I have been pleased with the audience and revenue for my articles on HubPages since joining the site some years ago.
I commend the company for creating the successful niche sites at a time when similar sites were folding. My existing articles that moved to those sites have done even better than their performance on the core HP site.
But my frustration has jumped in the last few months with the process for publishing new articles and submitting the remaining articles that might be eligible for niche sites. My reasons include:
1. Some changes are made based on personal preference about style and not based on professional writing standards. (For the record, I have been a full-time print and online journalist for more than 30 years.)
2. Keyphrases that I chose for the sake of search engine optimization after a great deal of research are changed or deleted. The changes include the all-critical article title.
3. New articles and existing articles submitted to niche sites are rejected for "proofreading" when multiple edits, grammar checkers and spell checkers (including the HP checker) can find no problems or minimal ones.
4. The scoring system is broken. I just had one article rejected for a niche site that has a Hubscore of 95. I don't claim my articles are perfect, but it's hard to fix something when you can't find it. It's even more baffling when an article with a score of 95 is rejected for quality.
4. Two articles received severely abusive changes. They both had a top 10 list in them. The lists were moved to the TOP of the articles, even above the introductory paragraph.
5. Articles that haven't moved to a niche site are dead in the water with the decline of the main HP site in search engines. They lose much of their audience and revenue potential. Another round of edits and another resubmission are unlikely if the problems aren't identifiable.
6. If I write a new article, it also is dead in the water if it doesn't move to a niche site because of "proofreading" problems that I can't identify. These same articles have scores well into the 80s. The core site and the niche sites seem to have two different and conflicting standards about quality.
7. We can submit one existing article to a niche site every 60 days. An automated email with no or few details on why means the article returns to its deathbed.
I can't afford to spend five hours or more on a new article that doesn't generate revenue because of standards that have become fluid, unpredictable and change with the departure of old editors and the arrival of new ones.
I hate to post this in light of my gratitude to HP for the successful niche sites and the performance of some of my articles. But other people have posted similar concerns, I want to earn a living from what I write, and I want to keep growing a partnership with HubPages.
As a result, I will continue trying to improve my existing articles on the niche sites, but I am now reluctant to write any new ones.
I agree with you. I have not written an article here for more than a year. It just turned me off from writing when every time I visited my hubs, I have hubs to edit because they are unfeatured due to lack of traffic or anything else. So, I am just here for reading others hubs and updating my own.
I'm curious, if an article is already on a niche site, why would you invest any more time in improving it?
My view would be, if it's already been moved to the niche site, leave it alone. It's done its job, let it mature - time enough to start tweaking in six months' time if it's not getting much traffic. Making changes before you've had a chance to assess search engine response is a waste of time. Especially as you're a professional who has done a pretty good job with the article in the first place.
As for writing new articles - I've been thinking the reverse, that maybe now is the time to START writing for HubPages again, because the niche sites seem to have much better earnings potential than the old HP. However you're the third person to post about receiving vague demands - proof reading, blurry photos, breaking up text - and then been unable to work out what was required.
It's beginning to sound as though they're just sending out a generic email listing the POSSIBLE flaws in the article. Not helpful.
Just to clarify, I usually add new content to an article after it has been live for a while. For example, if its rank stabilizes at #5 in Google, I will look for ways to increase it to #4 or higher.
Even if I can't move the rank higher for a particular keywords, I can look for new ranking keywords. If an existing article is 1,000 words, I have reason to believe that expanding it to 1,500 words with a new section will increase the odds for more audience and revenue. New content means new keywords in search results.
I thought the same thing as you -- that now is the time to write more articles. But I went from highly encouraged a few months ago to highly discouraged today.
They are sending out generic emails. The reason I know this for a fact is because someone posted the email they received a while back. It was word for word the same as the one I received. It made me wonder if they are even reading and looking at the hubs. The email didn't let me know exactly what I needed to change.
I agree with you. I'm trying to get my hubs featured again after a break of nearly a year. Three hubs were refused all with the same spammy email, one I have tried to fix three times in two days, has had the same email, and I'm none the wiser why they are spammy.
I think my days of writing here on HubPages are over, it's too stressful and is breaking my morale.
Think I will just continue writing on my Wordpress blog, I'm not writing to make money , I'm doing it to keep my brain alert at the age of seventy-six.
