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Lack of Engagement - HubPages Business Model Needs Some Work

  1. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    This is not a complaint about a specific Hub, but the whole "Not Featured due to lack of engagement" thing.  I will however, give a specific example.

    I have a recipe Hub for making Chicken Paprikash. This Hub has been de-indexed by HubPage as seen in this statement:
    --------------------------
    Not Featured - Engagement

    This Hub is not Featured because it does not receive sufficient engagement. Try updating the Hub with recent information and descriptive, search-friendly sub headings.
    --------------------------
    The title is "How to Make Chicken Paprikash"
    The summary is "My Grandmother's recipe for Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, an Eastern European favorite."

    I don't think I can make those things anymore search-friendly.  As far as updating the Hub with recent information, should I add "My grandmother is still dead and this is still her recipe"? ....or maybe I should change the ingredients, substituting Peanut Butter for Paprika and Jelly for Chicken.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. profile image61
      mcxniftycallsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Bill, the hubpages want you do anything that can attract traffic

    2. OMGirdle profile image87
      OMGirdleposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I think some recipes are seasonal due to weather and desired taste. Sometimes it's too hot to turn the oven on. My Turkey recipe has the same effect as yours. There's nothing I can do to make it more search friendly. When Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, it will be featured again as people start to search for recipes.

    3. profile image0
      excellasysposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      With the constant changes and traffic fluctuations I have decide to do nothing more on HubPages.  It's not worth the effort anymore.  I'll read forums occasionally and interact but in terms of writing more it's not worth it.  Either HP's or Google is constantly messing with the SEO and it's the rest of us that pay the price.   

      -e-

    4. New Understanding profile image87
      New Understandingposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I'm thinking maybe a change to the title.  Even if Paprikash is used in Europe a lot, I don't think many others will type in that word.  Chicken is a pretty saturated word that is searched, but maybe if you said something like a great Chicken recipe using paprika you might fine more traffic (which is all it's about). as paprika is searched more then Paprikash....it's just a thought.

    5. Cardisa profile image92
      Cardisaposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Bill.

      Here are a few ideas that may get your recipe hub featured. What many people do not understand is that recipes function online like any other article. You need to write it a certain way for it to attract visitors.

      1. You need a keyword rich title for your recipe. I found that "Chicken Paprikash Recipe" is a better title than the one you now have.

      2. Adding relevant information such as nutrition facts also helps. Haven't seen the hub so do not know if you have that.

      3. Most people will write ingredients list and instructions only. Try adding the relevant recipe capsules including the ratings capsule.

      4. Content is also very important for recipe. Here is a short guide for laying out your recipe hub:

      a. Start you hub with a very very short intro - one paragraph.
      b. get straight to the recipe because you want your relevant info to be above the fold which means you don't want your readers to scroll too far to get to the actual stuff.
      c. Add a little more information about the recipe,history, nutrition info, time to prepare and so forth after the recipe. (I assume you have some info on that).
      6. Use a full width photo at the top of the hub below the title to attract the readers' attention to make them want to read the recipe.

    6. bgpappa profile image86
      bgpappaposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Your question pinpoints the very problem many are having on Hubpages. Arbitrary changes just to meet an unknown guideline.

      You could always add a relevant video I guess. Or a link to a similar recipe. But it is hard to get engagement when the hub isn't featured.

  2. moonlake profile image88
    moonlakeposted 3 years ago

    I agree I had that happen with cookie recipes and I just left it alone and pretty soon it was featured again.

  3. LindaSmith1 profile image61
    LindaSmith1posted 3 years ago

    What kills me is that it may take months, even a year or more before an abundance of traffic hits. Constanlty de-indexing them is nuts, besides if somebody has read a hub before it got deindexed they may find it in cached pages.  But, then again, they may get error messages which will result in Less Not More Traffic.

  4. Bill Yovino profile image90
    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

    Searching for chicken and paprika is likely to bring up a gazillion results. My Hub would be buried so deeply that it would take a spelunker to find it. On the other hand, someone searching for paprikash is more likely to find my recipe. It's a trade-off and not really the point of my post.

