I'm not here to Cry! I'm not here to have someone else "fix" my situation. But I have been doing this for over 10 years now on HP and presently I am sitting here, wondering about how much power Google has over my income.
You see, I am something of an EXPERT on one particular subject and that's the world of RV's, especially camping and traveling in them. And as an Engineer I am able to help people figure how to fix many of the things that commonly go wrong with RV's.
And, I know that the great google needs to have fresh and interesting information for their paying customers to have their ads attached to. I just figure out what I need to do and then I take my 200+ RV-centric articles to that special format they seem to want at that time.
But this time, even after all of my research over the past month, I see nothing that I can change in my writings which can have the same % of improvement that I am now experiencing as decreased income.
I can say that if my writings were as boring as Googles tips and instructions for articles then I would deserve the radical drop of over 75%, which is where I am and have been for a month now.
Yep, people are using them adblockers and there's a huge debate going on at present as to the future of ads, the attitude of Google, the response of viewers and the inevitable loss of earnings. What can be done?
Well, if we think our ad revenue is bad then Google, who gets the majority of this money, must be really upset?
That's a strange statement to make, I guess, but it's true.
I don't know about you, but I don't put Google ads into my personal blogs and websites. If there's a system for doing this easily, and managing such ads, then I am not aware of it.
There is mediavine, if you are getting over 30K pageviews a month. When we were in Whistler, several blog writers mentioned that they used it and were very satisfied. They manage the ads from start to finish.
The current Mediavine requirement is 25,000 visits a month, which I think is similar to Maven partnerships.
I use mediavine on my website. The RPM (what we call CPM on hubpages) is much better than here. My average is around $12. A lot of people get over $20 on a daily basis. They're very helpful in terms of helping your site do better as well.
Regarding Adsense on my personal blog, it is earning pennies compared to last year's $20 per month.
Ad blockers should be illegal. People providing information of value should be compensated for their efforts. It's like expecting free gas to get you from here to wherever you want to be.
Youtube has found a way to force viewers to watch part of their ads; some creative needs to come up with a new ad delivery system that can't be circumnavigated. Even if its just for 4 seconds.
I wish HubPages would trial a system used on many websites (typically newspaper sites) where readers are shown a teaser of an article and then asked to disable their blocker if they want to continue reading. They could try it on a select range of pages. At least they might get some info on how effective it is and whether it increases impressions or causes readers to back out.
Just added a survey quiz to one of my best performing hubs (it'll probably be moderated out though) asking readers whether they're using a blocker.
It would be good to learn of your results Eugbug, if the moderators pass it. I've read recently online that adblockers are used by the younger generations - say 18 - 35 - which is why I'm feeling the pinch at present. This is such a potentially massive problem that Google will have to review/reform soon...they're probably on the ball though and will be evaluating, recommending, advising, manipulating....? Wonder what HP and Maven think? Adblocking issues cannot be ignored.
A measly seven votes before it was removed after running for a few days (600 views per day on this hub).
Perhaps we should consider the 2400 views that did not vote as "no" votes. :-(
Well, I think that most people visiting a favourite site for useful information (let's say they want to pass an exam, write a decent essay, learn how things work, how to grow, tend and eat a pomegranate) would be prepared to whitelist it, if that site was in jeopardy. Your wee survey reflects this. Food for thought.
That's very optimistic of you, especially in this day and age. I would expect everyone to be all for their own personal comfort, and without regard for the survival of others, even if it would be to their detriment in the long run.
I guess I had in mind those followers of favourite sites, who become 'attached' loyalists if you like, because the information they get is key to their own personal progress, with projects or whatever, and no other site offers them the same quality. Maybe then they would unblock the ads? On reflection, perhaps I'm too much of an optimist! Ah well....must sign up for a course in online realism one fine day...
Adblockers became necessary to even read some websites, and that is a shame. If many of the websites would have done what Google always said to do, and that is to make the ads so they don't distract the reader, adblockers wouldn't even be a problem.
Some websites are so bad with pop-ups and ads, they are imposible to read. Some of the worst offenders are major websites like CNBC and many of the local television websites.
Individual websites can be whitelisted, so a reader doesn't have to blanket ban ads on every site they visit. I'm not sure a whether a "disable ad block on this site" button can be implemented and displayed to users though. Some sites show you how to do it with popular ad blocker ad ons so I guess it's not possible for a button to control the blocker. Some readers won't bother to turn of their blocker if any effort is required on their part.
I used an ad blocker on this site until I read this. I don't write here, just read occasionally. I write on Medium. I certainly never meant to cause anyone to lose income, and if I have, I apologize. I have disabled my blocker on this site. On a lot of sites, I can't read anything for the ads. It looks like driving through Los Vegas, and I'm really not exaggerating. It is extremely distracting. Again, I am sorry. Best of luck to you all!
Until this morning I had Adsense on my website. It made peanuts and I have never reached the payment threshold. In light of Maven removing our personal Adsense accounts and so many people using Adblock, I cancelled my Google account and now expect a payment of around £35, which is income earned over several years. If you want to put Google ads on your website it’s quite easy to open an account. But if memory serves correctly, I think you meet a certain minimum number of hits to be accepted.
If you see an increasing decline in the last two weeks, you can probably blame coronavirus.
I'm seeing steeper declines everywhere in my travel-related projects (articles, books and websites). People are becoming afraid to go anywhere, especially on planes and cruises.
It doesn't matter if your focus is RV. There are simply fewer ads of any kind as advertisers get cautious. And plenty of companies are reporting an impact on their business.
