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An Update on the HubPages Strategy

  1. Paul Edmondson profile image
    88
    Paul Edmondsonposted 10 days ago

    Our strategy is to satisfy readers and Google.  We support this with our mission to be the go-to place for people to create useful in-depth media rich pages on topics they are passionate about.

    We aspire to attract everyday experts and we are building our services to support their content with relevant use of technology, best of breed monetization, and a host of services that help maintain content.

    I'm pretty proud of our community and our progress over the last 18 months.  We've taken some lumps, but we have emerged stronger. 

    Here are a few tangible updates.
    1. We started an in the article QnA test this week.  Someone can ask a question and the author can answer it.  It's sort of like Amazon QnA.  There are two variations of it running.  If successful we will roll out more broadly.  It fits our strategy by adding bits of relevant content to the page that should satisfy readers and Google.

    2.  We've implemented Header Bidding. It's shown a material increase in yields after a bumpy start.  It's a bit tricky to get this technology to work correctly because we have multiple partners.  We hope to add new bidders in the next two weeks - AppNexus and Facebook.  This fits our mission because it brings monetization capabilities that are very difficult for individuals to get on their own. 

    3. We have been designing a way to collect expert reviews for your money and your life type pages.  We ran some tests on collecting reviews and are now in the design stage.  We hope to have it in a more broad test in the next month.  This fits our strategy of satisfying readers and Google by adding commentary that adds trusted sources to the page. 

    Feel free to post questions about our strategy and I'll do my best to respond.

    1. lobobrandon profile image84
      lobobrandonposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      It's late in the night so I'm going to jump right in with my questions.

      1: The QnA section, would it be a capsule that we would need to implement or is it going to be included on all/some niche sites? Over the past weeks I've had some interesting comments (questions) on a few hubs on dengarden, would asking a question be similar to posting a comment? And I assume the person who asked the question gets an automated email once the author answers?

      2: Header bidding has been implemented with plans to add new bidders. Is this the reason most of us are seeing increases in CPMs right now? It would explain the sudden jump.

      3: Do you have a reference website or page where we could see these expert reviews? Just curious as I'm not really sure what you mean. Sounds good though.

      These are some pretty amazing updates. Would we also be seeing something new related to internal linking in the future? (In reference to your recent post on Erics forum thread.)

    2. sallybea profile image96
      sallybeaposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      I love that idea.  I am often asked questions about my methods in my felting tutorials.  Sometimes the answer will benefit future readers when they attempt the same tutorial.   If the answers were somewhat more defined it would make it easier for those looking for answers without them having to sift through a whole load of comments.

    3. Ashish Dadgaa profile image80
      Ashish Dadgaaposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      @Paul Edmondson,

      I am really pleased to hear that HubPages is progressing.
      The updates you have mentioned here seems very helpful to all the writers and our community. However, can you please give more clarity on point 2? As you have mentioned, we hope to add new bidders in the next two weeks - AppNexus and Facebook.  So my point is how AppNexus and Facebook are going to assist HubPages? What advantage is our community going to get from this bidding process?

    4. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image92
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 10 days ago in reply to this

      Paul:

      You have completely lost me on some of this.

      What is Header Bidding and how does it work?

      Expert reviews, I think, could backfire.  Say someone writes an article about a particular topic and an expert gives it a bad review?  This could kill the article and all of the revenue that might come with it.  Experts can have varying opinions on topics, so I think implementing this particular item could be a double edged sword.

      As far as the Q and A is concerned, I like the idea but I think it's redundant.  We already allow people to "contact the author" and we already have a "comments" section that people use in this way.  Also, if an author is not really active and questions come in that they don't immediately answer or can't immediately answer, what good is that? 

      For example, sometimes people go away on vacations, have emergencies, get sick or whatever and their articles are the last things on their minds.  However, if you leave the "comments" sections in place, people generally are making their views known, rather than requiring answers, although some do.My personal take on this is that you should tread carefully with the expert and question ideas because I think they might backfire. 

      Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe you need to do a test and see.  Just playing devil's advocate here.

      1. lobobrandon profile image84
        lobobrandonposted 10 days ago in reply to this

        I see why you say the expert reviews may backfire. But the questions section has no real reason to backfire. Worst case the person just doesn't return to read the answer so it's a page view being lost.

        Header bidding you may want to Google what is header bidding. That's what I did last night.

