My Google de-ranking discovery.

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  1. thoughthole profile image93
    thoughtholeposted 12 years ago

    My goodness, I have read oh so many forums trying to figure out why my once flourishing hubs suddenly took a devastating nosedive. I have learned a lot from others comments & shared experience. I have also recognized that there seems to potentially be a number of possible reasons why many hubs have taken significant ranking hits. I would like to share one problem of my own that I believe I have identified as a contributing factor.

    I discovered a common denominator after doing test searches on Google, of my own hubs, that once ranked 1st page and had now all but vanished. Although my titles were, and are still spot on for the searches I was typing in, my summaries were not. It became apparent to me that Google was now using the summary keywords as either validation of the title or was using the summary for search terms in place of the title, when I actually found my url on page 50 or so and saw the highlighted keywords or lack of in the summary. In short it looked like many of my hubs were deranked due to a mismatch, or lack of keywords in my summary.

    Whew! I hope I explained that in a way that is understandable.

    I have gone back through and updated the summaries to more closely represent the keywords in my titles, and now I have just been waiting to see if there will be any improvement. I wonder if I need to wait for another PANDA or PENGUIN update to see any result of my theory, or if it will just take some time for the changes to be recognized? If anyone has any insight on that, I would love to hear.

    Just wanted to share what I think I may have discovered and see if there may be any feedback on my Hypothesis. I am admittedly still in the early learning stages of how this all works, but it seems thus far like Google is not making it easy for anyone to learn much since unspoken rules are changed at random. I appreciate any comments. I thank you in advance.

    1. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
      PaulGoodman67posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Good luck.  I tend to use my main keywords in my summaries and I have been hit badly.  But I personally don't think summaries are a factor in my case.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image84
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I agree.  I always use keywords in my summaries and was wiped clean this week.

    2. WorkAtHomeMums profile image86
      WorkAtHomeMumsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Mine are exactly the same. The only way I can see my hubs is a direct search of the URL (no idea what page I am on) and the summary is not my Hub Summary so no keywords.

      Is this a hub thing or a google thing?
      Should we be putting our summary in the first text capsule maybe?

    3. Will Apse profile image88
      Will Apseposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Leaving aside the summaries thing...

      I would be wondering if having so many similar titles is an issue. If it is, then it is obviously unjust but you cannot ignore it.

      Personally, I would drop the 'houseplant care' and just settle for 'caring for' whatever. It looks as if you are chasing the keyword phrase 'houseplant care' with a spammer's zeal, even though you are not.

      I would also check your view duration for each page. If you have any pages that readers don't like and don't spend much time on, it might be worth un-publishing them. If Google has sent very few visitors to a page over a long period that might be also a good reason to un-publish the page.

      Panda does not really find good content, it is designed to punish poor content, so it is worth losing anything that the algorithm is reacting to in a negative way.

      Your account might have been hit by Penguin, of course. Then I would have no suggestions...

      1. thoughthole profile image93
        thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I added houseplant to my titles just this week thinking it may help since some readers are looking for outdoor plant care and some indoor. Thought maybe those that may have mistaken my articles for exterior advice may have had a negative effect on my readership, they would not find what they were looking for. I'll take a second look at that thanks for the advice.

    4. Marisa Wright profile image84
      Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I wonder if your problem is keyword stuffing (accidental, I'm sure).  I just checked your Reflexa Hub and the density for the word Reflexa is over 7% - way, way over what Google would consider acceptable. 

      Considering you've got the word repeated in your Hub title, in every other sub-title, on every image and every ad, and multiple times in the text, I'm not surprised it triggered an alarm!

      One more suggestion:  shorten your titles. It's thought Google is taking a dim view of over-long titles, especially where words are repeated more than once in the title:  to Google, it's a sign of keyword stuffing.  So adding "houseplant care" to your titles could be counter-productive.  Also, it looks like you put all the possible names for plants in your title, and that results in some Latin names being repeated - not a good idea.