I'm sorry to hear that your revenue is so bad. Not all niches are experiencing this. I write gardening articles for Dengarden and both my traffic and my revenue is increasing. This is normal for garden articles. Now that the holidays are over (my traffic and revenue were in the pits), people are looking at seed catalogs and planning their gardens, hence the increase in traffic. My revenue has not increased at the same rate because CPMs are down compared to previous years but my revenue is still larger than previous years.
My gardening articles are also getting more views as is normal at this time of the year. Some of the Owlcation ones got the chop though losing 70% of views or more, and I can't find any plagiarised copies.
I think this is a google thing. I've just been notified that my views have plummeted this past month and given something to click on to read up on what I can do about it. I don't have time to fool with them right now because I have too many other irons in the fire. I've read that this happens every so often. One person, a content writer, said that google put out a new algorithm about 10 years ago that devastated his income and he's never recovered from it. So, it sounds like google shoots us in the foot and there's really nothing we can do about it. Why waste our time trying?
I can definitely empathize with your pain, Don.
I really hope the HP staff can brainstorm some new ideas that will improve our bottom line, which is their bottom line.
Want to hear something disheartening?
This pending February payment will be the biggest paycheck I’ve ever received, thus far with my symbiotic relationship with HP. Unfortunately, I can already calculate that I will take an 80% haircut in profit, due to the recent and ‘devastating’ shift in traffic.
I was making enough to see a four figure check was possible if I diligently added more search-friendly articles. Now, this took all the wind out of my sails.
Feels a bit like climbing patiently for years towards a specific peak, and immediately nosediving even before getting to enjoy the view.
Boy, life sure can be unpredictable. Hang in there, everyone.
Web hosting services should provide an option as solution. The page should not be browse-able when it sees an ad blocker. Or Display half of the page, while user performs further scroll, it should display a message "Content is not free with ad blockers".
If you take a look at where we are as writers; simply put we are a resource for both HP/Maven as well as for google.
Until we're treated as such and provided with the tools and training we need to be a more profitable resource we will all be losers.
Maven needs to become a more supportive partner for us or at some point they will see the majority of us fade away with our works. Just placing cute generic instructions on things like "how to write a title" or whatever is for beginners, not long term business "partners". I get better and more useful information on Google News than I do on HP/Maven it's sad to say.
I say, at least show me some "perfect Hubs, and I'll be able to see what made them so valuable.
The problem is Google, not HP/Maven. Google now favors:
2. Household, brand name websites
3. On-point-keywords-in-domain-name websites
This is happening to a couple of my articles as well. Google is favoring inferior articles over mine, due to the website domain names they are on.
The natives are getting restless so it would be nice if Admin chimed in with some soothing words or an explanation of what is going on, preferably in English rather than Maven-speak. After all, we are in a revenue-sharing mode so HP must be suffering too.
There isn't anything on our end to signal any problems. As a reminder, the beginning of Q1 is notoriously the worst time of the year.
The best you can do is update your articles frequently to continue ranking well on Google (and don't forget about SEO)! Keep the 80/20 rule in mind—80% of your time should be spent updating and 20% creating.
Sorry I don't have a better answer!
My traffic is at a fraction of it was a few months ago. My main account dropped by 39% over a one-week period last month. I have three big accounts with over 400 hubs spread out over many of the niche sites and everything has dropped. My earnings are literally less than half of what they were at this time last year (Q1). I update my articles constantly but traffic dropped anyway. So many other writers have commented on their similar experiences.
This is honestly starting to scare me, but it is doubly disheartening to worry so much and then hear that HubPages isn't even seeing any problem on their end.
Samantha, I am holding out hope that you've been instructed to calm us down while the Team works frantically behind he scenes to figure out what has happened. Otherwise, I will need to face the harsh reality that I will soon be asking people if they'd like the value meal or just the burger.
The little burger, with lots of filling bun, please. Yes, earnings are 1/3 of a year ago. Nothing to laugh at here.
It really varies across each network site. Updates roll out, the season changes, and traffic fluctuates. The ebb and flow is just a part of publishing online content.
I understand your frustration and concern, but we have no control over what Google decides to do next. All we can do is continue to update articles and keep our content relevant/pretty looking. Our team does keep tabs on traffic, even more so after we started touching up more articles.
As a whole, HubPages is doing well and there is nothing that says otherwise.
I don't even know what to say anymore. What I am seeing is definitely not the regular seasonal ebb and flow. Been around here a long time, you know.
I completely agree!
After the Pethelpful update all those articles tanked. There has been a lot of copying and other dog sites are ranking better currently, but whether that has anything to do with traffic compared to the mass HP update is uncertain to me. Although it seems too much of a coincidence that after their overhaul that's when everything went downhill. Maybe a bit of both, considering Google's apparent favoritism to certain sites, but I feel like my decline started before the new sites fully had things copied and were ranking better.
Same for delishably. I know they are not done yet, but after the inital uptick I'm now seeing a decline even in my most prosperous article. If that article continues to drop in views I definitely will not be making any kind of money as that one brings in most of my revenue.
The only reason I made payout last month and this month (hopefully, it will be close but with how uncertain things are, I cannot say for sure one way or the other just yet) is because I have seen a good amount of Amazon sales, more than I have ever seen for this time of year. Without those sales I would not have made payout 2 months straight. That has not happened in several years.
