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Why You Need to Stop Using Right-Floating Capsules
In February 2015 Google announced that it's important to make sites mobile-friendly. If it fails the test it can reduce the number of times our hubs appear in search results of mobile users.
That very same month, over two years ago, HubPages gave everyone a heads-up, telling us in the HubPages blog1 that they will eventually limit hubs to just one column.
In July 2017 the plan to eliminate right-floating capsules has been announced, and they will be automatically made full-width as of January 15th, 2018. The main issue was to be mobile friendly, but it also is being done to eliminate the mistakes Hubbers have been making, as I’ll explain.
Incorrect Placement of Floating Capsules
Many Hubbers have not been diligent with checking how their hubs look on mobile devices. The Hubtool has a feature that helps check this, but most people never used it.
The problem is that the right column is merged on mobile. Many times the capsules end up being in the wrong place—above the text that refers to it instead of below. Furthermore, Hubbers referred to the image by stating "see the image to the right" which confuses readers who are looking for the image, when instead, it was above the text.
You can see why HubPages was forced to drop the use of the right two-column template. People don't listen, or they don't read email and blogs from HubPages. Whatever the problem, many hubs have been messed up for mobile viewers for a long time and Hubbers have not paid attention, thereby losing traffic.
Forcing everyone to use just one column will help everyone write hubs in a logical fashion that doesn't confuse readers. The end result is that mobile readers will stay on the hub longer since they will no longer be confused with images and the related content being in the wrong place. This will help bring more traffic in the long run because view duration affects ranking.
You need to trust the process.
Mobile Traffic is Growing Fast
I monitor my traffic to see how many mobile users read my hubs. My Google Analytics reports clearly show a huge increase in mobile traffic. Presently over 60%. Results may vary based on what kind of audience you attract.
I recommend that everyone should view how his or her hubs look on a smartphone. You can do in the HubTool. Just edit a hub and click “Preview” and select “Mobile Preview” as shown in the following example.
Previewing in the HubTool does not change the last modified date. If you don’t make any changes, the date will not change. However, if you see problems, you'll want to fix them.
How to Improve Hubs to Be Mobile-Friendly
Mobile Only Has One Column
Since our Hubs only display with one column on the small screens of mobile phones, image and text capsules on the right column fall in-line with the left column. If not positioned properly, it may appear in the wrong place and confuse the reader who is using a mobile phone.
How to Find Your Hubs With Floating Capsules
You can use the filter on your Statistics Page to see only those hubs where you had used floating capsules, as I show you in this image:
How to Fix Incorrect Placement of Floating Capsules
If you didn't pay attention, you may have problems with the right column content falling in the wrong place after the merge. You may already have problems on mobile devices.
Check the mobile preview. If you see one of your images or text is in an unexpected place when in mobile view, you need to fix it so that the right-hand capsule falls between the appropriate text segments when in a single-line view.
If you have floating capsules that don't fall in the correct position, you can reposition them by breaking up the text capsules into individual text capsules. Then move the floating capsules where they should be displayed when full-width.
On the other hand, if it displays with the floating capsule's data in a meaningful location, then you don't really need to update your hub. It will automatically be done for you on January 15th, 2018.
How to Prioritize Your Efforts
Concentrate on fixing the high traffic hubs first, especially if they are not getting much traffic from mobile. That's where the best reward for your efforts will be. Editing hubs that don't get much traffic will take much longer to show positive results since Google isn't paying much attention to them.
If you’re not using Google Analytics, it’s time you do. Start by reviewing your report under “Audience > Mobile > Overview” and see how many readers you have itemized by mobile, desktop and tablet devices.
Now change the date range and compare the most resent 30-day period to a 30-day period of about a year ago. (Note that if you just started using Google Analytics, you’ll only have prior data up to the date you began collecting data).
Based on the results comparing the results of a year ago with the present, do you see a drop in mobile users?
If so, you need to work on your hubs to make them more mobile-friendly. HubPages already did their part with page formatting. Since we have control over our own layout, it’s up to us to perfect it.
Preview any of your own hubs in mobile preview. I guarantee you’ll immediately see things you can change to improve results for your mobile readers. Remember to pay attention to position of capsule titles as well as captions on images. When everything is in a single column, these things need to make sense to the reader based on where they appear.
Anything that loses a reader or causes him or her to lose focus will ultimately hurt the ranking of a hub. Readers will click away as soon as they run into trouble with following the logic of the presentation. It's up to us to make sure our hubs are presented in the best way possible on all types of media. HubPages makes this easy with the "Mobile Preview" in the HubTool. Make use of it.
© 2015 Glenn Stok