    1. rmcrayne profile image93
      rmcrayneposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Bill, seems to me your hub was already buried deep, hence low engagement, and not featured.  Am I missing something?  My unfeatured hubs have always had abysmally low traffic, and unfortunately great candidates for me to consider for unpublishing.

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

        Exactly.

        That's the point really.  If a Hub is unFeatured due to lack of engagement then it's already invisible to practically everyone.  How many readers has it been getting lately?   

        If it's a low-volume search term or if there's a lot of competition, then there likely isn't anything you can do to improve traffic.  Have you tried a Made for Pinterest image? 

        But really, I don't think there's any point trying.   If you think it has future potential, then move it to Wizzley or Infobarrel or ThisisFreelance or Zujava, where it can just sit there forever and get a trickle of traffic.

        1. IzzyM profile image87
          IzzyMposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I don't agree.

          Some hubs take time to mature.

          I am getting a lot of hits now on hubs I published 2 years ago, which never garnered traffic (no idea why).

          Google is picking and choosing, as per normal, but out of my hundreds of hubs, they have recently decided to send traffic to half a dozen or so hubs that previously never saw traffic.

          If hubs are good enough to be featured, they should be left alone.

          After all, when did low traffic to an article ever affect a site, unless that article was low quality?

          We hubbers are in a strange position, in that the whole world sees what we write whether Google likes it or not.

          A lot of sad cases then choose to steal our work.

          Until Google refuses to index articles that are direct copies of something already in their index, we are doomed.

          Hubs cannot really be re-used without a lot of work tracking down the copiers. They are best left alone, and indexed if they pass QAP.

          IMO

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

            Izzy, I know some Hubs need time to mature, but that's irrelevant.  HubPages has decided to set up a system that doesn't allow that, and pointing out how it affects good Hubs is not going to change their mind.   They know already.   Remember Derek - "we know there will be collateral damage but we have to wear that for the greater good" or words to that effect.

            Since Panda, I can't recall a single instance where HubPages has rolled back a decision due to Hubber feedback, so you're flogging a dead horse.

            So I'm just saying, move it to somewhere it CAN mature.   Not all Hubs have been stolen - a lot depends on the subject.  Yours were heavily targeted because they're on popular subjects.   My dance ones have hardly been affected.

            1. IzzyM profile image87
              IzzyMposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I have too many hubs, Marisa, and not enough time.

              Time to track down copiers, file DMCAs. wait for them to be de-indexed etc.

              When doing this full-time I did have time, but more get stolen each day, as you well know.

              I unpublished a bunch of hubs last year, not long after they got de-indexed and planned to move them once they had cleared the cache.

              Life got in the way, and they have been languishing here for the longest time.

              Then Google started sending traffic to some of the remaining ones - like I said, six or so. This is over and above the ones they regularly send traffic to.

              From this, I would suspect that those previously untrafficked hubs are not the ones bringing my subdomain down. Remember when the whole unfeaturing thing came in? They said then that they did not know what hubs brought HP to its knees, but the suspicion was there that the low-trafficked ones were doing the damage. Yeah, we have collateral damage, but it's a bit senseless to de-index perfectly acceptable hubs.

              I mean, what are they paying the mTurkers for? The total crap gets weeded out. I say leave the low-trafficked hubs alone.

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

                I know you have too many Hubs to move them all - but I was offering advice to the OP, who has a much smaller number of Hubs.  Also, I'm willing to bet he hasn't had so many stolen.   Your Hubs have been stolen wholesale because you knew how to get them ranked high in the SERPs - they became a high visibility target. There have been several scraper sites recently but they don't scrape all Hubs - they want the popular topics, which you often write about, so that makes you a more likely target too. 

                As for low-trafficked Hubs hurting the site - HubPages knows that they don't.  Paul E said they did when the new system was announced, but that was just the official "spin".   Later, both Derek and Simone admitted they know that low-trafficked Hubs do NOT hurt the site.  Robin has also said so in the forums. 

