In light of the latest Hubpages blog post, can I safely assume that any non-sales hubs would benefit from the removal of Amazon capsules altogether?
These are capsules which likely earn me next to nothing for 10 months of the year. Also, how does Google determine what an affiliate link is?
What about a Hubpages referral tracker? How does Google identify the difference between an internal Hubpages link which uses a tracker and an affiliate link? Should I be switching these to links which do not use a tracker or not?
I still haven't touched any of my hubs, I have long been considering my moves but ultimately I am still clueless. Anybody got any advice?
Google would see hubpage trackers as being what they are, internal links.
I wonder if Google actually may have problems following links with the tracker. When I try to reference a hub in SheToldMe.com using the tracker, I get an error message stating that this is not a valid URL. I guess that's because it can't follow the link. So I imagine Google may have trouble with these too.
Google doesn't have a problem with it. It's been discussed before. And it's also been advised not to use URL trackers at Digg and other social bookmarking sites.
Thanks for clearing that up. You are very knowledgeable, darkside, and I thank you for bringing to my attention what I missed elsewhere.
I’ve got a non-sales hub that has an amazon capsule in it (one product). It never even occurred to me that that would now be a no-no. The critter has never gotten a sale, so I would have no problem killing it if so required.
There's no mention or even hinting for people to remove Amazon capsules from non-sales hubs: http://blog.hubpages.com/2011/03/things … your-hubs/
"We are also going to further examine our rules around affiliate links because our analysis shows that Hubs linking to affiliate sites were much more likely to have lost traffic."
To me, an Amazon capsules is just so much an affiliate link as any other?
Obviously a sales-page depends on those links, so they won't be removed from there. But if unneccessary Amazon capsules are potentially losing me traffic on hubs intended for potential adsense revenue, then surely that would be just as applicable?
Maybe I am missing the point?
I believe it is as Nelle has said.
Affiliate links would be better described as "third party affiliate links".
They are encouraging people to remove Links, not Capsules.
HubPages has allowed people to put in Affiliate Links, of which they see no benefit. But the underlying thing about it is that the majority of hubs that have third party affiliate links is to drive traffic to another site. HP HQ have stemmed that somewhat by allowing only 2 links to the same domain. If they didn't, I can say from experience (of seeing others do it) that people would go overboard and fill their hub with lots and lots of the same link.
The same happened at Squidoo. And they tightened up. Not to the degree that HubPages have (almost) always had, but they restricted it to 9 links to the same domain and you'd think they had murdered a family member of the affiliate marketing Lensmasters the way they responded. For some it was the end of the world that they could have only 9 affiliate links to the same product.
But anyway, it's not necessarily an evil thing (to have third party affiliate links) but when the sole intention of a hub is to have people click on only those links then the game is different. They're not trying to get traffic TO hubpages, they're trying to get traffic THROUGH hubpages.
I had 249 clicks for Amazon last month. This is a total for my websites and Hubpages. Not a single sale was made. I've decided if I would have gotten the 249 clicks on Google ads instead, I would have made a lot more money.
I'm slowly removing Amazon and watching if it helps my Adsense.
there is also no mention that an amazon capsule and ebay capsule is just as much an affiliate link as any other.
there could be : http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/70064#post1526177
I thought that affiliate links was referring to the text links that people have been putting in their hubs from Shareasale and other affiliate networks - not Amazon and ebay capsules.
Folks have also been including Text links from Amazon and ebay outside of capsules. Thus cutting Hubpages out of the income stream.
Or this could mean just providing links to my own affiliate sites
I'm taking out everything that could ever be questionable. I have no desire to re-edit ALL of my sales hubs ever again. I admit to having had hit the delete hub button more than once today - because I decided it wasn't worth the effort.
I don't use those very often anyway, but I am interested to know how Google would determine the difference between (for example) a referral link pointing people to SheToldMe or another of my hubpages and an affiliate link to Amazon.
Surely they are just URLs like any other? I am also curious as to how an Amazon capsules (with includes an outbound Amazon affiliate link) would be perceived as differing from an Amazon text link (although I don't use these myself).
I suspect the answer is that they aren't? So, if my near-worthless Amazon capsules (those on non-sales pages) are sacrificed, this could have potential traffic benefits?
That is why I am confused.
I think a lot of the "duplicate" effect has a lot to do with people having multiple hubs on nearly or the exact same topic with very similar titles. Google now shows 1 of these in almost all circumstances (I have seen exceptions).
