I keep posting hubs without writing the summaries. Bad summaries can set your hub back for weeks (or ever if you don't notice). They are almost as important as the title.
Some kind of warning- like 'before you publish this hub please check the summary box' would help.
Instead of a warning, how about having the summary box at the front by default, instead of Settings? You only need to set the Settings once so I'm not sure why it should be in front all the time.
I often write my Hubs on the fly and sometimes, I write the end before I write the whole first para.
I'm not sure when the summary self-creates but it's definitely some time before you publish. I've gone back to look at summaries and found they contained the notes I made in the first capsule during the draft stage, not my real first paragraph!
If you leave it to the HubPages default, it will just pick up most or part of your first paragraph. That means your first paragraph should have your top keywords and rate high for SEO - as well as draw your intended reader in.
If you are writing a separate summary for everything that's kind of throwing away your introductory paragraph, isn't it?
I know it doesn't always work well though, for poetry or a quotation, etc., so I just make it a habit to check the summary - just like making sure the Hub is assigned to a group, and checking or un-checking the slide show box, as well as checking the comments capsule for the correct options
You should try rewriting a few summaries in your hubs and seeing how much impact it has, visitor-wise. It can mean page 1, 2 or 100 on Google.
Also, if you use a heading at the beginning of your article you get a garbled summary that looks terrible in a search engine.
What annoys me most when I forget is that the first summary stays in Yahoo for ever. So if you make a mistake- spelling, syntax, a heading- you can't get rid of it easily.
As for the first paragraph, you are not throwing away your first paragraph. It remains your first paragraph.
Thanks so much - I discovered this a while ago while looking for info in the forums I always rewrite or re-check the summary and I often add keywords to it as well...and by "throwing it away" I only meant that if you're not GENERALLY writing a good enough first paragraph to grab attention, then that might be one thing to look at as well. So sorry - didn't mean to give offense.
My internet connection was down for 48 hours- common occurrence where I live, couple that with a terrible memory (I forget that I ever posted) and my participation in forums is pretty patchy at best.
Anyway- redelf, I didn't take any offense. Perhaps I need to learn to use those emoticon things (if I could ever find them) I'm, glad your automated summaries work well.
Its when you get a page that is on page 2 or 3 of Google that that every tweak becomes important. Page 2 or 3 means some traffic, page 1 a lot, lot more. Title changes and summary text changes are the most powerful way of getting that hub onto page 1.
It's like a brief overview. Or a teaser. Pretty much however you want to make it, but having something original in there does give a slight advantage to the hub (and it's got to be under 500 characters).
It's also used by HubPages in results or in the authors listings for hot, best and latest.
It's of benefit to the audience too. They can read the snippet and get a grasp of what the hub is about. And they can click through and read the hub without having to read the same exact blurb.
I find writing my own summary to be much more effective than just letting the Hub "grab" my first paragraph.
But it's not necessary so having a warning doesn't seem appropriate.
I'm with Relache, it's important - but why a warning. There are lots of things that are important to the success of a hub. I like the clean and simple interface.
I actually have a yellow sticky on my computer that reminds me of 1. hubchallenge tag, 2, customized summary, 3. links. Because I tend to forget these. I prefer to customize my own reminders because these may need to change.
I haven't written a summery for any of my hubs since I've been here. I missed that compleatly, ooops! Seems like that is something I will have to have a look at.
I just did a search on one of my hubs, and the summary that popped up was not what was in the summary field of the hub. I don't usually alter the summary, so it's usually just the first few lines of the text. The few that I searched had mixed lines from the text, but in the summary field it was word-for-word the first part of the first paragraph.
I spent today's "hubbing" time, reworking about half of my summaries, will see what the next week or so bring. I really appreciate all the help we receive here - I am learning a lot and am able to experiment in an active environment.
Crafting your own SEO summery is awesome if you know how to. I will say though, that the automated one will do just fine in most cases.
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