According to Search Engine Roundtable, it seems there was another update this week. I notice traffic has dropped a further 20% to 30% on at least two of my high traffic articles.
Has anyone else noticed changes?
Yes, traffic's been even worse for me the past few days. Hopefully, we'll rebound.
My traffic is down but it's hard to tell if it is due to Google or the season. In the gardening niche, traffic slows in the fall and winter and picks up in the spring and summer.
Same for my main niche, which is what I have attributed the lower numbers to. Will know more after this weekend. Ironically, two older articles of mine took off for a few days! Go figure!
If you really want to compare you can. Compare against last years stats. See the gain you had in the summer compared to last summer and you should be seeing the same gain in percentages now compared to this time last year. If you aren't that means the traffic was hit. Also with hubs on Dengarden I can confirm that they were hit, not as bad as caloriebee though. I'm not sure about this last update though, things were already going down so hard to tell if this made things worse.
Compared to last year, both my traffic and my earnings are up because last year I had fewer hubs in general and fewer hubs on Dengarden specifically. This is why I'm not sure if my drop in traffic is due to Google or the end of the gardening season.
My work is all evergreen, and I've fallen so low I'm about 50% lower than I was before this happened. I was feeling so good I was writing new material, only having a few last articles I wanted to move to niches. Now I feel like it's not worth it again.
I had about 15 articles which had 100 scores and my traffic was better than ever in September. Now I can barely see anything except blue down arrows.
Unfortunately, I think it's hitting everyone; even hubbers like myself (who don't have gardening articles) are experiencing a sharp decline.
This is a good point to make and good to let people know, because when I made the comparison I actually found out I'm doing better this year - so I'm guessing the drop in traffic is seasonal. Good news is I saw that last year the traffic picked back up soon after this seemingly seasonal drop. I could be wrong, have to wait a week or so to find out.
Below is a screenshot of my analytics from Google search traffic only. September and October may not seem like a lot less, but it is 25 - 35% lower than last year on most days. It doesn't look like a lot less because the summer has like 200 - 300% increases. I can compare very well because I did not really write any new hubs that receive Google traffic. The Hubpages guide (no google traffic) and just a month old new tomato hubs over the last year.
So with the increase from Jan which you can see, this is a trend that shows the traffic has dropped. The niche sites were hit with the recent Google updates. I see this on SEMRush too, for 10 niche sites that I checked. I didn't check them all, the trend was clear.
I compared last years numbers with this year's as of yesterday and found my views increased by 304,000. They're a bit low right now, but for me this has been a banner year.
Yeah, these major updates (major to some websites) are going to be happening more frequently now. Before it was once every 2 years, then it became once a year and now multiple times a year. The algorithm is being updated daily, but these bigger updates are usually less frequent. They mainly target quality, quality parameters, the fair use of Google resources and the end user experience. As long as these factors are taken care of it should be good.
What is 'fair use of Google resources', Brandon?
This is mainly for websites that add a lot of new content and content that changes in time. Google allocates a crawl budget for each domain in its database and if you do not have a good website architecture and don't have a sitemap submitted, it is possible that the search bot won't get to the right pages in time. It may re-crawl static pages while missing on your dynamic pages. It's not very relevant here on HP, but I wanted to provide a complete answer.
Thanks! It's all so complicated. I don't even use GA... I'm best kept away from such things or my laptop would probably get hurled through the nearest window.
Haha yeah. I get the whole user experience thing, but trying to additionally satisfy the beast is complicated.
Ditto. I was getting crazy checking performance and stats every few hours then even more regularly so I had to pull back. The info available is great on the one hand but sometimes I think there's just too much for my own good!
Traffic wasn't great at the beginning of the week so I took a couple of days off and it was a little better yesterday but not up to where it should be.
I'm down about 12% today. What's more concerning to me though are earning which are down far more this month. For the first time in a year, unless things change radically, it doesn't look like I'll make payout.
It doesn't seem to be affecting my sites but I got hit earlier by some out of country cons spamming and stealing my articles so still trying to recover from their monkey business.
All of my Owlcation articles seem to have fallen in ranking ... hardly any traffic in comparison to before. It's hard not to sound pessimistic when these things play out. Just got to stay focused and to keep on writing ... I've been hitting those keys hard
The biggest hit that I can see is against hubs with Amazon products. This is nothing new, Google's been doing this for some time, but irritating if you still earn a reasonable amount from this type of hub.
It also annoys me when we get hit in the run-up to Xmas. this is the busiest time, and potentially most lucrative.
I don't have many product hubs nowadays but the ones I do have, have gone down in traffic only as much as my others.
I do wonder about ratios of affiliate links overall though. I noticed some of my product hubs were recently moved to network sites. Maybe if a lot were moved over alongside mine it would tip the balance.
I try to stick to one product page per a minimum of 10 info pages on my own site.
You were one of the people that inspired me to try product hubs, back in my early days as a hubber - I seem to remember you wrote a hub about it. I noticed that you generally moved away from them some time back. There was a terrible time period for product hubs. But later, after I did a lot of edits and re-writes, I made decent money off them again and they were easily my best earners.