If HP does not start acknowledging something is clearly going wrong. I feel like we are going to be in trouble. I find it very hard to believe that they are not seeing anything, when so many of us have clearly seen major drops not only in traffic, but cpm and earnings as well. We are capable of comparing different years and when we are comparing between Q1's it's easy to see it's not just the seasonal ebb and flow.
2019 was my best Q1 to date and I knew that was likely short lived, but I definitely did not expect to make less than a third of what I made last year at this time. I'm down half of what I made in 2018 for the same period. It's really disheartening that these numbers are trending as low or lower than 2017. I was able to significantly pay down student loans for two years, and this year (if things do not start turning around) I'll be lucky if I make enough to fill up my car. I'm already on trend to make less this month than last. Definitely not just the seasonal ebb and flow, there is something else going on.
I feel your pain. And to PS it is not just sites with the keyword in their domain. Pethelpful is being regularly beat out by sites like Cuteness, Rover for cat articles, trulygeeky and lovetoknow. But admittedly there are the thehappypuppysite, thelabradorsite, dogtime etc...
I really think having an editor give the writers some guidance on what topics need to be filled in to make the niche sites more comprehensive is necessary.
Is that not what an editor in chief does at a magazine? They select a theme of topics and curate the articles. It would be helpful to have someone knowledgeable break down what is working right now and give us some guidance in editing existing articles, as well as in producing fresh content, that is not in competition with existing articles.
Otherwise, there is little incentive to keep writing, when what we have done in the past, seems not to be working with Google.
I too find it impossible to believe that Pethelpful is doing just fine. There is no reason that it can't be one of the top sites for pet related info, yet it is malingering well behind 20 other sites. AKC and PetMD are a given, but why would we not aspire to be number 3?
There has to be a reason why we average only one page per visit while competitors are averaging 3+ pages per visit. What are they doing, that we need to do?
The adblockers debate is ongoing - complex, confusing.....there are many articles on this subject online and most seem to acknowledge lowered income for sites and advertising companies and of course individual writers like us! Google Chrome has It's a sort of catch 22 situation:
...….unobtrusive ads, whitelist your favorite sites, or block all ads by default. Just click "Add to Chrome," then visit your favorite website and see the ads disappear!
Ads come in all shapes and sizes and types and adblockers was developed to get rid of those nasty obtrusive ones. So ad companies are having to alter and adapt, but this can take a long time. I will continue writing new articles on HP and updating - got many loyal readers - so will just have to wait and see.
"What you are hearing and seeing, is not what is happening."
Appreciate your input Samantha. I plan to write more and update regularly here on HP but I will be keeping a close eye on the adblock issue as the debate moves on. It's good to have such controversial subjects out in the open now and again so we can monitor and have our say, inform and reassure.
It's a difficult time! Hopefully things will stabilize soon for everyone. We are keeping an eye out.
Mixed messages do not bode well for us, I think.
Let me elaborate. I was responding to @chef-de-jour's comment. It's a difficult time on the internet due to the constant updates/adblocker issues. There is a lot of confusion that many content creators are experiencing.
Thank you, Samantha. Even though I haven't seen a drop in views or income, it's still comforting to know that there have been no drastic changes with Google or ad revenue that we should be aware of.
Saying that there is nothing on your end that signals problems is ridiculous. Clearly, there are problems. Plenty of us are having problems. Views are down. CPMs are down, People's incomes have dropped significantly. Something has changed. HP should get a small team together to start investigating so that they can provide some answers. If they don't, this site will falter. I started vlogging on YouTube as a test...have had horrible results. Perhaps we need someone to guide and monitor us ..something...anything...to lift morale and help writers here. This has been such a fantastic site, I would hate to see it die.
I will not make payout next month, a first in a couple years. I've never seen the after-Christmas drop last this long. From what I can tell, it's CPM more than views. But both are bad.
My views are up on last year, but only because I wrote eight more hubs, and the views on three Owlcation hubs have been compensating for the losses on DenGarden views. For me, CPM is pretty much the same as this time last year.
Question, if a hub doesn't have many modules to interleave ads, do some get left out or are they placed one after another? If there was just one text module, would there be lots of ads placed after the module?
With adsense I used to earn something. Now the ad program in HP says 0 for entire Feb. That's just killing the revenue source.
Sorry Samantha, but how can you not notice the plunge in page views? It seems to be happening to many of us. My numbers are down by at least 50 percent compared with this time last year, while having a couple of hundred more articles on niche sites.
I estimate that if I write 500 more articles by the end of the year (an impossibility) I will be getting the same traffic as in 2018.
Google is giving preference to recently written or recently edited articles. I took a quick look at your profile and many of your articles have not been touched in months. I know that it is a lot of work but updating your articles so that they show a 2020 date will greatly improve your traffic. I spent the first 6 weeks of this year editing 200+ articles on the niche sites plus another 200+ articles on my own website all while writing new articles for both sites. It was a nightmare but my traffic is going up on both sites, not down like so many other hubbers.
I update my articles every 2 to 3 months religiously, especially niche articles. CPM is just bad right now. Views seem to have occasional upticks, but not as good as I'd hoped by now. As I said above, I will miss payout next month, a first in a while.
For the first time ever, I saw a TV ad advertising the Google search engine. There's only one reason Google would do that.
Makes me wonder if the reason we are getting less traffic is because Google is getting less traffic. Other search engines are now getting that traffic and they seldom send that traffic to us, both past and present.
Am just speculating.
My traffic sources include Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. I realize you are just speculating, but as far as I can tell none of the other search engines are treating the niche sites in any negative way. They seem to be ranking just fine.
