I have been in touch with the team concerning a hub of mine that was unfeatured due to the fact that I had only HP traffic and no Google traffic and felt this was not fair because my article had been online for years and had more than 1400 total views.
This morning I received the following email that I think all Hubbers should read because it once and for all clearly explains the traffic unfeaturing issue. Having read it, I realized I did not exactly understand it. I could also see that many others do not either.
I suggest saving this for future reference because it's an important piece of information.
When your Hub is first Featured, it is given a grace period in which to gain search traffic that can range from a month to a number of months, depending on the Hub's quality and other factors. It will not become unfeatured again until that grace period runs out.
The views from the past month are all from HubPages, which could mean they're Hubbers, and it could also mean readers are coming to your Hub after seeing it in the related section of another Hub. None of those readers have landed on your article directly from a search engine, which is what is required to keep it Featured once the grace period is over.
One month is not enough for your hub to be unfeatured for a lack of search traffic, so it's likely that you have had 0 search visitors the past couple months in order for this to happen.
This isn't any kind of punishment. If your Hub isn't Featured for traffic, essentially readers weren't finding it from search engines anyway, and they will still continue to be able to access it exactly as they always have before (from social media, from other Hubs, from your profile, etc). However, if no visitors are finding your article through search engines already, HubPages hides the Hub from search in order to protect Hubbers. Basically we assume Google knows their policies better than we ever could and if they're sending a Hub no traffic whatsoever, it may be because there's some issue with it that could be penalizing the entire HubPages account and site as a whole. We unfeature Hubs to protect your other Hubs and other Hubbers from this happening. It's not a perfect system, but it's the best we can do, since Google doesn't disclose the details of how their algorithms work.
Every time you edit the Hub, the grace period starts over, but that doesn't mean your Hub will get search traffic just because it's available for Google to index. If a Hub is getting no search traffic it's usually because of one of these reasons: 1. nobody is Googling the keywords and phrases you use in the Hub 2. there are a ton of better articles out there and readers never make it to yours 3. Google is penalizing the article somehow by sending it no traffic on purpose (this can happen for things like spammy elements or keyword stuffing though we don't know the full extent of what will make this happen with Google). So if your Hub doesn't get any search traffic for months on end despite the grace period, keeping it Featured isn't likely to solve the problem unless you're able to figure out which issue is the problem and fix it.
You still make money from views to Hubs that aren't Featured and, in fact, some Hubbers get tons of social traffic and earnings from Hubs that are perpetually unfeatured. A lot of it has to do with the way readers prefer to find and interact with your content. If you're still getting good traffic, it doesn't really matter if your Hub is featured or not because you'll earn the same from a view from Facebook or a Related Hub as you do from a search visitor.
Sorry for the long explanation, but I hope this makes a little more sense now. The last thing we want is for you to feel like you're somehow being punished when it's definitely not the case.
Please let me know if you have any more questions or if anything wasn't clear.
You explained a lot and I thank you very much and a thank you to Au fait for bringing this to my attention.
I really don't understand the attitude of hubpages towards social media in general.
By noindexing hubs they are massively decreasing the chances of a hub going viral on social media, how are readers going to find it to share it in the first place? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Hubpages writers sharing their own unfeatured content to the same very limited pool of people over and over again is not a great strategy.
And whilst it is perhaps arguable that Google doesn't give any weight at all to social media shares (in fact, in the case of facebook they can't even crawl most of it), what about the genuine dofollow links which result from a hub getting exposure? Blogger sees it on social media, clicks through, decides to share it or write about it?
On the niche sites there aren't even any links to follow those sites on social media. PetHelpful has 14 followers..... You have to google PetHelpful to find the facebook page?
Meanwhile Buzzfeed, founded in the same year as hubpages and another user generated content site, is worth $1.5bn, employs 770 people, and that has been built on social media traffic. They get 5 times more social traffic than they do search traffic.
