
I don't think idling hubs with low traffic is a good idea either. I think Bard of Ely made the point pretty clear in another thread, if you write a hub on a very niche subject, that few people search for, so you only get a handful of hits a month, you would become idle. Even if your article is the only one on the internet and you rank first in all search engines, for a number of terms - and your piece is amazingly written, that is just silly. Logically the good quality of the piece, the originality of the content and the fact that you have a high ranking should out weigh the fact you get 10 hits a month on it, because it is so specialised - but with this new idle system it doesn't you are penalized for lack of views! Which is so annoying in my book.
Well, we must be realistic daisydayz, HubPage's main function is to make money. Hubs that don't get much traffic don't get many clicks on ads, that's the bottom line unfortunately.
But even a hub with only the odd visitor might get a click, and if there are affiliate links to a highly specific item is not more likely to result in a sale if there is no where else online offering info on it? I just don't think people articles should get penalized for being highly unique and specific.
Yes, Marcy, the "Exclusives" seem to be another goof, but in this thread we want to sort out why Idling and pending hubs are killing traffic so there you go off-topic again.
As to " incestuous clicks and votes", they can happen now. Maybe popularity onsite should weigh less than traffic in compiling scores. All I'm saying is that the factors that determine idling should be incorporated into the hub score. Then the hub score would have some meaning.
I'm not real clear how the point about collecting friends' clicks and other elements that may be factors in the program to idle hubs is 'off topic,' especially since this entire thread has explored a ton of different factors.
At any rate, thanks for that polite comment. Have a great day!
Sorry Marcy, I didn't mean to offend you. What do YOU want HP to do about the problem?
Thanks, Sue - I appreciate that reply.
I wish I had a magic solution for HP. I fully understand the need to have quality filters before allowing new content to become part of the HP mix on Google. I've mentioned my thoughts in this thread and in others. Brand new writers should perhaps be handled differently than established writers. That's a big part of the overall quality challenge here - because we still see poorly done hubs on the Hopper. If the Hopper is being used as the quality control filter, that's just adding work for the writers.
There are tons of poorly written hubs on the site that have been here for years. I am assuming the idle feature has helped get them unindexed, but I have no way of knowing for certain. I do know that if you search for various tricky terms here (variations on things that should not be published here), you will still find old hubs that violate the TOS. Perhaps they are idled (we have no way of knowing), but they're still in the site's system.
One suggestion I made to the staff was to create a new category of 'membership' called 'subscriber,' and get rid of some very old profiles that have Hubber scores of 5, etc. They could still comment on hubs, and would still have an identity (most haven't been on the site for years, though), but they would have to change their status to 'author' to publish. And their work would be filtered for quality.
Meanwhile, established writers, who follow guidelines, use photos legally, write well, etc., could be approved to bypass the filtering system (no pending, no idling, etc.).
We are also operating in the blind - we do not know what factors are considered in idling a hub. The hub score? Traffic? Quality? So we have writers who revise and then revise again, and still have high-quality hubs going idle. At least that's what we are hearing from them. I do not have any hubs idled at this time, but I have had good-quality hubs go idle (including Exclusives titles) and had to rework them after only a month or so. It's time consuming.
Because the idling or pending issue is not a stand-alone thing, a huge number of other factors come into play in discussions like this.
All the jargon makes my head spin ha ha!
There's nothing like good old man power methinks.
I know HP is huge, but I often wonder why there isn't a distinct set of staff purely in charge of checking hubs for quality. Quality is what makes a good website...isn't it?
As I said time and time again, setting down strict guidelines would stop some people from writing inferior hubs or using the site to advertise etc. They would clearly see what was expected of them and decide if they felt they could deliver the expectations. Some people think it's great to have a wide platform to do anything you like, but it doesn't half cause a lot of problems for others.
There should be a minimum amount of words accepted as an article in my opinion....like 1000 words. The rules for recipes and poetry would be different.
At least one picture
At least one capsule outside of the usual text capsules ie. a video, table, quiz, poll etc
Warnings for poor spelling
Absolutely NO advertising of business
If a person is idle on the site for more than say six months, they should get a warning email and if they don't log in again within a week, HP has the right to close the account.
Am I harsh? Even I think it sounds harsh, but this immediately would filter out some people who do not want to write quality hubs.
I love HP and was really enjoying my time on here. It's getting more complicated and difficult by the month. I am not SEO savvy and that worries me when I see people discussing the ins and outs of marketing their work or getting it into search engines.
