I have some ideas about what we can do as a community. As you may know, there's a thread at http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/W … &hl=en in which Google invites people to report their websites that got unfairly hit by the update. Now, this is astonishing and hopeful, because they don't usually do that with updates unless they know they screwed up.
But there's a problem. It looks like HubPages WAS targeted by Google as a "low quality content farm." Based on what Google reps said here regarding Suite101, Google seems to be specifically going after the large user generated content sites like HubPages.
So simply posting on the thread and saying "I like HubPages" won't do much good, and could actually hurt our chances that Google would make tweaks to the algorithm to help us. And simply posting our highest-ranking hub won't do it unless it was very high quality.
But there is something we could do. I think we could all make a difference if we report our high-quality hubs that got hit there.
If a bunch of us posted there listing the best of the best pages that lost ground - our truly valuable pages - pages that aren't just similar to other pages on the Web, but filled with different and authoritative information or fabulous entertainment value, that are helpful to the user and relevant to the query, with impeccable grammar and not like blog entries, ideally with original photos or our own videos, and that have lots of admiring comments from non-registered users...then that could make a difference. Google might look at these pages and, if they think the pages deserve to rank well, make algorithm tweaks that could help all of our content.
And you could do the same for Wisegeek, Associated Content, Suite101, and/or other websites where you have stellar content.
And if you don't have content of your own that was hit by the update that you consider truly great, then you could mention some outstanding hubs that you know got hit.
If you have no idea of whether your hub is great quality, you could get honest feedback here in this thread. If everyone wanted to, we could vote on the proposed hubs and come up with a short list (50?) of the best of the best.
It would require you to be proactive, and may have no effect, but it might have a big effect.
I can't do this alone, because, though I could go through HubPages picking out hubs I thought were awesome, I don't know which hubs got hit, which is the important information to give to Google - i.e., where their algorithm went wrong and penalized pages unfairly.
If doing this doesn't appeal to you, there's other stuff you could do. Most notably, you could make an effort to spread some positive PR about HubPages.
Not to get referrals, but simply to make the "I like HubPages" voice louder than the "HubPages is awful" voice on the web. Why? Well, a big part of what brought on this content farm attack was how vocal content-farm haters are. Google was listening. Let Google listen to something positive for a change.
Take polls on your high-traffic hubs to publicly display whether they are helpful, not helpful, or sort of helpful to visitors.
Write about HubPages on your blog and DON'T include referral links.
Tell family and friends about great hubs you come across that you did NOT author.
Mention articles on HubPages that helped you make a decision or cook a recipe or whatever to anyone and everyone. Not your own articles. Only mention the ones you really used. It doesn't have to be online. Word will get around.
Go onto the forums Google reads - like their own forums (Matt Cutts has a blog, you know) and Webmasterworld - and get your reasoned voice heard. You can't do website promotion, and of course don't spam. But you CAN participate in the comments and earn respect by showing that you're a professional with something to contribute. And then take the opportunities, when they arise, to counter the voices that rail against eHow, HubPages, and other user-generated-content sites. Turn the tide of public opinion one voice at a time. This is how the quiet individual voice becomes VERY powerful: by speaking reasonably online in a public forum.
Whatever you do, I recommend you don't trash one site to promote another - therein lies doom. If we don't want these kinds of sites to die - and they provide a VALUABLE publishing platform for the little guy and fill in MANY content gaps on the web - then we need to tell people that they're valuable as a class, not display in-fighting.
Some positive and true "PR-type" things we can say about HubPages:
Strong literary community
Strong international community
In-depth, longer articles
Much intellectual debate (sounds better than "we fight like cats and dogs")
Great post. I hope everyone reads this and follows your ideas. I hope you will also turn this information/suggestion into a Hub.
Thanks, Aficionada. If there's interest, I could.
Whadya say, folks? Anyone game to help HubPages' PR? (in the public relations sense vs. PageRank...) There are a lot of us writers and we certainly know how to talk. We can't do the kind of optimization HubPages can do insofar as site layout, organization, and coding, but we can write excellent content, discourage substandard content, and - this is what's new - make a difference in how HubPages is perceived. Is HubPages low quality content or a frontier publishing platform? Nobody knows better than we do the answer to that, so if we want our content sites, we need to stop letting the negative comments run undefended all over the web.
Sounds pretty good in theory, but a dumb idea in reality, sorry, it is just a wishful thinking that will never happen. We all appreciate your effort, though.
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