For a lot of reasons I think HP sub-domains are being penalized by Google. Not all, but some!
I am not sure, but I think these are mainly the reasons we are getting penalized.
Participating in HP forums gets us links from hubpages.com. Every time you comment on a forum, you get a new link for your profile page.
Say you comment 10 times in 10 different forums, it's 100 links from HP with the same anchor text i.e link to your profile/ username.hubpages.com
Obviously, it doesn't look natural; 100 links from the same site, all using the same anchor text. Unless there is an exception for Hubpages, Google will penalize the domain for unnatural linking.
Every time you ask a question, it is published on your sub domain, and is crawled by Google bots( It shows up in Search results!!).
If Google considers them as your content, same as your hubs, then there is a very good chance that you are getting penalized for poor quality content.
Also, When others answer these questions, they get a link to their home page, which is bad because if say 30 people answer your question + lets say 50 more comments , then you have 80 links in a single page. Google might think you are selling links, and penalize those who are buying them (Answers).
Same anchor tag on every link = suspicious!!
Also, I noticed that Hubbers with few hubs who don't participate in forums, or Q&A are getting more traffic & rank well in Search results.
Anyone who can clear my doubts???
I think that you will find that Q&A pages that have little or no traffic are also no-indexed, there was a comment to that effect by one of the Pauls a while back but I cant remember where.
Also Google is not stupid, it knows that sites like this have links on "every" page back to the "home" page using the same anchor text. Just the same as every wordpress and blogger blog has a link back to the home page in the title of every page.
Google will treat links in footers, sidebars, headers very differently compared to in-text links. Also it will treat links within a site very differently from those from other sites.
I don't think the link profile caused by the internal system of HP is the cause of our problems - google just does not like "content farms'!
Ask yourself - if you were google and someone searched for "how to cope with diabetes" would you give the searcher a page written by a confirmed expert on a dedicated and respected site or a page from a multi user site that anyone can write on? Ask yourself the same question on any search - if there are "better sites" out there to give the answer who is going to be served up at the top of the search results?
Having top sites (and authors) for different subjects is far easier for Google.
If you type in "Buy a new iphone5" or any other buy type querry which pages would google serve up? Amazone etc or a hubpage / squidoo / wizzley / etc page that then sends the searcher to Amazon etc??
I personally think that there is a huge amount still to do if HP is to have a future.
In case of some hubbers, even if you search for the exact query as their title, it won't show up in the first few pages.
Blogger uses nofollow for comments, HP doesn't!!
Leanman, I absolutely agree with you on that better sites thing, Obviously Google will rank the results which it trusts more, and Content farm don't have a reputation for quality content. In our case we have separate sub domains without links, but I still think not ranking for the exact title means penalty.
I tell people the same thing: you won't outrank amazon for reviews.
And as I said Not all but some HP sub domains are penalized.
Mine is not!
I see 79 links to my homepage from HP in Webmaster tools, so they are getting indexed.
I have thousands of forum posts and hundreds of question comments. I get good traffic.
Most of the links are nofollow or the content not indexed anyway. Not everything is seen by Google.
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