I just want to write!
I hope I haven't spoken out of line as everything seems to be all over the place right now and there seems to be a lot of disgruntled people.
Personally, and speaking only for my hubs, I don't have a problem putting the idle concept into play based solely on traffic for any mature, non-seasonal hub. If it isn't getting traffic, for whatever reason, it is worthless to me and may as well be idled. The few I have that are aimed at low traffic audiences can remain idled as they never get search engine traffic anyway.
I do recognize that not all hubs or hubbers will agree, though, and for good reason. I could work with a idle procedure based on both quality and traffic but the problem is going to be changing the algorithm producing hub and hubber scores into something far more quality oriented.
What might you suggest as points for the algorithm to look at in determining quality? Something that bots can check and that won't need the complexity of Panda to do the job? What would YOU call quality, and can we get agreement on that?
Seems like you're proposing an enormous problem. I can see a poorly written hub but one getting lots of traffic (and there are many such) being idled. If it were me, I would change that to:
QAP 30%. Garbage = 0 score, stellar = 30, Anything against TOS = -30
traffic 70%. No traffic in 30 days = 0, 3000 = 70
internal traffic, likes, etc. 0
Scores under 40 = idled, given that consideration is given to immature and seasonal hubs.
I think having traffic at 70% puts too little emphasis on quality.
Below is some detailed suggestion for how my original scheme could work.
Q score out of 70%
Q score components 1-10 for (substance : organization : grammar and mechanics)
Traffic out of 20%
Popularity out of 10% - internal traffic + likes + comments etc.
=> Hubscore less than 40
OLD Hubs (more than 6 months old)
=> Hubscore less than 70 - with traffic below a specified level after 6 months (say index >0) would be idled.
=> Hubscore less than 40, traffic below threshold
NOTE: Great hubs with hubscore >70 are retained despite low traffic
NOTE: Hubs with scores below 40, that get above the traffic threshold are retained, but are flagged and email sent to author requesting improvement in quality (with suggestions). Traffic only tested after 6 months to allow time to get links working, including 'natural links'.
New Hubs (no traffic, no popularity)
Idling Threshold - Hubscore < 40%
60% Q60 (6:7:6) T0 P0 => featured
30% Q60 (3:3:5) T0 P0 => idled - score less than 40%
Old Hubs (more than 6 months, traffic and popularity taken into account)
Idling Threshold: Hubscore <40% (with traffic taken to account)
Retain Great hub despite low traffic: Hubscore >70%
75% Q60 (8:6:8) T0 P5 => featured - despite low traffic
65% Q60 (7:6:7) T0 P3 => idled - due to low traffic, hubscore below 70%
50% Q40 (4:6:5) T5 P6 => featured - gets traffic and QAP above threshold
40% Q40 (4:4:5) T0 P3 => Idled - Low quality and low traffic
35% Q40 (3:4:3) T6 P7 => featured, But Flagged - below QAP threshold but gets traffic - author contacted with warning that quality needs to be improved.
The hubscore is used for ranking on pages in the topics, HOTD etc.
This would life the overall quality of pages on HP.
Please janderson99 can you explain what the examples mean? I don't understand what the numbers in brackets mean. Actually I don't really understand any of it.
75% Q60 (8:6:8) T0 P5 =>
What is Q?
=> does that mean smaller than?
Sorry for being a programming moron.
If you could just translate one line into normal language, we could work out the rest.
There is another thread where Hubber score and Hubscore are being discussed and it would be more useful to continue the discussion there, where HubPages staff are actively seeking feedback on the subject:
The idea is for the new hubscore to have a value out of 100 like the old one.
It would be listed in the stats as before.
It would be derived with a
=> 70% contribution from the QAP score ( the three hopper criteria - substance: organisation: grammar, are each given a score out of 10) so a perfect QAP score would give 10:10:10 = 30 which would be scaled to 70. A half ranking QAP score would give 5:5:5 = 15 which would be scaled to a 35 contribution
=> 20% contribution for traffic with 0 (zero) meaning no traffic (below threshold) and 20 being a very high traffic score.
=> 10% contribution from Popularity - an index that takes into account, internal traffic, likes, ups, comments etc.
So the overall hubscore would range from 0 to 100. HP could set a value of 40% value to stay featured, say and a 75% value to stay featured forever despite low traffic.