I cannot cope with the stress.
I have been a HubPage writer for eight years now.
Blessings to you all, may your week be successful writing.
Aha! You didn't mention the word "spammy" before.
"Spammy" ALWAYS means there is a problem with either a link or an Amazon capsule. Nothing else. It means the link or product is not sufficiently relevant to the main topic of the Hub, in HubPages' estimation.
Yes, its hard to know what needs to be changed when everything is perfect in my eyes. There should be specific instructions or guidelines; or option to consult someone from team for guidance.
I just can't find any new subjects/hubs that the Internet and social media aren't already covering bigger/better ... so I've stopped writing new hubs unless I find myself in a situation of having something already in my hand that I can just write/publish quite quickly.
Now I stick to promoting the old stuff.
Write something new: 3-4 hours.
Promote something old: 2 minutes.
It's a no brainer to me.... why risk 3-4 hours of effort that might just never ever get more than 300 views in 10 years ... -v- promoting old stuff that's already had 5-20,000 views.
I do think there are opportunities to write new articles about subjects that haven't been beaten to death by other sites. But it's getting harder to find them.
I also think the HP system of scoring articles (in part) based on length, number and quality of photos and other factors is not common among many sites out there.
Your point about the time spent on something new versus something old is well taken.
You can write articles for HubPages.com. It's a bigger challenge to get them published on the more important niche sites owned by HubPages.
I wonder why it's difficult for hubs to be published on HP niche sites...
...because the reason HubPages got in Google's bad books was because it allowed poor quality articles to be published.
Google's algorithm includes a thing called Panda. It looks at a whole website and gives it a weighting based on the WORST posts on the site. Each article on the site is then assessed for inclusion in Google results and given a ranking - BUT the site's Panda score is then applied. If the Panda score is good, it won't affect how the article ranks - but if the site's Panda score is bad, it will pull that article several places down the ranking.
HubPages' main site has a poor Panda score and management is determined that will not happen to the niche sites.
That's useful information to know. It would make a good topic in the HP blog.
I understand the issue now. You are orientated towards old-style, pre-Panda SEO.
Nowadays, you need to focus on the reader, not the search engine. Above all, pages need to be readable and informative.
Put the SEO work into your topic searches and the title of your page, only.
You seriously misunderstand me. I strive for a balance between readers and search engines. That's why I have been successful at this kind of work for decades.
As Promisem points out though sometimes HP editors are messing with the titles, too. If an article does not do well I change the title (sometimes several times) until I find something readers are looking for. Having someone come along and change it again, back to one of the less successful choices, is not helpful.
Yes, but you can always change the titles after the article has been moved to a niche site. What they don't want you to do is add spammy elements.
Editors only change titles when they are keyword stuffed and/or do not accurately reflect the content of the article. We recommend checking with the Editors before changing these back as keyword stuffing is considered spammy and if Editors see a pattern of adding back stuffed titles, the writer's articles may not be considered for sites in the future.
I didn't realize this. Thanks for the heads up! Along those lines, is the team also checking for keyword stuffing in summaries? There have been big problems with this in the past, and I think it's worth taking a look. There have been some VERY bad ones I've seen.
I have no doubt that it's almost always true, but I have seen exceptions.
I have a lot of the same issues as you. I don't have ANY hubs that have a score below 80, and although they may not be perfect, I can't find anything wrong with them.
I have hubs on Greek Mythology that always had high views. I submitted one last night, to Owlcation, as I thought it had a category for mythology. Then I went back and saw they had moved two others to Exemplore. Although I wrote a lot about metaphysical topics, I write about other subjects as well. So much of the work I have that was moved to niches are in places nobody would expect to find them. I guess a Google search would lead them to the right hub, but it's frustrating.
I also wrote three new hubs since the niches began. Two were moved immediately to niches, but one is just sitting on HP. It's pretty good, I think it deserves to be moved. They are taking off pictures on long hubs that need visual interest and keep telling me to use call out capsules, but if all the hubs look the same, how boring is that?
