When using SEO on HubPages for a single Hub, you must remember that yours is not a stand-alone-article but is viewed as content within the HP website. Google is unlikely to show more than two or three Hubs in search results for a given search query. Well before choosing keywords to target, you must first look at the topic you are considering.
Using the HP search feature, there are 400 Hubs about 'Fender Guitars' on HP. Google indexes 829 Hubs for a broad match 'Fender Guitars.' For the term 'Stratocaster', HP shows 251 results and Google stores 345. Given that, I don't think your Hub stands a chance of ranking on Google from the HP platform, because it is unlikely to surpass this first hurdle.
You have no idea what keywords ENB will settle for eventually. There is almost certainly scope for zero conflict.
Even if ENB goes for a keyword phrase that has already been used on HP (completely immoral as far as I am concerned but there you are, it happens), he could out compete the existing page.
Also, there is the question of how separate subs are.
Here's a video which explains some of the recent changes for same-site search results:
(Re: Writer Fox)
Hmmm ... It seems that I have been looking at the topic selection process too broadly, then? Perhaps if I chose some narrow facet of Stratocaster construction (with low SERP competition and high SERP demand) to focus a Hub on, and then link back to my more comprehensive article about Stratocasters from that page?
Thanks, Writer Fox (also, for the link)!
(Re: Will Re:Re: Keyword Phrase Theft)
Well, I wouldn't want to tick someone off by doing that. Besides, doesn't Google index by page age anyway?
I reckon you could rank for Classic Rock Guitar Types pretty easily but there might not be much traffic.
Parts 1,2,3 set ups don't usually work that well. If I was writing 'Classic Rock Guitar Types' I would be looking for at least five iconic guitars from the fifties to the present day and on the same page.
One obviously true thing that WF did say was do the keyword research before you write the page if you want traffic.
Still a nice page whether it gets piles of traffic or just a trickle...
Best of luck. I have a date with a crab curry, right now.
At the risk of getting into a fight about keyword research, my advice would be - don't get too caught up with it. The tool isn't perfect. You can do all the keyword research in the world, and still wind up with a Hub that's a lemon.
Remember, everyone else is using those tools, too, which means every internet hopeful is finding the same 'hot' keywords at the same time.
What's important is to write a Hub that contributes something new to the subject, whether it's a new angle, a personal experience, a review, or just a gathering of disparate information in one place.
My best performing Hubs were written because I was looking for an answer to a problem on the internet for myself, and had huge difficulty finding it. When I finally found the answer, I wrote a Hub about it. I did my keyword research after I'd written the Hub, to improve its ranking, not as a way of choosing my topic.
Oh, and by the way - I took a look at your profile. You have several Hubs which are series, which isn't a bad thing - however, never repeat the same title. Google doesn't like duplicates. Even in a series, each Hub needs its own unique title.
Thanks, I didn't know that. I just figured it would be easier for visitors to my profile to navigate without being overwhelmed by a cascade of unorganized Hubs.
External visitors almost never visit your profile, so that's not really relevant.
It is good to see some helpful and practical advice from people like Susanna, Marisa and Leanman in this and the other thread.
Here's where you can read SEO advice from all Hubbers who write on this topic:
http://hubpages.com/topics/business-and … zation/936
I don't know if this is still valid, but in the past, I always read that you should try to get your main keyword at the beginning of your title.
If this is still true, then with the title you currently have Google will think that "classic rock guitar" is what your page is mainly about, and that "Fender guitars whatever" is your secondary topic. Except that your page is really about fender guitars, so Google might get suspicious, if it can understand this (Google pretends to understand a great deal, but I suspect it might be overselling itself).
If Market samurai competition is to be believed, I think you could outrank the results at the top of the SERPs (but don't discount youtube, Google loves youtube and tries to force it down the throats of innocent people, youtube results might not be easy to beat. You write an excellent, well researched, 1000+ hub about a topic you know well, some stammering amateur records a shaky, unbearable video, yet google still ranks the video higher. Very frustrating).
However, Market Samurai also says that there are 4 exact searches a day for "classic rock guitar", so I am not really sure it is worth your while to try to rank for this kw.
You never really know how things will go. There are probably not enough searches for 'classic rock guitar' to ever recoup the outlay in time and effort. But as long as there are enough visits to keep a hub alive it can start to gather visits on all sorts of keywords that Google sifts from the page.
I personally wouldn't trust Market Samurai. I prefer to look at the first page of search for a particular keyword. You quickly learn to recognize when a keyword phrase can be useful.
If you see any small blogs, exact match domain sites, or Web 2 properties (similar to HP) then your hub can easily slip onto the first page of search and get traffic.
I'm a little nervous about Market Samurai myself. I couldn't help noticing how people who were devoted Samurai followers fared during the various Panda updates - very badly! It made me think maybe Google had got a "mole" to join Market Samurai and find out how it worked. Then they could have written something into their algorithm to identify blogs or sites where every article targeted keywords recommended by the MS system, and used the MS formula on where to use keywords.
Maybe I'm totally off base with that idea, but it was a shock to see these bloggers, many of whom were doing spectacularly well pre-Panda, drop off the face of the earth never to recover.
The very best way to find good keywords is to develop an understanding of a particular niche and keep abreast of the news therein.
If you know your subject and your audience well enough you will not even need to mess around with the adwords tool let alone dubious SEO software.
You will know what is new and what will get traffic.
Theoretically that would be good, but it assumes that google works as it should. In my opinion google doesn't work the way it advertises. Often articles written by people who know their stuff get outranked by rubbish, that should really not do well at all according to Google's own proclamations.
