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Nobody tries to steal your hubpages web or search engine traffic – Please stop panicking
Some days ago I came across a real weird story distributed by at least two hubbers here at hubpages, that claimed that 'somebody' was stealing their web traffic by having had 'somehow' hacked either into their accounts, hubpages itself or even the Google search engine.
I scrolled down the comments and whilst one of them allows comments, at least some, from people that have a different opinion, the other blatantly states 'Some of the high-minded in the "forum dog pack" have tried to leave condescending comments on my hub but I won't allow it.'
Now, I am surely not part of a hubpages "forum dog pack" (whatever that is and if it really exists) but I do have something against people that don't want to listen to reason and logic and prefer to distribute hype and false information instead.
In short: Nobody tries to steal your traffic by redirecting your search results to their hubs, so please – stop panicking! Below is a long explanation of what had happened (and is still happening for that matter, because it is normal), what these hubbers did, how they denounced innocent fellow hubbers to the big search engines and hubpages themselves and what the correct technical explanation for all this is. And no, I will not reward them with a link back to their profiles or hub, nor will I expose them. But I will send them a message with this hubs url once it is finished in the hope that they start to see reason.
What happened in the first place
Both hubbers were monitoring the success of their hubs in the search engines and discovered that sometimes a search result included their profile name and hub title, but that the link would then lead to a completely different hub, that had nothing to do with their own hub or topic. And they started to panic and think that 'somebody somehow' managed to steal their traffic by redirecting the url of their hub to another one. None of them could specify what really was done to achieve that and which level of security (single hubpage, hubpages.com or the search engine itself) was compromised. So, in their infinite wisdom they started to report the hubs in question to Google and Yahoo and to hubpages itself.
This is the part I am really angry with. These guys didn't check their facts, didn't explore further explanations about what had happened, instead they went for the shot gun approach and denounced innocent fellow hubbers to the 'authorities'. As far as I can see, they not even contacted the hubbers in question first. And no, before you ask, I am not affected or anything, I am just angry because they are trying to damage the hubs and reputation of innocent people with their stupid accusations. And they are proud of it, oh yeah! And as some of the community showed them a more probable explanation than their 'hacking conspiracy', they just closed their eyes and ears, because it is much more fun to be the victim of a hater and hacker, than to just having gotten your facts wrong. Still with me? Good, because now I will explain
What really happened to the hubs, their urls and what caused the 'redirection'
The explanation to this is so simple that it really will cause a 'Duh!' moment when you get it. See the little, grey field on the right side, in the sidebar? The one entitled 'Related Hubs'? That is the culprit! No hack, no malicious redirect and no hatred against these poor victims of their own lack of knowledge. This field displays related hubs, related to what you write about, what you tag and what the hubpages algorithm itself thinks is related. And it shows it to both, human visitors and the bots send by the search engines.
And here is where hiccups can happen. Sometimes the search engine will display part of this related hub model in the search description, especially when you search for it and are logged in your Google account! Google wants to give you what you search for and these hubbers searched for both, their profile link and their hubpages titles and than where astonished when they got what they searched for, places were both or one of them appeared, in an excerpt of the Related Hubs capsule.
Similar things happened previously for
me, when I was searching for my own images in Googles image searches
and got presented with images that were not mine, but were clearly
attributed to me in the search results and vice versa. The reason is
that when it comes to dynamic website content like 'newest image' or
'most related hub' the search engines have a hard time to keep up
with the ever changing content of dynamic webpages that use rss-feeds
or similar to display and refresh contents. This delay in caching and presenting information to a searcher, causes the hiccup - not a hack!
Please feel free if you still have questions, or if you have more information or even a different opinion. Differently to the hubbers that started all this, I will approve also comments that don't agree with me – as long as you don't call me names ...
As a little add-on here some scenarios what one would have to do to
Stealing traffic from hubpages the hacker way
To recapitulate, the hubbers in question accused 'somebody' to redirect traffic from the original (their) url to another one inside the search engines in order to benefit from the increased traffic. In order to do so, the hack could have, theoretically, taken place on three levels, I leave it to you to decide if any of the scenarios below is a) realistic or b) practical:
Level 1: Single hubpage
No way, as hubbers and writers we can't inject any code apart of a few innocent html-tags into our own hubs, so even if 'somebody' hacks into our hubpages account, they can't do neither.
Level 2: hubpages.com
Yep, that would be the most probable place it could happen, some hacker could hack into the site itself and inject some code to make the site do things it isn't meant to do. BUT, do you really believe a hacker would then concentrate to just re-direct a few, selected hubs? Wouldn't it be more likely that they would try things with a bit more impact like re-directing the whole site, inject hidden links or similar? And don't you also think that hubpages is supervising closely the security of their business? So, yes, whilst it is possible that a hacker could have hacked into the site itself, it is highly unlikely that they would have done so for the meagre benefit of re-directing other hub urls to their own – something that would point back at them as the culprit like a flamethrower in a pitch black night!
Level 3: The Search Engine
I guess, hacking into the search engines to re-direct traffic to your own search results would be a hackers and black hat seo and internet marketers big dream. But I simply don't believe that that wouldn't be discovered immediately by the search engines themselves and counter acted upon. Yes, Google was hacked before, but the reasons for this where not to re-direct the url of one hub to another hub. If you are more interested in this: Google It!
So, to sum this up
- Nobody is re-directing hub urls to other hubs in the search engines.
- It is caused by a completely normal delay in caching and displaying of information in the search results.
- It is more pronounced if you are logged into one or more Google service as Google knows who you are, what you have looked for before and what might please you most: Finding yourself!
OK, that's it, like I said, feel free to leave a comment and btw, if you had Google Analytics to your hubpages, you see that you actually also get traffic via the 'Related Hubs' capsule. It is all about keeping the balance between giving and taking, and about checking your facts before hitting the publish button!