My traffic appeared to be clawing its way back a couple of weeks ago. Now, it has dropped again. Two big accounts with significant content on 5 niche sites. All down. My main account is down to 2016 levels.
Who can fix this?
Maybe me. Maybe HubPages. Maybe Google.
There is nothing I can do about Google. Maybe they will magically bring back our traffic, or maybe it will get worse.
As for myself, I can work harder, or smarter, or both. I can continue to create new content and fix up older articles. That's my plan and that's all I can do.
What about HubPages? Obviously there is an issue here. What's the plan? In the past, there was open discussion in the forum about things in the works to make the site better. Now, over the past few years it seems like things have become more secretive, to the point where there is denial that there is even an issue.
I can only speak for myself, but I would guess many other writers feel the same way. All I want to know is that the traffic issue is recognized and there is a plan. Otherwise, it feels like this is going to be the new normal, and that just isn't sustainable for me.
Writes can't fix this themselves. No matter how hard we work, how many new articles we create, and how many articles we update, we are just fighting to get back to where we were. At some point, it will begin to be like a kind of sunk costs fallacy.
I get where you're coming from totally EricDockett but after years with HP I'm not about to go elsewhere or stop writing new articles. I'm concerned yes, who wouldn't be concerned when such a thing as adblockers exist? But as far as I can make out there is no one definitive plan, no one strategy that can halt online competition and the race for the top.
My traffic is down a little from last year despite writing more articles and updating old ones but I've become more philosophical about this online roller coaster ride. I enjoy what I do, writing about poetry, earning a healthy sum each month, and want to continue competing for the top places. I'll keep doing this until my brain seizes up....
Eric, I see that you write a lot of articles about football. Football season is over so I would think that traffic would be dropping. And you have quite a few articles that have not been updated.
I spent the first 6 weeks of this year updating all of my 200+ hubs and an equal number of articles on my personal website. All the while writing new material. My traffic has been rising pretty spectacularly since January. Part of it is due to the fact that warmer weather means that people are thinking about gardening or, in warmer climates, actually gardening. But a lot of it is due to the fact that Google favors articles that have a current year date on them, whether published or edited.
I write about many topics. I have over 300 hubs in addition to what you're seeing on this account. The drop in my football article traffic is expected and not the issue. Traffic has dropped on multiple niche sites and multiple topics.
I update my articles frequently and I understand how freshness works. That is not the problem here . There is a very very wide range of factors that go into whether or not Google "favors" an article. Freshness is only part of it.
I haven't written new material in a long time, because I barely made the payout the last few months when I used to do quite well here. I write evergreen topics, and the information in them doesn't change, so there isn't maintenance as far as keeping them up to date. I do change pictures now and then. I have had all my articles on niche sites for well over a year now. It took me almost two years to do that, the process was so slow. I continued to write new ones, but only at the beginning of last year. I've also slowed down due to personal problems.
All of my best articles have been plagiarized, but although I do send out DMCA's, I often can't find the host. Or the site is in an obscure country and is down by the time I get to looking. It seems like once an article gets on the plagiarized list, they never get taken down, even if I can't find them on the offending site anymore. I always thought this site could do a better job to protect our work from being stolen.
I like it here and miss being creative. I could make small, useless changes in articles to make them look more current, but it seems silly. I have been hassled by the administration about some pictures. I had a Venus/romantic article with a fully clothed couple lying in front of a fireplace, and was told "it was too racy." So I am at a loss. I feel like I want to write more, but don't know if I will be able to make any money again. I used to be able to pay my property taxes in NJ with what I made here. Now I made $60.00 in that last payment we got days late. I can't decide what to do. And I have already changed all the pictures on every article when they changed the sizes, I am not doing it again. I have severe carpal tunnel from all the hours of changes from when I got all my work moved to niche sites.
I feel the Maven people always give us non answers to our questions. They haven't been helpful at all and don't appear to care.
As internet speeds get faster, and as streaming becomes more of the norm, more and more people prefer video over text articles and so Google will favor, or rank higher a video of your articles subject first. Text type articles are becoming weaker in a Google algorithm simply because more people prefer videos. If you want to survive monetarily with internet income, make some good videos or open a Shopify type of thing. I wouldn't rely on hubpages anymore. My traffic has dropped year after year, and I doubt it will get any better. I'm not going to waste my time on something that continues to have worsening results. By the way, if you decide on Shopify, don't do drop shipping. That shit is very saturated. (Believe me. Spend $20 on FB ads to make $15 in sales) It ain't as easy as all the YouTube videos make it out to be! lol
“...more people prefer videos over text articles..”
My major fear. And I know zilch about putting a video together!
Same here. Plus, I have a face made for radio, as the saying goes.
Personally, I hate how to videos. They fart around for 5 minutes, to increase the view time, before they get to the meat. Text allows me to scan and skip to what I need to know.