      1. thoughthole profile image93
        thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you Marisa, I take it from your comment that the keyword max is 7%. This may be a very amatuer question but how did you check my reflexa hub to find out what it's percentage was?

        1. Marisa Wright profile image84
          Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Google won't tell us what the max is.  Some people say it's as low as 2% or 3%. Certainly under 4%.  You can use a tool like this one:

          It's really at the point where you don't have to use keywords consciously any more. 

          I was always taught it was bad writing to repeat the same word over and over. So for instance, I'd go out of my way to avoid using "Reflexa" every time - I'd say "this plant, "this shrub", "this cultivar", "it" etc.  When I started writing online, people told me I had to forget that, because repeating keywords was a good thing.   The pendulum has now swung back, because Google knows good writers don't over-use words.

          One thing to remember, when reading advice about SEO, is that Google can read it too - and they're out to get people who are trying to game the system.  So if Google knows internet writers were being told, "include your keywords in your URL, title, every heading and sub-heading, and several times in the text, and aim for 4 to 7 per cent density", guess what their algorithm is checking for?

          1. thoughthole profile image93
            thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Thank you Marisa, your explanation and experience have helped a lot. I have had a similar experience to what you described. I was initially writing as I knew best, using unique wording as much as possible. The more I thought I learned about SEO the more it seemed that proper writing was not what was going to generate traffic, so I have added more keywording thinking that would help. To further confuse me it seems as I did so the hub scores would rise, making me think that was improving my hubs. I am going back through everything, again, I am just going to stick to what I know. It sounds like Google SEO is not what it used to be anyway so all bets are off. Looking back over my hubs I think my best work came from the first few hubs I created w/o any mumblings in my brain of SEO. Already worked over Reflexa a bit BTW, more to come. Thanks

          2. profile image0
            kelleywardposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Thanks for sharing this helpful information! Especially the free keyword density tool!

  2. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 12 years ago

    Yeah in mine too, I used to take great care to write crafted keyword rich and attractive summaries, but Google still stuck the boot in.

    1. thoughthole profile image93
      thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I wondered about my Profile as well. I kept my profile somewhat generic so I could incorporate many topics. I went back and changed that to specifically include keywords from my common topics. I am hoping something will make a difference.

      1. thoughthole profile image93
        thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        As a side note, though I have not yet seen any conclusive google traffic improvement from my recent changes, almost immediately I noticed my hub scores begin to rise after making my summary changes. I have no idea if that is in favor of my ranking or meaningless. Right now just notable.

    2. Marisa Wright profile image84
      Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I never got around to  adding summaries to many of my Hubs.   I'm pretty sure they're not important, because if I look at my Hubs now, I can see that all the ones which have lost traffic have summaries - the few that still get traffic, don't.

      1. janderson99 profile image52
        janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        The theory goes that the summary is fed into the description tag of the page.
        If the summary is relatively short, less than 150 characters and Google is not having a bad day, the summary will appear in the SERP summary.

        If you design a fabulous summary full of action words - 'Pick me, Pick Me'  - Less than 150 characters) and Google displays the summary, searchers may be convinced to pick your page from the list. So for that reason it may be worthwhile.

        BUT Google has a mind of its own and it seems to pick the first sentence or your article or some other part of it, even when you have a short 'punchy' summary.  It depends on the search terms and Google tries to find a short phrase or two that is relevant from your page - but often it is just the first 150 characters.

        If your summary is longer than 150 characters, Google will never use it, I think.

        I generally create the summary and then use it for posting to various social pages such as Reddit etc., where a short punchy summary (comment) may be appealing.

        Sorry if you already know this stuff - it may be helpful for other people.

        But what Google displays depends on the search terms and so you need to include your keywords in the summary.

        I think the first two sentences of the article are very important because they are often shown in the SERP. The focus is on influencing the human reader, not googlebot and the algo.

