I know very little about SEO. If you have hubs on niche sites, is it still important to have a knowledge of SEO? I get little love from Goggle.
As I understand it, having your hubs moved to the niche sites means that they have a better chance of being ranked by Google since they are in a specific niche site, not a general site. It does not mean that your hub is going to be ranked on the first page, second page, or even the tenth page of the search.
Unless you learn how to improve your hubs using SEO techniques, they are going to continue to rank low with the search engines and not get enough ranking in the SERPS. There are some very helpful articles on SEO here on HP (one of them written by WriterFox) and a lot of more current blogs if you have time to read about them. (I will let others make suggestions because I do not read all the newer stuff on SEO that comes available.)
SEO has its place, especially when it comes to choosing page titles and topics. After that, you are better off focusing on writing quality pages rather than messing around with further SEO 'optimization'.
Also, before anyone gets too deep into the advice of someone like writerfox, it is worth checking to see how many of his pages have been moved to the niches sites.
Take a glance at the dates that his pages were published, too. SEO info ages very quickly.
I would recommend the learning center as a first stop if Google is not yet your friend.
Do you think she can learn more from the learning center than from some of the SEO blogs?
No, I don't think so - but WriterFox's Hubs are pretty outdated now, so I wouldn't recommend them either.
Thanks, Will. Yes. I've noticed the SEO information changes frequently and there's a lot of different advice. It's very confusing. I wish we could have an example of someone who writes well but also succeeds with SEO techniques.
Well I've taken a bunch of hubs off HubPages and created my own niche site - (using a very popular hosted webware website) and 18 months later it's now the top site in the world for that particular niche topic.
I'd say that you need to focus very much on:
1) BEING niche - i.e. be very focused in a very focused topic area. If anybody else is doing what you are doing then you've not gone niche enough
2) DOMAIN NAMES are very important
3) Very precise PAGE TITLES (i.e. describe accurately what you get) are very important
4) META DESCRIPTIONS of pages and KEYWORDS are also important - but not as important as they used to be since the advent of the semantic web
5) The quality of UNIQUE and very focused content accurately described is what gets you traffic.
6) MARKETING is about the intelligent use of social media so that people know your website exists and has been updated - and spells out what's new.
7) You need to understand at the beginning how to GROW the site and how to IMPROVE IT (I've still got a long way to go before I've finished with mine)
8) Becoming an AUTHORITY for your niche is what really makes a difference. Being knowledgeable and persistent are also really important attributes of you as an individual - because what makes you sites a success is you - NOT SEO!
That sounds like a lot of good advice. Which I am not likely to follow, unfortunately.
Most of my former areas of expertise fill me with gloom. Who would want to focus on species extinctions, climate change, and unsustainable economic expansion? I get by on denial, the dubious pleasures of consumerism and the notion that evolution is already preparing a suitable replacement for homo sapiens.
I'm hoping it is furry rather than scaly, lol.
It appears Writer Fox has not been active on this site for some time and none of his articles have been moved to niche sites. He was tremendously successful in the past. Don't know what happened to him, but am sorry he's still not actively participating here.
Thanks, DrMark. I was hoping the niche sites would make it so we folks with little SEO knowledge could succeed, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I've read some about SEO, but it seems difficult to combine it with good, natural-sounding writing.
I think those people that recommend putting in a lot of keywords and making the writing unnatural are not that successful as SEO experts anyway. I did go through and read a lot of your niche articles through Google, and they seem to be ranked okay, so I wonder if the problem is not ranking but that they are not that searched for? One SEO recommendation that has helped me a lot is to try a bunch of different titles. If the first title does not do that well, try another and put it out on a social media site and see the response. Try another in a few days, look at the results.
I always thought my titles were perfect the first time out! Apparantly not everyone agrees.
There are other things, like adding an alt tag for your photos, and using H2 tags that are also searched for, that will not affect your writing at all but can help you with the search engines.
Oh, and just because a writer has not had his hubs moved to a niche site does not mean they are not helpful. If you do not participate in HP for several years, the hubs are not moved.
Thanks, DrMark. Do you publish your hubs and then change the titles if they're not doing well? I've read different things on Hubpages about changing titles after publishing -- whether it's a good idea or not -- but you seem to be saying it's fine. I'll start using the alt tags and H2 tags. Anything that helps!
I always choose a very general URL since the title is not usually the same as the first one I chose. For instance, I chose "The Truth About Which Toxic Substances Can Affect Your Dogs" That seemed okay to me, and I wanted to write several hubs about "the truth" since there is so much misinformation out there. Almost no one bothered to read it.
