There is a real need to purge Amazon ads from this site but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
Pages that have multiple Amazon ads but get good traffic from search engines are obviously not a problem. Google will have hit them long ago if they were triggering spam filters.
What seems to be happening is that pages that should never have Amazon ads are being allowed to keep one or two ads and pages where four or five are genuinely appropriate are being cut back unnecessarily.
How does it help HP to reduce income in this way?
There are probably only a few thousand (perhaps a few hundred) pages that really earn from Amazon. Why not identify them and give them some protection? Or give the editors the data they need to make a sound judgement?
Bear in mind that we are at a traffic low and the last 2 months of data is not a great way to assess a pages genuine worth in the eyes of search engines.
Perfect. Couldn't agree more.
Edit: I also think it would be a good idea to move all product review/shopping pages to a stand alone subdomain.
My limited understanding of SEO mainly comes from taking note of the typical features of successful sites.
Every time I go from Google search to a page, I know that the page is something Google is OK with.
If you are searching for pure info it is very, very rare to come across Amazon ads on any page in this way.
Google will only take you to a page with Amazon ads if you are searching for products and have a clear interest in buying something.
For Google to lead you to Amazon ads, you need to search for a product by name, ask for product reviews or make a 'best toasters', product comparison type of search.
So, keeping Amazon off pure info pages seems the only sensible thing for HP to do.
As for a products subdomain...
That would bring HP into line with the most successful sites which always have separate sections for Amazon orientated review pages. But it would need a very high page-quality bar for the sub to work. And that would mean editors with first rate judgement when it comes to new pages.
So in this era of the ever increasing adblock - plus diminishing returns from advertising income (which is happening everywhere)
....not to mention the upcoming revision to the Apple operating system which will also block adverts,
....plus we need to remember that HubPages has lost a third of its traffic in the last year which also contributes to diminishing income streams
....we're now going to take even more Amazon modules out of hubs
....on top of unpublishing and unfeaturing hubs with a product review basis (best of etc)
....and what's next? Hoping that HubPages can streamline the staffing and/or adapt to living on thin air?
I believe we've already been debating that on What happens IF HubPages kills the Amazon income stream.....?
I don't get into hypothetical questions. I likes facts, lol.
The rest of the things you say makes getting Amazon-orientated pages right even more important.
well the FACTS are
1) the newspapers are getting very worried by the impact of ad blockers
2) the change in the Apple system has been well advertised
3) check out Quantcast - the loss by HubPages of one third of its global traffic in the last 12 months - since the beginning of January - is completely transparent.
4) I've had a lot of hubs which used to get a lot of traffic from Google unpublished and unfeatured. The decision-making on some of these seems to be so uninformed and arbitrary (mechanical?) that this experience and those of others means I make no effort to get those sites published/featured again. So I guess some of my sites play a teeny weeny part of the ever declining traffic.
I disagree somewhat with the concept of keeping ads off of informational pages because there are some topics that really help people who not only need the info but need the products that can help them to achieve their goals that they might not even know about. For example, my article about how to maintain and clean an RV sewer tank. There are a number of "best"products one can use to achieve this goal that can be difficult or more costly to find if people even know what they are looking for. Without the combination of the info and the products, they'd know what they need to do but would then have to waste time searching all over the place for the most efficient and least expensive products.
I admit that not all informational articles meet this requirement, but some not only do but are necessary in order to provide the reader with everything he needs in a timely and efficient way.
That's why only a few of my hubs have ads, while the majority have none.
I also feel that completely cutting ads off will really damage the site as well as the writers financially because there are now so many people writing on the net and competition is so stiff that it can be difficult to earn simply on the basis of providing good info.
I mean, just how much is there to know about a specific subject that has not already been written somewhere? The pickens' are getting mighty thin.
Seems a good example of what is it at issue...
I reckon people going to a page titled 'How to Unblock an RV's Sewer System' are looking for a way to clear a blocked RV sewer system. The kinds of things you need are available in any convenience store. Why use an Amazon ad?
On the other hand, I reckon you could do well with a page titled 'The Best RV Sewer Tanks' (assuming there is any kind of choice)
People going to that page would be looking to buy something and would be happy to see Amazon ads.
Actually, that is not true. The tools required to do this job are highly specialized and each has specific uses. Unless you even know what they are, you would not know where to look and could waste a lot of time finding them. Also, there is more to a clog than one would think (or cleaning issues, for that matter) and guessing at how to do it or what you need could be disastrous.
I challenge you to go into any convenience store and find even one product you could use effectively for these types of jobs. If you go to an RV dealership or parts store, yes, you can find them, but you will pay twice what you would on Amazon.