        This tool is for snippet optimization

        This is the Google rich snippets testing tool


        1. janderson99 profile image52
          janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Note: When you change the summary you may have to wait several days before the page is re-indexed by Google, before it will appear in the SERP.
          So the change is not instant. Make sure your keywords are in your summary and in the first sentence of the article - that's my suggestion as the first sentence will often appear in the SERP summary.

          Update 2:
          Meta description tags won’t affect “absolute” rankings, but they can affect personalized rankings. Google now automatically personalizes search results based on your personal web history. One of the factors used is user click-throughs. If a user clicks on a website in the Google SERPs, Google will rank that website much higher for a user on subsequent personalised searches. So if you are able to entice users to click on your listing in the Google SERPs (with a good "pick-me, pick-me" summary), then when they return later and search for a similar keyword, your page will be ranked much, much higher!

          see … ings/1448/

          for a complete discussion about the description TAG  see:

          some quotes

          "If your article has a Meta description, Facebook and Google+ will default to that when you share a link on your profile or "Page." If there's no Meta description (20-25 words), you'll usually see the first sentence or so from the page being used as the default."

          "My recommendation is to always use description tags on any pages where you get search engine visitors (or hope to get them). Make them very specific to the page they're on by describing what someone will find when they click through to the page from the search results, while also using variations of your targeted keywords."

        2. Marisa Wright profile image84
          Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I think that may be why I've gotten away with not writing summaries.  Originally, HubPages automatically created the summary based on the first one or two sentences of the Hub - so when writing my opening, I was always conscious of the need to include keywords and making it suitable for a summary.  And Google is probably still using that opening sentence anyway.

    3. Hollie Thomas profile image60
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Google's a sadist, IMHO.

  3. Doc Wordinger profile image92
    Doc Wordingerposted 12 years ago

    Hi Thoughthole,

    My hubs were hit yesterday or Monday. It's only been 48 hours hours so I'm just waiting to see at the moment and I won't make any changes for a while. For the specific keywords I was trying to rank for, I've dropped from page one or two to page thirty or worse.

    I'm still learning like yourself. I've been a member of Hubpages for a while now but I've only recently started to put regular time and effort into it.

    It's way too early for me to start getting too worried but I've been thinking about why this might have happened. About 10 days ago, I went back over the 15 hubs that I had and did some major editing.

    - I tidied up my poker hubs to avoid reference to gambling for money (to make sure the hubs weren't falling foul of Hubpages T&C)
    - I deleted tags that were too vague and added some more specific ones.
    - I updated a few Amazon capsules.
    - I changed a couple of titles.
    - I deleted two photos (I couldn't remember where I sourced them from although I know they were public domain).

    On top of this, my latest hub contains a mediocre photo that I took myself that isn't well focused.

    I didn't touch any summaries although the majority of them were edited by myself months ago.

    I'll give it a few weeks, see what happens, then make changes if necessary. I was only averaging 100 views a day so it's not the end of the world.

    1. thoughthole profile image93
      thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      My hubs seemed to fall off a cliff mid April. I too did some updating weeks prior, thinking I was making some improvements. I added more on topic original pictures, applicable map capsules, and changed some of my ebay/amazon capsules. I figured it may just be a drop in traffic due to people going back to school and work after Spring Break and things would even themselves out. After finding my obliterated ranking I figured something else must be a foot. Now here I am my hubs still lost into oblivion nearly a month later.
      Somehow your experience sounds similar, just with different timing. Yet another, "Hmmmm" to add to the evidence pile.

    2. profile image51
      rkseidposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Perhaps you could make a Hub (despite this forum's topic) about this discoveries/theories you made. It would be more organized and summarized than what is in this forum thread.  Or you could include a poll so that others can vote if they are also experiencing such.   Even Facebook is getting less hits from Google and Bing these days.  I got a link but I think you just search for it.  I try to minimize posting with links.

