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Is Google Penalizing Us for Writing on Diverse Topics?
I made an interesting discovery about SEO. I managed to increase the traffic to my hubs by deleting a bunch of them. It appears that Google prefers subdomains that stick to one niche. This is not groundbreaking research, but it seems be something that is not discussed much in the HubPages community. And since many of us are here to make money, why aren't we doing it the smart way?
I do not claim to be an expert on SEO or making money online, but I do want to share my experiences here on HubPages.
I first joined HubPages at the end of February 2012 under a different account name. The account started out as a way to backlink to my architecture website, but I soon found that I really enjoyed writing for HubPages. Next thing I knew I had hubs on makeup, travel, books, and relationships in addition to my architecture hubs.
However, I had made a big mistake. I had used the name of my website as my username on HubPages. While this isn't the end of the world, I decided from a marketing perspective that it wasn't wise to associate my professional architecture site with dating and skin care advice. I hope you understand that this is why I'm not saying the name of the account in this hub either.
I opened my Modern Lady account at the beginning of May. I deleted 26 non-architecture hubs from my old account and moved them over to Modern Lady. I started commenting on hubs, following other hubbers, and generally having a good time participating in the HubPages community under my new persona.
And I completely ignored my old account and the seven hubs that remained there.
My Traffic Discovery
A few weeks later I decided to check back in on my old account. My traffic had skyrocketed! Perhaps it was a coincidence, but it seems a bit interesting that immediately after I unpublished all those unrelated hubs, my traffic would see such a significant increase.
It seems that Google ranks sites higher if the keywords for all their articles are related. If you've got too many unrelated keywords, you get penalized. I've noticed in my new account that keywords from other hubs pop up in searches. For example, 10 Creative and Fun Date Ideas came up for a search for "ideas for double dates chicago." No doubt Google got confused by my Travel Guide to Chicago, Illinois. There are a number of other similar instances with other hubs. Too many unrelated keyword means the Big G gets confused on what the topic of your site is.
This also leads me to believe that HubPages as a whole is getting penalized since there are so many writers who all have different topics. This is what makes HubPages an awesome community, but we're probably hurting each other's SEO.
Deleting Hubs Increases Traffic?
Where to Go from Here?
We've already got HubPages accounts with established hubs. What do we do now?
For those new to HubPages (or thinking about joining) I would suggest picking a niche and sticking to it, even if that means deleting a couple hubs. For those of us with more published writing it's a bit stickier.
I'm an advocate of working smarter not harder. Given the option of writing 10 hubs on a carefully chosen niche or 50 on scattershot topics and getting the same amount of traffic, I would take the 10 hubs. Although I'm also here to enjoy myself and learn new things, my ultimate goal is to make some side income. It's important to make the right decisions to acheive the desired goals.
Another consideration is that Google gives sites with a lot of content more clout. The more hubs the better (assuming they're good quality). It's easier to write a lot of hubs on a subdomain that covers many topics. One account with 100 hubs is better than 10 accounts with 10 each. However, if you're penalized for writing on diverse topics, it must breakeven somewhere. At what point is is better to have more hubs than to have them all on one topic?
All told, I'm not looking forward to moving hubs again. Modern Lady has been a catch-all account for me and I'm not sure she's a good candidate for becoming a niche account at this point. I suppose she could become exclusively beauty or exclusively travel, but I don't think that would be fair to my current followers, and frankly I'm not interested in putting in the time to move hubs that I just finished moving. Modern Lady also has a few hubs on very random topics that are doing well and need to remain in a generic account. If anything, I will try to write on topics I have already broached with Modern Lady. If I come accross any potentially good niches, I will start another HubPages account or maybe develop an independent website for them.