I likewise get traffic from the others, just seems like there's very little of it.
My main speculation is about Google getting less traffic.
Yes, I agree there is less of that but I think that is because they are less popular than Google. Just think, of course, with absolutely no sources to back that up!
I think if the comments here about the horrible results in Google search are any indication of feelings around the world, I think Google is getting less traffic. I think a commercial is not going to solve that.
If Google is a shrinking revenue stream, why then are the big box folks investing so heavily in writing articles to compete with us? Essentially rewriting our articles, for Google to send them that shrinking traffic?
It was my seeing Google's TV ad about their search engine that triggered my speculation. I've got to wonder what suddenly motivated them to start doing that. Oh well, it's not like it's something we have any control over. Plus and as you mentioned, competition is really a factor now; and that competition is targeting all the search engines, not just Google.
Going to admit from the onset here that I'm out of the loop, don't concentrate on my online writing very much anymore, but I have noticed a drop in earnings and haven't been able to figure it out. But it's like what's been said, I've usually found it to be true, it is usually like this this time of year.
Looking at SimilarWeb, I can see that Pethelpful has lost about 400K monthly views since August, 2019, with no measurable bump up in December. That's a 17% loss in views site wide. Pethelpful stats: Bounce rate is 88%, average visit duration 46 seconds, average number of pageviews 1.17. Compared to Rover.com they have Bounce rate 59%, average duration 3.13 minutes, pages per visit 3.37. This is why they rank 9976 globally and Pethelpful is 41613 globally.
What to do to improve these numbers?
What are they reporting as the total number of page views?
In August it was 2.4 million now it is 2.08 million. Rover get 5.77 million views per month. BTW I am experiencing 10% of the 6 month Pethelpful loss. and each month it gets worse.
Edit (It could be 2.7 million on August - the graph leaps from 2-4 million and it's hard for me to estimate in between those bars, making the slide possibly that much worse)
Those are some scary losses. If it was a comparison to a site like Dogster I could under stand, but Rover? Surely there are much better articles on Pethelpful, if only we could convince Google of that.
I think that Google has tinkered with their Algorithm until they broke it. I get very unsatisfactory responses to most of my searches right now.
I am frequently frustrated by it ignoring the main word I am searching for in a longtail keyword search.
Yes, I use that one a lot too but isnt it based on Google?
duckduckgo is a great search engine if you want your searches to be private. It is not affiliated with Google. It's open-source.
My experience is the same. I'm usually disappointed with the search results on Google nowadays.
Thanks for the tip Caren. You mean all I have to do is change the position of a comma in an article about Henry VIII, say, and it gets a 2020 date and is therefore boosted in the Google rankings? The article will be more or less identical but if that's what it takes I'm in.
And, the Similar Web tip was useful. It shows a 2.5 million drop in monthly views between Sept 2019 and January 2020. That's about 50% and it's where most of my articles are lodged.
Rupert, my more successful articles have been edited by HubPro several times. The editors have a better command of English than I do so all I can do is change a comma. I think we have no proof that the updates work, but those of us that do so have seen very good results.
The other thing you can do when you update your articles is make Pinterest-friendly images. I am not sure how that is going to work on all of your articles but many of them are interesting and Pinterest users would read and repin them if they were added to a board. It does not work for everyone, but so far I have about a million views from that site.
Wow, I'm glad I don't write here. I hate having my work edited by anyone unless I ask for it to be done. IMO, that's why the powers that be some smart developers made Grammarly!
If you think Grammarly picks up things better than a human editor, we too are glad that you do not write here.
Hate having an editor=not much of a writer
I don't think Grammarly picks up things better than an editor. I have others that I trust to edit my work, but I do not appreciate it being edited without my permission and input. With a comment like yours, I think I'll stop reading here as well. Judging another's writing by one comment made in a post on a message board is a little small-minded in my opinion. "Hate having an editor=not much of a writer" WOW, you didn't even use the correct punctuation. That's where Grammarly is useful. I think I'll stick with Medium, where I don't have to depend on ads, and where I get advice from authors that have been published and make a living by writing full-time. I was trying to be supportive of you all who write on HP, but apparently you are so much better at writing than I, so please continue. Without my apparently useless advice.
My HubPro edits have increased my traffic and earnings, so I'm really glad I write here. HubPages have a great team
What I am seeing as successful is keyword cramming in the first paragraph, then very few keywords after that. So the overall number of keywords is slight, but they are front loaded.
I also see a lot of gifs being used, perhaps they hold up the reader and keep them on the page longer.
A lot of low grade tricky stuff that is working to fool the algos.
"Longtail keyword search?" "And StartPage?" "But it's neutral?" I have no idea what you guys are talking about.
I would dig out the old Parker fountain pen and scribble an outline to a friendly editor of my acquaintance, but they are all dead now. So, what's the point?
Sorry, having a bad day here with the bloody snow coming down in big dollops again.
Rupert, I must say, you must be an English chap!
Longtail Keyword search would be a series of phrases and not just a word or two that people might search for. It is closer to a conversational search term. “Buy breathable running socks” (4 words) is an example of a long tail keyword, whereas “buy socks” is a short tail keyword. We can / could compete on more specific search terms.
I think "neutral" means they have no skin in the game, unlike Google who is making money off adverts. So Startpage, a Google competitor and search engine, I assume, is not making money off adverts, so they just throw up a good response without any monetary considerations. Which is as it should be. Google is suspected of favoring its big advertisers.
Please correct me if I am wrong!
