The Times They are a Changing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Gone to graveyards everyone!
When will we ever learn?
HP has embarked on a major campaign to dump thin pages and spam, and to improve the overall ‘quality’ of pages on HP. This involves dumping the crap using the QAP, mostly to keep Panda and Google happy. HP is also determined to reduce the number of pages indexed by 50-75%. HP’s ideal is for the downsized portfolio to have high quality and high traffic. To stay indexed hubs must meet minimum traffic requirements after 60 days and at various other time intervals. [ I have had hubs published in January 2013, idled despite 90+ hits)
Nothing has really changed – traffic is KING, for articles to be read they have to be high up in the SERPS. To get traffic you need a hub that that is focused on niche keywords, topics and titles that are popular and competitive – you need this for a chance to rank highly. But everyone knows there is no magic formula for finding these available niche treasures. Even with the best research it is a hit and miss lottery. Success rates are probably 20-50% at best, more like 10%. Most hubbers get 80% of their traffic from 20% of their pages. Lets face it most people write hubs that can't compete.
HP endlessly pushes ‘Stellar Hubs’ (Xena hubs), because they say media rich hubs do better. In some ways, the formula for Stellar hubs is capsule stuffing. Not all stellar hubs have high quality- many are spam. Some have argued that not every hub needs a video, and that the shift to mobiles means people want more condensed and concise articles. HP also pushes the notion of writing what you are passionate about on topics that you know well. Unfortunately, stellar hubs are not a recipe for success – many HOTD and AP hubs get idled. I looked at the December 2012 HOTD and 7 were not indexed, double this for ones that have been idled but edited and it suggests that 50% of HOTD hubs are idled after 60 days. Writing to stellar standard, on topics you are passionate about may be doomed to fail unless the topic and title are competitive.
So there are three elements for HP hubs that determine its fate are
=> Stellarness (complexity, capsule diversity, media richness)
In the image below I have summarized groups of hubs with various mixes of these attributes:
A- What HP wants – this requires 3-5 hours of work and massive research on keywords, at best success rate 30-50%
B. What the ‘best’ hubbers currently write – ‘Plain Jane’ hubs with good quality and well researched topics and titles that get good traffic – require about half the time.
C & D. What many ’featured’ writers at HP write (HOTD, AP and others who try to write to stellar standard. The tragedy is that many of these stellar, high quality hubs get Dumped (DEINDEXED) after only 60 days because of low traffic, and remain threatened with future dumping.
E. Despite HP’s objective for (A) type hubs, many unstellar (plain Jane) of moderate size and quality are retained because they get good traffic (Google loves them). These have fabulous research done or just get lucky because of their title and keywords. HP won’t dump them. These hubs require 30% less effort.
The moral of the story is TRAFFIC is KING.
After getting through QAP, which partially looks at complexity and stellarness – the fate sole rests with TRAFFIC.
Good Quality is required to pass QAP – Necessary but not sufficient to survive
Stellarness is NICE and may get more traffic, but it is not necessary, nor sufficent to survive.
Heck of a post. I agree with it.
Something has got to be done about the 60 days thing. My experience has been that it takes Google 4-6 months to make up its mind about a hub.
We will have longer periods by the end of the month.
Our data is really starting to show that quality does matter. As we graph out the quality distribution, Hubs that are in the top 15% in quality get about 5X the traffic than a Hub in the middle on average.
I totally agree on more time for good Hubs.
In "quality" in this case means...? ( I assume the rating number given during QAP? In which case can we get that in out stats instead of hubscore?)
+1 I think this was suggested a while ago, and the main reason for not showing us the QAP rating was the expected furore in the forums.
But the forums are always erupting anyway, and I for one would really like to have this feedback. Perhaps we could have an "opt in" button, so only those who think they can handle the ugly truth will be given their scores? And they will swear an oath not to get violently upset about it.
This is such a relief to hear. I have several good hubs that are in danger of being idled for traffic, but the hubs are either seasonal or new. Travel to certain destinations, for example, will pick up traffic during peak times but may not be looked at in other months. Very few people travel to the Finger Lakes region in January.
Recently, it seems as though my hubs take a bit more time than before to gain traction.
One of my hubs took a couple of months to kick in to gear and start getting views from google
And other of my hubs kicked in right away.
I don't know why, but idling based on the traffic for the FIRST 60 days may be too short of a time period for some hubs. Would 60 days of inactivity for a mid-career hub be reasonable? How long should a newly published hub be featured before it is subjected to the idling methodology?
At the end of the day, HP and hubbers want the same thing: to make revenue. A low-viewed hub doesn't do that - regardless of how good we think it is.
My two cents anyways...
I agree it would be better to wait longer than 60 days. A few months ago I wrote a hub that got almost no traffic then today I noticed it was. I decided to take a look and for some reason after all this time Google decided it was worthy of their first search result for the keyword I aimed for.
I've always thought that good keyword research is the most important thing in getting traffic. If you happen to find a KW with search volume but bad competing pages, you really don't need to put in that much effort to rank for it. You just have to be better than the competition.
However, putting in the extra effort might "future proof" your hub. If you rank with ok but not great content, in the future others might also find those KWs and produce better content than you and suddenly you will lose traffic.
But I think different hubs require different approaches. For some searches I think too much text is actually bad, it's not what the searchers are looking for. Also I am resistant to putting polls on electronics review pages. When people are searching for the best motherboard to buy, I don't think they want to take part in polls.
Excellent analysis. I took a slightly different approach and am going through my older hubs and trying to 'stellar-fy' them, it will be interesting (hopefully) to compare before and after, although the upcoming Google Algorithm changes might make direct comparisons tricky, but I will report back on findings.
It is always a question of balancing time, effort and quality vs. hoped for SERPs placement and traffic and I confess that it's not an easy balance to get right!
It's the read time that matters for newer pages. Idle pages with poor read times after a couple of months. Keep the ones with good read times even if they are not getting great traffic. The traffic will come, even it takes a year.
Of course, you will need a subject that people are interested in.
The fact that HP have finally found a correlation between 'quality' and traffic is encouraging. That means that either Google is starting to get things right. Or HP are starting to get a handle on what 'quality' is.
Either way, the writers effort and ability should start equaling income.
60 days is ridiculous. And it's not just about seasonal hubs. Many hubs may be seasonal while not appearing at first glance to be so. ie - you write a hub about spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, etc. Well the planting time is in fall. So you may publish such a hub in spring after you've taken pix of all those pretty flowers, but interested readers may look at the hub when it's planting time. The same goes for a lot of garden hubs.
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