I know that Buzzfeed content is designed specifically with the intention of targetting social media traffic, but social publisher content in general now gets more social traffic than search traffic. even for broadsheet newspapers.
Every UGC business which has grown massively in recent years has focused on social media. Quora for example.... your answers get posted to facebook and twitter unless you uncheck the box.
Hubpages loses some of its share in a shrinking pie, and rather than try and grab a slice of the other fresh bigger pie sitting right next to it is still fighting over the small pie. Cliched analogy I guess, but you get the point.
They've put a lot of effort into optimising the site for mobile traffic, yet search traffic is much higher on desktops and social traffic is much higher on mobile, so it doesn't feel like very joined up thinking.
New niche sites for viral Buzzfeed style content I guess?
HP writers tend to be older people and not especially social media orientated, hence the lack of likes and shares on the niche's Facebook pages ( I was shocked at just how few). The whole nature of the site would need to change if you want another Buzzfeed.
These forums would be anathema to most FB users, for one thing. People have reasonably intelligent, reasonably civilised discussions, over extended periods of time. It is an odd little subculture somewhere North of Quora on the internet map.
Maybe HP should start a Buzzfeed style niche called 'SlowFeed', lol. I sometimes think that a social site called FaceAvoidant would do well.
Anyway, HP have obviously decided to work with what they've got.
Thanks so much for sharing this response from HP to your questions about unfeatured hubs. I hope a lot of people find this forum thread because almost everyone is wondering about what's going on with unfeatured hubs.
I hope people slow down and stop deleting content when their hubs go unfeatured - until they understand more about what this status means.
It's good news, to me, that unfeatured hubs can still bring earnings.
Thanks again for posting!
Just to be clear, your unFeatured Hub can still earn, but ONLY if you can find a way to get readers to visit it. If it's unFeatured, no one can find it on Google.
Question: Can they still find it on other search engines? Just curious.
No... If HP unfeatures the hub then none of the search engines can crawl it and find it. You are left only with your social networks to share it or completely revise it using keywords that people search for.
A lot of the hubs that get unfeatured are perfectly good pages that would get traffic on other sites. They are bogged down here because the site as a whole has never pulled itself out from under Panda.
A new page on HP needs keywords that have virtually no competition from other sites to rank in the SERPs. Or the hub needs to be only competing with pages on similarly afflicted sites.
The niche sites are designed to get past the Panda problem but HP is moving such a tiny percentage of pages to the niche sites it is not going to help much with the issue of perfectly good pages dropping into a deep, deep hole because they have a little competition.
HP are in survival mode at present and this is not meant to be a damning observation but at some point they are going to need to sort out these kinds of issues out if they want people to write here.
Thanks for the extra clarification, Marisa Wright!
Thanks for sharing, TIMETRAVELER2. This was informative and enlightening, especially the part about making money anyway, featured or not.
Thank you for sharing this TimeTraveler2. This was the most comprehensive explanation HubPages have ever given about this issue. It is good to know.
This proves that it pays to email the team about issues and keep asking questions until someone takes the time to give a good explanation. I hope many read this because the info is really helpful. Right now I'm in the process of checking my low performing hubs to see where the views are coming from. If I only see "HP" under Stats>Referrers, I see if I can upgrade to get better results. I'm so glad Kristy took the time to respond.
Thanks so much for sharing this information. I now see that I didn't understand it completely either. I certainly enjoy reading your hubs.
One remaining issue is whether a page that received no traffic via search engines, but got significant traffic via Pinterest and other social media sources would be unfeatured. This would appear to be a grey area. Can the team please clarify this.
Yes, it would be unFeatured. Search engine traffic is the only traffic that is counted. I'm positive I have seen responses from the HP staff confirming that.
This confirms my understanding, but it is nice to see it all laid out all in one place. It might be helpful to include it in the FAQ.
Thanks TimeTraveler, very interesting.
I get the Adsense newsletter from Google and in their Tips for Bloggers section this month, they had this to say about getting more views that matter and social media....