                Derek explained the decision to unFeature low trafficked Hubs was based on a simple observation:   low quality Hubs generally have low traffic, so unFeaturing low-trafficked Hubs would unFeature most of the low quality stuff.  The "collateral damage" Derek referred to, was good-quality low-trafficked Hubs, which they knew would be unFeatured too.

                That's why complaining about good Hubs being unFeatured won't make a difference - they expected that to happen, so why should it change their minds?

          2. Bill Yovino profile image90
            Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Exactly!  If it's a niche Hub, it may languish for a long time before the right audience picks it up. De-indexing it ensures that will never happen. I don't believe for a second that lightly-read, high-quality Hubs hurt hubpages reputation.

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

              Haven't we been through this discussion before?  HubPages is perfectly well aware of that.

              As I said to Izzy:

              "As for low-trafficked Hubs hurting the site - HubPages knows that they don't.  Paul E said they did when the new system was announced, but that was just the official "spin".   Later, both Derek and Simone admitted they know that low-trafficked Hubs do NOT hurt the site.  Robin has also said so in the forums. 

              Derek explained the decision to unFeature low trafficked Hubs was based on a simple observation:   low quality Hubs generally have low traffic, so unFeaturing low-trafficked Hubs would unFeature most of the low quality stuff.  The "collateral damage" Derek referred to, was good-quality low-trafficked Hubs, which they knew would be unFeatured too.

              That's why complaining about good Hubs being unFeatured won't make a difference - they expected that to happen."

              1. Bill Yovino profile image90
                Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Throwing out the baby with the bath water.  The other side effect is disenfrancising Hubbers. It makes me think that there was more to Simone's departure than what was stated.

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

                  I'm not disagreeing with you there.  It is throwing out a lot of babies with the bathwater - the "collateral damage" Derek talked about.  The point I'm making is - they know that.  They've already made the decision that it's OK to throw some babies out with the bathwater.  We may not agree with it, but it's the new regime. 

                  Simone and Derek spent weeks listening to Hubbers on the forums about it, and HubPages didn't budge. We're way past the point where continuing to complain will make any difference.

                  1. Bill Yovino profile image90
                    Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Marisa - Always the voice of reason.

            2. profile image0
              Deb Welchposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Bill, I have had many Hubs under engagement with that black & white circle designation - I refreshed the article with alot of changes and a great number of them are now Featured.  I saw where improvement was needed even though it may have irritated me but that is only natural.  I would stay with Paprikash.  Very unique.

  5. rmcrayne profile image93
    rmcrayneposted 3 years ago

    Bill, try not to take it so personally.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well-written a hub is, or how current, etc, there is just no reasonable way to drive traffic to it. 

    I periodically go through and unpublish low traffic hubs, under the assumption that they are dragging my account down.  I came to this conclusion and plan of action a while back, based on advice in the forums.  It just made sense to me.  So, I look at lifetime traffic history of hubs, 30-day history, and publication date.  If the hub is a year old for example, and got 0 visits for 30 days, then I consider unpublishing.  If the hub is 2-3 years old, and has averaged less than 1 view per day, I consider unpublishing. 

    When I unpublish, I usually do so for at least 10 hubs, but usually more.  Every time I’ve done this, I’ve seen at least a some lasting boost in traffic, supporting the idea that low performing hubs were dragging down my account.  HubPages has been much more lenient in designating a hub “low engagement” than my own standards.  If you apply this logic (which I did not come up with on my own, but from learning in the forums), then…This would suggest that unpublishing these low engagement hubs would definitely help your account. 

    Sometimes I look at the numbers and can’t bear to unpublish certain hubs, and save them for my next voluntary round of cuts.  Sometimes I try tweaking the titles.  As far as publishing elsewhere, don’t hold your breath that traffic will magically come.  Despite Google issues negatively impacting HubPages, seems to me that traffic is still worse elsewhere.  Although many hubbers report better luck with their own websites, seems to me these are people with a fair amount of internet savvy.  I definitely have not seen any impressive traffic to my articles on Wizzley or Zujava, nor my Blogger blogs.  Some of my lowest viewed hubs are on clinical topics, and I like being able to refer clients or students to them, so I put off unpublishing.  I might consider publishing these elsewhere, on another site that’s not making me any money anyway, so nothing to lose. 