My articles about stuff I do know lots about don't do well, even though the SERPs looked easy to beat. On the other hand, my articles advising people what to buy on Amazon, for products that I don't own, the result of "research" of reviews on Amazon, get traffic and make me money. Go figure.
I don't want to be cruel but Geckos are not really a niche. Certainly not a fast moving one with routine developments of interest to a mass popular audience. Unlike toasters, a niche where people can never learn enough.
A little about why SEO software is hardly worth bothering with these days:
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/22 … cking-Tool
Therefore I don't target the keyword "geckos", I target things like "setup a day gecko terrarium", day geckos being a genus of geckos (Phelsuma). My care of Phyllomedusa bicolor frog, might seem like a pretty obscure topic, but it used to get a few views a day.
It might not be fast moving with a lot of developments (like toasters) but there are always new people wanting to keep geckos (and reptiles are becoming more popular as pets, no allergies etc.).
A year ago my "types of frogs" and "types of geckos" hubs were the 2nd result in SERPs and used to get about 30 or 20 daily views. That might not seem like a huge amount, but if every hub I wrote got 30 views, I would be pretty happy.
Plus, I keep geckos, I like writing about them, I know what I'm talking about, it is easy to write the hubs, and I have pretty pictures that I like to show off.
I don't think the competition for the long tail keywords I target is that bad, and the results on the first page of google are not that good. So why? Google? Why?
My 'types of' pages still do well. My sub has pretty much fully recovered from the July beating it received.
I don't know why your 'types of' pages and frog pages are struggling. It might be that you have pitched your pages at the wrong level (too much PhD and not enough school kid, perhaps).
It might also be that it is a problem in the rest of your sub. Perhaps it is suffering some kind of Panda hit. Perhaps those Amazon pages are not as solid as you imagine...
Hope you can past the problems, anyway.
ps a primitive suggestion: try slipping 'kinds of' in place of 'types of' in a prominent place.
Thanks Will, you might be right, I will try to rework the types of. It is possible that they are too hard to read, I wrote them quite early in my online writing career (which is still in its adolescence), Maybe shortening sentences and breaking up the paragraphs more will help it.
It is possible that my subdomain is under a panda penalty. Not a huge one, I think types of frogs is still probably around the 12th result. Which might actually not be a huge difference in terms of google rating (probably still in the top 5% of the results) but makes a huge difference in terms of traffic.
I am somewhat wary of market samurai myself. But I think using it as a keyword tool is somewhat different from using it as an SEO tool, which I suspect those people were doing, theoretically it should give you the same results as the google keyword tool (or whatever it is called now), just in an easier to digest form.
I am a bit suspicious of its claims that it gives you the "neutral" SERP results, unaffected by your Google usage. That would be a major advantage, because it is now a pain to get rid of all the personalisation. That is something that SEO experts here should warn about, when advising people to look at SERPs.
I don't think people that used MS faced issues with Google because they used the program to find profitable keywords. In my mind it was more a case that those who used MS tended to over-optimise (basically using every SEO trick available), plus did lots of artificial link building. Obviously both of those things have been hit hard.
Also, many of the people you're talking about made most of their money through amazon/ebay sales and those kinds of pages have suffered a lot.
This is definitely still true and not only in the title but in the first sentence on the page as well.
Hi aa lite, thanks for your input (also Will and Writer Fox) — So, I guess I'm still not grasping the crux of keyword research. I figured that several separate and related (long-tail) search terms (e.g. "classic rock," "rock guitar,") could be combined to leverage two groups of people who search for similar things in Google. To this point, my process (for Keyword Analysis) has been:
1. Run different combinations of terms relevant to my article through the AdWords tool to try and deduce what folks are searching for.
2. Run a Google search using my findings to see what turns up in the SERP.
3. But here is where I get a little confused: For keyword phrases that are already extensively covered by hard-to-beat sites, do I have to avoid the individual terms in such long-tail keyword phrases (i.e. the "Black" in "Black Cat") entirely, as well as the exact phrase itself (i.e. the "Black Cat" in "Black Cat"), and think of entirely different synonyms? Or, if I ferret out a few popular "alternate" versions of a phrase that a lot of folks search for (e.g. words ordered differently, singular/plural forms, capitalization), would I (theoretically) be favored by Google for SERPs of people who typed the alternate version?
I think overall your strategy is good. And no, you don't have to avoid individual words.
However, google is now boasting that it understands the "intent" behind a query, it is not just looking mechanistically at word matches. It also knows many synonyms for words. I don't know if I believe them, however if they are right, it means that you can't just outrank an authority site by targeting a synonym or a query that uses different words but means the same.
For example (if what they same is true) you would not get traffic for a hub for "top blah blah", if there is a lot of "authority" stuff about "best blah blah". Google understands that top and best mean more or less the same thing, and will send the "top" searchers to the "best" sites rather than your hub.
Quite frankly keyword research is really flaky. I've had hubs targeting a specific kw with a fairly low search volume that got way more traffic than I expected, some of it for far more general searches which my hub was really too specific for. At other times the kw research I did suggested I would get nice traffic, and nada.
One thing to beware of when looking at SERPs for competition, is that Google serves you up personalised results, which are different for other people. If your surfing habits are "weird" they might be different enough to make them less useful in judging your true competition.
The other thing to think about, is that people attribute their failures to bad luck, or bad google, but their successes to their own brilliance. It seems obvious that if there are hubbers who are getting a lot of traffic, then whatever they say must be gospel. Greekgeek is getting a lot of traffic right now, she hasn't been hit by the panda slaps this year. She also makes a lot of sense about SEO and is well worth reading. She did, however, say somewhere on this forum, that she doesn't know why she is doing well while other people are hurting, she doesn't pretend to know the "secret" to success, she doesn't attribute it to her own particular brilliance.