Yes, that's what I mean. StartPage does show ads (they have to earn somehow), but it's just the top three results and they have 'AD' right next to them. They aren't plastered all over the page and inserted willy-nilly.
Temps in the 70's here, Rupert! Eat your heart out!
Rupert -swathes of Great Britain is now under several feet of water. Not much flooding in Robin Hood country but it rained persistently for 24 hours.
Okay I'm going to try doing a comprehensive update job on all my hubs. It will be a gradual process, but things are so bad right now in terms of views, it's worth a try. (And yes, I'm comparing year on year, and so taking into account the seasonal drop).
I will be doing 3 things:
1. Making edits to every hub/article. This will be relatively quick.
2. Putting a Pinterest friendly image at the top of each hub/article and then pinning it. This takes a reasonable amount of time, although I've become pretty adept at doing it in Gimp (free editing software).
3. Rewriting Amazon product orientated hubs/articles and using more contemporary products where appropriate.
I hope this works. It's a lot of effort. I have over 250 hubs.
I hope your efforts are wildly successful. Please let us know how it goes for you.
I believe HP did an "experiment" where they edited everything in a particular niche and views went up 15 or 20% (I can't remember the exact figure). Currently I'm down about 30% (compared to this time last year).
HP have also been hinting to me that my amazon product hubs are out of date, plus I've also been reviving my interest in Pinterest. So this all fits together nicely.
It's just very tough managing my time, as I have other passive income projects I want to spend time on too, plus some regular work in the "real" world. Not enough hours in the day! I've never worked out why they call it "passive" income, that's a misleading description, if ever there was one! Haha!
Go for it, Paul! Personally, I found a lot to edit in my articles. I edited them last year when HP was updating all of the articles on Dengarden and I didn't want the editors touching my articles. So I thought it would be difficult to find anything to add or change this year, but I was wrong. A year's perspective really changed how I viewed my writing and I made a lot of significant changes. And as I've said, since editing my articles traffic is up quite a bit over last year and the year before.
Pretty much all the brand-name corporations and companies.
LOL - - I had to look that up a few weeks ago myself. I took it to mean mega websites with big backing that can employ lots of folks to create targeted content. The big box retail store (i.e. Ikea, Sam's Club etc...) of the internet; Amazon would be the biggest, but they have their reviews to generate content, although I see them sneaking into the article space a bit too. Ebay has it own buying and shipping guideline articles for their more popular product categories.
Example: AKC redid their website, and their creatives went looking for dog topics that were popular and created cunning copies of them. These were topics which the AKC traditionally had no business interfering. AKC is a registry, not a pet store.
So now in addition to breed information, they have articles on the best dog food, best puppy food, teething toys etc... Not that they sell dog food, but they are busy becoming the biggest dog authority on a variety of topics that come up in the #1 or 2 position and offer very little info of value. Perhaps AKC will one day have it own brand of food, or sell food on their site.
Rover is now writing about cats and cat names, although their mission "is all things related to dogs."
Eventually they will have an article on every topic in their niche, and we will just wither and die on page 3 because there is no one orchestrating the whole of the topics on the niche sites. Contests and suggestions of topics or article titles from editors could help us to keep pace with them. A better use of their time than recrafting articles for the 4 or 5th time.
@ Dr. Mark - add "of 2020" to your Badass dog names article title and see if that adds views. I see one of your competitors is beating you out with 2019.
Great, thanks. I was looking for something to do with that one. it always was number two in page views and has fallen to about number 10.
When I was searching for info on pageviews on Pethelpful, your article on Molvadit (sic) ducks make good pets, came up at the number one position for my search on Pethelpful. That surprised me
That is hilarious. I checked after you mentioned that and found it at the front page of Google. It is one of those "purple pigeon poop" hubs though since only about 5 people a day search for that term!
Oh well. It was a good way to waste a rainy day.
WOW! Obviously i have hit on a larger problem than I thought when I vented my anger and confusion over this problem.
And, after reading over 70 responses, it seems that no one else has a clue what the path forward is for us, the worker bees of HP/Maven.
The only solace I can find is that if we're hurting, then so is our boss, Maven. I am hopeful that there is a formula of some kind that will bring us back into the mainstream of readers that we once were.
I too am seeing all of the big "magazines" Blogs, and specialty web sites producing articles that are so close to being copies of mine these days; and they are what worry me as I look forward in time.
Face it, as an RV-centric writer, I now see the Big Dogs like Passport America and Good Sam, along with dozens of startup "expert sites" writing on the same subjects as I do/have.
Folks, I know it's scary but it's called competition!
The technical data i used for my articles is also available for all of these other sites, and when Google presents us in their listings for a person's search, I am no longer the most authoratative, but suddenly one of several who have more professional looking sites and articles but also are very close to being copies of what I wrote a year or two ago.
So, you say just change the date on the article? That is most likely just one of several fixes we need to use.
Remember, it has always been, how do I get listed at the top of Google Search, not how do I get into the gang near the top?
Anyway, Just Thinking,
Yes Don, thanks for the original post. Choppy waters ahead by the looks of things for us online scribblers and earners. We've seen so many changes over the years, some scary some inspiring but this latest seems to be a bedrock change somehow and there'll be a need for a fundamental shake-up.
I'll continue to write new articles - have to keep up with the new kids on the block, the usual challengers and them darn algorithms - and update on a regular basis. I'm not panicking just yet. But keeping a beady eye on the AdBlock issue. Ciaou.
The main thing needed to get to the top of Google's search results are still backlinks but it's not something HP likes to acknowledge. It's also time consuming.