Perfect example: Awhile back we needed to change to a digital RV antenna from our analog one. RV store wanted $89 plus tax. Bought the exact same thing on Amazon for $18 including shipping. Took a lot of looking for me to find this deal and would have loved just having it available just one click away right on an article about which RV antennas to use.
In fact, it even took awhile to figure out why we were getting such lousy reception, despite the fact that we had installed digital TVs, converters, etc. This type of article is very helpful to people, provides the info they need and a way to get what they need in a way that saves them time and money.
Anybody who owns an RV will tell you that products for them are way overpriced and sometimes difficult to find.
Thus, my point here.
I think Will is talking about SEO and advertising, and how Google interprets titles/keywords. The RV thing is just an example and probably not the best, but he's saying that where Google interprets a site as info-only, it expects no Amazon ads. Where it interprets it as buy site, it expects Amazon ads.
The important thing is how Google interprets the hub, as to whether it gets search traffic, or not. Will, you, or I may have differing opinions, but it is the way the Google algo works that matters in terms of traffic.
That's my interpretation, anyway.
Well that's very odd - because I'm getting loads of traffic from Google to my niche information pages about a specific aspect of art (which were moved off this site). These also include on the same page highly relevant art books from Amazon - which also get sales via Amazon UK and USA. Plus put the relevant niche query into Google and up come my pages - on the first page of Google (tested via independent devices).
So run this theory by me again? It is only a theory isn't it?
It's not actually grounded in factual data from other websites about how Google views sites that include so-called "Amazon adverts" is it?
My understanding is that Google (being a big advertiser in its own right) does not have a problem with advertising per se. It understands that adverts are what fund the running costs of a number of websites.
It has a major problem with excessive and badly positioned adverts which add no value whatsoever to the person who consults the page i.e. all the wholly irrelevant adverts which people block and/or complain about!
If this is true, then why do people like Marisa Wright do so well despite the fact that her info articles also have ads on them? And how, exactly, do we know how Google interprets anything? I'd have to see some serious research on this.
Read Google's search raters guidelines. It contains very detailed, explicit information about how different types of pages should be rated.
When pages look like they may exist solely to send visitors to an affiliate site they are marked as spam. It doesn't take much of a leap to say that a site which has many pages marked as spam is going to have problems with its trust rating and therefore how well its pages are treated in the SERPs.
Paul Edmondson told us about some Hubpages (or was it subs?) that Google told him had been marked as spam. There are probably many more that Google didn't tell him about.
Think of how many sites other than Google have marked HubPages as spam.
And how Google looks at their opinions too.
No matter how much HubPages cleans up actual Hubs here now, the site as a whole has been permanently classified as spam by many social networks and other writing sites based on egregious back linking activity in the past, and those guys never go back and reevaluate even if Google occasionally does.
It's certainly an issue. And yet, I personally have done okay with HP in the past and am still doing fine (it's been up and down, I'll admit). HP walks a fine line between making too much money and being deemed spammy/overcommercial; and being very worthy/noncommercial and not making enough money to survive. Therein lies the dilemma. Their problem is that Google is effectively judge, jury, and executioner.
Something I don't understand Susana S is why you are so against Amazon or other affiliate ads on HP pages, while your own pages are full of them. But then, you haven't updated most of them for over a year or more.
Google knows which search queries require product options and which don't, so yes particular types of informational articles can safely use affiliate ads.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to determine whether a page will be ok or not is go check the search results for the top 3 searches bringing traffic to your page. If many of the other results offer product options/affiliate ads you'll most likely be ok. If they don't then you need to reassess the search intent of those reaching your page because there's a very high probability that they aren't looking for products.
Searcher intention and expectation are the key to the whole issue.
For reasons that I don't understand (genuinely) it seems hard for most people to take this onboard.
If you do not meet reader expectations it is very easy for Google to recognize that fact.
Many people recognize spam immediately and hit the back button. Search engines take careful note of this behavior.
That is one reason dwell times are so important. If your dwell times for a hub are bad, a lot of people are quitting your page (in disgust probably) almost immediately.
Frankly, you need to to be able to write well to use affiliate ads. If you cannot keep the reader on the page it is a disaster.
You don't have to be spam for people to hit the back button
What you need to have done is described your site AND PAGE very accurately in the google meta description so that there is a good match between the words in the description and the content of the page.
It's an awful lot easier to do this on either
* a short hub
* a one topic page on a website or blog (i.e. one of the best reasons I know to keep blog posts to just one topic)
However if your hub or website page or blog post covers lots of different sub-topics related to a mega-topic then there is scope to confuse and cause a search query result which is not a good match for the person's intended search.
