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Hey folks. I'm a long time member here and an SEO guy by trade. I love this platform and want to support it. I've been digging into Panda data, and I have a few suggestions. Let's work together and 'right the ship!'
1) Start a brand new account today. Fresh content is what Hubpages needs. Google views our subdomains as somewhat independent sites, and a fresh influx of high quality content would really help our prospects here. Make a new account and create a writing goal (say, 20 hubs) and get it done!
2) Stick to a niche. Panda has been most positive towards small, niche websites on singular topics. Several of my personal sites have seen big time traffic boosts — all websites on niche subjects.
Since your subdomain is looked at as a website within a website, you should follow this niche rule. Like cats? Make a Hubpages account solely dedicated to cat articles... and stick to it! No vacuum reviews mixed in there please!
3) Be patient. Like it or not, Google largely operates from update to update. That typically means months before you'll see any progress. A new account will probably see the first organic traffic rolling in after about 2 or 3 months.
4) Do keyword research. It's way better to have 10 researched articles that have lots of traffic than 100 that have a trickle. If nothing else, use a competitive keyword phrase in your article title... you'll see a huge difference.
5) Cool it with the products! There's nothing wrong with an Amazon link or two, but 10 or 20 per article is pushing it. Write for the reader, not the sale.
On that note, if you see a content-thin, product-heavy hub floating around out there, report it! Google sees right through bad sales copy. People do too.
Ultimately, we want Google to see this site as high quality. Write to be helpful. Write engaging content. Write to keep people on your page.
Good advice. I'm seeing Susan's point too about duplicate topic/keywords. I think new accounts would have to be on very unique subject matter and keyword phrases. Otherwise, we're going to have a lot of the same thing, and Panda will attack it.
In the past, other SEO people have said that you can have up to 20 niches within one subdomain as long as you have at least 10 or more articles in each one. Is this no longer true?
I think you can still have success without focusing on a niche, as long as the content quality is high.
That being said, Google has specifically mentioned niche sites as their preferred target, and anecdotally all my 'single niche' HP accounts have weathered Panda far better than my random ones.
Well what you said today is what I have been thinking about for some time with my own work, even though many of my hubs that are outside of my main niche have gotten decent views in the past.
You inspired me today to bite the bullet, and so I deleted every single article save those in my niche, regrouped them, etc. and now will continue improving them. I save my work, so if this pays off, I will perhaps start another account on a different topic.
I am basically what Google considers to be an authority in my area, so we'll see what happens. I was not hit by Panda or Penguin as far as I can tell, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. This could either be the biggest mistake I ever made or the best decision I ever made!
RH, thanks for this post. In a sea of complaining about lost page views, it's refreshing to see one that actually offers some suggestions on how to bring them back.
I'm not sure I have it in me to juggle multiple HP accounts, but I have been thinking lately about focusing my hubs on one area, and moving everything that isn't in that area somewhere else.
Thanks for the great suggestions. I've been publishing hubs that are exclusively about gardening. Lately, I've been toying with the idea of writing in another niche and wondering if it was a good idea to start another hub account so as not to dilute or distract from my gardening hubs. If what you say is correct, starting a second account could be helpful to both myself and HP. Win, win. I love it!
Is it okay to open more than one account? I wonder about that. I would need to find out more about it before I actually did it.
Yes, you can have as many HP accounts as you can manage. Here is the official policy as covered by HP's FAQ:
Sounds OK in theory however I have two caveats
1) That's very nearly the same advice pushed out by by Squidoo HQ in the last year of its existence - after the traffic started to take a tumble - and it really does NOT help having people pretending to be authorities about a topic and pumping out 20 hubs. An awful lot of really crap lenses were produced as a result - and guess what? The traffic continued to tank. I personally think it had a lot to do with that particular strategy.
2) How about the notion that Google really does not like article sites with crap content? It's not going to go away. This year an awful lot of article sites have folded.
I'd suggest a more productive way forward is to go over existing hubs and ditch the rubbish and spruce up the rest. Plus work at being an authority on a topic outside HubPages as well. That then complements your topic hubs on HubPages.
Thanks for these ideas and the clear way they were presented.
Can you say a little more about the point in starting a new account? Would not adding 20 niche-focused hubs to an existing account be just as (or almost) effective?
And what about the concern elsewhere expressed on this forum of saturated, duplicate content...thanks to the merger?
OK, I can only speak for myself, but this is what I've experienced: once an account really tanks (as several of mine have post-Panda), getting fresh traffic is really difficult. I believe that Google has added an algorithmic penalty to those subdomains.
That means any new hubs won't get the benefit of HP's typically strong organic traffic and ranking. They're effectively written off.
A new account is a fresh start in Google's eyes, no penalties used to impact ranking (at least, no subdomain specific ones).
As for saturated content, I think it's extremely legitimate. Google isn't going to post 4 or 5 Hubpages articles at the top of page one. So we'll have to be more choosy in selecting article topics. When in doubt, check the keyword topic in G before you start writing... if there's a Hubpages article on page one chances are you won't rank all that well.
Very valuable info. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is interesting what you said above too about niche accounts surviving Panda; and equally interesting what you've said here that once a subdomain is hit by Panda it tends not to recover. I lost a lot of traffic after this last Panda update, so if I'm not showing a decent recovery soon I'll have to look for an alternative, like the one you suggest.
