We just released a small update to the site. Among a slew of bug fixes and small updates, there are two notable changes.
The first is that you can follow the comments on a hub, and receive email notifications when new comments are made. Just click the follow button near the top of the comments capsule, or check the box when you leave a comment.
The second, is related to the formatting of hubs. We now require that you have at least 50 words of text for each Amazon or eBay product that is configured to be displayed on your hub, and you can no longer use an Amazon, eBay, Link, News, or RSS capsule as the first full width capsule in a hub. New hubs that violate these stipulations will be blocked from publication. A warning will appear on existing hubs that violate these rules. We do not intend to remove already published hubs that are in violation at this time, but it is likely that we will at some point in the future. We will provide you ample warning here and by email (including a list of your hubs that are in danger). However, we do recommend fixing your existing hubs as you come across the warnings. This change only affects 2-3% of all hubs.
Thanks Paul and the HP staff! If you start to notice trends in hub performance AFTER these changes are made, would you share them with the community? I doubt it would be possible to get too specific (e.g. 63 words per ad vs. 51 words per ad being optimal) but it would be interesting to see if the less densely populated a hub is with ads has a correlation to the rise in the SERPS (or simply the views).
I didn't receive any email update on this, only discovered it by accident. Too late to do anything tonight, it's bedtime. Hope I'll get enough time to fix my hubs before bad things happen (another factor that affects further writing, just when I finally wanted to write something). Hope this change will up HP's G ranking eventually. Thanks
Just thought about it while editing my hubs. An old suggestions I brought up couple of times but very few people got my point: Why can't we put picture caps side by side? That would make the current editing a whole lot easier, and it is basically a very helpful and convenient way to align our pictures. I've been calling for this but no one responded. Strangely many people didn't feel the needs, or they never even understood what I was talking about. Now, for the 3rd time, I'd send the suggestion, and would really appreciate if HP could make this feature available. It's just so obvious that it is very necessary! Thanks
I think that is also a great idea... I know I have tried to rearrange pictures differently and sometimes it seems as if I just can't get them in the right spot. However, being able to place them side-by-side definately gives way to being able to have different layout options!
A newbie calling! I am getting the impression that the system is already being trawled for breaches of the new rulings and Hubbers who are in breach are already receiving notices. So logically, if I have not received one, then I must be OK! And if I put a foot wrong from now on the system will auto call me to order.
Is this the wrong impression?
I don't have any problem with the need for rules. It would be helpful know when one is in the clear asap so that we can concentrate on the quality of our pages with worrying. I suppose had been a Hubber for longer I would better understand.
Regarding: "The first is that you can follow the comments on a hub, and receive email notifications when new comments are made. Just click the follow button near the top of the comments capsule, or check the box when you leave a comment."
Is there a preferences setting to disable the email notification?
Why I listing very many Products along side my poetry? To be honest, its simply because I felt kind of wasted to have the facility but not using it at all. But there was no rules like today at that time.
Oh well, I decided to deleted all the Amazon capsules there. It is more easy that way.
I guess you can say I am not the average hubber since instead of 2-3%, I had to fix over 40% of my hubs. Yikes, that was about 40 hubs! Good news is that I am completely done. Some were very easy to fix and were done in a matter of seconds, others took a bit more time and one I can't possibly fix. So, I may break that one up into 2-3 different hubs. I actually finished fixing them all in one day cause I just wanted it done!
It appears that this change was put into place because Google apparently dropped hubs from the rankings which had too many ads.
Second, we found that Hubs which successfully maintained their traffic were much more likely to judiciously use the Amazon, eBay, news, RSS and link capsules, so we ask if you choose to add news and RSS capsules, you make sure that you have plenty of original content in your Hub to accompany it and that you write at least 50 words of text in your Hub for every product you feature in your Amazon and eBay capsules.
Unfortunately, these changes were not implemented to increase our earnings. We will see how it all works out I guess. The funny thing is that Squidoo's overall ebay/Amazon modules to text ratio is much higher, yet their traffic was not really affected by the new Google algo. Go figure.