The successful people might be doing something that gets them the traffic, but it might not be the thing that they think they are doing right. I have some ok hubs, some that I thought should be good but are flops, some that used to be at the top of the SERPs and have now fallen, really I have no idea what the difference is.
One reason GG and other people thought they did well was that they didn't use much Amazon modules. Well my best hubs "traffic-wise" are the "for Amazon hubs". It really is confusing.
What is the single thing that is most noticeable about the people who succeed here?
They can write.
GG can write. She can hold the attention of her audience. She has interesting things to say. Her prose convinces readers that she is an intelligent person doing her best to deliver useful and true information.
If you can write well about products on Amazon in a similar manner you will also get traffic.
Thanks aa lite! That really clears a few things up. I also appreciate those insights into Googlebot's "thought process." You know, I actually did read one of GG's Hubs a few weeks back (I think it was this one: http://greekgeek.hubpages.com/hub/Googl … -Backlinks), and made a mental note to return and check out more of her stuff at a later date — then "life happened" and I totally forgot! Thanks for reminding me that I meant to do that. What I remember most about the Hub off-hand was her advocacy for excellent content fist and foremost, then SEO as a supplement.
I agree with that wholeheartedly, and always have (In fact, I even say it right on my profile blurb!). I want to contribute something of value to the world ... But, I also realize that it is important to optimize for SERPs in order for people to actually find what you've written.
I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to help me better understand these concepts:
Writer Fox & Will Apse (when they're not arguing). Wrylilt, Marisa Wright, Susana S, and Hamshi. And last but not least you aa lite, for taking the time to type out such detailed and informative responses to my queries!
Happy Thanksgiving from the land of steel and ice!
Well, I've been taking a page out of Writer Fox's playbook, and adding more and more content to my Hub. 'Til now, whenever I noticed a Hub running long, I would elect to create an entirely different Hub to continue along with, as a second part of the series (and so on and so forth) — as recommended by the LC guides.
However, I read @WF's remarks about how Google liked longer hubs (can't remember the post), so I decided to just keep on truckin' past 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 words!
Therein lies the problem, though, as I am in desperate need of a TOC! I've read a few methods for incorporating a TOC into Hubs, but I wanted to know what (if any) SEO implications such a feature would have for the article? For example: does Google penalize sites for having multiple links to the same site incorporated into a page?
Does Google penalize Wikipedia articles, which have a Table of Contents on every page?
Another question @WF, if you don't mind:
I've been reading your SEO tutorial (http://writerfox.hubpages.com/hub/SEO-Tutorial-Guide), but I have a question about Header tags. Specifically, this passage:
To clarify, (in the Hub Tool) is the title of a Hub an H1 tag, and then the header for each text capsule an H2 tag? For example, in your Hub, "I. Search Engines" would be an H2 tag, right? I also noted H3 and H4 tags in the Hub Tool, the latter of which I employed to denote sub-sections for Fender guitar parts in my Hub. Do you think that it is unwise to use H4 tags in this manner?
Yes, and that is done automatically. You don't need to use the Hub HTML tool for those. Use H2 Tags sparingly. (If you don't, you are diluting the value of the H2 Tags for ranking on Google for the terms you are targeting.) I use many Text capsules with no title for that reason.
I don't think your Hub is long enough to warrant the use of H4 Tags. I've never used an H4 Tag on a Hub and I have one which is 10,000 words. Never use H4 Tags if you haven't used H3 Tags on a webpage.
I try to write for people and from my heart rather than for search engines. And that has worked for me. Use ethos, pathos and logos on your content and you will find people linking to you.
One other thing. I haven't read WF's advice on anchor text but it sounds as though it needs updating. It used to be best practice to use keywords as anchor text instead of the website URL. It isn't now.
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/good … -revealed/
In any case, linking using anchor text gives YOU no benefit at all. It's the site you're linking TO that benefits from the link - but then it won't, if you've made the link no-follow, which I think WF recommends.
Marisa, how would you know if an article needs updating if you haven't even read it? Do you often make such judgmental statements about material you haven't read?
You're confusing the issue here. That article you cite is about incoming links and has nothing to do with outgoing links. Outgoing links using anchor text appropriately is of SIGNIFICANT benefit for SEO.
You are totally confused about what I "think" about NoFollow links because you haven't read my SEO Tutorial Hub. I'd appreciate it if you would stop confusing people about what I wrote, especially since you haven't even read what I wrote.
I think many people will never read your SEO page simply because they get annoyed by your endless self promotion.
Others will be never read it because you make so many statements in the forums that are either misleading or untrue.
You will need to win people round if you want to be taken seriously. That will mean months of error-free contributions as far as I am concerned.
You could start by explaining the ways that anchor text can benefit the page on which it appears, if you wanted to. I am sure the newbies would be interested.
I think many people never read your forum comments simply because they find your sarcastic, untrue remarks annoying. As to my SEO advice, I earned $21 per Hub last month just from the Ad Program. When you have that kind of track record, people might want to read your SEO Hubs, too – except that you haven't written any.
How does this address the two issues that I pointed out?
By that I mean, a brutal regime of self promotion (three or four references to your SEO hub a week).
Routinely inaccurate statements in these forums.
Fix those problems and I will be delighted to let you get on with the task of helping the newbies.
