I noticed that hubs in niche sites no longer include the "More by this author" section below the hub. Is this just an oversight or was it a decision to drop it on niche sites?
Hello Glenn Stok, Clicking 'more' next to the author's name on Network Site articles will display other Featured articles by the author on the same site.
Oh, that's where it is now! Even better than being below. Thanks Matt.
Matt: I have to respectfully but strongly disagree with Glenn here. The point of the "More By" links (I thought) was to encourage readers to move on to another article by the same writer. Once they read one article, and presumably liked it if they got all the way to the bottom, they clicked over to another by the same author.
In fact, when editors started snipping our link capsules at the bottom of our pages the advice given was that since the "More By" link section was improved (it used to be based on groups) there was no longer any reason to include our own links at the bottom of our Hubs. That made sense at the time.
When readers clicked the "More By" at the bottom of the page this not only improved traffic for individual Hubbers, but the metrics for the page as a whole. It is far, far less likely readers are going to scroll all the way back to the top of the page and click the tiny "More" button under the author name. Much more likely they will just back out of the page altogether.
I have a habit of posting on the weekends when HP staff is off, but I do hope someone eventually reads this and reconsiders this decision.
While I'm here, I've also noticed you've flip-flopped the links in the sidebar. Related is now on top and Popular further down. This puts lower-quality, off-site (HP) links higher up on the page. Is this a good thing for on-page SEO?
I bring up these issues just for the sake of voicing my concerns. You guys have the analytics data and I'm sure you'll make the best decisions based on the numbers. The sites are going great and you obviously know what you are doing. Thank you that is all.
Along these lines, I noticed that, when I went to Owlcation > Humanities > History (signed out/incognito), there were only six history articles shown. Period. Before, the page would continue to load articles as I paged down. Hopefully this is a temporary glitch.
I'd have to go back and look at the data, but I believe related articles has a much higher click through rate than more by the author and popular. To optimize for this when we implemented the responsive design we made a change so related came first on mobile.
One thing to keep in mind, is we optimize for the entire site. It's possible that some authors had better ctr with more by the author, but they are often loosely related and not as attractive for sites as a whole.
We want to do more work to optimize for engagement, so we will likely make tweaks in the future.
Thank you so much for replying to this, Paul, so early on a Saturday morning.
My main concern re: Related moving up higher is because it seems around 50% of the links point back to HP. These are, by default, lower-quality links, since every vetted, quality Hub has been moved to a niche site by now.
Maybe consider making a higher percentage of Related Hubs from the niche sites? Otherwise, it seems like more readers will bounce off the niche sites, and lower-quality links more prominently displayed on the page could be harmful for SEO.
Of course I could be totally, completely and embarrassingly wrong about all that. You guys have the numbers and I have confidence you'll make the best decisions.
Eric (and Paul — please read too):
You made me change my mind. You explained it so well that I realize I wasn't thinking how more likely it is for readers to want to see more after having a good experience reading an author's article.
Therefore, having the list at the bottom, as it had been, is more useful. I also agree with DrMark that the tiny "more" link next to the author's name at the top is most likely missed. And even if people see it, they may not be motivated to click since they don't know if it provides more articles, more info on the author, or more whatever. Besides, readers would not remember to go back up there when finished reading an article anyway.
So you got my total agreement on all that.
What I disagree with, is your comment about the related hubs listed first on the right column. I do have data on that by checking the referrers listed in the stats on my hubs that are still on the main site. You can check your data on that too, take a look.
I have been noticing that some of my remaining hubs are receiving traffic from various niche sites. That must be due to the "related hubs" listing in other people's hubs on those niche sites.
I've also had some of those hubs eventually moved to the niche sites where the traffic was coming from. In addition, that data is every useful to help decide what hubs to submit to be moved.
When I see a particular hub is getting a lot of traffic from one particular niche site, and it's the right subject for that niche, then I submit it for that site. That "related" traffic is showing us that if a hub is doing so well with traffic from that niche site, it'll probably do even better once it's moved.
Glenn: I see what you are saying, but I think it is important not to necessarily interpret referral traffic as a sign of quality, or even relevance. It just means people people are clicking over from here to there. Obviously your pages are high-quality or they wouldn't be moved over to a niche site, but IMO it could also go horribly wrong if not handled correctly.
For example, in a worst-case scenario Paul and the Team could lose their minds and create a niche site featuring the 500 absolute worst articles on HubPages. They could then link out only to the horrible site from the top of the sidebar of every niche site. No doubt the new awful site would get tons of referral traffic from the awesome pages on the niche sites, but that doesn't mean those pages on the bad site are high quality. Search engines would soon catch on. They'd quickly interpret it as an effort to funnel traffic to low-quality, crummy pages, and the niche sites would die a slow (or maybe fast) death.