I think everyone is just running around trying to figure out what the heck Google really wants!
I've no problems with the new rules but I think it's unfair that it will apply to exisiting Hubs retrospectively. I have a few stories on my Hubpages that have more than one part and I usually put a link to the first part to help readers.
I'd suggest just floating the link capsule and the image over to the right (click the right arrow on them when editing the hub). It may require changing a bunch of hubs, but it shouldn't take too long. I base this on this example:
I just have a comment about recieving a notification when a person comments on the hub. I liked when you could recieve a notification of when the author comments on the hub. This tells me when I get a response back from the author, but I don't always want every comment from the hub. Some people get several comments and it is overflooding my email. I would suggest having two buttons... one for just following the hubs comments (especially if it is a topic of interest) or one that allows you just to be notified when the author responds.
"We now require that you have about 50 words of text for each Amazon or eBay product that is configured to be displayed on your hub, "
Wow, this is pretty major. I don't have a problem with it, but I think we need some clarification. Can you answer a few questions?
1) Do the fifty words go in the Amazon/eBay capsules or in the text capsules?
2) Can you show examples of how it works with eBay, since these products are not preselected by us? I.e., I'm not seeing how we can describe an eBay entry since these change all the time. What will this look like?
3) For Amazon, if we have a capsule with 10 products that are auto generated, we have to have 50 words associated with each?
4) And again with Amazon, if we have a capsule with 10 products that are hand-selected, do we have to have 50 words associated with each?
EDIT: Wait a minute - I just realized I may be misinterpreting what you said. Are you actually talking about a general ratio here? So if you have 10 Amazon products displayed, that means you need at least 500 words in your hub?
What you said in your edit is correct. You don't have to, but if you do put in your own descriptions for products in the Amazon Capsule, those words obviously will count toward your total. Most hubbers will not need to worry about these changes at all.
Fifty words of text per Amazon product featured: is that for the whole hub as an average, or does it mean you have to write fifty words then put in a capsule for one product, then another fifty words before another product capsule can appear?
Paul, just reading this now. Are you asking that the Amazon/Ebay etc capsules be below the first horizontal line of capsules. I have some that have the Amazon/Ebay to the right above the Adsense but the Adsense appears also. Just need clarification. The word requirement is great.
I have to admit that I don't like to see 10 eBay products at the start of a Hubpage. Although I do understand that there are potential monetary benefits to such a layout and as such don't blame anybody for pursuing that technique.
I am supportive of this move. I don't have any hubs which don't start with text, but I probably have some which will require an increased word limit.
This change will not only benefit the perception of Hubpages but also, potentially, the performance of hubs. If I am faced with the prospect of having to remove a couple of capsules or write another 100 words then I will choose the later. Longer hubs could see additional traffic if played right
OMG I'll be scared to open an email from you guys! I can see it now - "you have 200 hubs that are not in compliance" or words to that effect. It's probably a lot less. I was pleased to see my best performing sales hubs are already in compliance, but cannot definitely say there is a correlation because some that used to perform well are doing badly now, and have the correct words to products ratio.
I've actually thought about it now and yes this is an excellent move. When the new ads come to all of us, our pages are going to look really spammy with relatively few words and lots of products displayed.
I've been caught out where I've highlighted a few products and actually written about them, then added extra Amazon capsules at the bottom of the page just to give the reader more choice.
So now I either go back and get rid, or write another couple of paragraphs about the products in general. The page will actually look a lot better plus those extra words might get some Google love
I find that the new way the notifications are done is very time consuming. Before when i would comment on a hub I would receive an email so that I knew the person had commented on my comment. Now I am receiving emails whenever anyone comments on the hub that I commented on. So then I have to go back to the hub to stop following the comments. Hope this makes sense.
Thank you for bringing this to our intention. It looks like we made a mistake, and we have fixed it.