The next idea was that when an author hovered over the hubscore in their stats they could see details about how the hubscore was derived
75% Q60 (8:6:8) T0 P5
This shows hubscore is 75%
QAP score out of 70 is 60 and the scores for each of the three QAP components is 8 for substance: 6 for organization: 8 for grammar
T0 - Traffic index score is zero (0 out of 20) below threshold - triggers idling of the hub due to inadequate traffic.
P5 - Popularity score is 5 (5 out of 10) - likes, ups etc.
So an author can see what has caused the low score and what to fix.
A score of less than 40% for a new hub would show that the hub was idled and the QAP components would show what to fix. [ 7:2:3]
If the hub was edited to improve grammar to 6 and organisation to 7, these chances would be seen in the listing [7:6:7], with score increasing to 60% say and the new hub being featured after the edit.
JAnderson, I'd hate this thread to get bogged down in the minutiae of how to design a new HubScore, maybe you could take this discussion over to the relevant thread?
i doubt it, and you've identified the reason why - quality and traffic are 2 completely separate concepts. no bot is going to be able to check a hub for accuracy, uniqueness or writing style. panda probably IS the best attempt to date. what HP has done is try to game the system, but defining low traffic to be low quaity and eliminating those hubs from google indexing - but they havent provided any evidence that this will work
You have a point, provided the Hub is given adequate time before the axe falls. Right now, I don't feel Hubs are given enough time to attract traffic before being idled.
I'm disappointed so many of my Hubs were idled, but you're right, they were getting so little traffic that they were earning mere pennies. I take the view that a few pennies is better than none, and they do mount up over time - but it's so little that it's not worth worrying about. And they were all at least a year old, so it was pretty obvious they were never going to do anything.
However, we've all seen examples of Hubs taking six months to a year before they wake up and start doing well. The idling system precludes that happening.
On a slightly different topic of idle hubs, would unpublishing them, until they can be (if you want to) re worked and re published help you over all. Is it likely that a few idle hubs could be bringing down the ranking of your other hubs, or are they unrelated? Just wondering, as I have decided to unpublish my idle hubs until I have time to edit and re publish them.
Since Google can't "see" your idle hubs it shouldn't affect your other hubs.
But the fact is dont they still crawl them, but find you want them deindexed. SO if you have a lot of hubs that you want deindexed will it not crawl your other hubs less frequently? Just an idea
I do not think they would effect the account at all. Linking to them from non-idled hubs may, I do not know. I have an account which had half the hubs idled, (all poems), the traffic to the account over all has improved. I have edited the content, so I cannot attribute the idled hubs to the increase. Yet I cannot discount it either. I still get some traffic to the poems I share on social media.
A few months ago I was heading towards 300 hubs, now down to 130. All thanks to idling. On balance I am pleased with this push because it has made me refocus efforts towards those pages I think are worth maintaining rather than a random mess that I couldn't keep up with.
Now I have less pages with more, and hopefully better content. My traffic is remarkably similar to how it was previously. It hasn't risen dramatically as I hoped but neither has it crashed and burned.
I don't particularly like the idea of exceptions as that is open to favoritism and manipulation. A 'quality' writer (and that is open to opinion) should be able to cope with a 24 hour delay. For instant news style traffic a blog is better anyway.
I liked my non traffic, ego pieces such as stories and humour but they were a waste of space and time. The broader internet world was not interested in them. And when I think about the possibility of making a small amount of money from this game... neither am I.
Hi Mark did you unpublish the idle ones or did you just leave them idle? Just wondering
Hi Daisy. As they went idle I took a long hard look at them. Most were easy to delete - they were self-interested garbage. Some of them I liked because I was being clever or funny (in my opinion). If I couldn't make them attractive to non Hubbers - the wider world - I deleted them. One or two of them I reworked in order to try to get some traffic. Keyword research, improved content. Putting more effort in.
If I had just unpublished there would be over a hundred useless pages just sitting there. So I bit the bullet, took the hit, used a few cliches and dealt with the problem.
I suspect I still have another fifty pages to get hit and I will do the same with them when it happens,.
I believe it is the opinion of the staff of HP to decide what they feel is quality. It's their site and they surely have the right to decide what they want.
You're right that people will have different opinions about what quality means. That's why perhaps it shouldn't be left to hub hoppers.
A predetermined time to update one's hubs prior to idling. Some kind of notification.
A newly published hub not made available to the search engine with a noindex tag. If they have to remain in limbo, so be it, a day, a week, whatever. A submit process that allows the content to be assessed before release. When it is published, it is SE friendly!
