1. Change ad placements so they don't interrupt the text. Place ads to one or either side of the text.
2. Get rid of Recommended For You ads currently at the bottom of articles. They are undermining the whole site.
3. Encourage more transparent dialogue between writers and the HP team. Exchange of information and ideas could lead to innovation.
Placing ads to one side would only be of benefit on desktop though. Mobile devices have a horrible toilet roll style for webpages which I can't stand. I rarely view anything on a phone.
I've been reading through this:
https://static.googleusercontent.com/me … elines.pdf
It highlights specific issues that lead to lowest page quality assessment. If the MC (main content) is deliberately obstructed by ads then Google hits hard, lowering rank.
It's common sense. An interrupted read is a bad read.
Trust is another issue, a bit more nuanced. But would you trust a page that offered 20-30 crappy ads with misleading headlines? I think we're on a hiding to nothing if the current regime doesn't change.
“Toilet-roll-style.” That’s a perfect way to describe it. Try holding your phone sideways, Eugene. Some websites detect how the phone is held and produce a better reader experience in landscape mode. I do that with my author website and I take advantage of the wider screen when my readers don’t hold their phone vertically.
I would be glad to see even the first one. That type of ad placement already exists on some of the Arena sites that they are more interested in seeing succeed.
Point taken. From a pure good business perspective surely the current decline has to be:
Seems we're being left to stagnate when we could be going with the flow, with a few adjustments? I'd be much happier if the HP team told us of the efforts being made to improve the situation (apart from the editing and tweaks) and at least gave us the lowdown.
Ad / reinstate the widget that linked to similar content on the same niche site. From what I see, there are few ways for readers to flow from one article to another, aside from links writers ad themselves. There used to be a widget but I don't see it anymore. There needs to be ways for readers to stay on the site.
Regarding your first suggestion, I just made the mistake of looking at one of my articles with adblocker off to see if that widget appeared. Two ads breaking up the first text capsule make it almost unreadable.
Even if the ads only appeared between capsules it would be a big improvement, but that doesn't solve the problems. So many times I see where I have written something referring to an image, video, or table below and instead, an ad appears. So it looks like I am telling the reader to check out an ad. And there is not a darned thing I can do about it because I don't know where the ads are going to appear.
If HP is truly interested in establishing trust with readers these things matter so much more than someone's profile image, bio, or screen name.
Must admit I know little about widgets but your insights are welcome and logical and positive. Why the heck are we as writers left in the dark all the time when light could so easily be shone and frustrations dissipated.
Yes, I agree, readers are being shafted, to put it politely - a radical shift is needed from the HP team if it's to keep the core of veteran writers and earners happy and talented newcomers inspired.
Decline, rise and fall and so on is common to all businesses but to do nothing to stop or find out why such low traffic stats occur is puzzling and disturbing.
In the UK we've just finished our pantomime season. All the fairy godmother's and good wizards are leaving town for a well-earned hibernation holiday. So the chances of a magic wand being waved are all but gone. OK, but we'll keep dreaming.......
I think the placement of ads with the Google ad placement rules at Bloger, should be adopt. Here ads are placed at a vantage position...at the top right, buttom left, and at the end of the page. That said,I welcome the chef-de-jour suggestions, specific point one.
My best period on here was two years ago. The deciding factor was really the higher traffic levels. The ads were similar to what they are today.
I think the big change with Google has been the EEAT approach.
#1 My experience of working with advert placement is likely too limited to give a truly meaningful response. When I did have to do ad placement on my own sites, I found it difficult. It's easy to reduce the number of ads and make them less visible, but then it usually has a negative effect on revenue. HP's ad strategy doesn't seem radically different from the norm to me.
#2 Ads at the bottom of the page don't usually have a big effect on SEO, as I understand it, so what would the advantage be of removing those ads? I guess it might affect page loading positively, that's the only reason I can see why you'd do that. You'd likely lose revenue though, so there'd have to be substantial SEO gains with traffic to counteract the loss.