Obviously they'd never do this, and linking back to HP is nowhere near such a nightmare scenario. Nor am I saying your, or my or anyone else's pages still on HP aren't high quality. There is still a lot of good stuff on HP yet to mined for the niche sites. However, from an SEO standpoint wouldn't you rather link to pages you know have already been vetted by editors and curators for quality?
Plus, from an analytics standpoint, a click from the niche site to HP (or another niche) site counts as a bounce. That still could be okay. It tells search engines a reader found something they liked on the page and went there. At least they didn't hit the back button. But, from my understanding, it's much better to have them stay on the site. So, why not link predominately to the same niche site, so when readers arrive they stay for a while?
Incidentally, this is why I rarely link to HubPages or even other niche sites on my Hubs that have moved to niche sites. I try to keep my links on the same site.
This all just makes for interesting conversation on a Saturday evening. Paul and the Team have the data to make the best decisions on all of this, and I believe they will. While I miss having the control we once had with subdomains, it's also nice to just sit back and let the Team handle it. I have confidence in them.
Eric, Everything you say makes sense and you're not going to get any arguments from me. I also realize how dangerous it can be to link to a low quality site. It can bring down the ranking of the niche site. As time goes on, the hubs remaining on the home site will be of lesser and lesser quality. But we're not there yet. The process is still being done and there still are a lot of hubs that need to be vetted and moved.
With that said, I trust HubPages staff for doing the right thing. How do you know editors and curators are not already vetting for quality those hubs that are linked to from the niche sites.
For all we know, they might be experimenting with specific links to see how well these hubs do. Then based on the results they determine which hubs to be moved. Of course I have no way to know if this is what they are doing.
I'm sure the selection process is complicated, and it may be handled by some sort of experiment and data mining from link results such as these. However, I do notice that in addition to the hubs I submit, some others are always being selected and moved randomly. Almost half my hubs are moved already. And I see that most of yours are done already. You just have a few left. Congrats on that.
Eric, your control with your subdomain(s) was never any sort of real "control". Google towards the end of the HP subdomain era considered all the subdomains to be a single huge site and all of us were penalized, some more than the others because the individual subdomain had lower quality content, but there was a general slap on all of the sub domains.
Yes, more by the Author should definitely be at the end of the article. But, I do not want my range hood articles showing up when someone reads my tomato articles or vice versa. This is where the Group Feature was helpful. It was a really useful feature IMO.
Regarding your take on the On-Site SEO. Yes, linking back to the HP domain is going to have an impact (minimal, though it maybe). But I don't think it's worth worrying about. But, on the scale we see on the niche sites, where there are going to be 1000's of links back to the HP domain, a domain Google may see as spam is not a good thing and the only way to find out is by testing. Maybe HP could block out the HP pages from showing on the related section and wait a month or two and see how things go.
Google should have no way of telling if people bounced or not unless they hit the back button and returned to Google. So moving from one site to another should not necessarily be a problem. In most cases, the related articles are all going to be on a certain domain and there could be the occasional one on another domain. We could end up losing the reader who strays onto a related article on an unrelated niche site as the other related & popular articles in the sidebar may not be related to what the user wants to read.
Personally, I would place links to my related articles in the text of the articles as direct text links. But I would only add them once they are moved to a niche site, just like what you've pointed out.
HP has a lot of data and they can see the bigger picture here, so far so good
There were some odd linking strategies toward the end that I believe contributed to the decline of the subs.
As far as control I was specifically thinking of access to Webmaster Tools data which helped me make a lot of decisions when editing hubs and creating new ones. And linking them together in ways that never got snipped.
But that's all in the past. I agree its moving in a great direction now.
I noticed that too. I like that function. Wonder why it has been remove
I wonder the same thing about the share button on the side of the hub. It was a great way to circulate good but little-known hubs or new hubs. I've asked several times and been told it's still there, but it's not. Go figure.
Kathleen, are you talking about the "More by this author" section – which is what this thread is about? It has been moved to the top of the hub when you click "more" next to the author's name.
If you are asking about the share buttons, they are still there in a floating column on desktop browsers. What are you using? Desktop or mobile? Mobile view doesn't include the share buttons because there is no room on a small screen for the floating column. Mobile friendliness needs to be considered.
In addition, in case you missed the news, The Twitter share button was removed a long time ago because it wasn't helping much with traffic compared to Flipboard and Google. Then recently the Flip button was also removed because very few people were using it. Flipboard is still good for traffic, you just have to flip by pasting the URL into your magazine or install the Flip button on your browser.
In case you don't know what I'm referring to with Flipboard, look for my hub about it.
Yea, I just noticed Flipboard button was missing. At least it can be replaced with Twitter button again.
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