I have a number of product hubs on the niche sites, though they are a minority of my overall output. For the past 18 months, however, their trajectory has only been downwards. I've clipped back the affiliate links to such as extent that if I do any more clipping they will no longer be product hubs.
I'm not unhappy about moving to info-only/non-product hubs, that appears to be the future, but it takes a lot of writing to make up the lost income, that leaves me feeling like I'm treading water sometimes.
Yes I did write a hub about it. Things were a lot easier back then. Little did we know that Google would pull the rug out from under us! I did move away from writing about products on HP but elsewhere I've experimented a little with affiliate pages.
The main thing I notice is that Google often prefers pages and sites featuring a variety of different affiliates (rather than a singular affiliate) especially when the keywords promise a comparison e.g. 5 Best *******
So instead of 5 Amazon products, have 2 X Amazon, 1 X target, 1 X other company, 1 X other company.
It's good that you've kept going. Which network sites are your hubs on in the main? You've probably got more insight into what's going on here than me as I've not kept track of things.
I don't think affiliate marketing is dead, it just needs to be done right (read how Google likes it).
My hubs are on niche sites like Owlcation, Wanderwisdom, Turbofuture, Dengarden, Toughnickel, and others.
They're spread across 11 HP accounts/profiles. This profile is my original one from when I joined in 2009.
Only a small amount of my hubs are affiliates nowadays, I don't really write any new ones. They still bring in about a third of my HP overall earnings. But they used to make up 75%. The change is a combination of the fall of affiliates and the rise of Hubads, particularly over the last couple of years.
(Amazon lowering their payment rates is a big problem too, but off topic).
I tend to appreciate official HP advice, as my experience is that Google tends to keep its wording on such matters deliberately vague. Analyzing the competition is useful, but not straightforward given that there are so many factors involved in the Google rankings, some of them to do with technicalities of things like the coding rather than the written content of the page/site that's published.
I don't have much insight as to what's going on. I'm waiting for the official HP analysis and advice. With the recent burst of roll outs, it could take weeks before things settle.
If Google were against product articles and affiliates, you would not find affiliate sites on best ...
But they are all affiliate sites. So don't stop writing product hubs as long as you offer quality and a unique view on things. Not amazon re-writes is what I mean.
Historically, Google algo changes have often targeted affiliate hubs on HP and other sites such as Squidoo (RIP). That's why over time HP have brought in stricter rules and updated the advice it gives. That's the context for my comment.
Generally speaking, I stopped writing product hubs some years ago and don't have any intention to write any new ones. My best affiliate earners have tended to be old hubs that I wrote early on, then tinkered with. They've had down periods, but also some very good spells.
I'll be interested to hear what changes, if any, that HP make once the dust has settled.
Yes, and Squidoo had nothing but list of top products with names to the product and links nothing more. No new or helpful information. They were essentially spam, the kind of stuff no one wanted to see on the internet.
HP liked the Squidoo content and migrated it over to their site, for better or worse.
I'm not defending "spammy" content, by the way. I just think there is way more to the situation than your explanation implies. The definition of "spammy", for instance, is never fully defined and it constantly changes over time. Part of the point of ongoing algorithm changes is that Google has altered its conception of what is "spammy".
There are also situations where Google cuts traffic for non-quality related issues such as when they cut traffic to HP by 22% because they wanted "how to" articles to have a lower profile in searches.
I applaud the HP/Mavern attempt to set up an alternative to Google's virtual stranglehold on large-scale advertising (outside of Facebook at least), but I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see reprisals by Google.
And by the way, Squidoo was a fun site - whatever its faults, it was a relatively small independent company squashed by a big corporation.
When you search in Google for a product, check out all the advertisements at the top of the search results page. They are not there because they are the most relevant results, they are there as a result of payments to Google for favorable treatment. Google then "merges" in some of the "sponsored" results so that they look like the general search results and people will click on them. If a rival company did that, I believe that those adverts would be labelled by Google as *spam*.
The only articles with affiliate links that Google targeted were the spammy types as Brandon explained. I have a hub with five amazon capsules that works very well and gets a lot of Google traffic in season. When it’s done right, Google has no problem with it.
It's easy to write product hubs that Google likes, difficult to write product hubs that Google likes and make a significant amount of money nowadays.
There are numerous reasons for why it's got harder over time. It's a competitive and complicated area. Brandon's advice (which I never sought) isn't bad or wrong, but it is the same general advice for beginners that's been around for years. It doesn't explain why your product hubs went down 10%, Glen.
My concern is that we are in mid-October and Amazon income is going down, not up, as we approach Xmas. I'm generally much more focused on non-product hubs at other times of year.
Anyway, any help or advice from HP staff and editors much appreciated. I know it will likely take time to figure out the effects and implications of the latest changes.
Paul, I didn’t say that I lost 10% traffic on only my product hubs. I lost 10% across all my hubs. Based on a discussion in another forum, we are all coming to the conclusion that the drop is due to the Q&A causing a lower ranking on niche sites.
I agree with Brandon. Google is not against product hubs. Almost 1/3 of my monthly residuals if from Amazon sales. My Amazon hubs are doing well and their views only dropped about 10% since a month ago, which is the same drop I noticed among all my hubs.
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