My Hubpages Traffic Doubled in One Week
Hub Table of Contents
How My Hubpages Traffic Doubled In One Week
I deliberated for a long time about whether or not to write this article. After all, I’ve only been on Hubpages a relatively short time, and the traffic to my pages, though it indeed doubled last week, is still relatively puny compared to that of the seasoned Hubpages veterans. Plus, I wanted to make sure that my spike in traffic wasn’t just some chance fluctuation which would vanish at short notice. It hasn’t. My traffic this week has not only stayed at that higher level, but continues to increase.
So I decided to write this article. Although my aim is primarily to give relative new-comers to Hubpages a perspective on how how to succeed, I think that some of the things I’ll say can be appreciated by new-comers and veterans alike. I will also point newcomers in the direction of some of the best advice I’ve seen from the veterans about success on Hubpages.
Venerable veteran Hubpages user Chuck, in his excellent article found here (opens in a new window), names three strategies for success on Hubpages: 1. The quantity approach, 2. The niche approach, and 3. The keyword approach. I would say that I use a blend of all three approaches.
Massive Quantities of Non-garbage
First things first. If you don’t have anything to write about, or can’t find anything to write about, you probably won’t get much traffic on Hubpages. I am quite convinced that for most writers on the internet, success will be a matter of producing a sufficient quantity of real content, which is interesting and relevant. Hubpager Chuck, who I mentioned already, says that his own success has resulted from his focus on quantity. What is a sufficient quantity? As much as possible. Since many of us, myself included, still have jobs or school or family or other things that require time and attention, this limits the quantity we can put out. I have set for myself a required minimum of 2-3 hubs per week, although when I have the time, I prefer to do at least 4-6 hubs per week.
But sheer quantity, of course, is only half the equation. The other half is quality. A massive quantity of boring garbage is not likely to prove effective in the long run. Content must be interesting and relevant to readers. Otherwise, they will not stay on your page long enough to click on an ad, will not be likely to read other things you have written, and will not post links to your articles on social websites such as Facebook. That’s right: Hubpages is not a get-rich-quick platform. To succeed, one must write quality content, and a lot of it. And this takes time. And effort.
The Results of Good Keyword Research
Some of my readers, I predict, have mostly skipped the preceding section about quantity and quality. Why wade through all that, rather than skip right to the “good stuff”?
Hubpages user Misha has fewer than thirty hubs, yet has thousands of followers and makes "about $1500 [a month] give or take" from Hubpages. This would seem to contradict everything I just said about the need for writing a lot of content. And it does. But I think that Misha is the exception, not the rule, for success on Hubpages. It takes a considerable amount of genius and good fortune to discover key-phrases like “Google homepage”, overflowing with monthly searches, but with a tiny amount of competition. And one cannot always rely on finding such perfect key-phrases. Kudos to Misha! His secret, which he discusses here, is keyword research.
I’m all about keyword research. That being said, be sure to read the section of this hub titled: "Optimization Isn't Everything”.
I begin almost every article I write with keyword research, followed by “on-page” relevancy optimization. I’ll explain. First, I go to the Google Keyword Tool and type in some possible key phrases.
Brief Intermission: Poll - Which best describes you?
The Google Keyword Tool
I look through the list that Google generates (not pictured above) for additional key phrase
ideas. I look at the competition and the global monthly searches. If a
key phrase has low competition, and at the very least, five hundred
monthly searches, I consider it as a possibility. Really, I rarely pick
something with so few monthly searches, unless I really care about the
topic, and feel the need to write about it regardless of potential
traffic. I usually look for a phrase with low competition and between
1,500 and 50,000 monthly searches. Anything over 50,000 usually has too
much competition. I always
look at the “exact phrase” statistics for the phrase as well. That is,
how many monthly searches are there for that exact phrase in quotation
But here’s my real secret: After I identify a potential key phrase as I described above, I go to Google and search for my key phrase in two ways: 1. As a general phrase (not in quotations) and 2. As an exact phrase (in quotations). The reason I do this is to get a real idea about the competition I’m facing. The competition stats in the Google keyword tool have limited usefulness, as they are based on the estimated number of paying advertisers who are bidding for a placement with those keywords. So in reality, it more accurately measures competition for paying advertisers, not for those of us seeking “organic” advertising (that is, to appear on the natural search results).
When I do the two types of searches for my key phrases (general and exact), I look for several things:
- The number of results.
- The number of results on the first page which have my exact key-phrase in their title.
- The Google page-rank of the first 5-6 results.
The lower each of those numbers, the better. A magnificent tool called SEO for Firefox is available for free (you'll first need Firefox, which is also free), and will allow you to see stats such as the page-rank, and much more, for each result in the search page without having to actually go to any of those pages.
- For “number of results”, I prefer under five million for general phrase (though under a million is excellent), and under 50,000 for exact phrase. It is not extremely hard to find under 10,000, and I have sometimes had success with results as high as 80,000.
- For number of results with my exact phrase in the title, on the first page of either general or exact, I like to see under seven. Under 5 is excellent.
- For page-rank, I like to see at least two of the top six results with a page-rank of three or less. Again, the lower the better, especially if these top results contain your exact key-phrase in the title.
In my “exact phrase” search, I do one more thing: I scroll to the bottom of the search results page, and click on page ten of the search results. I then scroll to the bottom of that page and click the twentieth page of results. I continue this process until Google gives me a message like the one seen in the following picture.