#3 I agree that communication has declined since the Maven/TAG thing. I think that's a loss for the site. That said, I don't think it affects the technical and SEO problems much, as most people are here to write and have limited relevant skills and experience on those matters. However, there are other issues like usability and functionality that could be improved and better communications might help there. It's also just a bit sad that it felt more like family/community in the past and that's gone to some extent. I have been getting better feedback from editors in recent times, though, which is appreciated.
As far as I can see from the staff webpage, there are only 20 people, and most of them are editors. Maybe the page hasn't been updated or is incomplete, but that means there's no one to make any significant changes to the site, and they just keep it ticking over. Maybe some work is outsourced.
To me, it just looks like a fairly typical composition of staff for a media/publishing company.
I'm not sure who's responsible for any changes to the coding on the site. Maybe Matt does it single handedly. I guess decisions about changes to layout are a joint affair that's discussed by management. Didn't Hubpages use the new template first and then all the TAG sites start using it afterwards? There was a reason mentioned for switching to a new layout. If I'm not mistaken, something to do with it being better suited to various types of ads. According to this page, as of 7th January, 2023, there are 26 staff members.
This page lists 20.
Maybe the extra people are what I'll irreverently call plebs (apologies for hurting anyone's feelings, maybe your photos haven't been put up yet on the first page) that do the more hands on site maintenance.
Edit: This was the reason at the time for introducing a new frontend.
https://hubpages.com/community/forum/34 … migrations
I’ve been watching that page and noticed the staff lost four people recently. In August they had 30 staff members. Now 26.
I think they brought in more editors for a specific task, namely to edit all the niches. They're maybe close to completion. It's all about trying to meet the requirements of EEAT I believe.
I've not been getting anywhere near as many messages from editors about changes recently. At one point, I was receiving multiple emails every day.
I hope all the editing turns out to be worth it.
Yes, I saw you said that. That was what I was responding to!
One interpretation is that they're nearing the end of the editing project and that's why numbers are going down.
Yeah, I wonder if that's it. That would mean the extra staff were only temporary. It went up from 27 in March to the highest of 31 staff members on April 23, 2022. Then down now to 26. So you could be correct with your interpretation.
In case you're wondering how I know that, I've been saving random snapshots from that page every so often.
Yes, EEAT is an interesting one because it places emphasis on Trust - is the page/site trustworthy? Google according to a SEJ article I read recently places TRUST above everything else. The writer may be excellent, the information spot on, the authority without doubt but is the page to be trusted? My question would be - Can the algorithm update distinguish between Recommended For You headlines and the main content?
I've been reading this:
https://static.googleusercontent.com/me … elines.pdf
It gives specific detail about EEAT and subjects like Lowest Page Quality Assessment. On page 30 you'll find this:
Lowest Page Quality Assessment Any one of the following is justification for Lowest
Quality of the MC ● The page is hacked, defaced, or spammed.
● The page is gibberish or otherwise makes no sense.
● The MC is copied, auto-generated, or otherwise created without
● The MC is created with so little effort, originality, talent, or skill
that the page fails to achieve its purpose.
The title of the page The page title is extremely misleading, shocking, or exaggerated.
The role of Ads and SC on the page The MC is deliberately obstructed or obscured due to Ads, SC,
interstitial pages, download links or other content that is beneficial to
the website owner but not necessarily the website visitor.
It's quite clear and plain. With ads interrupting text Google gives lowest quality page ranking.
I'm working my way through the 176 pages.
I used to get an email maybe a couple of days after I made a change to an article. Now that can be a month or two later, if at all. I guess there's so many articles published now, it takes forever for editors to get around to checking them all. Aren't there several thousand of them?
Yep. I used to get an email indicating that my latest update was acceptable. But those emails stopped coming many months ago, and I've been updating many articles in efforts to improve SEO. Of course, those emails were "canned" scripts and I think auto generated. So it's nothing missed.
I've been on Hubpages for over 12 years, and it's changed a lot over that time. The old Hubpages team were fantastic at interacting in the forums and keeping up with Google changes (such as the farmer update, subdomains, and so on).
These days I think Google is harder to keep up with, and the current team also isn't as interested in staying ahead of the curve with Google updates.
