Oops! That title is supposed to say "Impact of Massive Hub Editing"!
I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has totally rewritten a Hub that ranked well and was getting a fair amount of traffic (say, 20-50 visits per day).
Also, anyone who has experimented with deleting a significant number of visitor comments from a Hub.
What impact did your actions have on traffic and ranking?
If you have never rewritten a Hub with good traffic or deleted a bunch of comments but you have a theory anyway, I'd like to hear that too.
Some time back I wrote a hub that was getting considerable attention daily. The comment stream became so long that load times became extensive and so I deleted all eight hundred or so comments. Since that time, the traffic has completely dried up. Not sure why that happened, but I wish I hadn't deleted that comment stream.
Yikes and noted. A similar issue with load time is what made me wonder if I was better off without the comments. In your case at least, it appears the comments were more important than a faster-loading page.
PegCole17, I've had several instances where the search terms that brought people to my hubs matched words that were in the comments but not in the article itself. With hundreds of comments, you may well have been getting a lot of traffic specifically because of the comments.
I had that happen with a hub too. I deleted half the comments, because there were so many. Now the hub gets almost no traffic. The comments must add to the content in Googles eyes and they must pick up the keywords in them.
You can improve the load time by hiding comments instead of deleting them. There is a box while in the 'edit' mode that allows you to select how many comments are initially shown. Then, there will be a "see more comments" link shown after the ones showing.
DzyMsLizzy, thank you for that info. I have been asking people and searching everywhere to know how to limit the number of comments displayed with no luck. Just now successfully followed your directions. Thank you so much again!
Like Au fait, I too have been searching for this. Thanks for taking the time to help us!
I did simple editing,a few fresh text lines and new traffic came in. Best thing is change the title
I haven't done massive editing like this, nor have I deleted a great number of comments. So it is all theory and speculation from me.
I think it would all depend on how much and what types of editing you did. So, if you found a great hub topic, but wrote a crappy hub, fixing it would help a lot. But if you had an okay topic and a great hub and you made changes, you might have turned it into a crappy hub. I'm sure that you would make changes that improve the hub, but it isn't about how much you edit, but how much you improve the hub.
As to deleting comments, I would make sure not to delete comments that help provide additional keywords to the article. But then if you only leave comments that have keywords you might ruin the ratio.
There are a few hubs of mine where I have deleted 100's of comments on each that:
Were all caps.
Had rampant misspellings.
Were long enough to possibly affect load times.
I didn't really notice any traffic changes as a result.
I just added 500 words of content to a hub that was only getting a couple views a week and now it is getting dozens of views a day... it's still too early to say if the additional word count is the cause of the uptick. The hub started with 950 words and now has around 1450 words...
It seems strange to me that hubs between 1100 and 1400 words get the best traffic considering everything in this industry is moving to mobile. I know I don't like reading long articles on my smartphone but I guess if they are broken up in to shorter paragraphs with fewer interruptions such as Amazon modules, they do just fine.
We've done these tests. First on comments. High quality comments can bring a hub substantial traffic. We've hidden comments and seen a corresponding traffic loss. So, our recommendation is to moderate comments to those that add value, because low quality comments can hurt a hubs traffic as well.
HubPro has done editing from very light improvements, to extensive additional content. Here is the interesting piece. Light edits have had a quick improvement in traffic, although it hasn't been long enough to know if traffic gains are sustainable. The more extensive edits have proven to increase quality significantly (compared to light edits) and are growing in traffic and appear to be gaining steam.
This data is driving a thought process on how we scale editing to a much broader set of Hubs. No body has really figured this out beyond what wikis have done, but the small frequent edits don't appear to be as useful as substantial improvements. I'm very excited about figuring out how we can bring this to Hubbers that I expect to have great individual benefits, but even better for the overall community.
When HubPro made these edits, were they made for the test or based on need? I'm sure some hubs only needed minor edits and others needed substantial edits to bring them up to a certain level. So were the lightly edited hubs already doing well in traffic and would therefore only see minor improvement in traffic, since they were already close to their potential?
We did a set of light edits purely for a test - regardless of need, but we need data over a longer period of time.
Substantial edits are much better, but they are also much harder to do like 5x the effort. That said, if we could scale the substantial edits, that would be a game changer.
That is interesting. Thank you for sharing your research results with us.
Paul - thanks for this insight. A few questions:
Would a checklist of the 'most valuable' or best practices for edits be useful? I know there are some generalities, but if you could let us know which things yield the best return on the investment of time, that might be interesting. Keywords are one area, but what about wholesale rewriting? How much does layout impact things? Are there commonalities you're seeing?
Regarding the quality of comments - this seems like a really difficult area to address on a site-wide basis. Those of us who moderate comments (and who care) report spam and don't approve for publication anything that is suspicious. But not everyone does this.
Should we disapprove comments that have significant numbers of errors?
Is there anything that can be done about the vast number of old (very old) hubs that likely have questionable comments still published?
Aside from disapproving and reporting spam, what can we do to better manage the SEO potential (or negative potential) of the comments sections?
