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Let's talk about 'non-engaging' hubs

  1. Marie Brannon profile image79
    Marie Brannonposted 3 years ago

    With the latest tweak to their Hub-featuring formula, HubPages has pretty much destroyed the reason I signed up in the first place, two years ago.  I was (and still am) in search of a site that would host quality articles about topics that are not otherwise on the web.  More specifically, short biographies of non-famous but interesting individuals and historic places that have disappeared from our public curiosity.  Isn't that what 'original content' means?

    Getting page views and making money are not my primary concern, and I may be the only person on the planet who feels this way.  Instead, I want to bring 'neglected' content into cyberspace.  For example, my article about the Dallas Baby Camp of the early 1920s and the one about the Fordyce Burial Association of Arkansas don't get much traffic.  In spite of their 'non-engaging' status, these seem to me like worthwhile historic topics that will be of value to an admittedly small audience.

    I don't understand how it hurts HubPages to have these kinds of hubs available to search engines.  It would make them unique to serve as a repository of lesser-known information.  So ... my search continues for such a repository.

    1. bikesbikesbikes profile image87
      bikesbikesbikesposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Historical content and obscure information CAN be engaging, it's just all about how it's presented.

      Engagement doesn't mean clicks or income, it means people stay to read and don't 'bounce', or leave quickly. However, traffic IS an important part of it. No traffic = no engagement. I think if you're not relying on search engines, you may have to drive traffic through social media or some such.

      Over at Infobarrel, a writer named Vic Dillinger writes on obscure historical topics and he's got a big following, mostly dedicated readers.

    2. Patty Inglish, MS profile image90
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I like reading about obscure histories and personages, so I will look at your Hubs. Unfortunately, I had not seen them yet. But I will now!

    3. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I understand what you mean.   Unfortunately the internet landscape has changed and if sites like HubPages want to survive, they have to change with it.

      The first thing to understand is that "engaging", in Hubspeak, doesn't mean engaging - or fascinating or interesting.   It just means traffic.  If a Hub is idled for lack of engagement, it just means it's not getting Google traffic.  It doesn't mean that readers don't like it - it could be a fantastic article, but people are simply not searching for it..

      HubPages' mission has always been for it, and its authors, to make money from advertising revenue on articles.   HubPages' founders started the site to make money, not out of the goodness of their hearts!  However, in the past, "non-commercial" Hubs have been welcome too, because they add to the size of the site - and on the internet, size matters.   Now, Google is becoming fussy about "quality" too, so it's a case of trying to balance quality and size.  HubPages simply doesn't have enough money or people to identify and remove every poor quality Hub, so it has taken the "nuclear option" to get rid of poor quality Hubs - which means unFeaturing everything Google doesn 't send traffic to.

      HubPages admits their new system causes "collateral damage"  - good quality Hubs on obscure subjects - but it's a price they feel they have to pay, in order to ensure the survival of the site.  That's very tough on people like yourself, but there's not a lot we can do about it.

  2. To Start Again profile image84
    To Start Againposted 3 years ago

    I visited your hub about May Smith and I have to say, I found it very interesting. But, I can see why you may be having issues with it not being engaging. 

    Basically, it's a little short and there isn't much to engage the reader. Your goal with each hub is to keep the reader on the page as long as possible. You can do this with interesting pictures like you have and with videos and polls. The text is well written and interesting but I would try to beef it up a bit. There's a great tool I really like on the hub template. It's called the evergreen scale and it's located above the 'add a capsule' box in the upper right of the page. It tells you how many words you have, how many pictures/videos and how many you should aim for.

    I'm certain your issues with not getting featured have nothing to do with the quality or subject matter of your hub. It is only because readers are getting through the text so quickly, they aren't on your hub but for a minute. Try adding a video of something relevant if you can find one and add a little more to the text section. A poll at the end would help as well.

    But please don't take your content away! I love reading those types of hubs and only wish I'd come across you sooner!

    1. Marie Brannon profile image79
      Marie Brannonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for your honest reply.  Surely there is a place on the immense World Wide Web where an article is not obliterated from search engines simply because readers don't stay "long enough".  As I said elsewhere, I don't understand how this new requirement benefits HubPages.  Does Google make more money from slow readers than speed readers?  Does HubPages generate revenue based on 'time spent'?

  3. rebekahELLE profile image92
    rebekahELLEposted 3 years ago

    I took a look at your profile and hubs and think you can make them more engaging.  They are interesting topics for a targeted audience.

    First, I would add more content and images, interesting videos (if you can find them). 
    Then I would make sure you group your biographies so they're linked at the bottom of your hubs.  If there are relevant, quality links you can add, that may help if someone wants more information.
    Do you have search terms at the top of each hub of how viewers are finding your hubs? 
    Interesting images are great for obscure, historical type articles.  You may find some great images in the digital archives of the Library of Congress.

    The hub about antique cast iron steam radiators is an interesting, niche type article.  Take a look at your competition when you do a keyword search and see what comes up on top.  Do viewers want to buy them, seek information?  Perhaps you can add a couple of products from Ebay.  Is there an interesting video about these radiators that you can add?