Edited hubs can go through the assessment while remaining published.
If this can be done, I don't know? I think it would help?
Thank you Janderson for clarifying your numbers. Your suggestions are beginning to make sense to me now. I like the idea that "when an author hovered over the hubscore in their stats they could see details about how the hubscore was arrived at". It could be done visually with a pie chart.
There is a more recent thread posted yesterday by Giselle Maine:
Some serious flaws with Quality Assessment Process
Here is another twist: If this is due to low traffic, wake up HP because those who write hubs about holidays, and other seasonal topics, face it, traffic for a Christmas hub will slow down to zip after the holiday is over.
So hell, just write a paragraph about nothing, using lousy grammar, etc, slap in a couple of you tube videos, then throw in a link to some site that has nothing to do with the hub, and all will be well.
I have a hub,this morning, with the RED arrow which means traffic is up, yet HP tossed it into Idle.
I would so love a small clue as to what the tipping point is for a hub to go idle. There's no rhyme or reason. I have two hubs that just today went idle, but have more traffic overall in the last 30 days than some other hubs that are still featured. No warning, so no way to preempt the strike by taking preventive measures. The hubs were all publisehd around the same time (within the last few months), so that's not a huge clue, either. And of course that means they passed the QAP, which was in effect when they were published. And therefore, they're not bad hubs.
We hear the mantra to give hubs time to get traction (six months, a year, etc.). We are advised not to delete good work, and yet the site idles those same hubs.
Good hubs should NOT get idled. And writers should not have to rework and edit GOOD work that is still timely, or is seasonal. This process adds needless work for us, and yes, it is frustrating.
If I am noticing the hassles with only a bit more than 100 hubs published, I can't imagine the pain this causes for writers with 1,000 hubs, who get good work idled with no warning and may have dozens to address.
The same has happened to me today Marcy. I had a hub with active daily views go idle on me, whilst others are featured and not had hardly any traffic for a while. The mind boggles
At one point I had over 50% of my hubs idle...most were ones I did through the AP and hence checked and accepted for quality by the mentors.
I've been moving my idle hubs that I think are good quality and need little to no reworking to my blogs and I have been getting good traffic on them straight away. I can only imagine the traffic and revenue I've missed because they were blocked from Google!
I've noticed that my good quality but unconventional hubs are the ones getting idled the most. I have some which I consider my worst work and have low traffic too which are not idle...I can't help but wonder if it's partly propaganda?
I WANT to be a HP writer, but HP are making it difficult for me to stay~ especially when several of my idle hubs had ratings over 80.
I agree with Marcy~ HP should at least release the scoring for each hub so we can all see what needs to be edited to meet the bizarre standards. I find it strange that HP have been very quiet about this aspect...
Sorry if I've repeated anyone~ but I only found this thread the other day and haven't had time to read through all of it yet.
I think this is really discouraging to read. The apprentices work hard to produce quality, search friendly topics, (checked by mentors) in a designated amount of time and then turn around and find their work is not accessible to the search engines. I would be quite discouraged and upset if that happened to me after I had made the commitment that is required in the AP. No one wants to see their hard work blocked and sitting idle, not knowing why or what to correct.
There has to be a better way.
Well, my good news is that Google as finally indexed that hub I wrote about airlines and cell phones.
I've also discovered that 3 of my hubs have been copied, 2 of them twice, so that probably also has been affecting my traffic, although I think many hubbers have also been copied and their traffic is okay.
And just to add to the weirdness of my hubs. Several times when I searched in Google for some text in my hubs, the hub it was from would not show up - one or 2 I went through several pages of results and didn't find it. Only if I put the text in quotations marks did the hub appear.
Does this suggest that my domain has been slapped by Google? If it does suggest that then it may be the copied content that's been more of an issue than the idled hubs, though there obviously was something weird going on with that hub.
So how do you know if someone has copied your work?
Copy a small chunk of text from your hub. Paste it into Google. See what results come up - should be your hub at the top of the search results, but check out those below - sometimes you find someone who's copied it.
A scary thing happened when i tried that with several of my hubs....my hubs didn't show up in the results!!
Is this the sandbox effect (don't really know what it is, but I've heard it means that Google ignore you totally for a few months)?
Probably not. If you're sandboxed Google sees you and indexes hubs, just at the bottom of the SERP. True, they won't crawl you very often and this can result in taking a long time to index, but in general hubs are still indexed and found in a search if you look far enough down.
