There has been a major change on the HP platform that was not announced to the writing community.
Go to one of your Hubs and look at the top where the breadcrumb navigation is. It now reads: your subdomain > main Topic category only
(I presume that this is not the case for Editor's Choice Hubs, but since I opted out of the program I can't actually verify that.)
If you click on the main Topic category, it does not go to the Topic page, but to a list of whatever other Hubs you have written in that category, which actually may be none!
One of the reasons many people post content to HP is that it is a place to post articles on miscellaneous subjects without creating an entire website when you don't really plan to write hundreds of articles on the same topic.
One of my concerns when the Editor's Choice rolled out was that it appeared to be a plan to disconnect subdomains from the main HP platform. I hope this isn't the case, but if Hubs which are not in the Editor's Choice program are removed from Topic pages, I'm afraid that traffic to the site will free fall into oblivion.
It is very odd for such a major change to be made without any announcement or any explanation of what it means for the writers here.
This was posted on the HP blog yesterday:
http://blog.hubpages.com/2013/09/breadc … ated_hubs/
I don't understand it well enough to know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for the writers here.
Ooh just read about the related hubs part. Probably they have an algorithm that grabs search phrases and tries to match hubs as well as other ways. Cant think of any other way they could call it self learning.
Thanks for posting that. I wonder what time that blog post was made! I do believe this change was made without any realization of what it would do to the PageRank of Topic pages, some of which were very dismal to begin with.
Looking at the example in the blog post, the Editor's Choice Hubs maintain the full breadcrumb navigation to Topic and subtopic pages.
Hmm yea just noticed it now. I've got no bad comments though. If that's the case it would help the site as a whole rather than driving traffic into oblivion.
Actually, no, it's not going to help the site. In a single day, HP has just destroyed the PageRank of the Topic pages, which in turn affects the PageRank of every Hub on the site. By removing the links from Hubs back to Topic pages, HP has just dropped about 350,000 internal links to the Topic pages. I don't think you understand how HUGE this change is.
No links are much better than low quality links... Now they're getting links only from teh high quality articles so it should be better. Yes there may be a few cases where it would have a negative effect, but on the whole it would be a positive change.
Understand that the Editor's Choice definition of a quality article and Google's definition can be totally different. The PageRank from Topic Pages comes from the homepage and from all of the internal links. Google's algorithm categorizes those links based on its formula of their importance and discounts the ones it believes are insignificant. When a site loses 350,000 internal links overnight, Google immediately responds by lowering PageRank behind the scenes. That affects every Hub on the site, which in turn will affect search rankings.
Those internal links are the only factors which support the Topic pages, which seem to have no other optimization whatsoever, which never show on search rankings and are probably never real landing pages for visitors in the first place. And this is billed as a "long-term plan to be realized, but our hope is to eventually organize high-quality content in a thematic way that readers will enjoy."
Further, it seems to be part of test to see what happens: "We have a number of ideas we plan to test in this area, so stay tuned!" I don't think a test was necessary to figure out what losing 350,000 links overnight will do to Topic Pages!
As others have mentioned, we announced this on the blog yesterday before deploying the change.
Please read the blog post for more details.
http://blog.hubpages.com/2013/09/breadc … ated_hubs/
I may be misunderstanding but I agree with Writer Fox. If the 'breacrumbs' are only relating to your own hubs of the same topic you could wind up with no links at all. If they are relating to other hubs on HP with the same topic you are offered more of a variety. I don't know how this effects page ranking but I'm sure it effects page reading.
Traffic is in the tank anyway so whatever changes they do can't possibly F things up any worse.
Just FYI, when I tried the link it just took me to my Profile Page but showed related hubs I had written about that subject - non Editor's Choice. When I clicked on the link of an Editor's Choice page I still got the full range of related subject hubs, not just my own.
Don't know if this helps or not but you might want to try and see.
I don't see this.
Do we press "Edit" to see?
Do we need to be logged in or not logged in?
I just checked it out and it seems like a cool change to me. It's my name, not janshares, followed by the topic category. When I click on my name, I get my full profile page. When I click on the topic category, I get my profile with a list of all my hubs under that category.
I remember some time back when a hubber suggested something like this. I don't see the harm. I like that visitors have the option of seeing what else I have to offer in that category or seeing my full subdomain of articles. Of course, they would have to be privy to how the navigation works, but I see no major harm done. My name at the top may also help with copyright issues, too.
(By the way, I have no EC hubs).
I like the change myself and see nothing wrong with it. I think it's great and works particularly well for those of us who write a lot in a few specific topics
I love it.
Less links to other people's content. Fine by me. I'd rather sink or swim based on my own work than relying on some huge link business.
No an expert or anything but it means Google search thing sees more of my stuff rather than a mixture?