We recently changed the notification behavior on Hub Comments. The previous behavior, of getting a notification only when the hub author posts a comment, is no longer available. The only notification behavior which is currently available is to receive a notification whenever any new comment is made.
The bug which you describe is this: Hubbers who had previously opted-in to receive notifications when the Hub author made their next comment were now receiving emails whenever any new comment was made, even though they hadn't requested it.
We fixed this problem shortly after you reported it by disabling any notifications made before our site update.
We're sorry for any inconvenience that this might have caused you.
You know this is interesting because I had already began the move to move my pictures into the upper right corner of my page with a single amazon Hub beneath it. I've also been eliminating excessive SEO which would have been "good" before the algorithm change. By excessive I don't mean I keyword stuffed, I just mean that the title can't be mentioned 3-4 times above various capsules like it was before. In other words, subtlety is now your friend.
One quick question. I've noticed that any hub that had "10" listed items in one Amazon product capsule now only has 8. Does that mean for these hubs we have to go back and figure out what the 9th and 10th item were and then add them again? Apparently I'll be going back to change my top 10's to top 8s.
A warning might have been nice so that we could have adjusted them before hand instead of backtracking.
Yeah you will have a few..did you ever write the 1000 sales hubs you planned for 2010? Then again you have a lot of long hubs so they should be OK? (I hope). If not, as you say, eyes down, drops in, painkillers at the ready...you'll be fine:)
Oooh, I like this update . Off to check if I have any warnings -- I tend to be a tad wordy on most, so I kind of doubt if I do, but must be on the safe side. It's starting to feel like the tweaking will never end, but I'm sure I'll like what my overall profile looks like when it's finally done. The great thing about all these changes is that it does help give us some guidelines toward what search and admin see as the best quality.
One question though (and I'm sorry if I missed it somewhere here), but is it 50 words for every Amazon and eBay product (i.e. a 500-word article can have up to, say, 8 Amazon and 2 eBay products) or 50 words per product of each type (i.e. a 300-word article could have 6 Amazon and 6 eBay and still be in compliance)?
One quick question: when editing an Amazon capsule, there is a "do not display" option. If this is clicked so that the capsule doesn't display on the published hub, will those products still count in the ratio of 50:1?
@Paul - I think I've run across a problem. I have one hub that's 609 words (according to the HP stats word count), so it should allow 12 products. The hub had 14 Amazon products showing.
To make things easier for now until I have the time to really devote to tweaking this, I just went in and took two of the Amazon capsules and set them to "Do not display this capsule." So basically I wound up with 609 words and only 7 products displayed -- well within the limit. Unfortunately, the warning still appears.
I do use the "Do not display this capsule" somewhat frequently, and I hope this was just an oversight.
But to clarify something related. It's not necessarily the number of products that are displayed, it's the number that could be displayed. For instance if you have an amazon capsule programmed to display 6 products, but the search term you used only matches 4 you will still get dinged for all 6, since at any moment Amazon could add 2 more matching products.
Regarding your clarification here, Paul - will the Amazon capsule using a keyword search be able to be distinguished from one in which specific products are chosen?
I ask because I usually choose specific products, but when I edit the capsule I almost always click the drop down and select 8 to 10 just to give me the lines to copy and paste, yet I don't always paste 8 to 10 products in those lines. It's not possible that Amazon could at any moment add items there since I don't use keyword option, so would I get dinged for that? That being said, should I be concerned about continuing to do that practice in my product hubs?
Since the warnings are automated and people have already reported seeing them, does this mean they are already implemented across the board? Or could some hubbers/hubs start showing a warning sometime over the next few days?
Isabella, you need to open up each hub individually and look at the top of the page for the warning. If you need it, enter into "edit" mode and add text or delete products from the amazon/ebay modules.
It would be enormously helpful if the hubs concerned could have the warning displayed next to the title in the My Account page, so that we could see which ones needed changing at a glance rather than having to open each one in turn!