I've been waiting for a post like this to address what we as a community can do to possibly turn around the status of HP. I don't know enough to say what will work for sure but your ideas seem like good ones. I'd be interested to hear from veteran hubbers and staff about if these suggestions would make a difference. It seems that a lot of hubbers would have to participate. So many are burned out and jaded right now. I wonder if the Squidoo transfers are considered "New" accounts. If so, we have more than met that suggestion. Thanks for having a fresh, positive outlook, RelevantHelp.
I think you have done a fine job of suggesting ways to improve HubPages. The niche account is a good one.Most of my articles have been about a person or place in Arizona and they always have at least some traffic. My next best seems to be antiques and collectibles. When I "stray" and publish travel or book reviews, they never do quite as well. That said, the elephant in the room of poor Hubs in the last year are Hubs with sub-standard English, and are barely disguised advertising for buying a product or even a home. I understood that Hubs were not meant to be commercial venues.
I wish Susana S and some others would get on here with opinions. Susana helps HP folks on her Facebook site sometimes , but now you can't contact people without using Messenger. It's too spammy. Thanks for new ideas. Yay!
One downside of separate accounts is that they have to individually make the payout thresh-hold.
I was thinking that too. Which means a lot of work. There's going to need to be a lot of content put onto those new accounts; and if niche, a person is either going to have to really love the subject or really be into research. I already have a few accounts. I'm hesitant to start another unless I really know I can load it with enough content to make payout.
I am pretty confused about what is or is not regarded as duplicate content. I have a Blogger and Google + blog. Do articlres one there count as duplication? Thànks
Google + is NOT a blog. Google + is like Facebook - you have an account and you can write on your own wall.
Blogger is software which allows you to have a blog.
Duplication is when you repeat the content of one post (eg on a Blogger blog) in ANY other place online which is read by the Google Bots e.g. a post in a forum, a website, another syndicated blog to which you have sold your work etc etc etc
We're not supposed to be writing blogs on HP. This site, according to what HP promotes, is for articles, especially well researched ones, or creative works like poetry or short stories. Blogs are personal reviews of topics or your daily activities or random thoughts, etc - like keeping a diary. That's considered substandard by HP's expectations and will take our ratings down.
Notwithstanding the fact you cannot replicate the structure of a blog which accounts for all the traffic a blog gets eg archived posts can generate just as much traffic as current ones. This is where a blog wins out over article sites every time if you are writing on one topic.
Absolutely. It's one reason I'm in a big dilemma when people ask about specialising in a single niche on HubPages. I always feel that if a person has a genuine speciality, then they would be much better off with their own blog, where you can capture a reader and encourage them to browse around your site, resulting in multiple views from one visit. That's much harder to achieve on HubPages, where readers are tempted away to other members' Hubs at every turn.
However, having helped a few Hubbers start their own blogs, I've learned there's one big downside to your own site - making money. Generating income on your own site is a totally different ball game - just using Adsense/Amazon/eBay isn't enough - and not everyone is prepared to struggle through the learning curve or wants to undertake the kind of work involved.
I include myself in that, actually. I write because I enjoy writing, but I found running blogs required far too much time devoted to everything else BUT writing. f I have to do something I don't enjoy to earn a crust, then I may as well do it in the real world where the rate per hour is much higher!
Duplicate content is duplicate content. It doesn't matter whether you wrote it or someone else did - if it's the same, it's duplicate.
The three sites you mention each have a different purpose.
Google+ is a social site like Facebook, not a blog. You're sharing interesting stuff with your friends.
Blogger is a site to write a blog on (obviously!). Blogs typically consist of short posts.
HubPages is a site to write informative, magazine-style articles which are much longer than blog posts.
Even with my meager number of transfers it took me a while to get them to minimal HP standards. That process was not because the Lenses were poorly written but that they were constructed to a different set of rules. They still had to be changed to the new standards. I can see why some Squids who had dozens or hundreds to edit would just move them off, mainly because of time.
I have steadily gone back and continued to edit these (now) Hubs as I learn more and read more here. I just did another and the views increased 10 fold!
From 0 to 1
At least it is in the correct direction and it shows I am applying what I'm learning. To me it is better to work and learn on the existing Hubs then write new ones using that knowledge.
BTW, if you have more than one HP account can you transfer Hubs between them?
(not hijacking the thread, it would seem it be related to the point of multiple accounts)
If you start a new subdomain, first thing you need to do after you have created the account is to contact HP and ask if it is a referred account or not. Deleting the browser cache and killing off all the cookies prior to creating the account does not always work in preventing this from happening. Trust me. I know this for a fact. If you don't care about being a referred account, then it's no big deal and no need being worried about this factor.
I don't have, and have never had any particular "niche." I'm a generalist.
Perhaps that is why my earnings here have tanked, and do not look to be going back up. At my current rate of gain, I may get another payout by my 70th birthday...4 years away.
Unfortunately, for me, it is what it is; I don't have the time or energy to devote to trying to establish a new account, transfer some hubs over, write a bunch of new 'niche' stuff, and then keep up with another writing account. As it is, my 4 blogs are badly neglected.
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