"The way users find and share content has changed. Along with direct and search traffic, social sharing is key for your site visitor strategy."
I take that to mean that Google finds social media views equally important as views from search engines. I have never really understand the difference as far as content and article websites are concerned since a view is a view.
Sounds like it, but the question is...why is HP viewing this differently? They are saying that social shares are not viewed favorably by Google, yet your quote says just the opposite. Interesting, but confusing!
It definitely is interesting.
I can't think of anything more counter-intuitive than considering it a bad thing when people read and then share an article because they enjoyed it. The rest of the world considers it a step on the way toward going viral.
If you read the answer you posted, it explains everything.
HubPages' primary concern is to please Google, because that is still where the bulk of its traffic comes from. So they've decided that if Google does not send traffic to a Hub, then that's a sign Google may not like it, and so it must be hidden.
The fact that social traffic means lots of real people like it, apparently doesn't cut any ice.
What they don't understand is that Google is striving to deliver results people find most pleasing and useful, but they haven't reached perfection yet. You can be assured that Google still sees organic sharing as a positive mark on an article rather than as a negative mark because they aren't ignorant. Google wants to be able to return search results full of things actual human beings love. The fact that they sometimes don't find items that go viral through social sharing doesn't mean the things humans love and share aren't good, just that the search algorithms aren't perfect or sentient.
When multiple human beings read an article and like it so much they share it, it's not a negative reflection on the article. HubPages has lost sight of the fact that the consumers of hubs are people and that it's necessary to please those humans to get them to click ads.
I agree. People find articles via Pinterest because Pinterest results appear in the search result listings. Many people create boards for their articles with great titles to feature in searches. So a search by users indirectly finds an article and gets displayed. Yet HP ignores this traffic as being important. Pinterest delivers about half of my traffic and perhaps about 1/3 of all traffic to HP. HP lists Pinterest in traffic sources and in the stats for each page, so the data is available. I suggest that HP adds Pinterest to the traffic counts used to decide about unfeaturing given its importance.
But the point remains that google isn't sending search engine traffic, and that your social traffic is unaffected. HP doesn't know why there is no SE traffic, but does know that unfeaturing a hub will not affect social traffic: given that there isn't much reason to keep it featured and risk the wrath of google to no purpose.
The wrath of Google is purely imaginary in this instance. Google doesn't penalize websites for being shared on social media or for going viral on social media. It would be incredibly counter-productive to downgrade sites proven to be enjoyed by humans.
We aren't claiming Google penalizes articles for social traffic, and HubPages certainly doesn't either. In fact, social traffic can be an indicator in favor of the article's quality for Google. But just because the article is getting good social traffic doesn't mean Google will also send it search traffic. In fact, when a Hub goes unfeatured for traffic despite getting social traffic, it means the opposite. That Google is already sending the Hub zero search visitors in spite of the fact that it's proven its popularity with social readers. (Further indicating that it may suffer from one of the issues suggested above; 1. nobody is Googling the keywords and phrases used in the Hub 2. there are a ton of better articles out there in SERPs and readers never make it to the Hub 3. Google is penalizing the article somehow by sending it no traffic on purpose.)
Deindexing an article guarantees that it will never ever get search traffic from Google in the future, despite its popularity in being shared by social media (Pinterest).
Many many articles take a long time to mature and to get good traffic from a wide variety of sources.
Clients I write for claim the volume of grammatically correct, substantial content on their sites is important to Google. They even keep the individual pages on their sites that don't get a lot of views because Google can still see the volume. They don't get rid of any well-written pages with current information because the pages are there to provide a service.
Of course hubs are penalized! Everything I've written on HubPages has clearly been penalized because I get more views on many individual pages published elsewhere online in the same time frame than I do on my entire HubPages account. Think about that for a moment before going on. Writers have been trying to tell you this for over a year.
You need to get rid of HubPages' reputation for hosting spam, junk, and spun content and organize the site in a manner logical to 2016 sensibilities to get rid of the Google slap. It really is that simple. Writers have been trying to tell you that since long before my content was moved to HubPages in September of 2014.