Seems cool to me.
Yes, there's been changes and my traffic has been going up over the past few days! Yay! (It's still fairly low by historical standards but any upward movement is welcome!)
Writer Fox, I'm sure you mean well, but these posts don't seem to serve any purpose other than to scare the begeezus out of everyone. Or perhaps rally people against HP for some reason?
Fact is, we don't yet know how the changes HP is making will work out. I know you have theories, but they wouldn't be making these changes if they didn't have theories of their own.
Personally, I see no reason to get all excited over this change. Even if you do, why would you try to convince people, many of whom's heads are no doubt spinning just trying to understand what you're talking about, that their traffic will now "freefall into oblivion"?
Everyone here is concerned about traffic and income, but I sincerely doubt anyone is more concerned than HubPages themselves. They have more to lose than anyone, and I'm sure before every single change they make they contemplate every possible meaning of the phrase "Would you like fries with that, sir?"
Take a deep breathe. Have a refreshing beverage. Chill. We're all on this ride together.
I think it is a change worth being aware of. If you can't follow what the change is or do not want to discuss the implications of it, well, it isn't compulsory. I thought it was interesting. And HP thought it was worth blogging about too.
discussing the change is great, getting people in a panic and uproar when we don't know that much yet - not so much.
I agree. I thought Eric expressed it very well and in a polite way. Constructive criticism is a good thing. I don't believe that WF is being constructive. WF appears to have some sort of wider agenda, and gives out a lot of information that is incorrect, in my humble opinion. All it does is frighten the hubbers who are inexperienced or less technically knowledgeable. In general, I don't take WF seriously to be frank, but there are people who do, so I think Eric's post was apt.
The post was useful to me as I found it very easy to separate his statements about what the change was, from his opinion about the implications of that change.
And since hubpages insists on opening for me at the feed level, I never see or hear about the Hubpages blog unless it is mentioned here. Perhaps hubstaff could start a blog thread to alert us to new posts? To even find the blog I have to leave HP and Google for it.
From time to time we hire some of the industries best SEO consultants and review changes we are planning to make. This was recommended.
They felt we could improve the breadcrumb navigation structure by making it more intuitive for users. Subdomains are generally treated as individual sites. The basic reason this is an improvement is that breadcrumbs are navigation. Users expect navigation (opposed to general links) to direct people to another portion of the same site based on the domain.
Others pointed out that Google had sometimes been setting the breadcrumbs like this subdomain -> hp topic page in the search results.
It looks like Google is picking up the changes quickly and now setting them like subdomain -> filtered subdomain view
Now when a user clicks a breadcrumb they get only content by that author filtered to other Hubs on the topic. There are a few things we can do to improve this experience that are on the list, but in our general style, we try and iterate quickly and push new changes out as they're ready.
User experience and SEO are merging.
I really like it, thanks. However, I'm one who is not tech savvy . . . define "breadcrumb," please?
Paul, you say "Subdomains are generally treated as individual sites." Are you only talking about user navigation, or are you talking about how search engines view them, or both?
In the past you have said it didn't matter if subdomains here consisted of many different topics merged together. As I'm sure you know, this is contrary to general advice on how to manage subdomains, but in the past I had no reason to disagree with you.
Lately (maybe over the summer) I've been seeing my niche subdomains get stronger, while my general content ones kind of bumble along.
In light of this, and some of these changes going on lately, I'm wondering if perhaps the official HP stance of how to best use subs might be changing.
I don't mean to pin you down, but do you have any comments on that?
I love it. My readers come to my articles to read an article by me with my expertise. They aren't here to read about agility by other hubbers who don't even compete in the sport. No, this is ideal. It improves the feel of the site as my "article/blog" site - not a compilation of other people's stuff. It gives my small space on HubPages more authority. It expands the importance of niche writing.
Google does not treat subdomains as individual sites when it comes to linking. Google made this change two years ago:
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. … ernal.html
I don't know if the person you consulted was aware of how much HubPages is dependent upon its internal linking structure for PageRank when the suggestion was made to change the navigation to be "more intuitive for users."
You posted concerns on the forum about a major traffic drop to the site on May 9th. Google responded to a major downturn in backlinks to the domain.
The loss in backlinks resulted in lost rankings in search results for keywords:
This in turn explains much of the lost traffic from search.
Backlinks to Topic pages have also been lost. In the 'Books, Literature, and Writing' Topic, the loss of backlinks has tanked to only seven domains.
Those links plus the homepage links are now all that support the PageRank to that Topic page (except for the EC Hubs), which is then divvied up among the Hubs within that Topic.