Evidently text is still of value, since a whole new cadre of competition has arisen over the last year, pushing me and my old competitors out of top ranking. And yes, much of that content is irrelevant. I don't imagine so much effort would be put into generating content, if there was no upside in it.
Things I see being rewarded, that is anathema at HP:
Keyword stuffing. That first paragraph frequently reads like an second grader wrote it on many of the articles currently occupying 1 and 2 in serps. (My book report on Moldy Roses, you find moldy roses in moldy rose gardens. Roses with mold are hard to think about. If you don't want moldy roses, consider these 5 ways to cut down on mold in your rose garden. )
To occupy: "People Also Ask
Ask and answer voice questions. Think of what someone would say to their phone or siri to get an answer. Google appears to be ranking those types of text higher. Ex: Are bumblebees and carpenter bees the same? Ans: No, bumble bees have fuzzy black abdomines while carpenter bees have hard, glossy black abdomines (and a little more to get an ellipses so people will actually click to get to your article).
Lists with bullets and bold first word as the result/answer are more successful. I am seeing people putting in a bulleted list at the beginning, and then creating subheadings to explain each list item in the subsequent text capsules.
Review articles show thin to no content and a list of products with links to Amazon pages. I can go through pages of results trying to get info and only find these products pages. So is Google trying to give good results, or do they just not have to worry about it, since they are the automatic go to, and they can just get their cut or reward advertisers.
I wish someone in the know at HP HQ would comment on this and how we can work this system without getting hit for being spammy when they correct the current algo. It seems to me the editors are working from a 2 year old playbook.
This post came at a time when I am undergoing radiation therapy for a brain tumor. I have little desire (or energy) for writing, so my views have dropped into the trash can. last year was the best I ever had...this year does not promise to be good...and there's little I can do about it. But, for me, the big thing is to save my health...otherwise it won't matter. I started YouTube site and did horribly on it because since my tumor surgery last year, I look just dreadful and come across as an old hag. Maybe if I get well later on I will do better...IF I don't catch that stupid virus. Never thought I'd see these things this bad on HP or in my own life, but it is what it is. Keep the faith...things may turn for the better.
Well best wishes.
If people have decided they'd rather not read - then our views and earnings are worth nothing anyway, as the world is ending due to stupidity.
I am not a "prayer" but I am sending positive thoughts your way. What is your Youtube channel/.address? I will go watch some videos and help with your hourly requirements.
I feel ya, dawg.
2019 ended on a high note for me, but 2020 has been a bust so far. January was mediocre at best, and I had an absolutely crap-tacular February. March doesn't look like it's going to be any better so I've pretty much written it off already.
I have a couple of articles in progress that I plan on finishing and pushing out over the next week or two, and after that I may take a break.
I have been devoting way too much time trying to "fix" things -- unpublishing outdated stuff, updating/changing other stuff, giving things new/fresh pictures, titles, etc., etc. -- all the usual things that the Powers that Be recommend you do at times like these -- and it's had absolutely no effect on my view counts.
I never wanted HP to turn into a "grind" but lately that's what it's become. This is supposed to be my outlet, my hobby, my happy place. If I'm not having fun, then it might time to step away for a while.
Yes, the real fun is in producing new material. The editing and "fixing" is a grind, especially when you don't see many positive benefits.
There's two obvious things that could be done in an attempt to increase revenue, but not traffic. Don't allow readers to continue reading an article if they won't turn off their ad blocker might be one option. Also display uncustomised ads to readers from the EU who don't agree to tracking cookies. Currently they don't see any ads whatsoever apart from Amazon links. Surely it's worth trialling these options?
Maybe, but ad blockers aren't responsible for the traffic drop.
Exactly. Ad Blockers have nothing at all to do with the traffic drop. I'm at 50% of where I was just a few months ago.
And the biggest drop was Android Google. I've gone from roughly 700 Android Google views per day down to SEVEN.
I am in the same boat re Android Google and have gone from thousands a views a day to less than 10. No one has been able to give me a good answer as to what happened to that traffic. Was HP and all of the HP niche sites removed from the traffic searches for those with Google Android? My articles have their regular Google traffic but a few were REALLY favored by Google Android but that has stopped.
Not sure how long this has been going on for you, but I think my Google Android traffic stopped almost a year ago.
How do you identify your Android traffic in GA? I check "Audience" which lists mobile, desktop or tablet. I presume tablets or mobile is either Android or iOS.
According to GA, I still have plenty of mobile traffic. That is not the same as Google Android. I am going by the stats page on the HP account page.
What sources would Android traffic be coming from apart from mobile devices? Isn't mobile mostly either Android, iOS (iPads and iPhones) or maybe Linux?