Before you'd see one after another occasionally and then a + drop down box displaying other similar results from HP. There was an exponential affect as you could publish a hub and have it in that drop down list within a couple of hours.(again there are exceptions I have seen where HP still gets this kind of love).
My speculative opinion is that it has a lot less to do with how many affiliate links you have and more to do with content that is too similar fighting over one spot... by similar I mean the same exact keyword phrase...
The content with better quality/SEO/backlinks at this point is winning out. I know this to be the case because I have lost a few battles and won a few in this exact circumstance.
In other words if you are already ranking on the first page of google for something, then it's likely your removal of these ads won't do anything for you. My guess is your removal of affiliate links from non-product hubs also will have minimal effect.
For longtail keywords (3 or 4 words long) Google is going to default to the authority source. Again... in my speculative opinion this can still be a hub, but it needs quality, it needs links, and it needs authority just like the sites on top (As you've noticed I'm sure non-authority sites can get away with having the longtail keyword in their site name ex. bestgamingmonitor.net).
It was easy before... but now it's more about good SEO, quality,authority backlinks, or time... whereas before it was more about writing from a PR 6 site...
In other words, link farm hubs (Squidoo is in this same boat) need one of two things or both in some instances:
1.) A topic that's not written about much.
2.) Their own Authority.
So to answer your question about existing hubs. You can improve their quality, SEO, and authority. Hubbers that aren't willing to do this most likely will not see their Hubs get back to their formal glory days. They simply don't have the authority.
I like formal. Gentlemen Hubbers. Top hat and tails. Brandy, port and cigars.
You just got another follower for that comment Mark. I can't help but to laugh every time you speak... er type.
Here's a few extra points:
* The typical affiliate link works differently than the redirection that HP HQ have in place for trackers.
* Google has always had a good relationship with Amazon. If memory serves me correctly they were pretty much the first advertisements that Google gave the greenlight to, to have accompany Adsense ads on a webpage.
* Looking at third party affiliate links and commercial capsules from a HP HQ point of view, one is a traffic leak, the other is not. HP get no benefit whatsoever from a third party affiliate link. They do from a capsule. While it's probably not been mentioned anywhere officially I do know that they don't like clickbank links. Why? They'd have their reasons, but 9 times out of 10 a person publishing a webpage anywhere about a clickbank product is just copying and pasting the sales pitch. They've never actually used the product, therefore it's not a real review. All that happens is duplicate content gets duplicated at a prolific rate.
* I believe no one gets any benefit from an RSS feed.
* The Link Suggestion Tool (which increases HubKarma) does benefit HubPages, but I don't believe it benefits me as a Hubber. Nor does it really benefit visitors. Because a lot of people seem to be picking the first suggested link without even reading the hub itself. The link hub might be related to the highlighted keyword, but not within the context it is used on the persons hub. If people want to increase their HubKarma then they should go to the extra effort that the linked hub is of benefit to their reader. (This has nothing at all to do with the blog post you're referring to, but once I started I couldn't stop .)
I agree with you almost completely on this Darkside. One thing that I do think HP benefits from is a link from some hubs to authority sources... I've been experimenting with this the last couple of days. (maybe this has to do with an increase in quality on my part... really doing the research etc...)
Also I see negative effects from someone linking to their OWN RSS feed. Interesting that Squidoo doesn't allow this... Again I see no problem linking to the RSS feed of a news feed that reports news and information about what you just spoke about. This adds to user experience... I can't see why Google would have a problem with that either.
One thing that hasn't been brought up is length of time spent on a Hub... I think Google has been paying attention to this (I know they do on my own personal sites - they even let you know what that number is...)
Internal linking can be a bad thing when it comes to how long someone views a page (the same thing with any Affiliate link).
Any thoughts on that?
One more thing I forgot to mention was that Amazon links open in the same page. It would an interesting experiment to see what would happen if they opened in a new window instead...
I certainly do this with my own websites.
Indeed they do. In fact HP have encouraged the linking to informative sites as part of the criteria of the (former hubpages initiatives) Flagship and Capstone programs.
For whatever benefit there might be for doing so it might only be a slight advantage, and I believe the fact that it is a traffic leak to me is what far outweighs whatever benefits it might have.
If people are clicking on an Adsense ad or an ebay ad, I'm benefiting (60% of the time), if people are clicking on links that I have specifically placed in the hub to other hubs (with my tracker in it) then I am benefiting, if people are going to Amazon product, and they buy it, then I am benefiting. If people are clicking on a link to an authority site with information that I approve of, then the reader is benefiting. But if people go click on a link in a News Feed, it does nothing for me. Tomorrow those links will be different. I don't have complete control over that.
