For those of us that want to use HubPages to make a passive income, the main source of traffic to our hubs is through organic Google Search.
A few months ago I came across an excellent piece of research from Search Metrics; an exhaustive white paper that correlates and analyzes dozens of different on page and off page search engine optimization factors and how they help webpages to rank in search results.
There's some very interesting information here, and even though it's a fairly epic read, there's lots of gems to pull out, notably:
- Google Plus is becoming very important for ranking trends
- Backlinks remain vital, although it's even more important to have a diverse back link profile
- On page factors still retain an important role
You can read the full report here (shared from my Google Docs account):
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-IWkfo … ;forcehl=1
It is 70 pages long though, and you probably don't have time to read it all, so, what does it mean to HubPages and writing articles here?
I've been through the report and pulled out the main factors that we can influence to improve where our hubs appear, and I've summarized the most important ones here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1myT … sp=sharing
I have also included them below:
Please note that 'Keyword' relates to the word that people type into Google that you want your hub to appear for.
Better SEO for HubPages - Summary of important ranking factors
On Page SEO Ranking
- Your keyword should be as close to the front of the hub title as possible
- You should have a good description (summary) in place for the hub that contains the keyword
- A ‘Heading 1‘ tag should be in place (In HubPages, this is the title of the hub, at the top of the page)
- ‘Heading 2’ tags should be in place (In HubPages, individual text capsule titles are categorized as Heading 2)
- Your word count should be at least 600 words / 7,500 characters
- The more relevant images you have, the better (remember to properly attribute)
- You should link to other authority sites
Off Page SEO Ranking
- A greater overall number of backlinks is better (Commenting, linking from forums & other sites, guest blogging)
- A good percentage of backlinks should be rel=nofollow
- Your backlink diversity should come from a variety of sites
- The number of words in your anchor text is important, with fewer being better (2 or fewer words)
- You do *not* need to have your keyword in the anchor text
- There should be a good diversity of ‘stopwords’ in link anchor text (e.g. ‘here’)
- Backlinks from sites with high SEO visibility are much more valuable
Social signals are very important to achieving good SEO; in all cases, more is better, in descending order, the relevant areas are:
- Number of Google +1s
- Number of Facebook shares
- Number of Facebook comments
- Number of Facebook likes
- Number of Pinterest pins
- Number of Tweets
Although not included in this report, getting people on social media to like and share your work comes down to several key factors:
Why People Click on and share articles & hubs
- Snappy title - An original headline that's interesting and provokes curiosity
- Good, shareable & clickable image - An image that makes people want to find out more
- Good description - The summary of your hub is very important to getting people to click through
I hope that you find all of this information useful and that you can employ it to get better ranking in search results. I'm off right now to tinker with my hubs!
Thanks for the great info. It's nice to see you (and your hat) around again!
Awesome. I started reading but will probably take me a while. Thanks again!
Wow. this is really helpful. Thanks a bunch
Thank you so much for bringing this great info to our benefit.
Very Interesting and informative Paul, I'm going to read the report and see if this actually helps.
Thank you very much for the information, Paul. I'm going to be studying it carefully.
Thanks for the document links Paul. They're full of useful information. I'm learning more about SEO etc. all the time on HubPages.
Great info! Thanks for putting it all together for us (and for doing the extensive reading!). -el
Thanks. I need to go through my hubs and make sure that I did all of these things.
As the report says itself you have to be careful with regards to cause and effect..
An example could be;
A page in a top position has lots of facebook likes; is it in a top position because it has lots of likes or has it gained lots of likes because it occupies a top position in the searches..
Many of the things that the report measured could very easily be the effect of other measures rather than the actual cause of the ranking.
You also have to be careful about "must haves", you could dismiss some of the on-page factors as no longer important as there are no differences between the top ranking sites - however if you don't do the basics you will not rank at all!
This report is very much used by people who want to manipulate the rankings artificially by providing Google with false signals. But if you are not careful you can easily find yourself penalized as everyone that once built thousands of backlinks did with the introduction of penguin or stuffed keywords with introduction of panda....
The best advise is still to use basic on page SEO so that Google knows what your page is about and then make sure that your page is the best and most informative media rich page out there.......
I agree with most of what you say; indeed, the report itself states that if you *don't* do the onsite factors, you won't rank. I think that the most sensible approach is to use good onsite SEO practices and to try out the things that the report says to see if they work for you.
I certainly don't think people should *just* do what is in the report. Ultimately, well researched, unique, interesting, informative and expertly written content is more likely to rank well, especially as semantic search becomes more important.
You quite rightly point out (as the report does) that correlation does not equal causation, however, it's still got a lot of useful pointers there, backed up by analysis and research. (And, unavoidably, some conjecture)
Don't get me wrong, I am not dismissing the value of the report. It certainly has its place and value to the big players. But for us small timers on the internet trying to get placed in the searches it can just confuse matters more.
It makes a change to actually read something backed up by data, although for most of us I don't think there were many big surprises. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
We should not be trying to game Google, most of us do not have the resources to be able to and doing a half-a55ed job of it is likely to get you noticed and penalized in some way. Trying to create a "natural" link profile or getting additional social media likes without great care and thought is going to hurt most people......
The more people try to game the system the more sophisticated Google has to be and the more difficult it will become to get established. It will also lead to far more collateral damage with more and more good content not being seen at the top of the SERPS.
Google will continue to move the goal posts as people learn what they have to do to game their system. Eventually however people will start to realise that the best thing to do and the most cost efficient thing is to write damn good content!
Better to do what was suggested earlier and write the very best content - the rest will take care of its self if you have done it right..
Great summary of SEO!
I was also reading yesterday on social media hat that social media is indeed becoming a stronger signal for SEO, and will continue so in 2014!
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