Really, Writer Fox? You filed a DMCA complaint against me for quoting that passage from your SEO Tutorial Hub in my former post? I realize that I am still new to the finer points of netiquette, but I did not realize that quoting a passage and crediting the author was grounds for copyright infringement. If I erred by quoting you in this thread, then you could have asked me to edit the post and place an HTML link in place of the text in question, without filing a formal complaint. I didn't think it would offend you as I clearly stated that the content was yours, and also because it seemed relevant to the conversation.
I just lost a ton of respect for you. Good day, sir.
Sorry, this is a long answer!
I notice you say you're not going to discuss error coins - then you do.
I'd recommend fixing that. If a reader has found your Hub when trying to find out about error coins, he's going to stop reading when you say you're not going to discuss them - and miss the discussion at the end! I suggest rearranging the order, or at the very least, say you're going to discuss error coins further down the page.
Also, I'd recommend cutting the entire section on "Novice Coin Appraisal". It cuts right across the flow of the Hub - most readers will assume you've finished talking about wheat pennies and won't scroll down further. I suggest creating a dedicated Hub for it.(expand it if you wish). Then put a link in this Hub saying, "for an introduction to appraisal, click here". That way you can also use it as a reference for other numismatic Hubs.
Thanks Marisa Wright. You've certainly given me a lot to think about. I guess I've misunderstood the benefit of linking out, and of trying to make my Hubs a vast informational resource — on many inter-related topics — as well.
I was employing Wikipedia's model of anchor linking as I mention important keywords. For example, in my Hub about wheat pennies, when I mention that Teddy Roosevelt commissioned these pennies, I also anchor link off of the late President's name to his relevant Wikipedia bio page (for people who wish to learn more about him).
Of course, as I am also linking to his bio page in the References section at the end of my Hub, perhaps this is a bit redundant. But do you mean that Google dislikes that I would link to that page at all, since my Hub isn't about "Teddy Roosevelt?" (Even in the References section ... In essence, should I no-follow cited links in the References section, and not anchor link to external informational resources within the body of the Hub at all, unless they are strictly related to the Hub content?)
EDIT: But this seems counter to what I have read, unless I have misunderstood. I don't want to spark a war here, or instigate any bickering, but here is the relevant passage for this discussion off of @WF's Hub:
EDITx2: I just read the link that you provided. Thanks for sharing it. Question: What is the difference between "co-occurence" and "citation?" It seems that there are various opinions as to the continued utility of anchor links/texts, as opposed to "co-occurence and citation" (which I am unsure of the differences between).
Also, it seems as though Google is unclear as to which methods work, and that a lot of SEO is based on conjecture and hypothesis (which would account for the conflicting points of view). Would you say that is an accurate statement?
Writer Fox's stuff on external links is a rewrite of this page at moz:
In fact, if you copy a paste a chunk of the stuff you quote from WF into Google search the first result is the moz.
You might as well read the original.
You two are like the Hatfields and the McCoys:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatfield%E … McCoy_feud
Thanks for the link, though. Susana S mentioned it in another post, and I have been meaning to check the site out (re: www.moz.com)
You need some way of establishing what is true and what is not, if you are going to get on in the business of writing online.
There is such a lot of superstition, nonsense and out-dated material online.
Find some real authorities if you want to learn SEO. Moz for practical stuff. Searchengineland for essential background material. 2 good places to start.
It certainly is frustrating to try and decipher truth from conjecture, reputable sources from disreputable sources, and etc., regarding SEO. I long for the day when I have a sound understanding of the essentials, and can focus on writing rather than all of this ethereal fine-tuning.
Back to my original query, though:
Is it detrimental to employ external (keyword-oriented) anchor links to reputable sources, for the purpose of providing additional educational resources for readers, if those links are not strictly related to the main subject of my Hub?
The link you provided had this to say:
"Use descriptive keywords in anchor text that reflect the same topic [or] keywords the target page is trying to target." but does not describe whether or not it is beneficial or detrimental to do so, in the latter case.
Why not read the moz page? It is short and very clear.
It is all about relevancy.
A few links to authority pages with anchor text that is helpful to your reader should do the trick.
The bad stuff happens when you link to irrelevant stuff. Then Google thinks you wrote the page just to link to another page that you own or you are trying to promote.
One guy on HP wrote hundreds of pages on all kinds of subject and linked them all to pages on his guest house and the painting courses that he wished to promote. That is web spam. That can get you a Penguin hit.
I read it Will, and thank you for providing it. However, it doesn't address the consequences for PageRank that external anchor links have on the linking site — unless I missed it somewhere. To be clear: I'm not talking about webspam here. I'm talking about reputable sources used in external linking in order to provide a means for readers to easily find additional information on tangential subjects (e.g. Teddy Roosevelt after he is mentioned in a Hub about wheat pennies).
If you know how to avoid webspam and understand what anchor text means to Google, you should be OK.
Page rank does not mean much these days according to Google. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. … ng-to.html
SEO fiends still obsess over it, somewhat. Try moz again. hxxp://moz.com/learn/seo/page-authority
Make up your own mind. Also learn to find the info you need to make decisions for yourself. lol
Note all the confusion of terms, authority, rank etc. Link juice is the easy way to think about the issue.
I was just browsing back in this thread and found Will's advice to you. Will and I have crossed swords before but he and I have the same views on SEO more often than he thinks!
I have to emphasise what he said about irrelevant links. PageRank cannot compensate for lack of relevance. "Tangential", for SEO purposes, has the exact same meaning as irrelevant.
Thanks for all of your help, Marisa Wright. You've provided me with valuable insight and some great resources for further reading. Thanks to Will and Susana S for turning me onto Moz, as well. When I started this thread I had many questions about SEO. I still have a lot, but I feel like I'm a little closer to that light at the end of the tunnel. (Lord willing, and the creek don't rise!)