    Try to put yourself in your targeted audience's head.  'What would I want to know if I was searching this topic?'

    1. Marie Brannon profile image79
      Marie Brannonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks, Rebekah.  Making hubs more engaging is not my goal or interest.  My interest is in researching and writing, not marketing.  I realize I could spend hours chasing more readers, tweaking my hubs, etc., for more 'engagement' and a few cents.

      But as I said originally, I think I'd rather spend those same hours finding a site that won't no-index perfectly adequate articles.  I feel that HubPages has dumped my stuff into oblivion by hiding it from Google and other search engines.  If search engines don't crawl it or index it, what's the point of writing it here?  Wouldn't it be better off on BlogSpot, for example, where it could at least get an occasional viewer?

      1. Marisa Wright profile image93
        Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I think you should consider Wordpress.com, if you're looking for readership not money.

        You're not allowed to advertise on Wordpress.com at all, so you're not going to earn from it - but unlike Blogger (blogspot), there is an element of community and interaction between members there, which means you can attract a small readership internally as well as search engine visitors. 

        If you would like to make some money from your work, then a blogspot blog would be the way to go, because you can place advertising on it.  It is more solitary than here - there's no interaction between Blogger members, so you'll be relying solely on search engine visitors. 

        I think you might be better suited to a blog than a site like HP because your Hubs are a little short, but would make great blog posts.

  4. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image94
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 3 years ago

    Love your hub on the Baby Camp!  And "Hi!" from Austin, BTW!

    The only thing I see is that many of your hubs are on very specific and unknown events or people, which means they won't get much search engine traffic.  But they look really interesting, and I enjoyed the one I read.  I look forward to reading more of your work.

    1. Marie Brannon profile image79
      Marie Brannonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks Marcy, pleased to meet you too.  The way I understand it, my articles won't get ANY search engine traffic if HubPages doesn't Feature them, and that is what I'm concerned about.

      1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image94
        Marcy Goodfleischposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Yes - it is circular - if a hub is unpublished due to no traffic, how can it then get traffic?

        I think you can get it featured again by editing it?  That was the case recently, but I don't know if it has changed with the new 'engagement' and 'quality' things.

  5. Robin profile image
    Robinposted 3 years ago

    Hi Marie,
    I enjoyed your work as well!  You are correct, if your Hubs are not Featured, they will not be seen by Google or other search engines.  I think the Hubbers in this thread are trying to give you advice on how to receive traffic from search engines.  One way to garner more traffic is to add more content to your Hubs so that they have a chance of showing up in search from different keywords. 

    If there aren't any searches for your topic, no matter where you place it or how good it is, you won't attract readers from search engines.  Having a Hub Featured or not Featured is just a technicality if your Hub wasn't seeing traffic from search to begin with.  Basically, we believe that Hubs that aren't seeing traffic from Google hurt the Hubbers subdomain, so it's better to hide them.  We still allow those Hubs that aren't receiving search traffic on HubPages to be published; you can email the link to friends and share on social media sites. 

    Your Hubs have a lot of potential!  You are a good writer with unique, interesting information.  I think if you add a bit more content and do a bit of research on areas around your topic that do see some search traffic, you could increase your search views.  (Once you edit your Hubs and add content, they will be Featured again).  Unfortunately, in today's online-writing world, writers need to do more than just publish text to succeed.  We recommend creating, in-depth, engaging Hubs with relevant images, videos, polls, maps, tables, etc.  smile I'm happy to help more if you would like.  smile

    One last note, what does the int(200) int(150) mean at the beginning of your Hubs?  You have me stumped!

    1. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Robin, I suggest you go and talk to your boss, and to Derek.  Both of them have said that Hubs which aren 't seeing traffic from Google do NOT hurt the Hubber's sub-domain.  I have also been unable to find any other internet guru, anywhere, who says that low-traffic posts hurt a domain or sub-domain.  Please feel free to post evidence to the contrary, if you have it.

      You may be taking a shortcut to avoid having to go into detailed explanations, but the result is a misleading statement so please don't. It will only upset more people in the long run.

      As I understand it, the reason for unFeaturing low-trafficked Hubs is that there are two reasons why Google ignores Hubs - one is because they are poor quality, the other is because they are on obscure topics.  So by unFeaturing low-trafficked Hubs, HubPages will get rid of a lot of poor quality Hubs quickly.  Derek and Paul have both said that Hubs on obscure subjects also suffer and that's unfortunate, but that it's the best option available to HP to improve quality.

      There are forum posts to that effect, I just don't have time to find them right now.

      1. Robin profile image
        Robinposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Sorry, Marisa, what I meant to say is that Hubs that are no-index won't hurt your subdomain.  I think that Marie has a chance of having her work read if she can find a way to add content that is being searched for online along with her more obscure, interesting facts.  Thanks!

        1. Marisa Wright profile image93
          Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          What you said was "Hubs that aren't seeing traffic from Google hurt the Hubbers subdomain, so it's better to hide them."   I'm not sure how you could accidentally write that when you meant something so completely different, but whatever.