    This latest round of Google-related traffic plunge sucks.  I think my traffic is at an all-time low.  I’m disappointed, but not blaming HubPages, nor considering rash action.  I will however probably take a look at retiring some more of my lowest performing hubs.

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

      I know people who've had success with their blogs, without having "internet savvy".  The key is to keep the blog focussed on a single topic (which can be quite broad).  Google is asking for "authority" sites these days (i.e. sites with a lot of content around ONE subject), so even an individual blog can get traffic if you have a big enough volume of posts. 

      The difficulty is in working out how to monetize the blog - Adsense isn't enough, and even affiliate sales aren't that impressive. IF you know how to market to your readers and have something to sell, you can make far more income per reader than on a rev-sharing site.   My blogs make about the same monthly income as my Hubs, with about a tenth of the readership.

      1. NateB11 profile image94
        NateB11posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Very, very good to know.

  6. LindaSmith1 profile image61
    LindaSmith1posted 3 years ago

    As for copying hubs, I have seen sites where you cannot copy any article unless you have access to writers account.  I don't know why HP and other sites don't do the same thing.

  7. LeanMan profile image81
    LeanManposted 3 years ago

    With only 90 searches per month for your title according to the Google keyword tool it would be unlikely that you would see many visits especially with so many dedicated and established  recipe sites already dominating the search results.
    You are complaining about HP not featuring something that is getting no visits because it does not have the search volume and there is excessive competition. Featured or not featured the results are going to be the same - very few visitors if any through Google.

    1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image93
      Marcy Goodfleischposted 3 years ago

      Can anyone here tell me if an 'unfeatured' hub can still be accessed from an external link?  So far, I don't have any hubs that are unfeatured, but I certainly have some that get only tiny amounts of traffic.

      My reason for asking is that I have a few hubs on topics such as how to write term papers, how to use online discussion boards and other tips for students. I link to these as resources for the courses I teach, and while the traffic would not be huge, I do want students to be able to open the link if they need the information.  Does anyone know if 'unfeatured' means unpublished at some point?

      If it does, this will create a problem for me if these hubs ever get unfeatured . . .

      1. Bill Yovino profile image90
        Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        As long as you don't unpublish it, the link will still work. People just won't be able to find it through a Google search. I'm not sure whether the un-featuring process also removes it from the other search engine indices.

        1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image93
          Marcy Goodfleischposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Thanks, Bill - my main need is for students to be able to access the information.  Saves me a ton of repetition in class.

    2. janshares profile image88
      jansharesposted 3 years ago

      Hi Bill,
      Did you write anything about your grandmother in the hub? If not, how about sharing a childhood memory of when she would cook Paprikash, her technique, how much you enjoyed it, and how the recipe is a tribute to her? This is to increase word count for HP and interest of the reader. It also makes the recipe more personal and authentic. Even if it doesn't increase traffic right away, it will become featured again because you will have  added content.

      About the title, try:
      How to Make Paprika Seasoned Chicken / My Grandmother's Paprikash
      Add "use of paprika as main ingredient" to the summary.

      I read somewhere that using ingredients as keywords can help the search because searchers sometimes put ingredients into the search engine rather than the dish. It can't hurt, you can always change it. I wouldn't give up just yet.

      1. profile image0
        Deb Welchposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Great ideas.

    3. SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image87
      SANJAY LAKHANPALposted 3 years ago

      Please read the -
      Forum-Social Media Can Bring Good to Great Traffic,
      A Forum post from, crazyhorsesghost , and try to increase the traffic and engagement. Good luck. The unfeatured hub may become featured.

    4. Bill Yovino profile image90
      Bill Yovinoposted 3 years ago

      I appreciate all of the suggestions and the time taken to make them. It's nice to see that so many people are willing to help.  My point wasn't about Chicken Paprikash, but about the absurd notion of unfeaturing Hubs due to lack of engagement, i.e., too few hits.

      I know that this horse has been declared dead several times, but I still feel the need to continue the beatings.

     
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