Karen, did you try putting quotation marks around the text you pasted into Google? I had the same thing happen with several hubs that you had, but putting the text in quotation marks brought up the hubs. I have no idea why, though!
Quotes tell G to look at only those exact words - no synonyms, no change in order, etc. Just the exact quote.
I never tried that thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try
donotfear, there are a few ways to check. You can use a program such as copyscape, or you can just paste some of your hub into a google search and see what comes up.
Neither method picks up everything. I found one copy of a hub by using Copyscape and the rest turned up in Google searches. It's best to try a few different parts of the hub because sometimes people only copy a section of it.
With Copyscape you are allowed to check 4 urls each month for free and after that you have to pay. I don't know if the search is more thorough if you pay because I never have!
The search is the same, but you can do a lot more of them.
It sounds expensive to do, but it works out at only a few dollars and I think it's worth doing it occasionally, because the search is exhaustive. I haven't signed up for the monitoring service (Copysentry), I just pay for the Premium service and use it every few months.
Using this hub as an example:
It is idle
It is an exclusive(can not change the title on my own)
The book which is being reviewed is newly published-not many people are searching for it as of yet. It was written in the winter....people may start searching soon and even more searches as the book becomes more established.
The hub was indexed in Google but now it is not. If it was still there it would be an established hub and as spring rolls around start getting hits. And hopefully, as the years roll on an the book/author (hopefully) will gain popularity and my hub will be waiting to reap the rewards, but instead it was placed on idle only after a few short months of being written ( in the winter months) and now that people are beginning to think about gardening it has been "put to sleep".
I know I can tweak it here and there and get it up an running again, but it really just needs more time Why go idle only after couple of months!
But this has all been said before....
I was asked to do a review on a newly published book myself. Now it is in idle and has just reached the shelves. What a waste of time.
The thing with making seasonal hubs idle is how are they supposed to 'un-idle' when their season comes round again if they're blocked from Google?
....It simply is not logical!!!
That's the stupid thing. They can't. I'm wondering if it's worth starting a thread titled "List your Seasonal Hubs which are Idled", and asking everyone to post their links? Derek has twice posted to say that seasonal Hubs "shouldn't" be idled, so it sounds like we need to give them evidence to the contrary?
I don't write seasonal Hubs - anyone?
The book review is a great example, but I would definitely be grateful for any other examples as well.
http://summerberrie.hubpages.com/hub/Be … ie-Recipes
http://summerberrie.hubpages.com/hub/Th … n-December
http://summerberrie.hubpages.com/hub/Ha … anksgiving
http://summerberrie.hubpages.com/hub/Th … nberry-Pie
http://summerberrie.hubpages.com/hub/Sp … en-Cupcake
Two of the five are Exclusives...
Thanks Derek for looking at these. I hope it provides some perspective.
Oh, and I unpublished How to Stay Warm in the Winter. It was another exclusive.
Something I don't think I made clear earlier is that there is a yearly component of the traffic threshold, so if your seasonal Hub gets enough traffic during its season it does not need to get traffic the whole year long.
Now just looking at summerberrie's profile and examples, these all made it through QAP with no problem, so now all you need to worry about is the traffic threshold. The examples you provided are all new Hubs that you published just after their Fall season had past. It will be hard for these to get traffic until their season next year, so you definitely will need to take some action at least sometime before next year.
Taking a look at your other seasonal Hubs, your Christmas Hubs look like they were published around the same time but they were still "in season" at the time so they got a bit more traffic. They are currently still Featured, but they are in danger too because they didn't get quite enough to keep them Featured the whole year.
The real problem with these Hubs is that they don't rank well in search results. Even during their season they're not going to perform very well in their current search position. Seasonality effects the number of searches that people are performing, but not where your content ranks in those search results. If you search for your exact title on Google, both the ones I looked at don't show up until page 3 or 4 of search results. That's not a good place to be.
One strategy could be to keep working on them until they get on first page of results for your exact title. Making small little improvements over the course of the year as they approach their season will 1, ensure the Hub stays Featured the whole year (since any edit gives you a free pass on traffic for a while) and 2, probably significantly increase your odds of getting on the first page of results for your title and 3, probably help you learn a lot over the course of the year about getting Hubs to rank well in search results and 4, if you get them to page one they will likely have the minimum traffic heartbeat even out of season. All of that seems work that definitely adds value to your content and will likely position you for much greater success next season and into the future.
