Today we're changing the internal search engine on HubPages to run Google Custom Search. We know that search on HubPages didn't always work as intended, and we expect Google to ultimately provide more relevant results for both Hubbers and visitors using the site. The new search feature should not feel very different, overall, but there are two changes you can expect:
- Google will only search Featured content on HubPages. This should drastically improve the quality of content that appears in the results. - The "scope your search" filters will be removed from the sidebar. Google Custom Search will continue to support exact username match, however.
The old HubPages search will be available for a limited time and if you like, you can switch back and forth between it and Google Search. Let us know what you think!
At first, I was surprised by the shaded ads at the top and right side of the results list, but then realized that they are AdSense. I think it will be OK and I like the search results I am receiving. Thanks!
Maybe I am not understanding how the search works (in terms of benefitting Hubbers?). I just did a search and it seems the results will drive readers away from the site (to other sites that have nothing to do with a hub)?
I can see how HP can get some revenue for the ad clicks - but it takes traffic away from the site, right?
Google Custom Search should benefit anyone using search on HubPages because the results will be better (higher quality since only Featured content will be searched) and more relevant. There are text ads, however, which if clicked on, will take people off of HubPages. We're still fine-tuning some things though.
Thanks for posting that info, WF - I'd like to know the rationale for installing the version that has ads. I am sure HP will get revenue if it drives traffic to paid sites, but that would drive traffic away from us.
This is why we chose the one with ads. Not because we wanted the ads, but because we didn't want to pay for a product to provide a service not many people use. It's not a very popular feature on HubPages.
Oh dear. I hope that works out okay, in terms of keeping readers on the site.
Is there a way to frame the search results page with a header that lets people know there are related hubs at the bottom? I don't understand why we would have an internal search tool that basically benefits Google, or benefits paid sites Google is hawking.
A lot of sites use the Google Custom Search engine. Because it is powered by Google., I don't think HP can alter what the top of the page looks like. It may end up having more benefits in the long run. The search results should be better and faster.
Google Custom Search is highly customizable - far past what you are currently demonstrating in this early example. Im sure the adsharing technology doesnt make it as straightforward for Hubpages as It would be for most of us.
I agree - It could penalize a registered member of the site if there's an accidental click.
In general, I don't think anything that will take a reader off of the site (especially if they're searching for content on the site) should be placed more prominently than content on the site. The Google ads should be at the bottom of the top group of hubs in the search results.
As an example of why this is important - suppose someone knows of or has heard of a hub on this site about a particular topic, but they can't remember the exact title or Hubber. If ads appear in the search, they may not even realize they're being driven away from the site, and away from the story they heard about.
I frequently mention content I know about on the site, and refer people to it. I can remember "HubPages," but I might not remember the title of the hub or who wrote it.
"filter by hub" and "filter by user" are giving poor search results; in fact, all they do is filter out relevant search results! try it for yourself searching for an obscure topic for which there is only one or very few hubs.
the unfiltered search results show what you'd expect, but when you click one of the filter buttons, the search results are a bunch of hubs unrelated to the original search, or only tangentially related. these hubs only show up because the relevant hubs are in their list of related hubs.
for example, try it with the search phrase "black names" (without quotes) which was the subject of RonElFran's HOTD a while back.
Marina, it may be a good idea to set the default filter to "filter by hub" and let the user choose "no filter" if they wish. I say this because I'm finding a lot of old and obsolete forum posts coming up as results with a few tests I've been doing.
In general, I like the Google Custom Search. I use it on my own business site too. It just needs to be fine tuned.
If you want to avoid all the ads this simple search works well site:hubpages.com tofu ; site:hubpages.com curry recipes ; etc. entered into the search box - you can store it as a favorite and change the search term at will => "tofu" "curry paste" etc. It picks up subs and ECs
Firstly as Glen stated make the default to filter by hub, there are a few useless forum threads that appear.
Secondly google custom search has ads by default and they cannot be removed. There is another option where you pay "Google Site Search" that doesn't have ads. Clearly this isn't a viable option for Hubpages. Getting some revenue from internal search shouldn't be a problem.
Anyone who has used google search will know that the highlighted links are ads, it also mentions that they are "Ads by Google related to..." If you're scared about losing visitors, that's going to be a bare minimum, but with the better search results, you would probably have many new visitors. So on the whole would be a win-win both for HP and authors.
Thirdly, the problem of clicking on ads by mistake shouldn't be an issue as it's going to be the HP ad code and not yours. There isn't any revenue share there. But as always don't click an ad unless you're really interested.
Sorry if a bit off topic, but does HP plan to add search to the mobile version of the site?
Back on point, it seems to me that by outsourcing the site search to Google HP is implicitly bowing to Google's valuation of our pages (which can be inferred from their placement in the serps). I imagine that if HP had built an independent site search engine, the ordering of search results would be somewhat dependent on scores (after all, why invest so much effort in calculating them and justifying them to the users?) And yet instead HP is using Google to deliver and sort the results, and Google doesn't care one whit about how HP scores us and our hubs. It rather undermines Paul E. & Co.'s insistence that scores are meaningful.
The google search results are definitely better than the original HP search results. It doesn't mean anything other than improvement. Pointless wasting resources on a feature that isn't utilized a lot.