I have a couple of niche Blogs on BLOGGER that i have kept up for years. They include some content that is relatively old, but it is informative, thus according to Google, useful and valuable.
But, I ran a little test over the past couple of months.
I worked on a number of my posts in two of the blogs and cleaned them up, thus freshening them for potential readers. And, I saw immediate increases in views.
The interesting thing is that with one blog, I left it alone for a whole month, while with the other, I picked a post, each week, arbitrarily, and freshened it.
The blog that I left untouched steadily saw less views, while the one I worked on each week kept a steady level or views.
Interesting situation to me in that from what I am seeing, both of my Blogs and their posts are there, available for readers via Google Search. But, if my Blog isn't being "maintained" regularly, Google seems to be reducing its ranking?
That's what Google has been doing. If you don't add content and improve your existing pages, they presume the info slowly but surely becomes outdated.
Which means the rhetoric about "passive income" is a myth. If you have to keep working at it, it's not passive income. It's called a job.
My Point Exactly!
Don - I agree that the term 'passive income' doesn't seem to fit so much these days.
In defense of HP (and I realized I just aimed some arrows in my post above), everything has greatly changed in the virtual world. I do give HP credit for adapting to changes as fast as it can.
Maybe we need to aim for a balance of content that has a history with Google but is freshened regularly. However, that implies a lot more babysitting and ongoing effort than we might be willing to invest.
Passive income online has been a myth for several years now. Books like the 4 Hour Work Week were written years ago when the internet was a very different place.
In 2009 and 2010 I met so many bloggers and their stories were very consistent: they had worked their **** off for two years, doing more hours than a full-time job, to build their online presence -- and then they had been able to cut back to a few hours a week and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Not one of those bloggers is still blogging for a living, because in the last few years blogging has become a full-time job requiring constant tweaking - and that's not what they signed up for! They have all switched to website designing, or running courses for bloggers, or offering SEO services. The gold rush is over, but there are still enough suckers to sell shovels to.
Passive income is not a myth because it IS passive for the main part. It just won't work for life in many cases....depending on internet trends and gold rushes, most of them trying to please and milk Google. Having said that, occasionally people can strike it lucky, I know of a few...
Still, I'd rather work for me than a boss when I sit down at night in front of the computer....the knowledge gained about the internet is so much fun to learn and puts you ahead of the curveball for sure.
Remember, you are competing on a world wide stage. This takes a lot more effort that competing in your city only. But if you learn and get good at it, then competing world wide is pretty much as big as this game is going to get and is quite an achievement.
I was just looking at some data from pages that have been freshened up and it appears to really help.
When we started HubPro, we were more focused on improving quality, but it appears to be very helpful for traffic. If you're looking to increase traffic, I highly recommend fixing up your older and most highly trafficked hubs. It's easier to get significant gains out of high traffic pages than it is to get pages that never did well to perform.
This is interesting because last August I, for whatever reason, lost 90% of my views. I then spent 3 months reworking every single hub and deleting another 47 of them to create a niche site. For months and months, nothing happened. Views were terrible! Now, in the past week or so, views are picking up, but I have not touched those hubs since November. Explain THAT one please!
Yes, this happens routinely. I have a more static website that I've been revamping lately and more or less just rearranging the information, adding very little and as I've uploaded the new pages my Google visits have spiked.
It's all about fresh content. I post new content to my blogs a few times a week. It doesn't have to be huge posts either, just as long as it adds value and freshness.
When I deleted most of my unvisited posts last year, my website traffic literally doubled within a week. Been going up ever since. And, yes. I do keep adding new posts as well.
In venture capital, investors often espouse the benefit of cutting bait on their poor performing companies and doubling down their investment on the winners.
I haven't seen a better way to improve traffic than removing low performers and investing in the winners. Adding new content is important, as long as it's quality is excellent or that it either gets removed or improved in short order.
Paul - regarding your post:
"I haven't seen a better way to improve traffic than removing low performers and investing in the winners. Adding new content is important, as long as it's quality is excellent or that it either gets removed or improved in short order."
Related to this - I have asked several times about removing content doesn't attract traffic. I have also pointed out that the "Exclusives Titles" we were encouraged to write a few years ago are among the worst performers many of us have. Quality is not the issue on these hubs - many of your best writers produced them.
This is the first time I've seen specific advice to remove content that doesn't perform well. In the past, we were told to 'give them time,' and there was never a full explanation of how those titles came to be created to begin with.