After I have assimilated the knowledge from Moz and the links Marisa provided, I will take another pass at revising my Hubs to be more SEO friendly. I hope you'll find some free time to critique those revisions, too!
Thanks again guys, and Merry Christmas!
P.S. Alternatively: Happy Hanukkah!
P.S.S. Or, more generally: "Happy Holidays" (It occurs to me that I know not which holidays you celebrate!)
My bottom line:
Bear in mind that SEO is, essentially, about fooling Google into thinking your article deserves a high rank in the SERPs regardless of its true relevance or quality. Because Google keeps its algorithm secret, it's based almost entirely on conjecture and speculation.
There's an army of people out there, writing bad articles and getting them to rank by using SEO strategies - and the only way Google can combat them is to penalise everyone using them. Google is actively on the lookout, and when they find a new trick, they revise their algorithm to punish it.
So if you read SEO advice which is more than a year old, chances are Google have caught up with it - so forget it. Also, if you read anything which can be reduced to a predictable formula (e.g. "always use the exact same keyword in your URL, H1, H2, H3, and twice in the first paragraph"), you can bet Google has read about it too (or will soon) - so beware!
Yes. Unrelated links are unrelated links and against HubPage TOS.
Besides, you're misunderstanding the value of outbound links. The main reason is to reinforce to Google what your topic is. By linking out to other blogs or sites in your field, you're showing you know what you're talking about and you belong with those sites. That's why the emphasis on using anchor text - you choose anchor text that is relevant to your topic as well as theirs.
If you link to sites that are on a variety of other topics, you're not reinforcing, you're diluting.
Here's a couple of articles on outbound links:
http://www.seochat.com/c/a/search-engin … -benefits/
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007 … -and-more/
The other thing to remember is the nature of your audience. Your search engine visitors will usually arrive at your Hub with a specific need in mind. They're not interested in finding out more about Roosevelt, they've arrived at your Hub on a mission to find out about their wheat penny. Give them the information they need (and refer them to expert advice on the subject if you can find it), and they'll thank you, share your link, etc. Divert them off on tangents and they'll just go back to Google and find someone who's able to stick to the subject!
Thanks Marisa Wright, for taking the time to critique my Hub as I attempt to become proficient in SEO. I have made several changes to the article based on our conversation thus far — as well as the suggestions of a few others who have been kind enough to take the time — and would be interested to hear your thoughts on these revisions when you have a free moment. They are as follows:
1. All tangential links that do not specifically relate to the subject at hand (e.g., coin collecting, wheat pennies, appraisal) have been relegated to no-follows in the References section.
2. As per your suggestion, a side-bar has been provided informing readers that though error coins are not the focus of the Hub, a supplemental section has been dedicated to two specific errors.
3. A Table of Contents with links to each section has been provided to aid in page navigation, as well as a "Back to Top" HTML link that leads back to this TOC at the beginning of each new section. All of these links have been made into no-follows.
Also, thank you for providing those links for additional reading.
I still think you're taking a risk having any tangential links at all. I've had Hubs unpublished for having unrelated links - and they don't always get noticed straight away, some have been unpublished weeks or months later when a moderator stumbles across them.
By all means, include a reference when you need to acknowledge a source. That's only fair to your sources. But every time you link to another site purely to offer more information, ask yourself - why is my reader here? Is this "more information" going to help them answer that question or solve that problem? If the answer is no, resist!
Remember also that when Wikipedia provides all those links within its text, they're internal links (within the same site). Those have SEO value - and besides, it's an encyclopaedia and that's part of how an encyclopaedia works. You're not writing Wikipedia, so people don't expect (or want) a sea of blue links. They're there because they want information on that specific topic and only that topic.
You don't need to no-follow links to your own work or to other sections of your Hub.
Re: no-following internal links within the page
That's good to know. I wondered at that, thinking maybe Googlebot would become confused hopping around the same page through a plethora of links.
Re: Tangential links
I see your point, but if I mention a historical fact then am I not required to cite a reputable source in order to verify that my information is correct?
Re: A sea of blue links
Lol, I suppose you're right.
I guess I'd hope you wouldn't have a "plethora"! There probably isn't a need for a "top" link back to the TOC since I doubt many readers would follow it, so that would reduce the number.
No, if it's a widely known fact. For instance, you don't need to link to Roosevelt to prove he exists, or a link to World War II in case someone thinks you invented it. Since Humphrey Bogart is mentioned only in passing, is anyone really going to worry about whether he was a real celebrity or not?
Of course, some readers may be too young and haven't heard of those people - but a sentence or two to explain their significance is all you need, since information about those events/people is so easy to verify if they really don't trust you - and understanding those events/people isn't essential to your article.
If what you're saying is contentious. or essential to prove your point, that's a different matter - for instance, if you quote from a Roosevelt speech, you'd want to prove he really did say that.
One final reflection - I think it's a big risk to use only one site as your source. An article with multiple links to one site, and nowhere else, could make people think you've just rehashed that site's information to produce your Hub. Whereas links to multiple different sites would demonstrate that you'd done your research.
I'm conscious I'm ripping things to shreds here. I hope you don't mind, but you do seem to want to know - so I'm giving you both barrels and hope you'll take it in the right spirit.
Re: Ripping things to shreds.
No worries (That's how you Aussies say "Don't worry about it," right? Thanks Paul Hogan!) My former Drill Instructor would smile at your idea of harsh words. I doubt he was much of a belly dancer too, though I could be wrong!