And it's a tool that has been misused by a lot of people anyway. They're writing about things that's not being reported on in the news feeds anyway. Or they've copied and pasted their hub title, so the results have been a little crazy.
The longer a person spends on a site, and clicks through to another page on the same site are both positive factors used to score a website when it comes to things like quantcast and alexa. So it's not detrimental to HubPages at all.
With these new changes, I see it as the following;
Affiliate links - like mentioned by others above, I see affiliate based links as being items like Sharasale, Linkshare, Clickbank etc. Yet I dont think it is too much of an issue. Geez I think one out of my 80 odd Hubs has one aff link.
Amazon & eBay - With the amount of traffic generated to these two sites alone from hubs, I am sure big G is aware of the amount of outbound links to these two sites. But not in a detrimental manner.
Tracker links - no problem, internal and external traffic generators
In short, I don't believe that any Hubs need amending at this time. HubPages has tools in place already (highlighting hubs and using the email system) to identify any 'naughty' hubs.
The only issue I would have is any Hub with almost no text thats just full of links, Amazon and eBay links and the like, but virtually no text at all (so a garbage Hub in fact).
Hope that helps you.
the entire business model is built on driving traffic THROUGH Hubpages to affiliate and adsense promoted offers
The recent HubPages blog post encourages hubbers to remove affiliate links to enable a better improvement on hub traffic and not that it is included in the new rule to stop or remove the same.
This ongoing exercise reminds me of what a hubber said sometime two years ago regarding poor performance of adsense ads due to excessive featuring of Amazon and eBay products on hubs though that is not found anywhere in the law book of Google. He could be right from his mere observations having also taken out time myself to remove lots of ad capsules and other things seemingly choking life out of the hubs from having improved overall performance.
This exercise from observations could actually make such hubs to breath well and better when done.
Well, I certainly hope they are not going to insist on removing the affiliate links. Quite a few of my sales hubs have links to Amazon UK and our hubs are still doing well there seeing the roll out hasn't taken place yet. This month I am doing far better with those links than I'm doing on Amazon.com
Ryan, later comments on the blog seem to indicate that this is correct; that excessive Amazon capsules (or maybe any at all on an information hub) are detrimental.
You might want to re-read the blog now, after additional comments from Paul.
I've just spent a couple of hours editing 110 of my hubs. I removed the news rss feed from all of them, and edited the Amazon capsules at the end of the hub (additional related products) back to two only. That gives me 5 Amazon links to 800-1000 words, which is what my hubs usually pan out at. I took the opportunity to update the hubs for any products which are no longer featured on Amazon, and rewriting those portions with new and similar products.
I'm hoping it is not wasted time. My product hubs tanked after the update to just under half the amount of traffic and never bounced back. I can only hope that there is some improvement after all the updating I have done. I'm not holding my breath, though. It's a pity; I've always tried to do my best to make my hubs well-written with new research and useful information for those wanting to buy these products. Only time will tell, I suppose.
I read the blog and HP staff seemed to have done a correlation tests already between no. of products in a hub with number of words alongside decrease in traffic so their suggestion about 50 words per one product make sense.
Am I going to remove RSS news feeds also or is it just a suggestion? I read that Mr Edmondson is still testing the effect of amazon eBay contents and RSS feeds alonside traffic increase for his 15 hubs, but not the effect of RSS feed news alone?
I am just thinking maybe some sales keywords (buy online, reviews etc.) in the title could be a factor why most traffic from sales hubs suffered. When their algo sense that it is a sales hubs, they decrease the ranking by a factor. G just want people to buy items at the main store/source.
If it were me, I'd remove it. On any given day (or hour) there are going to be links in there that you have no idea where they're going, and it's not going to benefit you if someone clicks on it. Personally I find them to be a traffic leak.
I have only used RSS feeds in a few Hubs I wrote for HubMob topics since they have a rule that we must include a HubMob RSS feed. So a while ago I started a new thread in the HubMob forum asking if they might reconsider that due to the latest events.
I have seen some sales hubs with the same longtail keywords used in the title, the headings for capsules, photos, affiliate capsules and comments, besides being used throughout the text and in the author's comment responses. Isn't that going overboard? I have read a few of those hubs and found them distracting, to the point of being annoying. I think there has to be respect for the reader, and not stuffing a hub full of repetitive phrases.
My strategy for selling books that I publish was to get traffic from Google and then to feature one or two Amazon capsules for my books on hubs that were about informational topics. If this is not allowed, then HP is not very valuable for my overall marketing plans.
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