So - does unpublishing a hub (but not deleting it) serve the same purpose as deleting a hub? I need to decide what to do about the absolute complete waste of time I spent writing a few dozen EC hubs. While I agree - 'cut your losses' is good advice, I'm not so sure how I feel about having been encouraged to write on topics that many of us pointed out from the start didn't seem to be chosen well.
I have no problem with taking ownership of a poorly selected title I came up with on my own. The EC experience, though, is a different thing.
In my opinion, the time thing still applies. The posts I mentioned on my website for example, they'd been around for 2 years and yet G was still ignoring them; getting rid of them was an easy decision. Anything less than 2 years is a lot more iffy; especially when it comes to hubs.
Paul may need to clarify whether his phrase 'removed or improved in short order' should be interpreted to mean the 'short order' applies to both alternatives, or 'removed in short order' if it is not improved.
@Marcy This is a really good question. At this point, I'm more focused on improving the content that get's traffic, than removing content that doesn't get traffic.
For content that doesn't get much traffic, we try and unfeature it for you. A no index tag or a 404 (unpublishing will do this) tells google not to count it so to speak.
I've had the opportunity to see behind the scenes of how some of the largest and most successful content sites are operating. There are two things they have in common, which we are doing as aggressively as we can.
1. They are investing in their most highly trafficked content. This is what HubPro is. A substantial investment in improving the quality of the most read content. This is working. I only wish it could go faster!
2. They remove content that doesn't perform. They unpublish/no index content with little traffic. They merge similar content to create more robust pieces. They either improve or remove content that is thin or spammy.
In my opinion, the content that is getting read is the most important to a sites health. If the vast majority of readers have a great experience, the rest of the site will do well.
Our company is investing as much as we possible can in helping Hubbers improve the most read content. Once we have gotten through 50 to 60% of all Hub views, I'd hope to see some nice traffic gains for all Hubbers.
Hubbers can help the community the most by improving their most read Hubs first!
Thanks for the detailed and helpful reply, Paul. I support everything you're doing and I believe in the site's goal to move forward in the new age of the Internet. I'm glad to know poor quality will be addressed, as well as content that isn't getting traffic.
Most of us who are active on the forum pay attention to how 'fresh' our content is and update as needed. And I agree - we see results in traffic. I'm okay with killing off content that isn't performing (at least unpublishing it until I figure out what, if anything, to do with it). It's sad to see the time so many people invested in the EC titles.
It's so helpful to get responsive answers on these types of questions. You've given us information we can all put to use, and you're letting us know where the site is headed.
Just to be clear for people who haven't been on the site for a while, Marcy, you are talking about Exclusive Titles and not Editor's Choice. Exclusive Titles were suggested titles we were given that were supposed to do well, but didn't. Many of us wrote many hubs using those titles until we realized that the titles were not helpful at all.
Thanks for explaining that, MT - I believe I used the full term elsewhere, but it probably got lost in the shuffle. Yes, the Exclusives titles were generally a bad experience - I know it was not a positive investment of resources for the site, too. Sadly, those of us encouraged to use the titles were recruited based on producing good-quality content. That time could have been spent creating hubs about topics that were more competitive (which is what we were told when the Exclusives titles were introduced).
This is a very interesting thread so far.
Updating = Freshness = Traffic
(Weeding out the duds)
Rinse and repeat!
Of interest... http://pauledmondson.hubpages.com/hub/E … ng-for-SEO
The part that is of interest to me is the fact that the HP philosophy of "writing EVER GREEN" articles is somewhat out of date now.
Oh, I still get a lot of "reads" from my fellow HPers, but the real readers we want are those fresh readers that Google sends to us.
And, at the present at least, Google is driving their sources of content to provide even more "Fresh" information sources. Of course, just juggling words and adding patches might work for now but I suspect that Google has longer term goals and as they grow their requirements they will also grow their demands on the "average writer".
Remember, their software is doing the sorting and grading of articles.
And, as time goes by, I suspect this software will be smarter and more restrictive.
Here is my fear:
As an example, now I can have Google search and find my article under a title like; [RV Tires]. Will my article on this very subject only be "found" if someone searches specifically for [Don Bobbitt, RV Tires]?
Evergreen is never out of date. That's the definition of evergreen.
But what is constantly changing are the amount and quality of competing pages. We need to ensure that our page continues to meet searchers needs over time and continues to be the best in comparison to other pages available (ie: our competition).
That means we have to keep an eye on what our competition is doing and respond accordingly. Is our carefully written summary now overshadowed by much more enticing ones for example?
