On Traffic, Freshness, and Updating Old Content

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  1. EricDockett profile image98
    EricDockettposted 22 months ago

    I've been thinking about the "fresh articles" thing a lot lately. I saw a drop in traffic like everyone else this week, though it has bounced back a bit today. But I noticed my more recent articles did not suffer nearly as badly as my older ones.

    I think those of us who expect our old articles to continue to earn like they have are going to be disappointed. We can update them, but updating (to Google) means adding significant, fresh content, not simply changing a word or two to get a new updated date.

    HP's sitewide updates may help, if only because more people are going to click on articles with recent dates, but they aren't really helping with freshness.

    Bloggers often deal with this issue by writing new content and redirecting the old url. We can't do that here. The best we can do is make big changes to old content. I've even wondered if rewriting old content completely would have a good effect.

    The fact is most of the content of HP sites is now very old. Changing dates doesn't help in the long run. I have articles with close to 2 million views that used to get thousands of visits per day and now get hundreds or fewer. I have updated them many, many times--several times each year. The editors have even taken a few swings at them.

    So what happened? Maven's ad approach sure doesn't help, but also the internet evolved in the seven or eight years since I wrote those articles. Hundreds if not thousands of articles on those topics have popped up since. My once successful articles are old and withered in internet terms.

    These are just my observations. It is a bitter pill for many of us who have hundreds of articles here. They will keep plodding on with diminishing returns, most likely.

    New articles seem to have a fighting chance still. But the question is, do you feel like going back to the drawing board and putting even more work into your HP content just to get back to where you once were?

    That's the main question I have been asking myself.

    Even more importantly, what can HP do to encourage good writers to write more quality content?

    Thoughts?

    1. chef-de-jour profile image97
      chef-de-jourposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      I continue to write fresh articles on HP because:

      I love my chosen subject; I like to compete with others for good ranking;
      I owe my readers.
      And I still earn decent money each month!

      I'm no expert when it comes to online SEO and Google's demands - but I occasionally read through forums where the knowledgeable ones gather to debate, poke, dissect and analyse the latest updates - and they all seem to agree on one thing no matter the resultant pain: Google loves fresh quality content. End of story.

      Let's face it, we're all at the mercy of god Google if we want to compete with fresh material. No site is immune either. HP as far as I can tell has done wonders despite the advent of the dreaded adblocker, never-ending plagiarism (I hear you Bev) and better competition.

      Attracting known quality writers is a tricky one Eric. There'd have to be specific financial incentives promised which I don't think is part of their ethos. HP is here for all, which I like; we need the young, keen and adventurous from wherever in the world, but it means the quality often is patchy and needs careful editing.

      One thing: I would love it if HP/Maven/Arena had a thorough re-evaluation of the ads. Sooner rather than later.

      1. EricDockett profile image98
        EricDockettposted 22 months agoin reply to this

        Your response on another is thread is actually what led me to create this one earlier today. I started out replying to you, but figured it might better off as its own thread as not to hijack that one. smile

        I think you are on the right track with your thoughts on fresh content. I wish I could muster the same enthusiasm these days. I really miss the days when I had a fire under me. Back then on HubPages, it felt like the only thing limiting one's success was the effort they were willing to give. It wasn't really that long ago.

      2. eugbug profile image96
        eugbugposted 22 months agoin reply to this

        There seems to be a policy of sticking ads in any old place. Hey, even put them in the middle of our content between lines. There must be a sweet spot for the amount of ad content. No ads give zero revenue but more readers are likely to stay around without backing out. Loads of ads give some revenue, but probably more readers leave early out of frustration. As an experiment over a few weeks, why not reduce ads bit by bit and see if it results in a maximisation of impressions? Ad stuffing in the hope of generating more revenue seems to be a very simplistic approach.

        1. AliciaC profile image94
          AliciaCposted 22 months agoin reply to this

          I strongly agree with the idea about experimenting with the amount of ads and their placement to find the sweet spot. I've seen advertisements in between the lines of a poem and before the caption for photos arranged in a row. Recently, I've noticed that when I click on one of the photos near the end of a row, an advertisement appears. If I want to see the person's photo, I have to click the photograph again to get the ad to disappear and the photo to appear. These points will likely frustrate both writers and readers.

  2. theraggededge profile image97
    theraggededgeposted 22 months ago

    I'd be encouraged to write new content for HP (I'm writing in other places) if I knew my work wasn't going to be stolen within weeks. It's disheartening. And it's a shame because I love HP.

    1. viryabo profile image94
      viryaboposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      +1

  3. Pamela99 profile image91
    Pamela99posted 22 months ago

    I appreciate your comments. If anyone is here for the money they can earn, they will probably be disappointed.

    There are other places to write where you will earn more money. I have been here for 12 years, and I make less now than I did in the beginning. I do update articles but it doesn't seem to help most of the time.

    I am not sure how HP can encourage people to write more quality content.

    Do you post your articles on other sites? I post articles on Pinterest, and I do get daily views from that site.