      2. Sherry Hewins profile image95
        Sherry Hewinsposted 9 days ago in reply to this

        Personally, I wouldn't mind doing away with the "contact the author" feature. I don't like receiving email from strangers, and I would prefer to answer any questions on the hub.

        1. Glenn Stok profile image95
          Glenn Stokposted 9 days ago in reply to this

          You can turn off that feature in your profile > account settings.

        2. Jean Bakula profile image92
          Jean Bakulaposted 6 days ago in reply to this

          I also get a lot of questions about astrology on the comments sections and lately loads of people are using the "contact the author" feature to write me at home. I have a busy clientele at home and really can't take on traffic from here, I come here to write, and actually do write about other topics! It's annoying, it's all people trying to get a free astrology reading, when what I can tell them from their info is about 1/10 of a chart, if that much.

          I've tried hard to be ethical and have a blog for clients to reach me for this type of issue, HP or the niches is not the place. Also, I don't like to answer rather personal topics where anyone can read them. I think in 6 years I've established my expertise, and really don't try to flaunt it here.

          I've learned a lot about writing on HP, though I found I'm a lousy proofreader. I read somewhere that once your eye passes a mistake, it accepts it and you won't see it. I'm shocked as I go back to older hubs, yikes!

          1. Nell Rose profile image89
            Nell Roseposted 5 days ago in reply to this

            Hi Jean, yes same with me! I get loads of emails asking for Tarot readings. And yet all they have to do is go to one of my hubs. I try to help them, but now I just delete.

        3. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image95
          Marcy Goodfleischposted 6 days ago in reply to this

          I agree with the idea of doing away with the contact link. I have had several emails (from very nice people) that required extensive answers. I am happy to help people, but I honestly don't have time to do that. The questions were about the articles I wrote, and would have been fine in a Q&A format.

          1. Glenn Stok profile image95
            Glenn Stokposted 6 days ago in reply to this

            Marcy, As I mentioned earlier, you can shut off the contact author link. I turned mine off for the same reason you just mentioned. I don't want to have to answer one person with a lengthy reply that would be better served in the comments so others can learn from the reply too.  Why dedicate a reply to one person?  I don't mind giving a lengthy answer as long as it's available for others to read as well.

            The Q&A format is being tested as a new capsule, as discussed earlier in this thread. That should help improve the method of answering reader questions.

            1. Will Apse profile image89
              Will Apseposted 6 days ago in reply to this

              I quoted this in another thread, from Google's search evaluator guidelines:

              Quote:

              "Important: For YMYL pages and other pages that require a high level of user trust, an unsatisfying amount of any of the following is a reason to give a page a Low quality rating: customer service information, contact information, or information about who is responsible for the website."

              The 'contact the author' feature that HP has adopted makes sense in this context.

              https://static.googleusercontent.com/me … elines.pdf

              1. Glenn Stok profile image95
                Glenn Stokposted 6 days ago in reply to this

                This is an important consideration. I agree. But the key words in that quote are "an unsatisfying amount of any of the following" – That means as long as we have most of the items listed, we should be okay. We don't need all of them, just a satisfying amount of them.

                As for "contact the author" goes, my prior statement is more important in my opinion – That is to provide the answers to questions publicly so everyone (including Google) can see the author's response, rather than a private email between a single reader and the author. 

                Another thing I didn't mention yet, some hackers might ask questions via contact the author just to get our email address. Then they start spamming us. That's another reason why I don't use that feature. When you reply, you are giving them your email address.

                The upcoming Q&A capsule may solve all those problems. Paul has tested it on his hub. That's where I saw it.

                1. Will Apse profile image89
                  Will Apseposted 6 days ago in reply to this

                  Seems to me, Google means that a page or site is liable to a low rating if it fails in any of the following areas:

                  'customer service information, contact information, or information about who is responsible for the website'

                  This means the irritation of the contact an author feature is worth tolerating. Set up a new email account for HP readers if you plan on replying, ignore them if you feel uncharitable.

                  1. lobobrandon profile image84
                    lobobrandonposted 6 days ago in reply to this

                    The contact us option on the footer of the website would suffice in this regard. I do not think the contact the author option matters. Unless there are manual checks by the search engine, I doubt they can tell the difference if it's a contact HP link or contact an individual author. Because the contact the author option is either encrypted or it is forwarded to individuals via a HP email id.