To get some decent links you could try doing some outreach to quality sites in your niche. Find an article on their site that would benefit from a link to one of your articles and make the suggestion.
This is problematical because all of the sites I have seen are hiring people with no knowledge in the area to copy articles by people who know what they are talking about. No backlinking, just copying.
What do you think of Brandon´s suggestions of internal backlinking? My newer articles never have any backlinks, and this weekend I went in and pulled up some of my older articles and added links to some of my newer stuff. I am not sure if that is helpful.
I did that from my most popular article to a couple of my newest articles, after they were moved to niche sites.It gave them instant traffic. One was getting 100+ views a day immediately.
I added links between my articles when I updated them in January. I haven't seen any increase in traffic due to those links.
Maybe you have not seen the devastating traffic drop some of us others have experienced, as a result of those newly added links ;-)
I've never really explored this option, most of the sites related to my niches create their own "how to guides" so the few I approached weren't interested.
I think I'll do some more research into this.
I skipped some comments above but there are saying for both of their personal websites and articles here in HP. I guess they updated their algorithm again or is it just mainly for the ads that are being blocked?
Hey, sports fans. I've noticed a significant traffic increase in the last 24 hours. I hereby prognosticate we are not dead yet.
Big increase in my traffic also but I attribute it to the President's Day holiday. People were home and had time to surf the web. I'm sure that traffic will fall to normal levels the rest of the week.
I do find it a little odd that you've experienced an upsurge in views for "How to grow..." articles over the Winter months. Are these organic views coming from Google?
My gardening/yard work articles always dip and plateau for several months during Winter and don't really recover until March or so.
Paul, it's not odd at all. Remember, seed and bulb catalogs are arriving in November and December. My traffic tanks in November and December due to the holidays, but after the holidays, people start looking at those catalogs and start planning their gardens. Like many of us, they research the plants that they want to grow. My traffic starts climbing in January and continues increasing until the fall when gardens are being put to bed for the year. Then it steadily falls until the following January.
Yes, almost all of my views are organic from Google and other search engines.
Good for you. I know that's a lot of work. And I agree that CPM is lower than it was last year at this time.
Argh! I have conducted at least half a dozen Google searches over the past few days where the results were nowhere close to to what I had asked about. It almost seems like it is pushing results from certain websites even if it doesn't match the search query.
So frustrating, not just as web writer guy but as a person trying to find stuff using the stupid search engine.
I just had to vent.
I will note that while watching a video on a Pethelpful article, the option to install an ad blocker right now popped up. Can these sorts of ads not be blocked?
@Solaras, do you mean that you were watching a YouTube video, an ad video was appearing even with an adblocker, or that the ad WAS FOR an adblocker? Sorry, a bit confused!
An ad appeared in the video window offering to install an ad blocker immediately on my computer. Bleechhh
That's because the thread here mentions it, and trackers... well they track you, hence the ads for that very thing.
If it's an ad in the video capsule, those are probably coming from YouTube and not us.
On a positive note, CPM has increased over a dollar since Saturday for three days running.
Yes, currently on this account (I have others) CPM's compare favorably with last year. The big problem for me is that my views are way down.
My views are way down and I make so little in the last year it isn't even worth it to write anymore. The ads are awful. And the current administration always gives nonanswers.
Agree with you. The problem is not with my earnings but the way that traffic has dropped significantly since Christmas
My earnings and views are up at HP, and I am happy with the return I am getting for the work I am putting in here. I am satisfied with the edits and appreciate the staff here. Since removing HP from my Adsense account, my other sites that are on Adsense are doing much better, too.
Just a Note on Pop-Ups. I started reading the Google News a week or so ago, and you can hardly finish a paragraph without the screen having from one to two pop-uo ads filling the screen.
My assumption from this is that Google LIKES Pop-Ups???
Also, I would like to say that the response, "You can move your articles back to HupPages, if you don't like the editing" is a brutal reply. It is tantamount to saying, "If you don't like what we are doing, you are welcome to commit suicide."
There ought to be standards that are understood by all, and that trigger certain actions.
If an article is doing well and not losing views, leave it be.
If it suddenly falls off a cliff, an email to the author, do you want to try to fix it or shall we? No response, then editors can dive in.
Removing good articles from a niche site, because the author does not want a 5th or 6th edit is suicide for both the author and the niche site. IMHO
Your point about the editors making suggestions on what to write is a good one. Paul did this several years ago and I am not sure how the response went. (I wrote on one of his suggestions and the article is a decent earner.)
I think the "you can move your articles back to Hubpages" is a valid resonse though. I think too many people come on here and complain about how "HP editors have destroyed my article".
They appear to be very patient with these people. If it were me I think I would just remove their work, as the niche sites are already too bloated with too many things that do not belong on there anyway.
I volunteer to remove 25 of my own "bottom-feeders" from Pethelpful if I can remove 25 others!
@DrMark1961, we've chatted about making topic suggestions in our training videos, but it's tricky. Say that based on an analytical report we recommend writing about chocolate ice cream, but by the time the author writes said article, the trending topic has changed. Also, what if another chocolate ice cream article has just been written with better SEO?
This can be a waste of time for the author, who may even hate chocolate ice cream!
But I totally hear you. I hope that as our training videos step away from the bare basics, we can move on to more complicated topics that will benefit our seasoned writers.
Also, no need to sacrifice your articles! What if they suddenly spike in traffic one day and you become a millionaire?