For evergreen queries I think google just likes to see that there is still someone who cares about the page and about providing info that is still relevant. An easy way to do that algorithmically is to check that the page is updated now and again.
This can be good and bad. If you have a site that has extremely useful and informative content that rarely needs changing. Are you telling me that if i switch up a few words and drop in a few small post that i will get more traffic? What exactly does refresh mean here? spinning around a paragraph or two? repetitiveness? So how often will i need to refresh these post? every month, six month or a year? There are certain topics with content which will remain constant such as Love, Dating etc. It seems like Google is more interested in freshness than relevance. A site can always be refreshed yet it may not be relevant. Yes, there are times when the content needs to be revamped. But that should not be that it is revamped simply to gain a few more hits from Google who seems to be front paging sites with even more links than content.
I was thinking essentially the same thing. Some things simply don't need to be refreshed and it's absurd to try to pad it or write something irrelevant into it just because that's what's expected. Like Don said, that "evergreen" advice becomes obsolete.
I'm not suggesting rewording for refresh sake. Improve the content, layout, and grammar.
I'm for substantial improvements over small tweaks.
I'm a little confused by this "freshness" advice, too, mainly because it's not working for me based on HP's harsher QAP standards. QAP and traffic is all I have to measure whether the tweaks I'm making to "freshen up" my hubs is working. And over the past 3 weeks or so, since I've been eliminating links, typos, ad capsules, making hubs more mobile friendly, and tweaking titles, my efforts result in decreased hub scores and no new traffic. What is wrong? I've also added new content which also received very low hub scores. I write the same, create hubs with the same format that was successful before, and have not added any ads or links to the new hubs. It's all so confusing and I must say, discouraging.
Don't get discouraged! It takes awhile for the changes to catch up. I have been doing updates gradually and have seen scores fall etc. After the updates have been done for awhile, things pick up again. My traffic now is increasing over where it was when I started doing the updating etc.
It seems the updates do cause a brief downward trend, but it's not permanent. My new hubs also start at much lower scores now than they did previously, but they climb pretty rapidly also once people start interacting with them.
I wouldn't fear placing relevant ads for related products either. My Amazon sales and commissions are going up with the updates I've been doing. I've been changing some placements and ensuring the products being shown are 100% relevant to the content and those hubs have actually increased in score over time.
Thank you so much, ChristinS, for your encouraging words and advice. I guess I'm just not use to looking at these types of numbers on my hubs. I had a recipe hub go from 88 to 69 (which had been in the 90s for a year) after taking out seasonings ads that were placed right beside the ingredient list where I mentioned the seasoning by name! Go figure. Anyway, your words give me some comfort. I will wait patiently to see a change.
To receive high views in any online article or post. Constant editing must be embraced.
Many hubbers do not know about this and that is why you see them complain always base on earnings.
For what it's worth, I industriously continue to update all hubs. In fact, they've all got the year 2015 date as we speak. There is always, always, always something that can be done to a hub to make it better.
Material that is no longer fresh needs to have accumulated authority, specifically being linked to by sites with a good pagerank.
That's my experience too. Accumulated authority can outrank freshness, if the subject is evergreen.
Constant editing may not be needed, just occasional editing.
For example, if you wrote a bunch of hubs that are now ancient and were written with lesser quality standards at the time, "freshening" these to make them fit the standards (ie, length, engagement, titles) of your current hubs will help.
Readers are not going away any time soon and always like to read new things - so if good traffic was consistent on certain hubs in the past, all you have to worry about is the competition in the niche in relation to these.
As with the 20/80 rule (20% of hubs are well trafficked compared to 80% which aren't), I believe you might need to keep some underperforming hubs in the 80% to plump out the subdomain.
For example, if you have 10 hubs, you theoretically should have 2 good ones. If you have 20 hubs, you're going to expect to have 4 good ones. The more hubs you have, the more hubs in the 20% of performers you should see.
Hence, when editing old hubs that get less traffic anyway, the editing process should be just fixing length, adjusting current information and engagement. There's no need to go nuts and fine tune it like your best performers, a little updating means that the subdomain benefits and the hub usually will remain in the underperforming 80% anyway, so simple adjustment is all that's needed on these and it doesn't have to be a hard task.
As far as I can tell, you should be editing your underperformers (the 80%) about once every 3-5 years or so, and there's no need to edit all of them unless they are really bad in terms of fitting quality standards (ie, length, engagement, current information). Your best performing hubs (the 20%) are the ones to really get stuck into with making them even better, as HP has been recommending.
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