I only use Hubpages for three things now:
- Orphan articles I don't have websites for.
- Quick viral content for pay per view.
- Testing out topics before launching a full content site.
Generally, if you're any good at writing and SEO, you'd use Hubpages as a learning and jumping off point into running your own content sites, where you have more control.
What do you recommend as the most useful application software for building a website? I used Website Painter 12 years ago as it was a simple to use application that allowed me to get a basic site up and running quickly. I don't want anything fancy, but the ability to add a forum to a site would be useful.
For anything that you want to scale, I'd use WordPress. Stick with mainstream developers and make sure it's streamlined. It's open source and one of the biggest website CMS' on the Internet. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but the potential is a lot less limited than ones like Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace etc.
Could I ask what you use for advertising and generating income?
I never had great success with my own sites. I ended up getting involved with a lot of technical stuff. I could do it, but I really didn't enjoy it. I prefer to spend my time writing.
I think I might start looking for clients/customers and going down that route.
I love the passive earning element of HubPages. When it's working, it's marvelous.
This recent phase has been bad though. Like you say, HP have allowed themselves to get behind the curve. They're trying to catch up, but all the time, Google keeps adding more updates.
Google run more than one update at a time nowadays, which they never used to do.
I grew one of my first big websites to 500,000 views/pm just using content writing. Writing is my favourite part too, so I usually find a nice clean theme, change the colours as needed, and keep it very simple, and preferably never worry about the design again, unless there are issues. From there, I write blog posts in low/no competition high traffic longtail keywords I find through Google Suggest. These usually fall into three categories:
1. Listicles (Twenty ways to do X)
2. How to Guides (How to do X in X situation)
3. Questions (Why is X in X like X?)
Here's an example of local low competition:
In my town, there are twenty stores ranking for "Town name earpiercing". If I wrote about that topic, I'd have twenty competitors and likely be on page two of Google at least. "Town name children's earpiercing" had zero competitors though, which means writing on it would immediately put me in the top three Google results. That's an example of niching down to longtails to ensure good rankings, at least until you build site authority to compete for shorter keywords.
In answer to the question on monetisation, I recommend using an ad broker like Mediavine (Adsense is entry level and low paying, options like Ezoic can be problematic). I think Mediavine requires something like 50,000 views per month to apply. I also use affiliates such as Amazon as well as smaller affiliates that relate to my content. For instance, I sold a lot of "Snoozle" pregnancy slide blankets through an article on hip problems which make it hard to get out of bed. I use these methods to monetise because they are the most passive, but there are hundreds of other options, limited only by your time and your willingness to brainstorm. You can sell eBooks, run a paid membership, charge for newsletter sponsorships, do partnerships, sell products, whatever you have the ability to do.
I have a two hour free webinar on Youtube where I cover all the SEO and blogging secrets I've learned over the years, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link it here.
Do you mean download the Wordpress OS software and use it for developing a webpage and organise the domain registration and hosting yourself, or use Wordpress.com? Apparently, from the little bit of research I did this morning, there's more control over everything if the Wordpress software is used.
Correct; you need to use the Wordpress software (Wordpress.org self hosted). You don't download it directly, you need to:
1. Purchase the domain ($10-20/year)
2. Purchase hosting ($100-300/year)
3. Most hosting sites have a one click install for Wordpress CMS'.
4. Login to the new site and build from there.
For sure you've done very well over the years on HP, like many of us long-term contributors, and your exceptional solo efforts in content land have worked out for you which is great.
I'm in a different boat. There are many like me I think. I don't have the confidence or skills to run my own site. I'm not very good on the technical side. It'd be a tough chore. HP's template suits me fine, capsules and all and I know I'll be sticking with them to the bitter end.
Witnessing the decline in traffic over the last few years is galling but I have to have hope things can be turned around. And soon.
For ten years I have been on HubPages, and for ten years I have read advice like this. It is good advice, and you are not wrong.
I write in several niches and have been told many times I ought to start my own sites. I think about it a lot.
There are a few reasons I've never gone much beyond the developing stages.