What I would suggest is that the editors of each niche site determine what is missing to make that site an authority on its topic, and reach out to the author whose work would best fill that need. Ask them if they will write it within a week, and if yes, collaborate a little bit for it to hit the sweet spot.
No reply within 48 hours, and the offer is rescinded, and another author is made the offer. You could secretly experiment with one of the niche sites.
That sounds like a great idea.
The things that Paul suggested was different than the title generator. I thought the results on that experiment were horrible. He had just suggested some trending topics, and one of them I chose to write an article on was hybrid dogs. I just checked and it is number 15.
Our team is pretty busy with these quick edits right now, and reaching out to individual authors for things aside from their editing tasks would obviously take some time. Also, some of our niche sites have 500+ articles, so finding a topic that is missing can take some time as well.
That being said, I will pass your suggestion on to the team. I do agree that we should find a way to collaborate more when it comes to topic ideas.
I didn't become a millionaire, but I have had underperforming articles suddenly spike in traffic. That's why I never delete articles that don't do well. I never know when they may suddenly start attracting traffic.
They used to have a title generator, which I used to write an article. It never took off here, but I moved it to my blog, and it gets views over there. Something like that could be resurrected.
I suspect that pethelpful and delishably are taking hits because high performing articles are being moved off those sites and over to their frustrated owners' blogs. AgilityMACH said she was moving all of hers and Lisa Volroth (sic). I don't have a bird's eye view of these sites to know how bloated they are, or what is coming and going from them.
I have some articles that probably need to be removed as well.
I think AgilityMach was just angry about something. None of her articles have been moved, although on the forums she said she was planning on doing so. Not sure about Lisa Volroth.
I think the hits are coming because of the other sites copying (paraphrasing) our articles. I had one on the top since 2013, and when I was adding MFP images on Sunday I found that it had moved down to number 2. The number one is a paraphrase of my article. (Google has not, to my knowledge, replaced one of my articles with a copy. A paraphrase, however...)
I agree the paraphrasing is hitting some niches hard. However, I also think Pethelpful and Delishably suffer from still being too broad. Owlcation is another one, but they have so many more subcategories that I think it works better than say Delishably. I think the main problem is that the home page of these niche sites never looks the same. Some times the sub categories pop up right away and sometimes you could be scrolling awhile to find one. The three lines in the upper left are not exactly intuitive in that I would expect to find more topics or subcategories to the main one I picked to help narrow down my search.
Delishably for example has more topics than are listed on their home page ticker. It also only has the main category of breakfast. If I want to find a certain food I either need to search for it or scroll through the whole "home" page to find what I might want. It's extremely vague compared to say desserts/sweets which I can at least narrow down to pie, cake, cookies, candy, ect. That is if I know I can do that with the lines button or I scroll down the home page far enough to find a subcategory.
The other issue with Delishably is that some articles can be in several categories and sometimes I think they are put in the wrong one. I have one in desserts that should be in breakfast, but I have never had much luck getting articles moved where I want them to be so I've left it. It's not even subcategorized into cakes. It's simply labeled as dessert.
The lack of categorization also does not help in my opinion. How are we suppose to find anything if we are looking at specific topics, but articles are only labeled into the main category and then not specificed after that? Why even make the subcategories of the main topic if they are not going to be used? I feel like some niches are better at utilizing the subcategories, but others could definitely use some work.
Most visitors are searching on Google or other search engines, rather than on the niche sites themselves so IMHO it really doesn't matter how the niche sites are organized.
That's true, but some of the niches are not showing up in the results like they use to. With Google not really reliable right now, we should be looking for other ways to increase traffic.
I know obtaining loyal readers was never a part of the structure of this site, but times have changed and it's something that I think would be beneficial for everyone. We cannot just rely on search results anymore. Google especially is simply not as reliable as it use to be.
If the sites are hard to navigate they are less likely to create a following. A good site design is really important and could get us more readers.
Before the niche sites I was an avid reader of other author's work. There was a lot of traffic from internal views at HP years ago. Now I don't even bother, because I can rarely find what I'm looking for and I know I'm not the only one. In my opinion we are losing a lot of internal views, because some of the sites are not easy to navigate and the search function is iffy too.
I tried the search function here the other day, and it brought up search results from the web in general (5 or 6 of them) before any HP based articles.
The "find your Maven" thing is still present on the search dialog too. It's not obvious where you have to enter search text and you have to press the Maven "key" to search. A panel for entering text with a magnifying glass icon should be used as is standard on most sites.
I've found the best success when searching for the author or the exact title of an article. Not helpful if I don't know who writes on what topics or if I'm simply looking for something to read in a certain niche category.
Most of my results in the past (I actually have not used it in a few months) would bring up HP or even a Maven site on occasion before articles on the niche site I was actually on. Not super helpful if HP is suppose to only house subpar work now.
I agree! I find it unprofessional and poor business practice. I could see if their edits were necessary or useful, but I have generally not found that to be the case lately. (My delishably article which happens to be on page one usually in the number one spot had it's photo capsules changed and bullet points added after they removed mine). Both unnecessary edits considering they basically redid what I already had. I also do not think it's crazy to ask that they not write our bio's. They are suppose to add authority and that is not the case when an editor creates one. It takes two seconds to send a reminder e-mail that there is an article without one or to take one we have already created and add it to the related article.
I miss the days of collaborative e-mails/edits. I have had some good experiences with those, but sadly I have not had any collaborative e-mails since the merge. It's simply accept what they have done or you can leave. That is not the way to run a business.