Re: Citing WWII to prove I didn't invent it
Lol — to be fair though, I cited the date for the invasion of Normandy, not the actual war.
Re: Teddy Roosevelt
Perhaps I could change the citation for Teddy Roosevelt to a reputable source discussing his commission for wheat pennies?
Re: Multiple links to one site (i.e. Wikipedia)
I know, I'm such a Wikipedia fanboy! I really need to take the time to track down some more diverse sources for citation! I do have a few citations from Notre Dame University in there, too, buried within the Resources section, so I guess that's a good start. Curiously, those sites have a lower PageRank than the Wikipedia citations.
Did you notice my implementation of keywords in bold? That was a revision I forgot to mention. Do you feel as though I have correctly employed those keywords in a natural way, while still emphasizing them for SEO purposes?
P.S. Re: Humphrey Bogart
"Play it [again], Sam!"
Yes, that would make more sense. But if you're going to use anchor text rather than simply using the URL, remember why you're using anchor text: it's to reinforce what your topic is. Never use anchor text that's not directly related to your topic, unless it's "click here" or "read more". So "Teddy Roosevelt" as your anchor text would be a bad idea. You'd be better to use "commission for wheat pennies".
PageRank is only one measure (and PageRank and how well a site ranks in the SERPS are two completely different things). Remember, you're trying to establish your Hub's authority on its topic - if you were an expert on your topic, would you be referring to Wikipedia? No, you'd be mixing with other experts in your field. Google knows that, just as much as people do.
One more thing that occurs to me - if I can't cure you of your addiction to citations, then at least think about splitting your "reference" section in two - one for "References" (which are citations to verify what you're saying) and one for "Further Reading", if the reader wants to delve into the topic of your Hub in more depth.
The use of bold for keywords has been a hotly debated topic for the last several years. Here's just a sample:
The current advice seems to be - don't bold keywords for SEO purposes. Bold keyword phrases where it will help readability for your human readers.
OK some further critique:
The Table of Contents is a good idea, but the result is that if you look at your Hub, you have no text 'above the fold'. I would right-float the TOC under the photo, so that your introduction has a chance to grab the reader.
Which brings me to - will the introduction grab the reader? Ask yourself, why has the reader clicked on my Hub in Google search results? Most likely, because they have a wheat penny and want to find out about it. Will they have the patience to read a long account of finding a penny at the gas station? My fear is that they'd click the back button and look for something more informative.
Your first paragraph needs to convince them you're going to help them. Providing a Table of Contents doesn't let you off the hook! It doesn't let you off the hook of arranging your content in a logical order, either - it enables readers to jump to the section they want, but few readers will bother to jump back to the TOC to find the next section. Your Hub needs to flow logically from one section to the next.
Personally, I would move the "error coins" section to the end of section II. Don't say you won't be discussing them - say instead that the subject is too big to cover in detail, but here are two examples. Seeing those two valuable coins keeps the reader's interest, even if it is a long shot that theirs is worth anything.
I would also change the title of "Novice Coin Appraisal" to "How Are Coins Graded?" and put it at the end. Then when you start talking about the various grades of coin, say something like "if you're not familiar with how coins are graded, see this section" with a hyperlink.
Finally, photo credits - if you're going to provide detailed photo credits at the end of the Hub, there is no need to clutter the caption area with the same information. In "Source" you can put "see photo credits below".
Bottom line: nobody is going to familiarize themselves with history of wheat pennies to the point that they can make a judgement concerning the relevance of Teddy Roosevelt (wasn't he the astronaut who shot a moon rhino?)
You are on your own.
Yeah, once you have learned how to optimize you need to learn how to de-optimize too.
I routinely have pages drop out of the Google index because I over-optimize accidentally. It is easy to use a whole pile of keywords with good intent only to get a spam penalty because Google has decided you are keyword stuffing.
This generally applies to affiliate pages more than anything else in my experience. But you need to be careful about keyword stuffing in every situation.
Remember, what Google wants to offer readers is a well written page that answers the need for info or entertainment. Google is not looking for extremely well optimized, expertly SEO-engineered pages.
The SEO fiends can still sometimes cheat Google into choosing dross above the best page but G has been winning the war of late.
Gosh, Will, it's frightening how much we are agreeing in this thread!
I remember posting the exact same view back in 2011, when people were losing traffic. I said it was possible to "keyword stuff" accidentally, and I got ridiculed for it - in spite of the fact that I tested a couple of Hubs, by a Hubber who didn't understand the first thing about SEO, and got a density of 7%.
When I learned to write, I got told not to repeat the same words or phrases too often, but to think of synonyms instead. When I started writing online, I was told to forget that and repeat my "keywords" as often as possible. Post-Panda, it's important to get used to using synonyms again, because it looks like keyword densities over 3% or 4% are penalized now. And trust me, it's hard to keep below that level if you're writing about a specialist subject with few synonyms (e.g. there is no other word for "pointe shoes").
It's uncanny that you would post this now, as I have just been editing another of my Hubs while trying to incorporate keywords! I, too, learned to write using synonyms, and always felt like a hack if I didn't take the time to re-word similar iterations of a concept creatively. I wrote the Hub in question while adhering to this philosophy. I must say, editing the article in order to reduce my usage of synonyms was almost physically painful!
I hate to ask since you have taken so much time to assist me thus far, but if you have a free moment to spare, would you mind critiquing my usage of keywords in this Hub:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Earls-Step-by-S … -Selection
Specifically, I am unfamiliar with the finer points of "keyword density." To use a Goldiliocks metaphor, do you think I have: not used my keywords enough, used my keywords just enough, or used my keywords just too much!
