I had been reading that adding a table of content would somehow increase the quality of my hubpages.
So I added one to one of my hubs.
The hubpage score for that hub immediately dropped by 1 point.
The HP algorithm mistakenly identifies links in a Table of Contents as 'large groups of links' and, even though HP states that the 'Style Tips' are optional, Hubs do seem to loose Hub Score for violations.
It is interesting to observe that some of my Hubs with the most traffic from Google (more than 100 views a day) have very low Hub Scores. HP has yet to coordinate the Hub Score with what Google identifies as quality content. Consequently you will notice forum posts from people who say their Hubs with five views a day have been chosen for the Editor's Choice program. Again, this is another example of the HP employees not understanding what Google wants and trying to increase traffic from Google with the wrong methodology.
Pleasing Google sometimes means that you have to displease the HP algorithm. When there is a choice to be made, I choose Google. My Hub Score and Hubber Score suffers, but that's not my problem. That's the staff's problem. And until they realize that their methodology is not obtaining Google's love and take concerted efforts to correct their mistakes, some of the best Hubs and Hubbers will find their scores diminished. (HP traffic has decreased from its July levels, before the Style Tips and Editor's Choice programs were implemented.)
The metric for discerning Googles take on a hubpage TOC is somewhat more nebulous, though.
There is no real way to score whether Google likes your page with a TOC or not.
You could say that traffic increasing or decreasing sometime after the addition of a TOC was the cause, but you simply wouldn't know if that were true or not, not with any certainty.
Wait a week or two to determine if the addition of the TOC helped your rankings on Google, but make sure you used appropriate, well-researched, keyword phrases for the links.
Of course, however, the increase could very well be natural as more people find your hub and post links to it, or the phenomena of "flurries" of public interest in a given topic, or increased relevancy to public perception.
There would be no way to know other than having identical articles up on sites that are identical in relevancy to googles search algorithms, which is impossible.
Most people would not want to wait months to add a TOC to their new hub, in any case.
I do get what you are saying, but my point is that we actually have no way of knowing if they help.
There is no actual evidence that a TOC increases google standing, because we do not have access to googles search, index and rank algorithms.
My results from experiments over the years on a wide range of websites have shown that TOCs do help on Google search results. But you do have to have significant content to backup each link and run your experiments on a wide range of topics. Well executed, you should notice an increase in rankings for each keyword phrase you use in a TOC link.
I'm sure that's true on traditional websites, but we can't be sure for setups such as hubpages.
Oddly, the score just went back up the point it had lost...
That happens, too, on this site. Run some experiments when you have more than four Hubs because that isn't really enough to understand your Hubs in relation to Hub Score.
I tend to write things here that I'm interested in, that some others may be interested in, and don't fit into the other 'arena' that I write for.
I probably will seldom contribute more than 1 hub per month, and am not expecting to make any money here.
I think I might try a couple of things, though, just to experiment with.
I love to make cheesecake, so I will make another hub account and post similar cheesecake recipes, with identical layouts, one with a TOC and one without.
That will remove SOME of the variables, but then again, there may be a larger demand for one flavor of cheesecake than the other.
I guess I could leave them up for 4 months, disregarding statistics for the first month, then remove the TOC on one and place a TOC on the other, and record rankings and traffic for that 3 months, and see what we get.
I need new photos of the cheesecakes though, so will have to make those again first.
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