I have an article that has supposedly been in the que for 2 years. I doubt it's still there as that is a ridiculously long time to wait. However, if editors are giving top priority to articles that have already been done several times or when they are rehauling a whole niche site, I guess the que could see a wait that long. Although my article is suppose to be in the Pethelpful que so I would have thought it would have got edited when they rehauled the site. Either way it's making me not want to write anything new or submit anything else to the niches. I have several I would like to get edited, but I do not think it's worth the effort it would take me. There has been no consistency in whether one of my articles gets accepted or not or where it will end up.
My current top article has a date from 2018. It is doing great and is on the first page, generally top spot depending on the search engine. Why would I update an article just to have the new 2020 year? It holds the snippet on Bing. Is that not what we are trying to acheive? It's not worth the risk in my opinion. The article is doing very well and is bringing in views, there is no need to do unnecessary edits just to get the newest date in my opinion. I have not seen any evidence as far as my articles go anyway, that a current date gives an article the advantage. I seriously dread the day they start overhauling that niche site.
A quick google search on several topics and I've rarely found a 2020 date. I know it is still extremely early in the year, but even 2019 is not showing as the top results in some instances. Some content I know has high competition (so I would expect a newer date would be more important if it truly matters) and Google is still showing articles from as far back as 2012 before articles dated with 2020/2019.
If an article is truly evergreen (which is what we are aiming for) the date of publication should not matter. The information is still relevant and useful, the content does not become dated just because the date of publication is "old". Unless the method has changed in how something should be done (growing tomatoes for example), there really is no need to edit the article every year in my opinion.
Your comments always make me think! Thanks.
Your point about current date is good, but I also wonder how much it affects click-through-rate, not just position on the search engines. If someone is looking for current information, and the article just above mine is from 2013, mine is 2020, which do you think they click? I think (but cannot prove) that a current date is more effective.
I am pretty sure that the reason they edit the articles that are already on a top spot is so that they maintain that position. That does not always happen, but it is the goal, to the best of my understanding.
Wouldn't articles with high bounce rates or even those that are not getting clicked on drop in the search though? If an article is not being clicked on at all why keep it in the top three pages? If articles are being ignored because of their date (which you cannot always tell before clicking on), I would think they should drop in ranking, because they are no longer bringing in traffic. The whole point of the search engine is to bring in traffic so Google can make revenue right? Why would keeping articles on the front page that are not being clicked and viewed for an appropriate amount of time be left at the top while other viable options are continuing to sink further into the search results?
I know I've resorted to other search engines lately, because I have had horrible results with Google lately and it all seems to be unrelated to anything I'm actually looking for. I do not know what the right answer is, but it seems like Google has tinkered so much with their algo's that they completly messed up the whole search engine system. It feels like a guessing game right now at what they want and are looking for. Videos seem to be highly rated, which I find annoying because I'm not a visual learner. Watching a video clip is not something I'm even remotely interested in. If I wanted a video I would go straight to the source and search around Youtube.
I think it depends on content. If I'm searching for gardening articles I generally have set sites in mind, but will occasionally search and click whatever comes up first. I tend not to look at the dates personally (there are websites I avoid like the plague, but dates do not matter much to me), especially in a topic where things generally do not change. If I wanted to know about something that was more recent or has frequent changes like how to file certain paperwork for example, than I am definitely looking at the date of publication. Something published even a year or two ago would likely be irrevelant in that situation. I really think it depends on the subject matter in regards to whether or not people will pay attention to dates.
I know the goal is to maintain or get to the number one spot, but editing just to edit seems pointless. There are so many articles that would benefit from edits that I feel are getting left behind, because the focus has become the articles and niches that are doing well and trying to keep them performing well. If it's not broke I do not know why we would try and fix it, or make it better. If there are edits that need to be done by all means edit away, but if we are creating edits just to say we did something, does that really matter?
I certainly dont have the answers to a lot of those, but as to the click-through, I think there are always going to be people that will click the top results first, even if it is out of date. Another person, looking for more current information, will click by date. I agree that not all show dates, and sometimes it does not matter. (If I chose five dog breeds a few years ago, I am not going to change and edit to change those breeds.) So, those articles on the front page might not be wrong, but then again they may not have the right answers.
I agree with your comments about Googles current search results. I have found copied articles of mine on Youtube, read over photos of what I am discussing in the article. Google will remove them if asked, (and you find them) but will also tell the thief your email address.
What I don't understand is why I've been told by editors that suggesting to readers to turn off their ad blocker is considered "spammy"? Is there a fear that they may be offended?
I think that a lot of publications encourage authors to refrain from telling people what to do—like subscribe, follow, etc. You see that sort of jargon more on social media.
I totally agree that adblockers should not be used when the site is not egregiously littered with ads. Readers are getting valuable info by reading your articles. This stuff is all fairly new, so hopefully, we will find a good workaround.
I'm with Samantha, when a site tells me to do something I just click out - I don't want to do extra work to read the article. HP and its niche sites are, ad-wise, so much more uncluttered than a lot of the top ranking competition. I don't get it!
"If the sites are hard to navigate they are less likely to create a following. A good site design is really important and could get us more readers."
I totally agree. For example, I have an article under Owlcation/Humanities/Performing Arts but when I open Owlcation, then click on "Humanities", Performing Arts is nowhere to be found!
Why can't there be a dropdown menu in the top navigation bar to show hidden topics?
Sharing - if you need a thesaurus, I found this site heads and tails above Thesaurus.com .powerthesaurus.org
It was awesome on the term I was searching for.
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