P.S. Please forgive my lack of continuity spread out among the three Hub titles (detailed in the TOC) for the series in question, as I am hard at work trying to "phase out" my implementation of "pt. 1," "pt. 2," etc., in the titles of my work (as per your suggestion last week), in favor of more SEO keyword friendly titles. I'm trying to tackle my "pt. 1" article first, and therefore the nomenclature for the rest of the series may appear illogical until I have updated the later installments.
I'm glad you posted in reply to Will, because I was worried when you said you were "reducing" your usage of synonyms, but I think I see what you mean. You should be using each of your keywords or phrases at least twice, and preferably one of those instances should be in a heading.
I like it! You can check your keyword density by using tools like this:
You're welcome. I had a look. My first reaction is that I strongly dislike full-width photos at the top of a Hub. I know HubPages recommends them, but I don't really understand why. Here's what Matt Cutts had to say about content "above the fold":
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot. … ement.html
Since HubPages does have ads above the fold (try logging out, there are some you can't see while you're logged in), it's important to have some real content to balance it.
The second reason I dislike a full-width photo is that you have only one chance to grab your reader when they arrive on your page. If you've written a recipe, then a gorgeous full-width photo of the dish will do that - but if a person is looking for serious advice on how to choose on online broker, will a picture of Wall Street do the trick? They need to see a first paragraph that convinces them you're the man who can help.
With that in mind, I would avoid having two titles (i.e. "Introduction" and "The Best...". It moves your text further down the page, and I think the word "introduction" is redundant.
How did you choose your title? Do people really type into Google, "step-by-step guide to" anything? I haven't done any keyword research, but Google's predictive search is a good way to start. I tried typing in "How to choose an online stock" and the first suggestion I got was "how to choose an online stock trading company" followed by "how to choose an online stock broker". Also take a look at the related searches at the bottom of the page, they're based on what people are really searching for.
For your list of Hubs, the title in each case should be hyperlinked to the Hub in question. They're internal links so they're fine, and you want readers to visit those Hubs.
Again, make sure you use plain English for your titles, preferably titles people might search for. I can't see anyone searching for "Brokerage firms have target demographics". Maybe "How to Find a Broker That Suits Your Investment Needs" (off the top of my head).
Do you really need to say "Part I" AND "First article" AND number the title as well? Personally I'd get rid of "Part I and "First Article" but it's up to you - bottom line, number them once, not three times!
I've just realized you confused me. I assumed each of the numbered parts would be in a separate Hub. It's a bit confusing to discover that Part I is further down the page but Part II is somewhere else. I think I'd move Part I to a new Hub of its own, and keep your "Introductory" Hub as a Capstone Hub (i.e. a Hub which introduces a series, explains what it's all about, and provides links to each Hub in the series). And for goodness sake, keep your "exposition" as you call it, in your introductory Hub, so your other Hubs stay tightly focussed on their individual topics.
And please, please, please get rid of the Wikipedia disclaimer at the end with the general link to Wikipedia. If you're thinking it's giving you a benefit, it's not, because Google only counts the first one or two links to each domain. So twenty links to Wikipedia is no better than two.
Aren't I stuck with it, though, since I can't change the URL? I thought up the name before I knew about SEO, and just let the HubTool fill out the URL by default as I typed in the title (I did that with a lot of my Hubs, actually!). Can I change the title without making everything look all wacky?
Re: Capstone Hub
Ooh ... I like that idea!
Lol! I know, I know — I'm getting to it!
Re: Links and misc. keyword insight
Thanks! I can't wait to check those links out. Also, thanks for clearing up that keyword density business.
URL and title are two different things. In fact, there are some people who say they should always be two different things.
Firstly, it can be good to keep your URL short, if you're going to be sharing your link in forums etc.where a long URL may get truncated. True, you can get a "short URL", but some people will be scared to click on those, since they could be concealing anything.
Secondly, you're probably targeting more than one keyword or phrase, and having one of them in your URL and one in the title is a handy way of covering more bases.
The average reader won't even notice what the URL is, so it really doesn't matter that much.
Capstone Hubs were a HubPages program at one time, now defunct. Here's an example:
http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/ … -Histories
In that Hub, I think I'd make it clearer that each heading is an article that covers the topic in more depth - and I think I'd put something near the top, directing the reader to the list of Hubs if they want to dive straight in. Otherwise it gives you a good idea of how Capstones were done.
Ok! At the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I have been burning the midnight oil in order to implement the revisions suggested for my Hub series on discount brokerages. Latest changes include the employment of keywords in the Title, sub-headings, and internal links; as well as the total annihilation of all references to my beloved Wikipedia *sob* in favor of more accepted scholarly citation resources (i.e. CBS News, NYSE). I have also revamped the Chapter Index (TOC) in order to aid in user navigation and understanding, and eliminated the "Pt. 1, 2, 3, etc." in the series titles.
(Note: While I really did like your suggestion to make the introduction a capstone Hub, I ultimately decided against it for this series, in favor of leaving the intro and Section I combined. Also, some of these changes apply to the first article in the series only, as I am still working my way through.)
I took a look and it seems you haven't followed several of my suggestions (e.g. avoiding full-width photo, changing sub-headings to search terms). I'm not sure whether that's because you missed reading one of my forum posts or whether you just didn't like them! Entirely your choice of course, just making sure.
Full width photos, full width tables etc etc are much better for mobile.
That's an interesting consideration. HP's trying to become more mobile-friendly, right?
As for me, I'm having trouble reconciling SEO to (my opinion of) what is aesthetically pleasing, in some instances. In the case of photos, I think long and hard about which visual aides to include in my Hubs. Maybe I just need to work myself up to hitting that side-justify button!
