The related hubs feature found at the end of our hubs may very well be the reason why some of our articles are not ranking. It does nothing but stuff keywords on the page, which HP themselves suggest users not to do. So it is counterproductive to show so many "related hubs" with the exact same title as the post because it makes the page over-optimized.
For example, I have a hub titled How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Nose. The Related Hubs section features 8 hubs and all of them mention the phrase "get rid of blackheads." This means that if the page has 1000 words in total, the density of the phrase "get rid of blackheads" is already 3.6% -- and that's without even mentioning the phrase in the body of your hub!
Generally, a keyword density of more than 2% is already pushing it. And aside from the over-optimization issue, I wonder how useful this feature is. Think about it, would it benefit a user to be presented with "related hubs" with the same title as the post? 8 hubs about the exact same topic? I don't think so.
Right now, the only way to get around this is to write longer articles to push the keyword density down. Of course, this does not take into account building backlinks, social media marketing, "writing high quality content", etc. We are only talking about on-page optimization here.
- Limit the related hubs to 3 or 4 at most. (I would prefer an option to completely opt out of this feature, but it probably wouldn't happen.)
- Improve your algorithm to render more relevant and useful hubs for the readers.
I think all of us would like to see improvements in the Discover More Hubs section, both in terms of their number (eight is overkill) and how related they are (often they are completely unrelated, and a list of eight unrelated articles looks pretty strange). There are plenty of forum posts about it dating back more than a year.
But in your post I see a different problem. If you wrote a hub about removing blackheads and at the bottom there were eight hubs covering the same topic, it should tell you that blackhead removal is an over-saturated topic on HP and that your hub was never going to rank well anyway with so much on-site competition -- whether the blackheads are on the nose or elsewhere, whether your hub suggests conventional treatments or home remedies.
Google will only display one or two results from the same site for a given query that is not site-specific. But if you do the site-specific search
intitle:"get rid of blackheads" site:hubpages.com
in Google, you get 29 results. And that's just the hubs that are currently featured and available to search engines at the moment. There may be more on the site that are currently unfeatured, but that the authors may update to get re-featured.
So your problem with ranking may have much more to do with competition than with keyword density inflated by related hubs listings.
You digress from the topic. As I said, this is only about on-page optimization. Competition is a whole different matter. I am aware that the topics I write about in this account are saturated, but saying "your hub was never going to rank well anyway with so much on-site competition" just doesn't make sense. Why couldn't I make my hub "better" (at least in the eyes of Google) to make it rank better than the other hubs covering the same topic?
I research my competition for every hub I publish, though not as much in this account because I have two others that get way more views and earn me more bucks a month. It's only now that I consider tweaking my hubs here because I want to get them ranking once again, as they did a couple of years ago.
You make a good point about the Related Hubs section showing irrelevant posts. I forgot to mention that in my opening post. This just goes to show how flawed the algorithm is and that HP has done little, if at all, about this problem.
I agree that "related hubs" needs some serious tweaking. As does "related search."
One of my hubs uses the word "fat" just (I believe) one time in a 2-3000 or so word article. As in "the dictionary is a fat book." (It's a hub on unusual and interesting words.)
I also have as one of my words "leman." (Basically "beloved.")
So what do I see coming up as related? "Lose weight" and "Valentines Day." Really?
If the algorithm can't figure out what the main subject of a hub is -- and it should be kind of obvious, since I put it under the etymology section - then it's probably not helping very much and needs some rethinking.
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