So, when is the best time to publish a seasonal Hub? It's a good question and I guess it depends on your goals and strategy. If you publish a Christmas Hub in the Spring, at least you will have the whole year to refine it and figure out how to get it on page 1 of search results, but you likely will need to keep working on it to keep it Featured. Alternately, you could wait until a month or two before the season and, while hoping for page 1, be happy with the traffic from page 4 (unless you're really smart or lucky). Even page 4 would likely be enough to get you over the yearly traffic threshold while it's in season, then you have a whole year before traffic requirements come into play again. Typically seasonal Hubs do better and better each year, so you should have no problems once you have your first successful year with a seasonal Hub. But if you can keep working on it until it gets it to page 1 of a search for your exact title, it will likely be fine even off-season for a long time to come.
Oh, one other tip, you can change your Exclusive titles using the Title Tuner.
Wow,Derek. This renews my interest a bit. Thanks.
THE PLOT THICKENS
Just to clarify what you have revealed in this thread. There are two traffic thresholds that have to be met to stayed featured:
Short Term => "The Hub initially gets a free pass for a few months". "Hubs typically have at least a heartbeat while they are in their "dormant" stage (just published). That's all we require." Probably tested after 2-3 months?
Long Term => ".... there is a yearly component of the traffic threshold, so if your seasonal Hub gets enough traffic during its season it does not need to get traffic the whole year long." So a hub has to meet an annual traffic minimum. If it's a seasonal hub it has to get ALL of the annual quota required during its season, as its unlikely to get traffic at other times.
Some Hubs are cyclical on a quarterly basis so there's an allowance for that as well. So there are three.
Thanks Derek, That information is very useful.
I would also like to know whether the full Monte QAP (human) is applied to a hub that gets edited after being idled, or edited for other reasons. Or is the software QAP version or other tests applied. It appears that getting a consistent QAP for EVERY hub on HP is a long way off.
=> New hubs get the full Monte,
=> Edited ones get the soft version
=> Old hubs don't have a QAP unless they have been edited. Is this true?
Thanks and Cheers,
For now I can tell you that we're working on making this whole process clearer, which is hard for something so complicated, but all the questions and examples here are most helpful. We're not there yet but we do feel that we're heading in the right direction. We know that it is possible to be successful with new content HubPages today, and we want to make that path as clear as we can.
Derek - you are my hero!!! The information you posted here is hugely, hugely helpful. This tells me that we writers who are active here and paying attention can work with the system and keep our hubs afloat, rather than worrying that there's no hope.
If there's any way to give us tips on what level (as in, decline) of traffic will trigger an idle, that will help, too. It would allow us to monitor hubs that might be dipping near the cut-off point, and work on them. I know that sounds simple, but with so many writers here having hundreds of hubs on multiple accounts, it would help us manage our work better.
I agree with Summerberrie - this is heartening! Thanks!!!!
I agree with the others that this is very useful information. And I am delighted to know we can change the title of hubs using the title tuner. I added a subtitle to my cell phones on airplanes hub that has considerably more searches than the exclusive title, and it is already picking up search engine traffic, to if the tuner agrees with me I will change its title!
Sadly, I have one Exclusives title that does not have enough searches to show up in the Tuner! Since the tips there are based on search words, if it's not on the radar screen, it won't show up. I'm researching some better title concepts & working with the staff to get it changed administratively. Meanwhile, I tweaked it a bit to keep it on life-support.
@Marcy, that problem is on our list too. It's a big list.
As Marcy says, this is helpful. I had a couple of seasonal hubs idled, and didn't understand why as others aren't. They were both new, though, and hadn't had a chance to collect the traffic from one "season" - you've explained that. Thanks.
I've had the same problem, Wilderness - a few seasonal hubs of mine were launched just as their season started (some were exclusives, which is a new feature on the site, of course). I can tweak them throughout the year to keep them from idling, and that's not a huge deal (except it might be a challenge to find all of them!). It's so helpful to get some information on how the system works.
I just don't understand this.
Organic gardening is a global search, and it's not winter everywhere. Even if it was, many prepare for the planting season during the cold, winter months by reading gardening books. I live in a climate where we can plant during winter months. We recently planted a small, raised box garden of herbs. Two months is hardly enough time for a book review hub to gain significant traffic. I feel your frustration. I would be also.
"Pending" is depressing. I agree there should be a "Pending" bypass for tried-and-true HubPages authors. I notice too that a great many new Hubs are fiction and poetry instead of content-rich articles, and I believe that has been a drag on the whole enterprise.
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