BUT THAT DOES NOT EQUATE TO SPAM
What it equates to is an inefficient and ineffective use of available internet sites / software and functionality to present your content well
I like both ideas. Totally agree that there are hubs that benefit from having more and are still getting good traffic (I can provide a few examples). Trying something different with the Amazon and eBay modules is definitely needed.
I suggested that they impose the word limit at the account level instead of the hub level a couple of weeks ago. Crickets since. http://hubpages.com/community/forum/134 … ount-level
I agree. I deleted some amazon capsules after getting a warning about hubs with too many and those hubs had decent traffic and made sales. I don't think those hubs needed to be fixed. I'm okay with fixing them, but I don't think it was necessary and I might be losing out by fixing them.
I agree with Will and Susana on this. It would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bathwater, regarding Amazon earnings. The vast majority of this site I think should be info-only hubs with no Amazon ads at all. But I like the option of having a few (lengthy, info-rich) product hubs containing maybe one to five Amazon capsules.
If HP get the multitude of quality/spam issues fixed here, views will soar.
Info pages currently delivering a few cents a month will start to deliver real income.
Successful Amazon orientated pages will deliver even more.
Let's keep our eye on the ball (lol, I used a footballing metaphor).
Once you concentrate on minimizing the adverts and extending the info/media in hubs, it's amazing how much of a boost you can get sometimes.
I think my concern is that I felt incentivised to do more about that when we were in subdoms, but now we're back to worrying as much about site wide problems, which as individual hubbers we can't control.
The only things stopping people turning out crap are: 1. MTurkers; 2. HP rules on links, words per capsule etc.; and 3. hubbers reporting poor quality sites. I know these all work to some extent but it doesn't seem quite enough, especially as Google keeps shifting the goalposts (see what I did there, ending on a football metaphor! )
Explain to me how HubPages funds the running of the site and the salaries of staff if you dump all or the vast majority of the income from Amazon.
I'd suggest to you if HubPages started to do this the next logical thing to do would be dump the vast majority of non-income generating hubs and just stick to those which are actually making money - so they can keep the enterprise afloat
"Explain to me how HubPages funds the running of the site and the salaries of staff if you dump all or the vast majority of the income from Amazon."
You want me play Devil's Advocate and argue with myself?
"I'd suggest to you if HubPages started to do this the next logical thing to do would be dump the vast majority of non-income generating hubs and just stick to those which are actually making money - so they can keep the enterprise afloat"
HP have been heading that way since the big crash of 2011, albeit in a relatively subtle, rather than draconian way. The idea was to make the site leaner and fitter and the process never quite finishes.
For me the big question is whether this is a conscious decision or not - in terms of logical consequences. In which case my next question is why not get on and do it rather than the slow death spiral.
I've been involved in a lot of management of change over the years and the one I know that never works out as intended is the one that results in a long slow decline
I personally think that HP have generally got the balance about right in terms of changes. At times they have been fairly radical, but generally they've gone for an evolution rather than revolution approach. They've also been reasonably good (with a few notable exceptions) about predicting future trends and preparing in advance.
I contrast them with Squidoo, their biggest rival for a long time, who were complacent for too long, then introduced crude, very draconian measures at the last moment, sealing their fate.
It's also pertinent to point out that HP is a survivor in the field of open platform writing and earning sites and has seen many rivals come and go. That, in itself, is an achievement.
HP's fate remains very much in Google's hands, however. It perhaps helps them a little that Google no longer push their own Blogger as an earning site in the way that they used to, effectively working as a form of direct rival.
The problem Hubpages has is the same problem Squidoo had, thinking that the articles they need to keep around are ONLY the ones getting traffic, and slowly throwing everything else out.
It really is ok to have pages around that don't receive a lot of traffic, sometimes no traffic. Every site has a balance of long and short articles and needs this balance to appeal to the masses. Otherwise, it looks like everything is written for the search engines, which the search engines don't like.
The "Not Featured - Traffic" has killed this site, so people only write about the things that get traffic, and the original authors leave because no one is seeing what they publish anymore. I look through all the articles I have that are not featured because of traffic, and they tend to be the ones I care the most about.
Unfeaturing pages for traffic gets rid of more dross than good stuff but is, at best, a very blunt tool.
A lot of the pages I wrote for my sub domain were long, worthy (meant to be at least) and never intended to make money or get many views. They were pages I enjoyed writing and the only real purpose apart from that was to give the sub a bit of weight.
Given that we have MTurk, HP should factor the hub scores into deciding what to unfeature. Anything in the nineties should probably be kept regardless of other considerations.
That is a very, very good point and one I hadn't thought of.