True, but I'm talking specifically about a full-width photo of Wall Street at the top of his broker Hub. On a mobile, none of the text would be visible when opening that Hub.
I'm still mulling over the full-sized top photo advice, as I still have to check out that link to Matt Cutts' comments on above-the-fold content — I should have mentioned that. As for the keywords in sub-headings, I wracked every permutation of "broker" and "brokerage" to the relevant sub-topics (e.g., "fees," "demographics") I could think of into Google keyword planner to find popular long-tail phrases, but had no luck with a few of them.
For instance, I was surprised at how little monthly search activity there appears to be for "fee schedules," as it is such an important consideration. In cases such as these where I could find no popular keyword phrases to embed within the sub-headings that nailed the mark 100%, I merely settled for the implementation of some derivative of "online brokerage firms" (with the exception being "Summing it Up," at the end). Or, is it that I have simply misunderstood the concept of keyword implementation in sub-headings altogether?
First, just to make sure you're really on top of how the keyword planner works:
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/defi … -research/
Always make sure you're using the "exact" match to check search traffic, anything else is totally misleading. And remember, High competition is good, Low competition is bad.
Now tell me, what does it tell you if you type "broker" and "demographics" into the Planner and you get no decent results? Don't assume the Planner is going to find every synonym - it's not a Thesaurus. Its results are based on what people search for and what advertisers pay for. If you type in something no one searches for, you won't get many alternative ideas. It's up to you to try alternative words.
Also, the Keyword Planner is not God. Here's another article from the same place:
http://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ … -campaign/
I suspect WF will disagree with me, but using the same keyword or phrase in every heading is a dangerous idea, IMO. Google is on the warpath about excessive SEO, so they keep an eye on advice given out by SEO gurus. A common piece of advice used to be, "use your keyword phrase in your URL, title, and all headings". That's a very easy formula for a robot to detect, and if Google hasn't plugged that into their algorithm, they're even dumber than I thought.
Use your headings to target the keyword relevant to that section - not necessarily your core keyword every single time. Especially if it means turning your heading into something convoluted or clumsy.
Thanks for the links, Marisa —
As for my keyword research, I have used brackets ("[ ]") around queried phrases, in order to specify to the program that I wished only to see exact matches. The planner doesn't give me alternate ideas, so I have basically just been brainstorming alternate words and phrases in order to see how they fair in search. I also employ Google's auto-fill function in a separate window during this process.
What I finally decided on for the article in question was a variation of several long-tail phrases employed throughout the article, in the title, sub-heading, body text, and relevant anchor links within the TOC. I also no-followed irrelevant links (such as those placed in the Photo Credits capsule). I left URLs for the cited resources capsule, though. Is it true that links placed near the end of the article are deemed less valuable by search engines?
Boy! SEO is certainly an interesting and involved process. Let me re-iterate once again that I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to help me out as I learn the ropes.
I'm not sure that the brackets work like that in the Planner. There is a box to specify "exact matches" on the right hand side (click the edit pencil).
Well, since we see eye to eye, I will leave it to you to ask Earl why he wants to dump synonyms all of a sudden.
Lol — perhaps I made that sound overly dramatic! I just meant that I'm trying to use keywords effectively, Will. As one example: in the original version of my Hub, I used "brokerage firm," and "firm" alternatively. But after playing around with Google's keyword planner, I noticed that several other versions of "brokerage firm" were also popular. Therefore, I went through the body of text again trying to change some iterations of "brokerage firm," and every iteration of "firm" to include some of those popular keywords. I shouldn't have said that I abandoned synonyms — just that I have been trying to use "more popular" keywords rather than the synonyms I originally thought up on the fly.
When I originally wrote the Hub (all of my Hubs, actually), I knew nothing about SEO or keyword research, and relied on my own sense of style completely. Now I'm just trying to research keywords and use them within the body of my Hubs in a natural way, so as to appear more appealing to Googlebot while not offending the aesthetic sensibilities of readers. I am just a little unclear as to this concept of "keyword density," or how much I am actually supposed to employ these keywords. (i.e., Is one usage of a keyword in an H2 subheading enough, or must I also include the theoretical keyword within the body of the passage denoted by the H2 subheading as well, and so on and so forth.)
In reading the Moz.com Beginner's Guide to SEO, I found myself unclear on what could be considered cross-domain duplicate content (and therefore hurt SERP rankings). Specifically, I have 'til now been placing a pre-formatted little blurb at the end of my Hubs, along the lines of "Thanks for reading! You might also consider following me on Facebook and Twitter, etc., etc. ..." about a paragraph in length. Is this unwise?
EDIT: Here are the two links concerning the issue:
1. http://moz.com/blog/duplicate-content-i … anda-world
2. http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/b … evelopment
Like everything, this is a matter of debate! I'd say, if it's a paragraph, it's too long. I also recall something on HubPages about not promoting yourself excessively at the end of Hubs - I remember someone getting in trouble for it. I'll try to find the info.
I'm kind of fuzzy on the affiliate link limit rule. I was thinking about putting more in my Fender Stratocaster Hub — one for each type of guitar mentioned, for instance — but have till now been using anchor links to refer readers back to my affiliate link on another part of the page.
Specifically, I have an affiliate link for American Musical Supply (through Commission Junction) on my Hub — but only one. If I write more than fifty words for each model of guitar, would I theoretically be allowed to place more of those (external) affiliate links on the Hub? I guess I am just confused about the "new" rule stating that more than one affiliate link per Hub is frowned upon now (and subject to moderation).
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