For one, to replicate what I've done on one of my niche accounts on my own websites would take a massive investment of time and money, all for an unknown outcome. I could work for a year and see no return for my effort.
Here at HP, as bad as things are right now, I know every article I publish will make at least some money.
If my website tanks, I'm on my own. While I feel like I have the knowledge to manage if I have to, the benefit of HubPages was always that someone besides me cared if traffic fell and earnings dropped. Someone else would be working on the problem along with me.
The revenue share was worth it compared to hosting costs and everything else I'd have to deal with running a WordPress site. While they say it is free aside from hosting, to do it right takes some investment.
Sadly, these things seem to be less and less true.
I've spent some time this week editing and auditing one of my more successful HP accounts. This is an account that averaged over three figures a day not that long ago. It is now getting crushed in the SERPs by sites I've never heard of.
While some of this is due to changes in the web, a large part of it is because HP seems to be asleep at the wheel over the past few years.
As far as the revenue share, which I always thought was a good deal, I don't even know what that is anymore.
It is a shame.
So, when it gets so bad that people like me who used to be totally invested in the HP program start thinking of leaving and building sites for some unknown result, HP has a problem.
The exodus of good writers is not something they should ignore. I feel like they have worked on the assumption that they can continue to encourage new writers to join and expect a team of overworked editors to polish whatever they create into something worthy of the niche sites. I don't see that as a sustainable solution.
I guess I rambled there, but I guess my main point is that starting a site seems like a better idea than ever, and for someone like me that is not a good thing for HP.
The revenue share/revenue situation is very disheartening. I made about 25% in December of 2022 compared to December 2020, with many more articles. I can picture a job interview: "There is a lot of opportunity here. We will start you out at a good salary, and if you keep working hard in 2 years you can be earning 25% of that."
Would anyone out there be willing to take a job like that? Is it any wonder why people are leaving?
Yes, that's the root of the problem. I've written a lot of new material over the past couple of years, but I am now earning far less than I was before.
I do expect ups and downs, but when there's a relentless series of drops in traffic over a period of 18 months, you do start to lose hope.
I am starting my own site and am mired in the technical aspect of WordPress and "loops"
Maybe I picked a too complicated theme. I am considering hiring someone to straighten things out for me, so I can just get down to content and copying "loops" from one page to the next.
I don't even understand my home page lol.
Anyway, my earnings here are not worth troubling over rewrites or edits. It's hardly even worth leaving articles here. I used to make payout in 27 hours, this month it took 8 days.
I never had any success as regards traffic when I placed an article on my blog, maybe one view a week or less. Once it was moved to Dengarden, it got 50 views per day. Maybe it's because there were few other similar posts on that blog or it didn't have its own domain. That said, there's probably no harm us making a website/websites and copying all our content to them as a contingency measure, but making it dormant and not visible to search engines because of duplication issues. Therefore if the worst comes to the worst, we can put them online.
I had some similar experiences regarding traffic. It was always a lot easier with HP for me to get hundreds/thousands of views. The golden age to start a blog was fifteen or twenty years ago, I think it would be daunting now to start from scratch.
If I did do it again, I think I'd definitely have products/services to sell. Making money from general ads gets harder and harder. I guess the alternative is to get commercial sponsors or use Patreon.
Then, of course, there's YouTube. I have some video-making skills, but I don't really find the "performance" aspect appealing.
Me neither and don't you need 4000 subscribers now to add revenue generation to your account?
It wouldn't surprise me. I've noticed that the trend on YouTube now seems to be trending towards successful hosts using built-in sponsored advertising and Patreon.
I think it's partly about money, but also there are problems with hosts/videos getting de-monetized for frivolous reasons sometimes. YouTube has a lot of power that way. They can make or break people overnight if they're reliant on the Google advertising.
It's kind of annoying for me, in some ways, as I pay for the premium YouTube service. It gets rid of the Google ads, but not the sponsored ads that the hosts build in.
You need 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours in a year just to apply. Then of course you need an Adsense account as well.