There is a simple reason why the number 48, emphasized above, is important: this represents the amount of unique competition for your key phrase. It cuts out the redundant competition. When you do an exact-phrase search, you might come up with thousands of results. But as you skip through the search-results pages, Google will stop you long before you reach the end of those thousands of results, letting you know that all those other results are basically so redundant as to be unimportant. For this number, anything under 400 seems to be pretty good. Anything under 100 is extremely good.
So from this perspective, let’s see why my article about the movie Crash might rank so high in Google search.
- Search results for general phrase “crash movie analysis”: 8,030,000 (not too bad).
- For the exact phrase: 2840 (extremely good).
- Unique results for exact phrase: 48 (amazing).
- Number of results with exact phrase in the title for general search: 1 (perfect).
- Results with exact phrase in the title for exact search: 6 (not bad).
Hopefully this illustrates a good point: my techniques and guidelines are far from perfect formulas, and there are plenty of exceptions. For example, although the number "8,030,000" above may be a little bit higher than my ideal, it obviously didn't prevent my page from ranking high. In fact I have pages that rank high with far more search results than that in the general phrase search. One statistic alone can never give a complete picture, and one can never perfectly predict results. So don't refrain from using a key-phrase just because one of the numbers looks a bit high.
Other things I often search for when analyzing competition are “allintitle” and “allinurl”. These can be helpful, but they are beyond the scope of this article. For an excellent and exhaustive tome on keywords, check out this hub by Peter Hoggan, who has actually published a virtual hub-cyclopedia on all things SEO.
After I decide what my “killer key-phrases” will be, I try to include that exact phrase in my page's title, the URL, the first header on the page, and the first paragraph on the page. Also, I make sure that phrase is in my page summary. The page summary is important for several reasons, and Hubpages, if you don’t override it, will calculate your summary automatically. Always replace the Hubpages-generated summary with one of your own.
Other than that, I make sure my phrase occurs at least several times throughout the article, but I don't overdo it. Key-word “stuffing” is counterproductive. And that is the full extent of my on-page optimization process. There is no reason to over-optimize a page. If your content is relevant to the key words, then beyond the few on-page optimizations I’ve just mentioned, it will optimize itself. If the content is not relevant to the key-words, then choose different key-words or write different content or just don’t write the hub at all.
Optimization Isn't Everything
Keyword research and on-page optimization are only a small part of the traffic equation. The more important part, I think, is quantity and quality. Quality is especially important, both for the sake of your readers and for the search-engines. Google weighs “off-page” factors at least as heavily as it does “on-page” factors. These off-page factors are simply measures of how searchers respond to your page, and play a very important part of where your page is ranked in the search results. Just a few examples:
- How many searchers choose to go to your page, rather than to a different page listed on the same page of search results? Here, your title and description (summary) are crucial for drawing the reader in by letting her know that your page has the information she is looking for. Yet another reason not to let Hubpages write your summary for you.
- Once at your page, how long does the reader stay there? If you have interesting, relevant content, they will stay longer, and Google will notice.
- Do they like your page enough to come back later? Google knows. Do they like your page enough to post a link to it on their own blog? Once more, Google knows.
There are tons of such off-page indicators of people’s responses to your page. Many people focus on just one, such as incoming links. They then try to get as many incoming links as possible, regardless of the quality and relevancy of the sites linking to them.
Don’t do this.
Search Engines are designed to provide their users with quality, relevant information. When I found myself linking to my article about a bible verse on a forum about chicken breeding, I suddenly realized that this was just absurd. What does chicken breeding have to do with the bible? So don’t pay for services that sell you lists of places you can put your “do follow” links. Search engines want reality, not simulation. It may seem that the only way to get ahead is to outsmart the algorithms, or “cheat” by purchasing lists of non-relevant places to spread your links, but this is simply not true. Search engines are getting smarter all the time, and can certainly detect when your incoming links have nothing to do with your page’s topic. In the long run, quality, relevant content is what the search-engines want, because that is what their users want. Simply give them what they want, and the rest will fall into place. In the short-term, you may lag behind people who are simply trying to “beat” the search engines, but in the long-run, as the search engines continue to get smarter, you will leave the competition who uses such tactics miles behind you.
One should write about what they know, and about what they are most interested in. Since I know more about religion and philosophy than anything else, I write more or less in the religion/philosophy niche. When you create a new hub, Hubpages asks you what category to put it in. When I first started, I thought a broader category was better, as it seemed this would mean more potential readers. But in fact, you should choose the narrowest category possible. When people look for pages by topic on Hubpages, what they see first are the “hot” hubs on each topic page. If your page is categorized in a broad topic, it faces more competition for a spot in this hot-list. If you put it in a narrow category, you will be more likely to appear on the hot-list for that narrow category, as there is less competition. This is free advertising that you wouldn’t get otherwise. And don’t worry, if your hub is hot enough on a narrow category, it will also appear on the hot-list for the broader category of which the narrow category is a sub-category. That is a win-win situation.
In a nutshell, my approach to getting traffic on Hubpages has been: First and foremost, I write as many hubs as possible, and make them as relevant and interesting as possible. Second, when I get an idea for a hub, I begin by researching the best key-phrases for the hub (the phrases with the most global monthly searches and the least competition). Third, I quickly optimize my hub for those key-phrases. Fourth, I write in a niche; that is, I write about what I know, and I choose as narrow a category as possible when creating a new hub. And apparently, my approach is working. My Hubpages traffic has doubled in a week, and continues to rise!