Yes, it is mobile devices. Some mobile devices have regular Google, some have Google Android. (I assume, but I certainly do not know much about this.) I think that when I was getting a lot of traffic from Google Android it was voice searches, and Google would send them to the HP niche sites. Suddenly, nothing.
I have seen several people comment on this, so I am certainly not the only one that is feeling this loss.
I'm curious, what are your highest traffic sources per HP stats? I never noticed Google Android, but after a quick search I found it in the top 10 sources if I categorize by total views ever. However it drops to 15 if I search by month and even farther yet if I go by the week. Lowest drop in all my traffic sources so I can definitely see how this could be causing some major traffic losses for some people.
Google dot com & google dot ca are still my top traffic sources followed very closely by Bing. I'm thinking Bing might eventually take over as my top source of traffic in the near future based on views from the past week/month.
I think I'm seeing a bigger decrease in my Pinterest traffic, but I'm wondering if it's partially because I have not been active at all on it in the last year or so. I seem to get more traffic when I'm actively using it and pinning and sharing other pins as well. Not sure if it's related or just a coincidence though.
Google is always on top but when Android was working well it was often number 2. It is way down the list now, right up there with Singapore and Germany. Bing is usually in the top 10 but is still about 1% of Google. My articles rank there so I think it is just that not that many people use it.
Pinterest is still doing about the same for me. The traffic there does not seem to go up much even if I am more active, so I can only assume that some of my pins made someone´s popular board years earlier.
I think Bing has a good chance of becoming more popular if Google results continue to be irrelevant to searched topic/keywords/ect. I've seen a surprising increase in my Bing traffic for certain articles.
I wonder if that was why a few of my articles took off as well. I don't really have many followers, and I definitely do not follow many people or boards. I was honestly surprised I was doing well there for awhile. I wasn't expecting much as far as it being a steady traffic source.
My Android Google traffic has disappeared also. It used to be the third highest source of traffic for me. Now if I get one or two views each day, I consider it a good day. This has been going on for about a year.
A year ago? That's wild. This only happened to me around 3 months ago.
After I posted that first comment here, I checked my traffic sources. The Android Google was at ZERO views early today.
Yes, it's pretty depressing. I'm doing a lot of editing to see if I can raise my earnings/views but I'm not producing new material for the moment. I wrote a lot in 2018 and 2019 but it didn't do me much good.
HP staff making encouraging/positive noises may be good for newbies who are unsure, but it doesn't fix the issues for us old timers here. We need practical solutions. I've certainly not lost hope, but the views/earnings figures are a real drag nowadays.
In the past, we had some dramatic crashes (as well as astronomic rises) but nowadays it can feel like death by a thousand cuts. I've got some of the premier editing going on right now, so I will try to copy some of the techniques employed if it appears to be working...
Generally though, I agree that it feels like we are at HP and Google's mercy.
My Delishably article that was unnessesarily edited at the end of January during their overhaul has taken a 22% decrease hit in traffic since the update alone. It is kind of a seasonal article and drops off after the holidays, but these views are close to 2017 traffic. It's terrible. Last year at this time I was still seeing triple digit views daily and had well over 3k more in views for the same period. I have not had less than 100 views for that article in years and now it's trending downward and fast. It's still on the first page of Google, but I doubt it will be there much longer.
Honestly though, I knew it was only a matter of time as the same thing happened to my Pethelpful article (although much worse over there. I lost over 50% of my traffic that had been gaining or staying fairly stable) after that niche site overhaul. This was my most prosperous article for a long time, so I'm really disappointed in the way things are turning out for it right now.
It's frustrating to see the numbers drop so drastically after these niche site overhauls, and then be told they are seeing nothing on their end that is concerning. I know I am not the only one seeing these kind of numbers either, especially in regards to the Pethelpful niche site.
Overall my articles as a whole are seeing a decrease in traffic by over 10k, compared to this time last year. This is more than just the every day ups and downs of writing online. I was concerned in 2019 when I was seeing a steady decline that only seemed to be getting worse, but picked up towards the end of the year. Despite the good holiday season I had, I still had less views overall at the end of 2019 compared to 2018. If this year continues that trend I will not be seeing many views at all pretty soon.
To get back to the OP’s question: “Is There a Plan to Address Traffic Drop?
From managements end, it may be courteous if
1. they finally stopped being in denial about traffic drop and
2. we received a response about Eubug's suggestion to set up a request to turn off ad blocker
3. what can be done about the Android issue?
My traffic drop began from October and after staring at it for months, I concluded it's because some of my best-performers have permanently dropped in country rankings.
These are still among the top in any search, but even one step down matters that much. What's heartbreaking is that in some cases, I'm replaced by articles that are thinner, and sometimes not even written in decent English. I have no idea what Google is doing here.