    1. EricDockett profile image98
      EricDockettposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      On which sites can you make more money than here? Asking for a friend smile

      I still do okay here and I think anyone starting out can do okay too. It's just not as okay as it used to be and the future doesn't look any okayer unless there is a major shift in focus.

      I have tried promoting my articles through every manner of social media I can think of in the time I've been here. I've not found anything worth my effort. Just focusing on SEO to rank better in search. I do get some Pinterest traffic but not because of anything I've done.

      1. DrMark1961 profile image96
        DrMark1961posted 22 months agoin reply to this

        I still do  okay here too but I question whether anyone starting out can do so.  About everything I start lately seems like it has already been covered ad nauseum on the internet already. Even when I wrote an article on a treatment I worked out for yeast infections on dogs skin, using mostly local materials, has been repeated so often (not copied, just paraphrased) that it now gets only a third or less of its views when I started.

  4. Pamela99 profile image91
    Pamela99posted 22 months ago

    I believe you can make more money on Medium and on Textbroker. I know there are more sites, but I do not know the names of them.

    I find it easy m post on Pinterest, but I don't bother with any other sites. I don't write enough articles to make much money any more.

  5. eugbug profile image96
    eugbugposted 22 months ago

    Often, there's not much that can be done with evergreen articles and I struggle to add new content every year. Adding more content often makes them fussy and worse when they need to be short and simple. I have a suspicion that Google turns up its noses at some of the guides I write because they're too comprehensive, while promoting thin content on other sites in SERPs. Maybe deleting and republishing articles would work? I did have my best traffic and earnings last year and the previous year was also good. 2022 seems to be a washout though.

  6. Shesabutterfly profile image94
    Shesabutterflyposted 22 months ago

    The last two months have been my best months this year (views & earnings). Since they changed their calculations of impressions I have been doing better earnings wise, and my views are finally recovering from the dismal start to the year.

    My top 3 articles are currently ending their peak season and have done very well. Slightly outperforming the last two years. I have never significantly updated and they were originally wrote in 2011/2012. There is significant competition, because the articles are on a highly saturated topic. I still hold the snippet or first page for all three. Even when I don't have the newest date. Two of those articles where still dated as 2018 until just recently when I went in and changed a few grammatical errors I found.

    These are articles I dread an update when HP makes it to Owlcation/Letterpile. Everytime HP has edited my articles they drop dramatically and I never get that traffic back. I don't know why, but I have never seen success from any updates they have done, basic or Hubpro.

    I've found if it's not broke don't try fixing it, because Google clearly still likes it for whatever reason. Messing with well performing articles won't make them any better. You can't do better than the first page.

    I get wanting to be proactive instead of reactive, but in the business of writing and being at the will of Google's ever changing algorithms, I personally don't see the advantage of trying to better an article that is already performing. In my opinion the loss of traffic is a much bigger risk and not worth the potential of a few more views.

    I wish I had the desire to write on HP, but I don't. I have so many ideas, but with the current layout and lack of communication I simply don't have the desire to put in any more work. This has always been passive income and I still earn plenty to make it worth my while to check in here and there, but the negatives keep adding up that I'm not invested enough to actually try and keep writing here too try and raise my earnings. Earnings have been increasing more often than not for me, throughout the years and I stopped writing years ago.

    I've actually created my own website and will put my new articles there. It's my hope I'll come back and write here, but I honestly don't know if I ever will.

    1. Miebakagh57 profile image74
      Miebakagh57posted 22 months agoin reply to this

      *****

  7. theraggededge profile image97
    theraggededgeposted 22 months ago

    The current layouts are ugly, unwieldy and unattractive. The old HP/author's view format is so much better. Nice to read.

    1. Eric Caunca profile image95
      Eric Cauncaposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      Yes.

    2. EricDockett profile image98
      EricDockettposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      Agree 100%. I'll also add, which I'm sure you'll remember, it took HP years of trial and error, and many failed experiments, to eventually come up with that successful layout. All of that now tossed out the window. Frustrating.

    3. eugbug profile image96
      eugbugposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      I agree too. I was just thinking about that this morning. The Spruce have an appealing layout on their website that's easy on the eye.

      1. Miebakagh57 profile image74
        Miebakagh57posted 22 months agoin reply to this

        *****

      2. Shesabutterfly profile image94
        Shesabutterflyposted 22 months agoin reply to this

        One of the things I really like about The Spruce sites, is the color scheme. It reminds me of the old HP. It would be nice if we could go back to some of the old color schemes and designs. I noticed they have a similar commenting system to the one HP is trying out, and their system looks so much better than ours. Right below the content, easy to find/sign up/comment, and before all the recommended articles or ads, as it should be.

        I wish HP would take a look at our competition (Spruce is a big contender now with their niche sites and is already outranking mulitple HP niche sites). Our sites could be greatly improved by simplying pulling the ads back a bit, but that really is just a start. I agree with Eric. It feels like everything that was learned years ago is being forgotten or retested, and it is so frustrating.

 
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