On some they change all the pictures to ugly ones, on others they let them all go through. It appears it depends on the moderator you get. And I've been asked to make changes that make no sense as well. Submitting one hub in 60 days just lets the bulk of our work sit and rot. Although I guess if we get new readers from a niche site, the reader may look us up on HP. And when we used to need three pictures for a "stellar" hub, now it's One? I have hubs that are 3,000 words, and people read them all the way through and ask questions. But they need pictures to keep it looking interesting. I wish they would update all the rules.
One of my Hubs is approaching 700,000 views and over 8,000 comments although the comment section is now turned off.
HubPages has had it ranked in the mid 60's for quite some time.
Go figure. The site has what readers want, but not what Hubpages wants.
If I make any change - including opening or closing comments! - Hubpages takes the page off line for a couple days for approval. It can take a month for viewership to recover from their two-day penalty box.
Kelly, I looked at some of the comments in that hub of yours with over 1000 comments. You are surprised that it's ranked so low. I see that you have not been moderating your low quality comments. You even have comments with self-promotional links, probably to low quality websites. These need to be deleted.
It has been discussed in other forums here on HubPages - comments have an effect on your ranking. Outbound links to low quality websites (even in comments) will negatively affect your ranking. Comments that add no value to the subject will also lower your ranking.
I know it's not easy to moderate now that you have over 1000 comments, but that IS what's effecting your hub.
By the way, moderating comments does not make your hub go off line.
It has happened to my articles every single time I make a change including removing an unneeded capsule that was empty. No exceptions. Probably 10 or 20 different times.
Strange. I wonder why. All I can say is, mine remain featured when I make changes, and I'm always modifying hubs.
It depends on how big the modification is. Hubs unfeatured for traffic that get updates, go through QPA and then a few days later get re-featured. Apparently for those already featured, with enough edits, they are in limbo until QAP has approved them again.
Just a quick thought-Sometimes I provide one outbound link on a hub because it will lead my readers to information on a table they need to be better able to understand my hub.
Many of the links worked for a long time, years, but lately the sites themselves have been taken down. Why don't you click on all your outbound links to be sure they actually take you where you want to go? I was surprised lately when a lot of my links were broken, and had to find new sites to direct my readers to.
Usually if I modify a hub, it stays featured, it just has that light gray broken circle that means it is being reassessed. If your hubs are being held for a long time, I would ask someone at the Team@hubpages.com to take a look. Include the URL to your hub. They are very nice, but very busy. Good luck.
I seem to recall he was on a watch list because of over promoting his books in every Hub, so every time he edits a Hub it gets taken down until they check it.
I've known other hubbers who've been in the same situation, but that was a long time ago. I've suggested to him that he should email the team to ask about it, it's such an old practice they may even have forgotten he's on it.
Jean, you make great points. Some elements of an article structure can be factually wrong, such as grammar or spelling problems. Other elements, especially style, are often a matter of opinion or even education.
I found out that my article with a HubScore of 95 was rejected because the editor believes it needs longer paragraphs.
I write one and two sentence paragraphs because Google uses readability scores, and those scores favor short paragraphs. Now I am left with choosing between what Google likes and what HP likes on this particular preference.
And yes, I agree we need more guidelines on what they prefer.
Let's hope these discussions will lead to a more fluid process between the main HP site and the niche sites.
Scott, I would reply to the editors on that one if I were you. It seems HubPages may have hired one editor who is not up to speed with writing for the Internet. This conflict with paragraph length is an important issue.
As I can see you understand, reading online is very different from reading in print. I always try to keep my paragraphs short (two or three sentences) when writing online.
I've had almost half my hubs moved to niche sites already and no one ever complained about my paragraphs being too short.
But I have seen some frail hubs in the niche sites that may make the sites get swallowed by Panda!
You said it yourself that you were a journalist for over 30 years. That indicates that you are still going by old and obsolete rules. Things have changed. SEO is completely different today.
If your titles have been changed, you probably were keyword-stuffing them. Google detects that today and assumes you are spamming.
If your list was moved to the top, as you mentioned, it was done to maximize your click-through rate (CTR) from Google. That will help get your hub listed in a Google Featured Snippet. If you're not aware of what that is, you need to read up on new SEO features.
I can continue to elaborate on each item you complained about, but the others have done a great job at that. No need to repeat. All I suggest is that you read through the answers you've gotten here from everyone. It's a useful resource.