Another thing that hit me hard was the changes to featured snippets. As far as I know, Google will no longer feature you twice. Thus if you are the featured snippet in some way, you wouldn't be in the search results. For me, what happened was that my image was part of the featured snippet, but not the actual text in the snippet. (In other words, there were two links in the snippet) The rest of the results then had no mention of my hub. This resulted in near 70 per cent traffic drop for two of my hubs.
Short of it, Google is having a really wicked time here. I'm doubtful the ad-blocker move would help too. Personally, I immediately close whatever page that requests me to do changes to my browser setting. Updating religiously, as I've done over the last two months, seems to help little too.
Interesting point about featured snippets. I knew that change occurred but I hadn't considered it as an explanation for the traffic loss. I assumed it would balance out by other articles moving up a few clicks in the SERPs. But maybe not.
I've just reworked a "How to Use" Skype video based article and used lots of photos instead. I just had a spike in views, presumably people working and playing from home because of COVID-19. Might be worth the effort.
I found TT2's Youtube channel LIVIN' THE RV DREAM WITH TIMETRAVELER2 and am watching and have subscribed, feel free to join me; good stuff here! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4Cktr … FCovja7owA
Our current global crisis is putting more of us in isolation or near isolation with time in our hands. That could lead to more traffic.
But honesty, as most of the world seems to prefer videos to reading, this may just be inevitable. Personally, I dislike videos for almost all content, but people like me are definitely in a minority today.
Exactly. When I need some info on how to fix my car, it's YouTube all the way. We can embed and link to videos on here, right?
I have seen a few comments here about how people would rather watch videos and how that may account from some traffic loss. I'm sure that is true to some extent and over time it will mean less traffic for all articles on all websites.
Some people have also mentioned the mess that is currently the SERPs, where one must weed through rows of Google-curated madness just to get to the actual top result. You are not wrong about that either.
However, I created this thread in response to the sudden traffic drop that occurred in January after a Google algorithm update. Going by my own experience as well as comments in these forums, it appears many niche sites had a drop in traffic at the same time. Videos don't explain that, though maybe the messy SERPs might.
In any event, to me, this means there is something about the niche sites that Google doesn't like. It doesn't mean the niche sites are bad or that HubPages screwed up or that we are all doomed. It just may take a little analysis by the team to figure out what happened and how to recover.
I would hope a tiny bit of transparency would go along with that. I don't ever expect HP to tell the writers every detail about how they manage the site. But, I think a simple acknowledgement that there was a traffic drop and they are working on it would go a long way toward improving morale.
Based on current rankings and search volumes, 2% of all search traffic from Google to Caloriebee goes to just one of my hubs. That hub has had 6 views in the last 24 hours. Just think about that, it's like 300 views a day to the entire site when 2 years ago this single article used to receive 400 views a day.
Do you have any thoughts on why that happened? I know you keep your content updated and you have a strong grasp of SEO.
I'm waiting on a sign that makes sense to me before I get back to work.
My goal is the ten million mark, and the income I expect to get from that amount of traffic.
It's not like I've not seen us all get dumped on by that hate filled anti-American international monopoly we call Google before.
These come from a friend of mine that is visiting today:
"How coronavirus can affect your guitar playing"
"How to avoid coronavirus when shopping for guitars"
"How to play the guitar when stuck at home with coronavirus"
And the big one...........
"How to avoid coronavirus when living in Texas"
(I think she is a little preoccupied with this coronavirus thing. Those titles will be sure to get you to 10M in no time though.)
Spinditty writers should get down to work, right away!
I've started working on stuff out of pure boredom. Strangely enough, some of the things they didn't want on Spinditty get more traffic on the homesite than some of the ones they did take to Spinditty.
I'm on it!
I've already written "Ten Heavy Metal Songs About Viruses and Disease," and it's off to such a good start that I am thinking about doing a Part II when I have time.
LOL! I'm certain there are ten heavy metal songs on the subject. I'm certain I could probably locate ten myself, and I'm beyond certain you can.
It's funny because you could either be kidding, or completely serious, and the only way to know is to click your profile.
Oh, I'm dead serious. I probably could have done a list of 50 or more, haha.
I don't usually write stuff that ties into current events cuz by the time the article clears QAP and is posted, that 'trending topic" is usually old news already.
However our new friend COVID-19 seems like it's going to hang around for a while, so I figured I had nothin' to lose by trying
It's going to be a thing which sticks in the public mind for a while, I think. It's a historical event. I say absolutely go for it!
Old Bono's beaten you to it... an actual song, I mean.
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/musi … 19-968865/
Oh no, scary stuff! Now it is stuck in my head and I am walking around the house singing "My Corona". Those guys from the funny farm are going to be arriving any moment now.
There could be a gardening angle to COVID-19 considering the stocking up on essential supplies and shortages
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If a niche site is bringing you a lot of traffic you can mention that as well.
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