This is just my opinion but, if you take a look at that graph above, the dark blue is traffic to hubpages from mobile devices, the light blue is traffic to hubpages from computers. More than half of all traffic arrives here from mobile devices. This tells me that I should be optimizing my content to accommodate that traffic.
I don't like to read large blocks of text on a mobile device, I would prefer short, 2-3 sentence paragraphs. I don't like to see blocks of sales ads of any type. I want fast load times. So, thinking as a searcher on a mobile device, I try to create content that meets what I would prefer.
I use short paragraphs, optimized photos, few if any videos, very limited Amazon ads.
I would be remiss not to optimize for mobile devices considering that 56% of US traffic and 52% of Global traffic comes from mobile. My best advice would be to write for mobile users because you will still get the traffic from other users.
This brings up an interesting question: If the team deleted all of the comments from very old hubs that basically are inactive, would this "up" the rating of the site? They don't seem to want to delete the hubs themselves, but getting rid of the comments might be a worthwhile effort...or is it?
Perhaps we would all do ourselves a big favor if we would make it a point to read a few hubs each day by different authors and leave meaningful comments on each. This could lift the whole site up, if what Paul says is true.
Great question, Eric. For me, I've found that adding another section or two of text to a hub increases traffic. Editing existing content, not so much.
I think most would agree that adding totally new content is best left to the author rather than another person, even if the other person has the title of "editor." It's not really "editing" anyway; it's writing. If HP wanted to have that done on a larger scale, they could offer an incentive to authors to beef up their hubs.
I agree. Adding a lot of text is a writer's responsibility and not an editor's. The editor can suggest to the writer what else to add, but I don't think the editor should do the writing.
I agree. Suggestions, yes; actual writing, no. Leave that to the original authors!
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'll add that, like a lot of people have mentioned, I have made big edits to some of my Hubs and seen positive results. I also agree with what Paul frequently says: Going back and refreshing and adding content can mean a big improvement to Hub traffic.
However, in this case when I say "big edit" I guess what I'm thinking of is a total rewrite and clearing of the slate, meaning gutting the text, images, video, comments and replacing it all.
On one hand (since it would take a little while for the Hub to be re-crawled), if a url continues to return data indicating a high (or even improved) level of reader satisfaction I'd think search ranking would hold if not improve.
On the other hand, might search engines demote a Hub just because the on-page content changed so dramatically, no matter what readers are doing?
I would never consider a total rewrite on a Hub that's doing well. It could be disastrous - what if you remove the very keywords or images or comments that are drawing readers to the Hub?
I just edited my second-best hub, in terms of current traffic. I changed pictures, added a special made-for-Pinterest image, and it plummeted in the days immediately following. Today, it appears to have recovered. I'm hoping it holds.
Next, I will update a hub that's not doing anything and see what happens. At least there's nowhere to go but up.
Of course that's the danger. But there are some cases where a re-write may be necessary. For example, an older Hub were the information has substantially changed, or new information has come to light in the time since the Hub was written. Or, in a situation where you yourself have come to see the topic in a drastically different way.
A hub that ranks well may still be packed with bad information that needs a major overhaul, or information you yourself no longer support. One option is to scrap the Hub altogether and delete it. Another, maybe, is to rewrite with the old url and see what happens. (As long as the old url still make sense, of course)
In any of those situations, you don't have any choice but to do a drastic edit, obviously. I don't know why you'd even ask the question. The thing is, if the information has changed so much that mere additions aren't enough, then your Hub is eventually going to lose traction with Google anyway because it's no longer doing its job.
Very interesting thread. Based on Paul's reply about comments, should hubbers be encouraged to leave more substantive comments? How exactly is that measured? I do recall reading that comments should include more than, "great hub!" It should include more of a critque that includes descriptive words about the article, why you liked it, and keywords from the title. Would that be substantial enough to help with traffic?
I don't think you have to use keywords from the title. I think the comments that help an article include words that the hubber may not have thought of or may not have used. For example, if the Hubber uses the word patchwork through the hub, then the commenter may use quilting, quilts, quilt, quilter, etc. The commenter can also use adjectives like easy, best, hot, greatest, etc., that would seem too much for the hub itself. Even common misspellings can help, (I think), like geneaology or geneology. Then these words can be used to help the search engine find the hub
musing... all it needs is a quick little 'boat' and a couple fish... and a little sun...
Hi EricDockett, just split my sides with laughter as you had realized you had written the wrong title, made quite a difference to your discussion! Back to your question though after my giggle, they say that more content is king and I believe that is the case. Thank you for lightening my mood!
Deleting the entire comments in a hub will negatively affect the traffic to that hub.
I have a hub on the topic "The Illuminati: Real or just a mere story", which I later deleted all the comments to it because they were put by hungry boys. Since I deleted these comments, the hub stopped receiving traffic.
I think the answer is to adjust your settings to allow you to moderate comments before they get published and then allow only those that seem worthwhile to be added to the article. This way you don't have to delete anything and thus will suffer no consequences.
That is interesting that sometimes the comments left can actually bring much more traffic to a hub. I agree that wholesale editing should be left to the author of the hub and not an outside source however well intended. Rather give us some kind of notice that it needs attention.
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