                  2. Glenn Stok profile image95
                    Glenn Stokposted 6 days ago in reply to this

                    On the two points: I see what you mean about the interpretation. I had to read it a few times, but now I see that Google might mean that if any ONE of those categories has an unsatisfying amount then one will get a lower rankling. So, yes, it's up for interpretation.

                    One the second point you made, my main point about 'not replying personally' is not because of being uncharitable, but because I want my reply to be helpful to everyone. That's why Q&A in the hub itself is much more useful.

      3. Jeremy Gill profile image88
        Jeremy Gillposted 4 days ago in reply to this

        Someone may have answered elsewhere, but here's a definition of Header Bidding courtesy of https://digiday.com/media/wtf-header-bidding/

        "Header bidding, also known as advance bidding or pre-bidding, is an advanced programmatic technique wherein publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before making calls to their ad servers (mostly DoubleClick for Publishers).

        The idea is that by letting multiple demand sources bid on the same inventory at the same time, publishers increase their yield and make more money."

        1. Paul Edmondson profile image
          88
          Paul Edmondsonposted 4 days ago in reply to this

          That's the idea!

          We launched a new partner yesterday. The early data looks promising. My hope is we can bring up yields another 10%. They're on a good trajectory!

          1. paradigmsearch profile image85
            paradigmsearchposted 4 days ago in reply to this

            You are giving me vague stirrings of trying the HP Ad Program again. big_smile

          2. paradigmsearch profile image85
            paradigmsearchposted 4 days ago in reply to this

            Best be careful regarding new partners. I remember some of the obnoxious ones of the past.

            "Google’s built-in Chrome ad-blocker said to be more of a quality filter"

            https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/01/googl … ty-filter/

            Leastwise Google is giving plenty of advance warning.

        2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image92
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 4 days ago in reply to this

          Thanks, Jeremy.   Good to know.

      4. peachpurple profile image77
        peachpurpleposted 6 hours ago in reply to this

        Thanks for the new updates but I have not seen the header part. Maybe will monitor later

    5. LauraTallo profile image79
      LauraTalloposted 9 days ago in reply to this

      Thank you for the progress that could so greatly benefit all of us.
      If you please, I have a request:
      I would like to see a "Wedding" category. It could be a sub-category under "Photography". The Wedding industry is huge, and it includes photography, videography, floral, cakes, venues, and music.

      Thank you for all that you do to make hubbing prosperous!

      1. Robin profile image
        95
        Robinposted 8 days ago in reply to this

        We have a wedding category on Holidappy:  https://holidappy.com/party-planning/weddings/  smile

        1. LauraTallo profile image79
          LauraTalloposted 7 days ago in reply to this

          How many "sister sites" to hubpages are there, and is there a directory?

          1. Glenn Stok profile image95
            Glenn Stokposted 7 days ago in reply to this

            There are presently 25. Here is a hub with a list. Only one entry is wrong (unless he corrects it). See my comment at the end of the hub for that correction.
            https://hubpages.com/community/List-of- … ated-Worth

            1. EricDockett profile image93
              EricDockettposted 7 days ago in reply to this

              How did the writer arrive at the $$ figures listed there? According to that, the niche sites are collectively worth over $12 million. hmm

              1. lobobrandon profile image84
                lobobrandonposted 7 days ago in reply to this

                He has stated that he arrived at it from the webstie worthofweb.com

                That is utter c**p though. Try one of your own sites on it if you want to test it out.

          2. Robin profile image
            95
            Robinposted 7 days ago in reply to this

            All of our sites and their Editorial Policies can be found here, too:  https://hubpages.com/help/sites-editorial-policy

    6. EricDockett profile image93
      EricDockettposted 7 days ago in reply to this

      @Paul - A little off topic, but has there been any more discussion about moving the topical forums to their respective niche sites? I know this was on the table when the sites were launched but the idea seems to have died out.

      It seems to me the forums would be a great way to build a community of non-writers around the niche sites. It would add content to the sites, and people would come back over and over to participate in the forums - and read the content. Writers could participate as well, of course, and would be able to attract more readers to their content by positioning themselves as the resident experts, so to speak.

      I was really looking forward to this and hope it is still on the agenda.

      1. lobobrandon profile image84
        lobobrandonposted 7 days ago in reply to this

        Yup, this seems like a good way to get traffic. Related hubs could show on threads, etc.