Glenn, your age discrimination is showing. Idly speculating that I don't know what I'm doing because of my age is not the best way to join the conversation.
If 1,000 people a month do a Google search on "Myrtle Beach travel tips", and the HP headline has that same phrase, is it keyword stuffing? Is "travel tips for Myrtle Beach" a better choice? The answer, which I discovered through extensive testing, is the first choice. It ranked 15 places higher in Google.
I challenge you to find a major, highly ranked and authoritative article that does not have an introductory paragraph explaining the topic of the article and instead just starts with a list.
Even more to the point, do a search on "Aruba hurricane season". My article is ranked #1 and has a snippet taken from lower in the article. Apparently we get our SEO knowledge from different sources. My obsolete rules seem to work after all.
Otherwise, I have read all of the comments and don't see anyone claiming that they get better views on HP.com now that the niche sites have launched, that they get detailed feedback on why a Hub was rejected, or that they understand why an article with a Hubscore of 95 gets rejected.
You're missing the point Scott. I'm simply repeating what you already said. That's not age discrimination. I've seen a lot of changes with computers since my days in the early 1970s. And since the beginning of the Internet, SEO has gone through many trials and tribulations as well. It's not easy to keep up with it.
As for finding an authoritative article that does not have an introductory paragraph, you have to understand that Google is changing those rules daily. HubPages is one of a few that keeps abreast of new Google tools.
The new rule, as Google explains, if you want to be featured in a snippet you need to give the answer up front and then elaborate further in the rest of the hub. I admit that I don't always do that either, because I actually agree with your thoughts on that matter too.
I'm surprised that you saw a snipped taken from way down in your hub. I did a search for "Aruba hurricane season" I saw a snippet from the wanderwisdom.com niche site. That snippet wasn't really taken from that far down. The text is fairly near the top in your hub.
Nevertheless, I see few authoritative sites that have even begun to take advantage of Google Featured Snippets, maybe because they feel the same way as you and I.
I wonder if Hubpages staff are aware of these stuff. Once upon a time this site is awesome and very trending. Now they have soooooo much rules that are apparently senseless - can't write this, can't write that; must not use this, must not use that. They always say like it is against Google's TOS, by which some of them are complete BS.
I really do hope that at least one of the staff would take a look at the community and see the opinions (or rather rant)of their users.
Agree 100% with your comment.
I feel I can no longer write for HubPages, too many rules.
In actual fact, the rules have not really changed that much. Most of them have been in place for several years - what has happened is that they've been gradually getting better at applying them.
In the past, Hubs which broke the rules could sit there for months without anyone noticing. Now, they're more likely to be caught by the QAP.
The rules can seem more confusing than they really are, because there are too many imaginary rules, ones that people speculate about on the forums but which don't really exist! I wrote a Hub summarising the rules, you'll find in on the slider on my profile.
I wonder if paragraph length is one of those rules.
Well in a way, rules are not bad. But if all the rules are too constraint, what good does it do? Sometimes there are articles that we have to put in our opinion - with data and complete/concrete facts. Take for example, I want to make an article about "Same sex marriage", but, after reading the rules, it seems like I cannot create a hub that "offends" someone. Heck! I don't wanna "baby-ish" the article if I have to write one on that particular topic. I have to go hard blow. But again, after seeing it, I'd rather have my own blogsite.
If these rules are too constricting to anyone's imagination, then articles that they'll get are bland. Which apparently results to "not having lots of traffic" that they so want.
S#!t is the new way today. And if they can't handle that, then they are most likely buried in search engine. No wonder why Hubpages don't rank well in search engine.
As a new member on Hubpages, these complaints are quite demoralizing. I stumbled on the forum in my bid to understand the score attached to my hub.
Anna, please don't let these comments discourage you from writing for HubPages, especially if you are doing it for fun or creative satisfaction. HubPages has been successful for good reasons.
The company is going through major changes as a result of the creation of new niche sites. This is a bump in the road, and veteran writers are debating ways of improving the process.
I'm confident the company is watching these posts very carefully and considering its next steps.
Anna, as you can see from my comment about "veteran writers are debating ways of improving the process" that HP staff keeps watch on all threads of this type.
I hope you also don't get discouraged by a handful of rude people who post here now and then. Most of the writers are generous with their time and will be glad to help you if you have any questions.
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