When the breadcrumb navigation was changed, that particular Topic page immediately lost the 73,231 internal links it had built up over time. (That link count is for all of the subtopic pages in the 'Books, Literature, and Writing' category as well.) And that's just from one Topic page. There are 22 of them on the site; that's about 1 1/2 million lost links. Overnight. This also tells search engines that the HP domain no longer values the Topic pages because it has massively removed its internal links to them.
Further, this leaves individual Hubs with virtually no PageRank flow from the HP site and further decimates the PageRank of the Topic pages. Repercussions will be seen in search rankings.
To improve UX for visitors searching for relevant content by the same author, I think HP had it right two years ago when your subdomain page looked like this:
This is the actual subdomain landing page, i.e., you didn't have to click on anything to see Hubs arranged by Topics.
This portion of the page had a clean UX design, a true index landing page that catalogued the content of the subdomain and it used keywords appropriately for SEO.
With the new navigation, every Hub is given another link to the author's subdomain page. Hubbers with 100 Hubs just inherited 100 spam links because they are duplicate links.
If this scares the begeezus out of EricDockett, then he shouldn't be reading this serious discussion. But I hope you read it Paul and I do hope it does scare you.
Don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'm more concerned about folks who might really believe we're all doomed simply because you raise a ruckus.
I am concerned about everyone who has content on this site and who depends upon traffic from Google. It's about business, Eric. It doesn't have anything to do with doomsday nor your ruckus.
SEO has been fairly dynamic the last few years. Google had told us in the past that there was a lot of room between a broad site and an authority site, but recently they have advised to keep sites more focused.
Google has said that they see our subs as individual sites for their algorithms. We think that is mostly true, but we do see some patterns that are at least highly correlated with them having some domain wide influence.
I repeat===do we go to the "edit" page of a hub or where is this everyone is talking about. I'm sure I am not the only lame one on this.
I'm beginning to think with this new change, I need to have several more accounts. I write about 5 different niche subjects. When I click on the link to my Profile page, topics that don't go along with the page show first.
The trouble is a lot of my high traffic hubs aren't Editors Choice hubs and I don't want to move those to another account.
The good news is that my traffic is up today though.
How will people know to click on that topic for the related hubs on profile page? Will Hubbers be the ones using it and not other traffic?
I think several people have been unkind to Writer Fox on this thread.
I would love to think that HP staff knew what they were doing, I really would.
It seems that some anonymous "SEO expert" has advised them this time.
Let's hope he was a good 'un.
But moving over to niche subdomains, which many of us have been doing for a while, has still to be a proven recipe for success.
I have had some success doing this. Interesting to note that my most successful niche subdomain lost most of its traffic in the last day or so.
Then again, HP made most of the hubs on this sub EC just the day before yesterday. Hard to determine what ruined the traffic when they bring in so many changes at once.
I agree with Izzy about Writer Fox and others who have opinions. Nobody knows what will happen with this change. Everyone has the right to express an opinion. I have questions about how users will find the niches on our profile page, but I hope this project will be successful. I know hubbers will know what to do.
I hadn't picked up on the breadcrumb change at first, so this thread is useful. I've removed my own name from my profile page because it looked a little odd to have a hubber name on the right then a different name on the left. Other than that, it seems a good chance to have readers visit more of your own hubs.
@writer fox Thanks for the comments. The first post about links is referring to how webmaster tools displays link data, not how Google's algorithm treats them. If you own the subdomain, but not the root domain, you'll see links from topic pages reported as external links in webmaster tools. The links from your subdomain to other pages on your subdomain will show up as internal. Google doesn't disclose how they count links for ranking purposes, but they are trying to make it clear that only links from your subdomain are internal. See their blogspot example.
If you have your own site, try running a test where you remove the internal links from a page and see how the rankings change over time. I think you will be surprised.
Be careful with correlation and causation. We agree that a May update caused traffic loss from Google as well as an August update brought a lift. We can't say definitively what caused it, although we believe that it was Panda each time. Outside of major updates impacting links like Penguin, most site wide changes that happen because of links occur very gradually. The big steps up and down are algo changes.
We agree that the index page (subdomain hompage) did categorize by topic better in the past, but there was also some artifacts that people may not have been aware of where we had several pages indexed under each author that we felt was excessive. We used to also have tag pages as well. We have largely been going with if users don't use the page, then keep it out of Google's index or reduce the number of indexable pages. My opinion is that an authors subdomain is their homepage and should display fresh content first. However, this has some short comings with organization when people write about many topics. Happy to hear other ideas on improving this.
I wouldn't worry about internal links to your homepage getting treated as spam links. Top level breadcrumbs aren't an issue that make an ajax call. A larger concern is will users use them. Ultimately, we want navigation that people will use and helps them get to know a site better. My fear is that on most sites I've seen they are rarely used. I'm hoping to do some UI experiments to see if we can get more people to engage with them.
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