I couldn't help doing a little research while Hubpages was showing pageviews. Purely for the good of the community, of course.
A few things stood out.
Looking at pages published in 2011 (Panda era)a few keywords performed very badly in titles and in text. A few did well.
So, here are some I looked at.
Total Pages with more than 5000 views in tech,fashion and cooking, pub 2011: 330
Pages with 'How to' in title: 34
Pages with 'recipe' in title: 16
Pages with 'Buy Online' in title: 0
Pages with 'Buy Online in text: 6
Pages with 'Buy Now' in title: 0
Pages with 'Buy Now' in text: 0
Pages with 'Buy' in title: 4 (mainly stuff like 'read this before you buy'
Pages with 'Buy' in text: 150
Lowering the bar to 1000 views since published in 2011
'Buy online' in title: 0
'Buying guide' in title: 1
Any variation of 'buy' and even 'buy' on its own in the title seems a recipe for disaster. Whereas recipe itself did pretty well.
Well Will, I certainly don't buy it. Haha! Actually, your research makes good sense, and gives the audience some credibility in my mind.
Hrm. That means I should rename my article on buying your first horse, but I'm not sure exactly how to do so. Hrm...
Ya know, I did my own research. and titles with "the best," "best," "5 best" or "the five best" seem to have done okay -- especially when you add words like "smartphone" into the title.
You're not the only one to do that research, Will - I read that advice in several places last year after Panda. Pre-Panda, a title starting with "Buy..." was the way to go - now, several people believe it's one of those things that signals "spammer" to Google.
I took 'buy' and similar words out of the titles of my hubs months ago, but of course we can't change the url, so if it is in there you are stuck with it. So its either delete the hub and repost it, either here or somewhere else, and lose any age benefits (if there any these days). Have to say it didn't make a shred of difference to traffic, which has remained dismal
Yes, I'll have to check mine, because I took advice to use 'buy' in titles. Didn't know it had changed
My figures for 'how to' titles aren't that bad. My best is close to 6000 hits in six months. None of them are doing badly, unless a 1000 hits per month is considered bad. I'm not sure.
While the spammers would have really gone to town on the site when it had pageviews showing, it was also a great resource for anyone wanting to learn about what works on this site.
Overall, it was the quality of the writing that seems to matter most. Some writers have a very amiable, engaging style, some pack in the info, others just convince you that they know what they are talking about.
Backlinks hardly seem to matter at all.
Of course, without a nose for keywords you will never make a content farmer. But plenty of people are not interested in that route at all.
I tend to believe Will's research. It makes me wonder if Google really has Kiss of Death Keywords, or if it just sort of happens.
I wouldn't know. I don't write hubs aimed at getting people to "buy" anything. Any 'buy' references are strictly within Amazon capsules, and speak for themselves, without use of any form of the verb 'buy.'
As far as "recipe" goes, I was given to understand that you NEED to let people know that they have found what they are looking for, if they want a RECIPE for a given dish....
(Although, I will admit that 'recipe' can be used in other ways than concerning food, as a metaphor for a 'how-to...' I've done it myself.)
Also--How To/How Do is a fairly common search term: "how do I fix a washing machine belt?" or "how to pick apples"... 99% of the pre-chosen titles on Demand Media begin with "How To...xxx" or "How do I..xxx??" And they are supposedly culled from ACTUAL searches on Google....
I take all this with a grain of salt..especially if "The Big G" is constantly changing its mind and the rules of the game..no one can keep up. Do your best, write well, and that's about all you can do.
I agree, DzyMsLizzy! My "How-to" Hubs are doing just fine and dandy. So are my Hubs containing the word, "Recipe." There are all kinds of theories out there on what works and what doesn't when it comes to the Google gods. As long as I am making my online pennies on a regular basis, I'll keep writing Hubs the way I've been writing them. I don't follow every bit of advice that is offered on this site. Or any other online site. To try and figure out how to please the Google gods is a huge waste of time. As far as "research" goes, why even bother???
I had sort of forgotten this thread, mainly because of the sudden drop in views over the weekend.
I don't think a little research of this kind should be taken too seriously. There were a few pages doing OK with 'buy' in the title, for example.
'Buy online' was really noticeably absent, though, and it used to be popular here.
One problem with marketer pages is that they tend to be unoriginal and dull. They are just about selling stuff and marketers have a habit of pumping out stuff at a page an hour. I do that myself sometimes. Other times I try hard to come up with something readable.
So maybe 'buy' on its own is not the problem. It is the page.
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