It was eventually moved to a niche site with "What Seven Foods Are Really Toxic For Dogs". I have updated it a few times, added some minor details, but the article is the same as it was when the title was different.
The new name gains a lot more traffic.
It is absolutely fine to change the title after publishing, as often as you like.
H2 tags - these are just the headings in your Hub. It's good to have your keywords in the headings, but don't follow the old advice to choose your "target" keyword and use it in every H2 heading. Do that now and Google will consign your Hub to the bin - it's seen as a sign of trying to game the system. Instead, think of the phrases people would type into Google to find your Hub, and then try to use a variety of those in your headings.
Alt tags - we don't have alt tags on HubPages, we only have captions. Again, don't use the same keyword in every caption!
Now, a quick lesson in SEO (and personally I think it's all you need).
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation - in other words, making sure search engines can understand what your Hub is about. That's actually all it is!
In the past, there were all kinds of tricks you could use, to fool Google your article was more informative or more authoritative than it really was. That's what old-style SEO was all about. Google is wise to most of them now, so they're not even worth worrying about.
As Jean says, your title is the most important thing.
First, ask yourself, "If someone wanted to find out the information in this Hub, what would they type into Google?" Now, try typing that into Google - slowly! - and see what autocompletes. Those are all phrases that real people are typing into Google, so they are worth taking note of.
Try some of them and see if the TITLES of the results match the phrase you typed in - if lots of them do, then it's probably not worth using that phrase as a title, because lots of articles are already answering that question. You want to find a phrase where none (or at least few) of the results don't match - even if they provide the needed information, if the titles don't match then you can beat them.
If you're having trouble thinking up good phrases, then look at the bottom of the search results to see more suggested phrases - again, these are phrases which real people are typing into Google.
http://hubpages.com/community/Most-Comm … iters-Make
Thanks SO much for explaining and simplifying all this. There's so much conflicting information out there. It's great to have the true scoop from you.
When you're trying to assess SEO advice, one trick is to look at the date of the article.
You'll find hundreds of articles and blogs on SEO which are seriously out of date, but the author hasn't bothered removing or updating them. They can look quite authoritative and impressive but if they're old, they're probably inaccurate. The safest thing is, if it's more than a year old, ignore it.
Also bear in mind when other writers give you advice, they may have been reading those same outdated blogs. The people to trust are the people who are getting proven results - obviously they've got something right. WryLilt is a good example.
Thank you so much for your excellent article related to SEO and niche.
I suck at SEO so I just leave it up to the internet gods....
I've done that, too, but was hoping for something more dependable than the gods!
Me too. It's like I just "throw it and hope it sticks".
Exactly. We need a better approach.
I suck at SEO too. But basically, your title is important. Think hard about what a person looking for the topic of your hub would type in the Google search bar. Then title it as near as that as you can. That title may be taken, so you have to play around with them a little.
Also, your hub can be on page one, but as they age, others push them further back (unless you are one of the biggest authorities about your subject). That's a good time to change the title. The URL will always be the same as the original, but the new title can up it in the Google page, especially if you update it and add some new info, pictures, whatever would improve it. Good luck.
Older pages tend to get more search engine traffic than newer pages for evergreen subjects, and your account is only 21 months old. The average age of your articles is probably a year? When I googled articles about the pros and cons of preschool, for example, the results were all older pages. You have good descriptive titles that reflect the content of the articles, and your articles are well-written and well-organized, so I'm not sure if applying more SEO tricks beyond that is going to help much nowadays.
People with kids have strong opinions about schooling, so your articles are very shareable and have the potential to create good debates in the comments sections. Have you tried promoting these more on social media? Are you involved in online parenting forums?
If you think SEO is an issue with your hubs, you can pick one of your under-performing hubs and start a new thread for feedback on it.
Best of luck and I hope your traffic starts to pick up with more time.
Thanks, calculus-geometry, for taking a look. I really appreciate it. I put my hubs on Pinterest and Flipboard, but that's it. I haven't tried any parenting forums. Many of my hubs are on the site that just got a name change so, hopefully, the new name will help.
If you are already active on a forum and you can put links in your signature, that's one way to get more views. But I don't recommend joining a forum for the express purpose of promoting your hubs because that will backfire. There are some hubbers, Catherine Giordano (not sure of spelling) and agilitymach, who are apparently very successful with Facebook. They write hubs that naturally appeal to the FB groups they belong to, at least from what I recall of their forum posts here.
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