Understanding Hub Content Rules and Guidelines
"...but my Hub was fine up until now...?"
I made this Hub after seeing dozens of authors on this site for weeks, months or even years when they suddenly have a Hub flagged and find out they don't actually know the rules that govern what is and what is not acceptable content on HubPages. Not only are there rules about the content on this site, those rules sometimes change.
If you really want to have a productive (and profitable) HubPages experience, it's well worth it to learn the content guidelines and rules. After all, if your Hubs break the rules, they'll be unpublished by the admin team (regardless of how old they may be) and then you won't have page views, readers or any potential for advertising income.
Things To Avoid When Making A New Hub
"...but I was told by someone..."
When you sign up for a website, it's standard that the rules include something that basically says that by signing up, you agree that you have read all the rules, understand them all and agree to accept them all.
You need to actually read the rules yourself because if you just ask around, there's a HUGE risk that someone will tell you something not accurate or true, and it can cause you to lose things like an AdSense account. And on the internet, there are a lot of situations (like an AdSense account) where you don't get to apologize and get a second chance...
Just the FAQs
At the top of every HubPages page, in the righthand corner is row of words that are really buttons. When you click on them, menus appear, unfolding downwards. In the middle of the menu that unfolds under your user name is a small button that reads "help." This is one of the most helpful of all help pages on HubPages, as it leads to the Frequently Asked Questions list. This is a reader-friendly version of everything said in the Terms Of Service, along with other common questions about the site. The "questions" are found in the blue boxes that run down the righthand side of the page, grouped into topic categories and if you click on a question, it will jump you down the page to the specific answer. If you haven't ever read the entire page before, it's really a good idea to do so.
- Content or links that is pornographic, defamatory, libelous, tortuous, vulgar, obscene, invasive of privacy, racially or ethnically objectionable, hateful, promotes or provides instructional information about illegal activities, or promotes any act of cruelty to animals.
- Use Hubpages, the Website or Service to violate any Federal, state or local laws. Your Hubs must comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content.
- Link to pages or sites that are unrelated to the topic and content of Your Hub.
- Impersonate another Author or any representative or employee of Hubpages.
- Create Hubs for any illegal activities or to promote or make solicitations for any illegal or unauthorized activity.
- Harass, threaten or intimidate Authors or others who use the Service.
Really, since every user on the site has legally agreed to abide by these terms (and more), it's important to actually read this entire document.
Be Careful What You Pay For
One thing that is listed in Google's AdSense terms of service that many Hub Authors miss:
Sites with Google ads may not include or link to content regarding programs which compensate users for clicking ads or offers, performing searches, surfing websites or reading emails.
Here's where you can read more about Google's AdSense Program Policy. Remember, if it's against the rules to Google, it's also against the rules at HubPages.
Flagging Hubs (or if you got Flagged)
"Flagging" a Hub is when a site user sends an alert to the HubPages admin team to let them know that something about the content of a Hub may be breaking the rules. The flags are not seen by the Hub author. They are just to alert the moderation team that something may be wrong. If the moderators get a lot of flags about a Hub, they'll be sure to take a look at it quick.
In the end, it's up to the moderators to decide whether a Hub is actually breaking a site content rule or not. If not, the Hub just stays "as is" and the author will never know. If a true problem is found, the Hub will be unpublished and an email will be sent to the author letting them know just what the problem was with their Hub. The author then has to edit or fix the content to comply with the rules. At that point the author clicks the "resubmit for publication" button and the Hub goes into a queue to have it manually approved before it will go live again.
When a Hub is flagged, clicking the "flag" link brings up a list of common problems so that the person reporting it can check off what they think is wrong. This helps Admin review the Hub and find the problem more quickly.
It used to be that HubPages only ever looked at Hubs if they were reported by site members but with tougher standards coming from Google and other search engines, as of 2013 the entire site is slowly being reviewed by the moderators. There are also new publishing standards and practices in place. This is ruffling the feathers of some long-time site members as Hubs that were "okay" a few years ago now aren't, but nothing on the Internet stays static and Hub guidelines have always changed somehow every year since the site was first created.
If You Get A Hub Moderated And UnPublished...
- It's not for "no reason." It's for violating one of the site rules.
- Admin sends an email to the Hub owner/author when they get unpublished telling them what the specific violation was. If you don't understand exactly what the email they send you says, you can reply to admin and ask them for further clarification.
- You can get Hubs that were administratively unpublished re-published if you bring the content into compliance with the rules. Remember, the edited Hub will need to be checked by a live moderator in order to be republished if it was manually flagged. Hubs that incur repeated violations can be penalized with the new "irrevocable" status, meaning they will never be allowed to be republished ever again.
- If a large number of your Hubs contain prohibited content or are determined to be substandard, your account can be put on manual review, aka "probation." This means nothing will be published when you click the publish button until it has been reviewed by someone from the moderation team.
- If your AuthorScore (the number that appears on your Avatar) falls below 75, all outgoing links on all your Hubs are going to have "nofollow" tags attached to them. This is HubPages way of telling the search engines that they don't think your content is a quality product. And if your AuthorScore really does drop below 75, you can be sure there's something you're doing wrong.
Flags and Definitions
Here is the list of "flags" and the reasoning behind them. These were expanded and updated following the Google "Panda" algorithm adjustment that occurred in February 2011. Enforcement of these rules was also made more consistent.
- Adult - Contains nudity, lewd or provocative images, sexually explicit content, or links to adult or pornographic sites.
- Overly Promotional - 2 or more links to a single site, purely promotional, or teasers that require you to follow a link to read the full story.
- Mature - Graphic violent or medical images, excessive profanity, or other content not suitable for a general audience.
- Unrelated Links or Products - Promotes sites or products that are unrelated to the content.
- Purely Personal - Not useful, interesting, or easily understandable to someone that does not know the author. This may include Hubs written in the style of a blog or personal journal.
- Deceptive or Miscategorized - Incorrectly categorized, has a misleading title, or has unrelated or excessive tags.
- Watermarked or Pixelated - Contains photos or videos that are low resolution, pixelated, or prominently watermarked.
- Copied Content - Contains content that appears to have been copied from another Hub or site. Please include URL below. If your content was copied without permission, please follow these instructions for filing a DMCA complaint instead.
- Spun or Poorly Translated - Nonsensical or difficult to read, as though it were created by an article spinner or automated translation tool.
- Not written in English - Primarily written in a language other than English.
- Low Quality - Short or unfinished, rife with spelling or grammatical errors, contains a large number of broken links or videos, or is poorly formatted.
- Alcohol or Drug Sales - Contains content promoting, or links to sites that sell beer, wine, alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia.
- Gambling - Contains content, or links to sites, that promote gambling for money.
- Abuse - Has been promoted using spam, including email, comment, blog, wiki or other types of bulk unsolicted messages.
- Weapon Sales - Contains content, or links to sites, that sell weapons or ammunition.
- Hate Speech or Personal Attack - Contains a personal attack, racist content, or hate speech. This can be either in the Hub or in the comments.
More Hub Help
- The 10 Biggest HubPages User Mistakes
Wonder why your Hubs just aren't doing that well? Make sure you aren't making one of these "top ten" mistakes!
- The Most Frequently Asked "Stupid" HubPages Questions
Here is a quick and easy answer guide to the most frequently asked HubPages user questions.