  4. David Campeau Jr profile image61
    David Campeau Jrposted 12 years ago

    @WorkAtHomeMums I just got started with Hubpages but my Hubs are ranking well for my keywords; however, I did notice that my summary is not being displayed, only the first part of my text capsule.

    1. janderson99 profile image52
      janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      The summary should be less than 150 characters otherwise Google will show the first sentence of the article (sometimes it does anyway even when the summary is short (use the counter provided => the counter should show more than 350 characters left).

      The title should be less than about 63 characters otherwise it will get truncated.

      Google shows 69 Characters (Including Spaces) for Page Title.
      Google shows 156 Characters (Including Spaces) for Meta Description. … on-length/

  5. paradigmsearch profile image59
    paradigmsearchposted 12 years ago

    Well, it took me awhile. But I am now happy to share that my oldest changed hub still has a change date in the year 2012 range. Nap now contemplated...

  6. thoughthole profile image93
    thoughtholeposted 12 years ago

    Thank you, janderson. I am just a newborn babe when it comes to all this search engine business. That was very helpful information, and explained in terms that someone in position can understand.

  7. thoughthole profile image93
    thoughtholeposted 12 years ago

    I discovered something else that seems problematic. Somehow my article titles got lumped into summaries of really off topic questions I had posted that have now been published. Those questions ended up on pg 1 google as if they lead to the article, but they do not. How dissapointing! I have deleted the questions that I found causing the problem its almost as if the useless question pushed the good stuff out of the way. To make it worse it looked like someone back linked to a really aweful hub they had written from the useless question. All that mess had Thoughthole written all over it. Blahh!

  8. Bill Yovino profile image89
    Bill Yovinoposted 12 years ago

    I have a hub that has ranked as the #2 search result, just behind Wikipedia, for two years. Traffic on this hub has fallen to zero. I just checked and it's now on page 14. The results that are ranked ahead of it don't cover the topic and only mention it tangently. I have an accurate summary and correct tags. I think Google has devalued Hubpages content.

    This is bad.

    1. thoughthole profile image93
      thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I have wondered if that may be a general issue myself Bill.Good point.

    2. WorkAtHomeMums profile image86
      WorkAtHomeMumsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Time to back up our content and decide the next move. I'm at zero. At a standstill. Not impressed.

    3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image84
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Sure sounds bad!

  9. Bill Yovino profile image89
    Bill Yovinoposted 12 years ago

    Btw - That hub is still ranked #2 in Bing and Yahoo, but on page 14 of Google.

    1. thoughthole profile image93
      thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I am expereinceing the same phenomenon. Bing and Yahoo still 1st pagers, but google now page 35 or infinity.

      1. janderson99 profile image52
        janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Google hates us, this I know...

        1. thoughthole profile image93
          thoughtholeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          My terrible spelling certainly can't be helping to win freinds and influence Google.

  10. Bill Yovino profile image89
    Bill Yovinoposted 12 years ago

    Here's something really disturbing about a hub I wrote two weeks ago. Looking at the stats/keywords for that page, there is a Google search listed, in other words, how the reader found my hub. When I click that link to duplicate that search, my hub is not listed at all. There are 15 pages of results for that search and my hub isn't on any of the pages. None of the results answer the question that was asked.  So it looks like Google is completely ignoring Hubpages in this case.

    If I search using the exact title of the hub, it comes up on page 38, even though there are no other results that have anything close to that wording. It's the #1 result in bing and Yahoo.

    This will hurt Hubpages, but I can't imagine that Google will continue to jeopardize their position as top dog by witholding search results. We should encourage people to switch to Bing or Yahoo.

    1. WorkAtHomeMums profile image86
      WorkAtHomeMumsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Very similar to me. I can see google has come to my hub(s) via a keyword search but for the life of me cannot find my hub. I even did a complete title search and couldn't find my hub. Exact title search not there. That's confusing the &$@@ out of me to be honest. I wonder if this money delay is linked somehow to a google relationship problem.

