I've been on Hubpages for over 2 and a half years. I've read all sorts of advice about increasing traffic such as keywords, tails, backlinks, Facebook, Twitter etc. etc. etc.
But!! Tell me if I'm wrong, I feel that the most important thing about a Hub is purely the title.
Sure! The content and quality matter but in my experience it's just the title that gets you the hits. That's the Google way.
The title is important yes, but I don't think it is anymore more important than many other things such as content and keywords.
It's just that I've noticed that the 'Listicle' seems to get the most hits on my page. I've written some Hubs with good quality ( In my humble opinion) and others with sparse content but more info. The latter seem to get the hits.
I've written some Hubs that have had great feedback from folk but they hardly register on Google.
I really feel that the anodyne, generic titles get the best hits e.g. Best of..., The Top 10..., The Greatest Ever ... etc etc etc
THE LISTICLE RULES
Did you ever think that the feedback you got on those hubs that don't seem to register would have an impact on your article's overall ability?
If you have a bunch of comments of generic value- no keywords or comments that don't mention the content, but just speak in a generalized format, will have an affect/effect on the hub itself.
So that would now make me wonder if comments are even worth having on an article?
Cags - you bring up an interesting question - exactly where in Google's search do comments fit in? Or do we even know. I have wondered about bad writing on comments (if Google searches for those issues, would it affect the hub author?). But I'd not thought about keywords and whether comments add to them.
Thanks for mentioning this. Time to ponder . . .
It came to the forefront of mind and spewed out through my fingers. Btw- you're welcome.
You 'ol Finger-Spewer, you! Got any idea how we can find out the effect of comments on hubs? That would be great to research.
I doubt Google attributes any weight to comments, but the text of them is indexed. Just take a unique sentence from the comment section of one of your hubs and search for it in Google within quotation marks. Your hub show up in results, and therefore you know that the comment was indexed.
I have definitely gotten some traffic to hubs via comments. Depending on the topic a commenter may expand on your topic or use other descriptive words or phrases that you did not include in your hub.
No! I mean the feedback I've received from people on Facebook and actually in person from friends and family. They've gave honest opinions that it's good material.
BUT Google throws it back off the boat.
Google can generally tell the difference between guestbook comments and the main body content of the article, but yes, in the past year, Google has looked to interactive parts of webpages like guestbooks as one clue -- probably a minor ranking sigal -- to help it tell relevance (so on-topic comments are better), quality, and effectiveness of content. google has been stressing lately that it's looking for pages that deliver results and a good experience to users. One way to measure that is to look at user feedback. Intelligent, engaged, articulate, on-topic comments are a good sign; spam ads for Nike shoes from bunch of Chinese spambots is not.
Back to the original question: the title is not the most important thing for SEO, getting search engines to figure out what search queries your content is relevant for. Search engines use all the clues on your page, from graphics names (on sites that allow us to name image files) to subsection headers to link text to the prevalence of synonyms and related terms in the body of our article to the webpages we link to. Title is important, but a page can rank for search terms and get search traffic for many queries that are not in the title.
The title is hugely important for an entirely different reason: it doubles as a billboard or shop sign, attracting visitors in from off the street, so to speak. When someone does a google search and is trying to choose which result to click on, they only have a few clues to help them decide, and the number one clue (big and bold) is the title of each search result. The title ia also the main thing they see when someone shares a link on Facebook or a social network, or when a hub appears in the related hubs" area of another hub.
People DO judge books by their covers. They decide which article, post, or video to click on largely based on the title. They need to see that the subject matter has something they're interested in. There are also psychological factors. Top Ten and Best Of lists are very popular on the web, promising a quick and easy-to-digest read.
Designing a good title requires a mix of SEO and marketing / psychology, proving that you've got something worth reading and that it will be delivered in an engaging way. Let me once again recommend the free "Magnetic Headlines" tutorials on copyblogger (Google it) to learn more effective ways to write titles.
The cover of a book isn't the only way someone chooses to read a book, but it sure helps!
Thanks for this very thorough and informed answer, GG! It's so helpful to have 'Gurus' here who know these sorts of things.
Great reply Greekgeek
Thanks for the info and taking the time
You really need to be firing on all cylinders for it to work.
A title isn't going to do you any good if you've got low quality content.
And good quality content can be disadvantaged by a badly worded title.
If your hub was a magazine it might attract extra readers who could potentially buy your magazine off the news stand rack because it's got catchy titles, but Google doesn't work that way, it indexes your content. So if your content had nothing to do with your title, you wouldn't even get a look in.
There are quite a few elements that matter when it comes to SEO, but in my opinion title, URL and meta description (your summary in HubPages) are extra important since all three items are part of the snippet in Google results. (However, sometimes the meta description/HP summary is replaced by other content text.)
These three elements that make up the Google snippet can determine whether someone clicks through to your hub or not.
In other words, not only do the title, URL, and description affect how a site is indexed, they also impact potential click-through.
But quality content never should be discounted when it comes to SEO. You can't "trick" Google into ranking a poor quality site just by a well-worded title. It's the total package that matters.
Interesting. That gives me an idea to test. Thank you again.
Ktrapp - I do hope that's the case about a title not trumping bad content. But I agree you need both. My earliest hubs have a few bad titles and I'm trying to address that problem, but of course the URLs are still in the system. Any idea how a faulty URL (the original title) affects searches? Or whether changing the text of a URL will help address the problem?
My problem was in creating catchy titles that harked back to my magazine-writing days. And of course those aren't real search-friendly.
I don't think the URL makes much difference.
Now when I create a page I always use the shortest title possible. It allows more room for manoeuvre later.
I want to write about cats that like sitting in warm places. I might try Cats Warm for starters. Then change the title as I finish the page.
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