    7. TessSchlesinger profile image92
      TessSchlesingerposted 2 days ago in reply to this

      Love the question and answer idea. I get a good few emails asking about INTJs as a result of the article been shared on many sites.

  2. Glenn Stok profile image95
    Glenn Stokposted 10 days ago

    These plans sound wonderful, and I'm looking forward to seeing more about it. I think I saw the QnA capsule on your hub you just wrote, but I ignored it and went right down to the normal comment capsule. Now I went back to your hub to see if that is what you're referring to, but it's gone now. Was that it Paul? I guess you took it away.

  3. Paul Edmondson profile image
    88
    Paul Edmondsonposted 10 days ago

    @glenn, you spotted it. We had a bug in it but I think it was just fixed. Should be there.

    @lobobrandon, yes, if it moves forward, it would go in all articles. Reader asks and author answers. Similar to comments, but a bit more structure.

    2. Header bidding is helping with CPMs. We are seeing that and we are seeing significant increases in google traffic and search traffic pays more, so it is sort of compounding earnings in a good way.

    3. The expert reviews were done in a low tech way as a sniff test to see if we can get them, so nothing we can share yet, but it looks promising to add credibility to pages.

    Internal linking is in the very early stages. We are sorting out how to measure the impact, but the intent is to drive consumption. If readers view more pages, that's a good thing.

    1. Glenn Stok profile image95
      Glenn Stokposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      Yes, I see that it's back again. I can see two benefits of this:

      1. Replying to regular comments can end up being many comments later and not associated with the person asking. I assume the QandA solves that problem.

      2. The QandA can increase revisits by the same people, something that Google likes to see.

      I am wondering now — does a reader need to create an account and/or be logged in, in order to ask a question?  How else would they be notified that the author answered?

  4. Glenn Stok profile image95
    Glenn Stokposted 10 days ago

    Paul, I just sent you a test question. I noticed that one needs to be a signed-in user or they don't even see the QandA capsule. I guess that's a good thing since it avoids being inundated with questions from organic traffic, which is a much larger audience. Or maybe you're just limiting it to signed-in people now during the test phase, and is so, that's something to consider.

    1. Paul Edmondson profile image
      88
      Paul Edmondsonposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      1.  I think QnA will need to be available to anonymous people to get traction. There are two different tests running. One in comments and one standalone. The test is so new, there are a few bugs to flush out.

      2.  Header bidding is a way to run an auction like process on each ad that shows in an article. This pushes our partners to pay what they think it's worth. We have two partners plus Google running now. The net is more money for each impression.

      3. Expert reviews are for "your money or your life" type pages. They are intended to improve reader trust. We hope that we can get reviews from credentialed people. They will be tested to make sure they improve the reader experience.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image95
        Glenn Stokposted 10 days ago in reply to this

        I didn't see where my question and your answer appears. Does it appear in the hub for others to see? Or does your answer come to me by email?  Did you see my test question?

      2. Jesse Drzal profile image87
        Jesse Drzalposted 9 days ago in reply to this

        Paul, quick thought on header bidding. I like it.

  5. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 10 days ago

    When someone asks a question and the writer replies, does the text remain on the page? And if so, where?

    I'm wondering how it differs fundamentally from the comments section.

    Also not sure about the expert reviews. Will they be endorsements from well known bloggers or journalists with recognized organisations?

    Will we be providing an advertising platform for them or really getting an extra note of  authority?

    I mean this would be good for a hub: 'Excellent overview of the perils and possibilities of cryptocurrency speculation' Jeff Whoever, New York Times financial editor

    This would be less good: 'Excellent overview of the perils and possibilities of cryptocurrency speculation' Jeff Whoever, Yourmoneyismine.com

  6. Rupert Taylor profile image96
    Rupert Taylorposted 10 days ago

    I'm with you Time Traveler. Most of Paul's post went "swish" way over my head, but that's not his fault. I'm a total dunderhead about things technical. Header bidding? CPM? Not a clue about either. But does it matter? Can't I just keep writing and leave that stuff to the folks who understand it? Please say yes.

    1. Paul Edmondson profile image
      88
      Paul Edmondsonposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      Yes, we will take care of the technical things under the covers and make it as easy as we can for you to write.

  7. FatFreddysCat profile image92
    FatFreddysCatposted 10 days ago

    ^^ What Rupert sez. I don't have any clue what these "improvements" are, either.