I did have some YouTube vids monetized back in the day, but I didn't really make much money, just pennies. You need a LOT of views to make anything of note with the Google ad scheme alone.
Zulie Rane at Medium/YouTube details an example of how relatively little she made with her most successful video, even when it was getting thousands of views.
I think that my general point would be that whatever you do, writing or vids or whatever, if you're serious about earning, then monetization has to be thought about and planned from the start. It shouldn't be an afterthought.
The easiest way to make money is selling goods/services but that's not suitable for some topics and types of blog or website.
Someone, maybe Eric, commented that he was getting pushed down is SERPs by websites he had never heard of. That suggests that there is room for new sites, and Google seems to be favoring new content over old.
Hopefully, but what it also suggests to me is that HP sites no longer have the ability to compete with bigger websites or even moderate niche blogs and websites.
Even back when we had subdomains I was able to outrank many large, well-known sites.
HP has always been a powerful platform, but as the focus has shifted over the past few years much of that power seems to have been lost.
Do you think HP will ever get back on its feet?
I think it is on its feet now. For someone who is just starting an online writing adventure, there is no better place than right here. You will get traffic. You will earn. If you put in the effort and learn the ropes, you will not waste your time. That's far more than can be said for many other writing sites.
However, that is little solace for those of us who have watched our earnings cut in half or worse over the past few years.
I don't think HP is going anywhere. I hope traffic returns, but they have other ways of bringing in revenue now so it feels like it isn't a priority like it was years ago. Maybe this is the new normal. Maybe this is necessary for HP to survive.
Even if HP is healthy financially (?) for individual writers who have lost so much it feels like a whole lot of work is necessary just to get back where we were.
None of us have any idea what is really going on behind the scenes, and unfortunately, HP tells us less than ever. For that reason alone it is hard to feel good about putting in time here if you have been here a while.
I am still writing content here, so I guess at least on some level I believe better days are ahead.
Thank you for sharing your perspective, Eric! I have been reading and following discussions about the situation here at HP and I never get a full grasp of the conversation until this. Your explanation is clear and concise.
Eric, I hear you. I want to get some positive perspective writing for HP.
I wonder is a .co domain worth it? I have a domain name I would like, but it's a popular name so the .com version isn't available.
I have seen this too. Websites that are new, with authors who are unheard of, outranking older and larger websites that by now should be established and received Google's trust.
I have a theory about this and of course, it's all speculation...
I imagine Google being in charge of a large stack of cards at Vegas, shuffling them every now and then.
The cards are articles and the shuffling times are the updates. Some cards sometimes fall at the bottom of the stack, but if they're valuable enough, after some time, they should resurface (as it has happened to Hubpages most of the time).
In this latest update, it seems like Google is favoring new websites to test them out and see how long they stay atop and whether people find any value in them.
If upon doing a search query, people get past these new websites and scroll down to other older ones, Google takes them as not valuable enough and they lose rank overtime. If they find what they needed, they will likely "score" better from Google's eyes.
The feedback system found at the top of a search also helps Google establish the worthiness of an article as people can vote about their experience visiting a website.
The problem I see is that, newer websites seem to create articles by going through all the top articles, make a summary and rehash all the info and maybe add a bit of something new, so there are chances people may find what they need without needing to scroll lower down.
We may think that updating articles by adding something new may help, but it's questionable whether keeping on adding content, turning 1,000 words articles into 2,000, is worthy in the long run. Maybe busy people are annoyed by the longer word counts.
Many times, you can get an answer to a simple question directly in the search results in the first introductory paragraphs without even visiting a website, so what's next?
It's surely a trying time now as there are so many challenges between updates, the large competition in some niche sites and the use of AI (there are now AI detectors by the way to detect articles made through AI which may be penalized by search engines).
"The problem I see is that, newer websites seem to create articles by going through all the top articles, make a summary and rehash all the info and maybe add a bit of something new.."
Do you think the EE part of their algorithm can weed out articles like those? I can spot a mile off if for instance DIY articles are written by someone without expertise or experience. They're usually very mechanical and don't have any of the asides for instance that I would add to my guides. There's several on Dengarden at the moment, I won't mention any names.