Individual businesses and charities I write for saw results almost as soon as we cleared off the too-short, grammatically mangled, and keyword-stuffed material leftover from the early 2000s and re-organized their sites a bit. Their results have been dramatic and I'm no genius or web guru; I just confirmed their suspicions about what was wrong and fixed it as best I could. They only got rid of the trash; they didn't de-index or delete anything that would reflect well on them should anyone read it so long as it was on topic. Most of them already knew exactly which bits of their websites needed help and almost none of it was as obvious as the junk HubPages is hanging onto for unknown reasons. None of them even had any of the poor quality content or broken English that some Hubs still have. They replaced the junk that was removed with substantial, quality content and every Google update brings them more traffic, rather than less as HubPages is seeing.
Getting rid of well-written, grammatically correct, substantial content that has fallen prey to the slap Google put on HubPages for being untrustworthy will not help; it only increases the ratio of trash to good content visible to Google.
I hate seeing HubPages make this mistake of de-indexing well-written, substantial content when they keep hubs with broken English or very poor quality writing if they get an occasional Google view. It's as illogical as taking the "Q" and "Z" volumes of an encyclopedia set off the shelves at the library because few people read them and thinking you're improving how the public sees the set. But HubPages is taking it a step further and replacing volumes "Q" and "Z" with bigger, thicker volumes full of junk content written in broken English that doesn't give value to readers and trying to make it look like they're part of the set. Then they're going through and tearing out individual entries that are seldom accessed in other letter volumes and stapling bits of junk content in the gaps left behind.
Spam and crap are what you need to get rid of or hide, not writing proven to be enjoyed by human readers. Google actually does hate spam, spun crap, and broken English. Google understands the value of the "Q" and "Z" volumes of the encyclopedia even if HubPages doesn't.
You should pay close attention to what ever it may be Marissa is telling you. She's only telling you the truth about the way things are.
The day I first paid attention to her was the day I started doing things correctly. This is a business. This isn't a social network. If you are here to make money, then you had best pay attention.
Social shares are in direct competition with Google's search plus they can be heavily manipulated (just go to a site like Fiverr and you will find people willing to give your content 1000 likes for $5) so social shares are given a much lighter weight when determining rank on the SERP especially if there are not corresponding rank factors such as keyword inquiries, inbound and outbound link quality, grammar and spelling, multimedia, and a ton of stuff outside your control here on HP.
This is brilliant - thank you so much for sharing. I did wonder why my hubs became unfeatured...I must write something with wider appeal!
Too much of a fuss over hubs being unfeatured. If they are unfeatured they just have a no-index tag. Your pinterest and other social medai traffic won't even realise this. So I don't see the problem. The explanation received was very clear and explains a lot.
Thank you TimeTraveller2 for your post on unfeatured hubs, I have always wondered why a hub I have written with good quality content was featured; now unfeatured. I thought I had spammy elements I kept on going through the article checking and checking of where I went wrong. After reading your posts and the comments, now I know why. It’s not fair with the way google treat good quality hubs and penalizing all because Google thinks no-one is googling keywords and phrases used in the hubs we write and send no traffic to that hub. I am sure that all us hubbers do our research and find our keywords and phrases so that our published work does get seen. In my mind people love reading and finding information; our efforts should be recognised in google search, just is getting us nowhere with all our hard work, when google penalizes us on search results.
Thank you very much for this informative explaination. It is very clear to me now.
Maybe someone can chime in to my statistics question...according to my ads on amazon and ebay, some hubs are receiving hundreds and thousands of impressions. Yet according to hubpages, I have zero traffic.
So only those on hubpages are looking at my ads?
I'm confused. How can you tell from your ads how many impressions you have?
Perhaps your stats page shows this info, but if those views are from social media, they do not count towards featuring. If there is a different issue, I suggest you email the team because something in your statement does not make sense to me.
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