Other than that, I don't have a problem with the new policy per se - it does make sense from a quality point of view.
I totally agree with this and in fact I didn't realise that other messages about the hubs are also only displayed when you go into them (I checked one for amazon links and it also had a message about tags) - I thought all the warning messages were shown on the My Account page - guess I am going to have to look at them all individually for anything else then!
Agree with the changes but would be great like EmpressFelicity says that problems showed up on a summary not on each one :-)
I am also in agreement with Empress and Azure. If we can see the warnings right in the MY ACCOUNT page, that would be really really helpful or else I have to go through my 729 hubs to check out which are not set according to the new rule.
I second or third this. I don't have as many hubs as some do, so for them I guess it's a lot of work locating the ones that need sorting. It's a case of one by one to see which one's trip the filter. Above that, couldn't agree more with the new TOS, so thank you.
I look 5 hubs at a time according to the published date and see if they have warnings. If yes, I change them. Anyways, hubbers should not worry as HP team have said that they will give ample time before they take down the hubs!!
I just saw this on one of my hubs and it was very easy to correct. I just cut down on the number of Amazon items. Will check them all, but so far, it's easy to locate the problem hubs. Fortunately, I am very long winded, haha.
This is certainly a welcome change. Many Hubs looked absolutely trashy with as many ads loaded above the fold as possible.
I reckon if Hubpages could cut the number of words in Amazon descriptions it would help. Some ads come with fifty words (!) which we cannot control in any way. This also makes hubs using Amazon ads look trashy.
How long are you giving everyone to clean their hubs up to this new rule? Is their a deadline in place? I didn't see one if it was mentioned. By the way, thanks for the update, Paul. I'm all for a clean up of hubs for the site.
Great update as far as the product hubs go - I have yet to check mine and hope I don't have too much work to do!
As for the comments - I could have sworn that it started out as an option to be notified when the hub author posts a comment. Did it change from that to being notified of all subsequent comments from anyone? Maybe I'm just confusing it with the option here in the forums. I've been finding that the box is checked by default both here and in hubs which can be quite annoying.
I know I have several hubs wherein I placed 10 items in Amazon capsules. The maximum is now 8, so that means that I lost items 9 and 10, right?
I'm okay with the max being changed, but not so much with the fact that I may have no way to know on which hubs that happened (because they may not be in "violation" of the new rules) but those hubs - their layout and content - can be potentially significantly altered.
You know, you guys keep coming out with all these new rules, and yet have still never bothered to make a rule that all new hubs need to have a link to one of my hubs. Frankly, I think this is a glaring oversight that does nothing to enhance my revenue.
I just created a Hub and it says I broke one of your TOS? Lots of problems with my IP in the Philippines. I don't understand it. I get the same run around with Facebook. Where can I go to get help with reistating my Hub?
I have "never" created a Hubpage so why is this happening? This is my first Hub!
When will the warnings go through completely? For example, I have a few hubs that are in violation of this (which I've found in editing one such hub today.) However, there is no warning otherwise. Just wondering when I will see this.
Also, will correcting this problem possibly improve some of the rankings on such hubs. I have a few product hubs that are ranking well and some, well, not so much.
You can check word count in Hub Metrics in the Stats section. Yes, you would need 250 words for 5 products, but you would want more than 250 words for any hub. I wouldn't write anything shorter than 600 words, but that is just a preference.
I found 2 of mine which I had to fix, and they had no warnings on them.
I got one hub showing a warning(now fixed), but deemed it proper to align all my hubs to meetup with the new changes and guideline [knocking off lots of amazon ads/capsules] amongst others.
Honestly I feel better and healthier after the exercise. And I'm beginning to see improvements on traffic and adsense earnings. I sense that HubPages ad and Adsense are now breathing well. Thank you HubPages Team.
You can see the word count by clicking "stats" and then "hub metrics" on each hub. But even that is time-consuming. It would be nice to have the word count included as another column in the statistics page.