  11. Greekgeek profile image77
    Greekgeekposted 12 years ago

    Just to be maddening, the excerpt that Google displays in SERPS is not actually the part of the page that caused it to rank your article for a given search phrase, but rather, it's usually the first place the search prase appears in the article. That's a sublte distinction, but it means the text in your summary is no more important for ranking purposes than body text. If Google can't find a good excerpt, it may go with the summary, but it's doing that less and less.

    Quantcast shows a slight traffic drop to Hubpages as a whole after recent updates. Will and Marisa do make a good point: the recent updates downrated webpages with over optimization, so if you're repeating keywords in too many headers or in a way that's natural in the body text, Google may ding you for that.

    I think at this point we need to loosen up a little on the old mechanical ways of using keywords. As soon as you find yourself falling into an artificial pattern like aiming for a specific keyword density or plugging the keywords exactly into 2 headers, a picture caption and at least one link, you're writing for search engines more than real people. Google's trying to catch that and rank it lower.

    Instead, do a little preliminary keyword research to  pick out what kinds of vocabulary, keywords, and questions people have related to your article. Jot them down as a writing prompt, and use them where  they naturally make sense in the article. Then read it aloud to make sure it  sounds good to readers. Google is starting to measure reader engagement via social and other signals, so making your hub more reader-appealling can actually help.

    1. janderson99 profile image52
      janderson99posted 12 years ago

      see this - It may explain a lot of what is happening - duplication penalty error! … ch-Results

      1. Bill Yovino profile image89
        Bill Yovinoposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Hey, that's my hub that's being shown in the example! Too funny!

    2. thoughthole profile image93
      thoughtholeposted 12 years ago

      I have a trickle of Google traffic today. It is too soon to say anything about anything, but this looks a bit different than what I have been witnessing for the last month.

    3. profile image0
      Ethan Greenposted 12 years ago

      Just to add my sorry little story to this thread. Even though I am new to Hubpages (3 weeks) I was on page 1 of Google for 2 of my hubs for particular keywords. Then last week I totally disappeared. I then discovered today that even if I Google my name with Hubpages, my Hubs do not come up in the search results at all. After asking in other threads and doing my own research, I have discovered that not only have I lost rankings, but Google had de-indexed me altogether, which is far more serious. I can only assume it is because of my over-use of keywords. So I have had to go through my articles, remove a lot of keywords so that they read more naturally, and submit my subdomain for reconsideration, along with a humble explanation to Google as to what I have done to improve my pages (they even tell you to explain yourself, like a naughty little child). They wrote back to tell me it could take a few weeks to have a look at my pages and see if they now meet their quality guidelines.

      Of course, I could have done nothing and waited to see if the dust settles and I magically re-appear, but that didn't sit well with me as a plan of action.

      So my point really is that anyone who is wondering where their Hubs went - you may want to check if you have also been de-indexed and make your own decision as to what to do about it.


      1. crazyhorsesghost profile image70
        crazyhorsesghostposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I checked all your Hub Pages and you are not de-indexed. If you search for each of your URL's they are in the Google index though I did not check for position or keyword. But they are listed in there some where.

        You really should just keep building new hub pages and not worry about position for 6 months to a year. Keep your keyword or key word phrase at under 5 percent and you'll do okay.

        Making money at Hub Pages is not going to happen over night or even in a few months. You need to look long term at least six months to a year out or longer.

        You should never expect to do a Hub and have it rank for longer than a few days until it has set there for a while.

        1. WorkAtHomeMums profile image86
          WorkAtHomeMumsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Is there any way to find out what position you are in google for a keyword other than searching page by page until you locate your hub?

          1. lobobrandon profile image86
            lobobrandonposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Download CuteRank, its a free software that lets you track one domain - add the keywords you want to check and update it whenever you wish. I use it. If you have many sites you'd have to pay though. I use it just for my hubpages subdomain.


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