I agree with you about adding unnecessary content. It just makes articles fussy when a new article could be created to deal with the new content. I've been breaking up long guides instead and turning them into multiple articles, for fear of Google considering the added content unnecessary and fluff.
I am not sure. I am often seeing a dog website popping up at the top of search queries. Upon research, I found out that this website is massive, has like over 30,000 articles that were crafted over a short span a time. The author's bio shows no credentials.
Deeper research has revealed that the articles are composed by simply copied and pasted pieces of Quora answers and sentences from other websites.
The website owner is aware of the wrongdoing. Indeed, has a message at the bottom saying to contact them if you find something that infringes your intellectual property. Google hasn't figured out yet about this and keeps on ranking it high and doesn't seem to care about the non-credentialed bio.
I suspect this is built with AI or some content scrambler considering the massive amount of content.
This makes me doubt Google's ability to detect copied content and adherence to E-A-T, or maybe it's in place, but it takes a long time for detection.
In the meanwhile, the webmaster is laughing all the way to the bank (and has been doing so for over 2 years now).
I think there is still hope for HP. I just joined HP recently and it's disheartening to hear that I missed the golden days. Although I still feel like better days are ahead just a gut feeling you could say. I don't know what it is but maybe it's because the community here feels more real and more engaged than any other platform I have written for including medium.
Whoever thought of and designed HP is also a total genius. There's a lot of moving parts and they are all working together. From the network sites to followers to the forum. Regarding traffic my theory is that only a handful of writers are active these days compared to a few years ago. Recently I have been reading a lot of hubs on here and when I visit the author profile page for most people they don't have any recent activity yet 100s of hubs. So I'm guessing this is creating a snowball effect as many writers either start their own websites, stop writing or just become dormant on HP.
I'm following over 300 people and I when I get the daily recent notification emails from HP I only see a handful of articles about 10 and usually from the same group of active authors. I think hubpages needs fresh content and at a faster pace to compete with other sites(Also editing old articles by adding more content). Otherwise we fall victim to other sites using skyscrapper techniques to create better articles which rank better.
We can also just guarantee Hubpages and hubbers success by reading other hubbers hubs more than we write our own. There are lots of really great hubs out there and on the upside I'm learning a lot of stuff on a wide range of topics, possibly more than I did in school.
Google search algorithms are changing fast and large number of very good articles are already there. So how can we expect more views.
by Teri Silver 10 hours ago
I know, it's going down and down for everyone. We have good writers, good editors, and the game plan is similuar but different, to keep up with the internet. But this month was very disappointing. I've been writing for HubPages for 13 years. Amounts should hold steady or go up. Is our...
by Louise Fiolek 3 weeks ago
Hi everyone,Since Google's updates these past couple of months, I've noticed a significant traffic drop (about 20%). Every time I gain some traction and hope, it's a case of going back two steps again. I'm sure I'm not alone! I thought it might be a good idea to start a healthy discussion here to...
by ShailaSheshadri 6 months ago
I am writing articles for this website since past 3 months. At present, I have 38 featured and published hubs. I have joined for Amazon and google Adsense program. Past two months I earned like very less amount, less than 1/2 dollar. If I continue writing and publishing at the rate of one article...
by Paul Goodman 7 days ago
Despite being bad overall, the damage to the niches by the various Google algorithm updates over the past two years has been uneven.While Pethelpful has suffered relatively less, Dengarden seems to have taken a huge hit. I've attached a graph of traffic from SEMRush as an illustration of how bad...
by Barbara Fitzgerald 13 months ago
Okay - It seems there was an update to the definition of our earnings. I cannot say when it occurred.Basically we are paid for pageviews. One payment per view of article, regardless of how many ads are delivered to the reader, unless they back out before the first ad is actually viewed. Then we...
by Andrew 14 years ago
I was refraining about talking about this but it really is bad. Last month with adsense was my most profitable month, but this month so far I got 3 clicks...What could have made this change?-New Hubpages Layout?-April 1st Conflicker Virus? I was thinking these two things can't be so harmful to my...
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