          1. 0
            summerberrieposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Hubs that are not seeing Google traffic do carry a risk and have the  "potential" to hurt the subdomain.  If a hub has been unfeatured due to low engagement then there really is a greater advantage to the hubber to have these hubs idled (remember the threshold is minimal and they have a longer grace period to gain traffic then when first implemented)

            I can see where it would be frustrating for those who are creative writers or those with niches that have a limited audience, however this is a site to garner revenue.  There are plenty of people willing to help anyone whose hubs are unfeatured to offer suggestions on SEO to facilitate more traffic to  their hubs.

            I wish traffic wasn't factored into quality, but if one thinks about quality as a broad statement addressing all elements of "good" or "poor" content it becomes a pretty good plumb line to follow. What I mean is~if my hub is not getting any traffic then it would be to my and HP advantage to figure out why and make the needed adjustment to get it searchable.

            A quality hub is one that delivers what it promises to those who are searching for your content and if no one is searching for your content then how can that hub be judged for quality in the a content generated world of online writing.

      2. 0
        summerberrieposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Her boss is her husband~actually, I think she might be the boss smile

    2. Marie Brannon profile image79
      Marie Brannonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Robin, thanks for your thoughtful reply.  Unfortunately, I have a different definition of 'success' than what you describe.  I'm not interested in self-promotion, or page views, or making money.  I just simply want to put my work 'out there' in cyberspace for those who might want it, now or later.  I want my work to be a repository of information about historical events and/or interesting people.

      I think the thing for me to do, in light of this discussion and if the no-index policy is permanent, is to take my content elsewhere.  That way, I'll still have a few hubs here and I'll put the others somewhere else, where they will at least be indexed for those few who do search for it. 

      And finally, I can't see any int(200) int(150) on any of my hubs, either in edit mode or in real-time.  Thanks.

      1. Robin profile image
        Robinposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I love your intent in your writing; you are spreading knowledge about more obscure topics - fantastic!  You might be right in putting your work on your own blog.  You have complete control of all of your content on your blog; the only downside is you won't have readers from the community on HubPages.  smile  I wish you the very best no matter what you decide! 

        I'm not sure why the int(200) was showing.  Perhaps it was a HubPages bug.  I'm not seeing it now either.  hmm

  6. 0
    DigbyAdamsposted 3 years ago

    Hi Marie, you just need to think out of the box a bit. Attracting search engine traffic is a bit of a game. For example Dallas Baby Camp gets no searches according to the Google Keyword Tool, but Dallas History gets 27,000 searches a month. So work with your title to be something like "The Dallas Baby Camp - A Unique place in Dallas History."  There are many possibilities that you can use. My suggestion probably isn't the best.

    Learn what keywords people search for, then sprinkle them into your hub. Now just do this when the sentence makes absolute sense. Make sure that it reads naturally and adds something to the content. But that's how you'll get people to read your hubs. Don't get carried away and stuff Dallas History in your hub 50 times. But give the search engines something to grab onto.

    1. moonlake profile image88
      moonlakeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I think you are right in your suggestions. It seems a longer titles bring in more views. Like you said putting Dallas History would help.

  7. Greekgeek profile image98
    Greekgeekposted 3 years ago

    Would this help? Try substituting the words "fascinating" or "interesting" for "engaging," and see if those goals align better with what you like to write. As many people as there are on the web, someone is probably looking for your topic, and will be engaged if you present them with something well-written, thought-provoking and meaty.

    (For example, lately, I've been devouring every in-depth article I can find on certain phases of geology. The Permian-Triassic extinction layer is hardly a huge money-maker, but for me, learning about this kind of stuff is very engaging. If you've got an area of expertise to share, you, too can make it engaging, just like a good teacher or biographer or documentary).

  8. peachpurple profile image78
    peachpurpleposted 3 years ago

    i find that most of your hubs are interesting. Maybe nowadays people aren't keen in history articles. Maybe you can add in unique pictures that catches the attention and also the hub title.

  9. SmartAndFun profile image92
    SmartAndFunposted 3 years ago

    Ugh. I've been gone for a few weeks, and of course, more confusing, ill-conceived terminology has been introduced to the already confusing, ever-changing list of rules and regulations at HubPages. Calling articles that don't get much traffic "unengaging" is like when they called idled hubs "regular" or "standard" or whatever the inaccurate term was. Here we go again with "engaging."

    HP, why the double-speak? You could save countless hubbers lots of confusion and save tons of forum space if you'll just call an unpopular hub "unpopular" or cite it for "traffic." It could be that the the three people a year who visit these well written but unpopular topics stay for hours, reading all the interesting information, watching countless videos, studying maps and taking quizzes. Yet these articles are sidelined for "engagement." HP, please be sensible and change the reason to "traffic." Why wasn't the correct word used in the first place? Why make things harder and more confusing than they already are?


    1. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      You are so right, I've just started a thread to suggest that to HP:


      1. SmartAndFun profile image92
        SmartAndFunposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks, Marisa.

  10. WryLilt profile image87
    WryLiltposted 3 years ago

    Simple. Go into your hub, click stats, if there is no traffic from anything other than hubpages.com, it will end up with the unengaging title.

    If you want to write very niche content that you have rights to do with as you wish, go set up a free blogger blog.