    Header what now? QnA who?

    (shrugs)

    I'll be telling kids to get off my lawn if anyone needs me.

  8. Rupert Taylor profile image96
    Rupert Taylorposted 10 days ago

    Woo hoo Paul. I can go back to my steam-powered loom and make blankets for the lads in the trenches.

  9. Paul Edmondson profile image
    88
    Paul Edmondsonposted 10 days ago

    I didn't answer the question posted because it wasn't relevant to the article. The question and answer will be displayed on the article once it is answered.

    1. Glenn Stok profile image95
      Glenn Stokposted 10 days ago in reply to this

      That's good to hear, because it reaffirms my thought that it can help bring repeat visitors. And unlike the comments capsule, I assume the answer will be tied to the question. Am I right?

    2. Sherry Hewins profile image95
      Sherry Hewinsposted 9 days ago in reply to this

      So, if someone asks a question, and there is no reply, then other readers cannot see the question? That seems like a great system. I wouldn't want a bunch of unanswered questions sitting there.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image95
        Glenn Stokposted 9 days ago in reply to this

        As I discovered, questions are not displayed if the author does not reply.

  10. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 9 days ago

    I can see why the 'money or your life' sites need all the credibility boosts they can get after the recent (temporary) traffic crash but I would worry if reviews were paid for, either in cash or links. Especially in links.

    But obviously, I'm sure everyone hopes it will work out.

    I like the idea of an 'ask the expert' feature but should it be on individual pages? A special section, similar to Q&A might be better. A reader asks a question, writers with pages in the relevant area could be notified and a discussion could ensue.

    It might need some editorial input to keep the advice on a professional level.

    I would avoid advice about YMYL topics, though. The first person who ends up broke or dead would never stop complaining.

    1. Jesse Drzal profile image87
      Jesse Drzalposted 9 days ago in reply to this

      YMYL articles no. Could be a real winner on tech and how-to content.

  11. paradigmsearch profile image85
    paradigmsearchposted 7 days ago

    Would you like to play? I am seeing you as we speak.

  12. paradigmsearch profile image85
    paradigmsearchposted 7 days ago

    Link disconnected.

  13. Faisal Ismail profile image56
    Faisal Ismailposted 7 days ago

    Thanks great. Indeed true.

  14. Will Apse profile image89
    Will Apseposted 6 days ago

    I reckon any strategy should include getting more qualified writers onto the sites. I would target retired people, as one group at least. Ads aimed at teachers could help Owlcation. Ads aimed at nurses, radiographers, doctors, occupational therapists etc etc could help Healdove. And so on for all the other sites.

    Facebook is good for demographics.

    Forums might work eg: http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/index.php

    That's as much as I can come up with in five minutes but I reckon it could be done.

  15. Glenn Stok profile image95
    Glenn Stokposted 6 days ago

    Will, Where are you seeing those links on my hub?  When logged out, the people commenting don't have links to their profiles.

    EDIT: I see you deleted your post with those links, but I saw it before you deleted it. What was that all about?

    1. Will Apse profile image89
      Will Apseposted 6 days ago in reply to this

      Sorry Glenn, I made a mistake. When signed in, you see a lot of links back to HP with SEOQuake. When you are signed out you do not. I was looking at a page that I thought was signed out, when in fact it wasn't.

      So unless Google has an account here and signs itself in, the bot will never those links from the niche sites to HP.

      When I realized my mistake, I deleted the post.

  16. Chriswillman90 profile image93
    Chriswillman90posted 4 days ago

    Should we be worried about the potential side-effects of slower loading times with header bidding?

    1. lobobrandon profile image84
      lobobrandonposted 4 days ago in reply to this

      Nope, not really.

  17. paradigmsearch profile image85
    paradigmsearchposted 2 days ago

    @ Paul Edmondson

    You have so much respect from me than I can imagine or can fall upon. You have done what 99.9% of us do not and have not the ability to do.

  18. paradigmsearch profile image85
    paradigmsearchposted 2 days ago

    Just checked AdSensense. HP continues to be amazing. Am ticked off my site can't match it.

    1. paradigmsearch profile image85
      paradigmsearchposted 43 hours ago in reply to this

      How in the hell did spellchecker not catch that?

      1. lobobrandon profile image84
        lobobrandonposted 36 hours ago in reply to this

        Trust nothing but yourself.

 
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