I am always arguing that Google does NOT dislike Amazon or eBay ads, because my own websites are full of them - far more per page than on HubPages - and they still get traffic. However my sites also have just as many informational pages which have no ads whatsoever. You may be right, maybe those ad-free pages are signalling to Google that I'm not just trying to fool the search engines.
I always felt that my sites had a good balance of information and selling, but it never occurred to me that the separation of the two aspects might be important.
As you know, very few of my articles have ads on them. I can tell you that although I do OK with them generally, they certainly are not flying off the charts.
I now think that one of the reasons for this is just what you are saying...but not on an individualized basis. It has to be ALL of HP that follows this trend in order for Google to notice.
My guess is that there are so many people placing tons of ads on their articles that the informational part has become almost nonexistent.
The problem is with getting people here to get a better balance...and I think that is what the team is now trying to do.
We have to show Google that we are serious here, not just a bunch of fly by nights in this to make a quick buck.
As I've said before, some articles should have ads, but many should not. The trick is in using enough self discipline to know the difference and keep the ratio realistic.
Makes me think I should turn adsense off on some of my pages on my own sites.
I've wondered about this, because on my own sites I have quite a few pages that are not keyword optimized and some posts that are long, some very short, some hardly get any traffic, some more traffic. I can't imagine any site has every single page high traffic and keyword optimized. For one thing, it would be a boring site.
In relation to Amazon and other affiliate ads, the important thing is the quality of the content.
This is a typical Google pronouncement concerning spam:
'Thin content with little or no added value
Site appears to consist of low-quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value (such as thin affiliate pages, doorway pages, cookie-cutter sites, automatically generated content, or copied content).'
How does Google recognize a thin affiliate page'?
It runs some form of copyscape-style analysis to see just how closely the page matches other pages around the web. So if you have simply paraphrased Amazon's own content on a hub and then have an affiliate link to Amazon, that is going to be seen as spam.
https://www.google.com/insidesearch/how … -spam.html
Beyond that, there is the issue of user metrics. People argue about how much weight Google gives to user metrics, but my experience is that user metrics matter a great deal. Which is why I obsess over dwell times. Bad dwell times on an affiliate page is especially worrying.
You are mixing up two issues
1) what the content on the site or page is like generally
2) how to write about an Amazon product
The reality is that if you offers lots of added value by having lots of original content on the same page as an Amazon product(s) where you keep the narrative brief and factual then Google does not have a problem. This is NOT shallow content.
If you have a page with lots of Amazon products using words very like what is says on Amazon plus very little other content on the page - then you have a big problem. This is shallow content.
The issue at the end of the day is whether your page / hub / website offers added value to its reader. That is reflected in your traffic stats, average length of stay and bounce rate.
Perhaps the right way to do all this is to write an interesting, informative and entertaining piece about Amazon products you have actually bought, owned and used - together with pictures and illustrations of how you enjoy the product.
At the bottom you can mention to the reader that they too can purchase this excellent product from Amazon but they should also check other suppliers. They can Google for those or even better - take a walk down their High Street and support local retailers and the local economy.
After all - Amazon don't pay much tax and they employ very low-paid staff. Plus all that packaging and road miles is screwing with our ecology or whatever.
Rather than putting in links and seeming like yet another internet chancer trying to make a few pennies - it might be nicer to wish them a Good Day and Good Shopping instead. A humorous cartoon which - oh yeah - I have written loads of hubs about (not really) - would cheer them up after wading through the sea of advertising which accompanies every page on the internet.
In this New Year of Your Lord we should think more about putting back rather than taking out. Adding value, reducing household clutter and having a few months away from mindless credit card splurges on stuff we can't afford.
"Use the old mower. It's just as good".
That sort of thing.
If anyone else wants more web tips there are a whole load of experts on here who having made a fortune seem to have nothing better to do than visit these forums.
I am of course moving in different directions in 2016. The internet has kind of hacked me off.
I have given up expecting people to understand the subtleties of using affiliate ads and I note, with satisfaction, that you are entirely in tune with that.
I am now going back to my game of boules....
We open the champagne later to celebrate that we are:
a. still alive
b. not in England.
There is an irony in that in the old days, Will, you used to take a massive amount of flak from hubbers who didn't like you criticizing the black hat and spam practices which used to be openly practiced here a number of years ago. (They're all gone now).
Now you're getting flak from the other side!
I am still alive and actually in England at present visiting. The weather's been horrendous up here in the North: floods etc.
I am hardly snow white on the spam front.
I just happen to think there is a point after which spam becomes non-spam. Readers soon let you know whether you have manged to inject enough originality into a tired subject for it to satisfy them.
As to the game of boules...
The trick is to partner a Frenchman. Then you can be absolutely cr*p and still triumph.
I hear they are developing an underwater version for the UK, lol.
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