Just when I think I'm doing reasonably well at getting up to speed here, I see one more new thing - new to me, I mean - that looks like something I should have noticed when I first joined HP.
Today, it's "customized summary" vs. "automated [or automatic?] summary." Ssssoooooo embarrassing, but I didn't even notice until yesterday that it was possible to customize a summary.
Mentors, heroes, helpers out there (and everyone else, too) - would you please comment?
Are there any clear advantages to customizing?
Does it help Google to notice an article better (I mean, can it help)?
Does it depend on the specific article or topic?
If I had to make a choice today between keyword-search-and-optimizing and summary-customizing, is there a clear preference between the two - or would the choice depend on other factors?
I'm going to hazard a guess that backlinking would rank even higher than either of those two choices, if the backlinks are within well-trafficked sites and if there are, so far, few or no backlinks to a given Hub. Your thoughts?
As others have explained, the summary provides the blurb which appears under the URL in Google searches, so you want it to entice the reader to click on your site. That means including your keywords (so the reader knows the site is relevant) but also wording it to grab the reader.
Usually, my summary is just the first few sentences of my introduction. If my first few sentences don't make a good summary, then that tells me I've written a bad intro, and I'll revise it - because your opening paragraph should be all about grabbing the reader, too.
However,I always check the summary. If I've revised my introduction at all, it's likely my summary is showing an outdated version - it doesn't update. Sometimes I create a Hub and save it empty, just so I can grab the URL, and in that case the summary will be empty unless I customise it.
I've only just now (24+ hours later) seen these last responses. Thanks for your explanations - but this last idea, Marisa - I'm not sure I get it.
What is the value of grabbing the URL - is it so that you can lay claim to some specific keywords, making sure that those words show up in the URL of a Hub you are planning to write? Or maybe have written but not published yet? And you do that before anyone else chooses those keywords for their URL?
"However,I always check the summary. If I've revised my introduction at all, it's likely my summary is showing an outdated version - it doesn't update."
You are saying that if we change our introductions, first paragraphs, we must rewrite the summary ourselves, if it is to be updated at all ?
Yes, if I've just researched a keyword, I want to take the URL using that keyword if it's available, before another Hubber gets a chance. But mainly, it's just so I have the Hub started and don't forget I was planning to write it. Having an unpublished Hub staring at me from my Statistics page is my best motivation to get it done.
Maybe someone from the HP team can give a definitive answer, but I've noticed that if I update my opening paragraph, I don't see a change in the summary. Maybe there's a delay, or it doesn't update till you save it.
Another reason to grab the URL by publishing empty (or just saving unpublished) is to allow you to create true links between a number of hubs that you have created as a group and that you wish to publish together and interlinked.
As far as an update to an intro not changing the summary I would not expect this to happen as the summary that is written or auto created is 'kept' in a different place in your web-page HTML. How would HubPages know that the summary should be updated? What criteria could a programmer place against an If statement that would determine categorically that the summary is to be changed when an introduction has been changed?
In the main I use the Intro as my summary unless I think that a second or subsequent paragraph is more appropriate. This occurs when I want someone to read a previous hub before getting into the current hub too far. When creating a series of hubs there is no guarantee that an introductory hub will have been read first.
The auto-summary is a good fall-back if you forget that a summary is your best way of attracting your audience. You should normally be using your first paragraph as your audience grabbing introduction anyway.
I try to have the topic of my Hub within the first paragraph since its usually auto-scooped. I haven't used my summary thingy either oops
The custom summary is a valuable tool
Most often its what Is viewed in search results under your link - if your intro paragraph isnt likely to tell the whole story of what lies within, its probably worth your time to make a custom summary that does.
Also use your keywords very early in as they will appear in bold within the search page
Thanks, Dame Scribe! thanks, sunforged! I appreciate your answers, and I would love to hear what some other Hubbers have to say, as well.
I use it sometimes if my initial introduction to the hub does not contain my keywords in the first few lines of I want to better describe the hub..
I always write in the summary box, mainly so that I can get keywords in there early ... basically what Sunforged said.
Also, when I first started on here I remember someone saying to me that you should always write in the summary box, so I always try to remember to do it (sometimes I forget).
This is one of those hub features which I really need ot remember to use. by the time I have finished a hub i always just want to Publish, so always forget the last minute details!
Think of it this way--this is what people could see in the search results:
Auto Summary Do you ever smell the flowers? I can tell you about a great perfume that smells like flowers. It has floral...
Custom Summary Learn about perfumes with a floral scent. Lilac, roses and lavender are known to have therapeutic qualities.
So far I haven't used the custom summary. It's something I still want to try though, so one of these days I hope I remember its there. lol
by Wesman Todd Shaw 7 years ago
I'm finding that the Custom Summaries do improve traffic as they were said to do.I want to know, however, from the folks who do get good traffic on their good hubs still, that recently created a custom summary - how many words should this summary have? Of course putting search terms/keywords...
by Liz Elias 6 years ago
I just published a new hub, and forgot to do the summary. As soon as I discovered the error, I went back in and fixed that oversight.However, the hub (even after refreshing the page) is still showing up with the first part of the first paragraph in place of the summary.Is there a way to fix...
by Loraine Brummer 16 months ago
Which is the most important for search engine searches: the Hub summary or the first paragraph of the Hub? I thought the summary was most important, but I notice that sometimes searches show the first sentences in the hub. Are both equally important?
by Will Apse 8 years ago
I keep posting hubs without writing the summaries. Bad summaries can set your hub back for weeks (or ever if you don't notice). They are almost as important as the title.Some kind of warning- like 'before you publish this hub please check the summary box' would help.
by Jean Bakula 7 years ago
All of my 82 hubs are marked with this. Do I have to write a summary for all of them? I never heard of this. Isn't the first sentence available, or a few more lines if you set it that way? If I have to do this, how long do I have? I had more views that ever today, now I am really bummed again.
by Lisa HW 9 years ago
Does anyone have solid tips on the best way to optimize the summaries? Mine have all been automatically created (only because I didn't know there was the option to create one), and they look like they're essentially the first paragraph of the Hub.Is it better to have, say, a one-line summary...
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