Greekgeek's Online Odyssey - Hubpages and Online Article Writing Tips

Squidoo to Hubpages Transfer: Traffic Increase

I just checked Google Analytics to see how my Squidoo lenses are faring after transfer.

Here’s their daily traffic stats according to Google Analytics. (Scroll down for a visual chart of the boring data).

To create this table, I combined all their Google Analytics daily traffic data. Squidoo or Hubpages, wherever they were, it was the same batch of articles.*

First Week of Squidoo to Hubpages Traffic

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Squidoo Lens Transfer To Hubpages Has Begun

Hubpages has set up a new help forum for Squidoo members making the transition to HP.

As expected, HP is transferring accounts a bit at a time, with early opt-ins getting early transfers.

Relache reports on how her lenses looked after import and what happened to modules that work rather differently on HP.

Still waiting for your lenses to transfer? Here’s what I’m doing.

  • One final Traffic Stats compilation. My weekly traffic for all my Squidoo accounts dropped below 9000 this week. Partly because I deleted over a hundred of lenses (Squidoo-related tutorials and community lenses, lensographies, and some product review niches that I’m moving to my own site), but that’s still sad for 259 pages.
  • KEYWORD DATA DEEP DIVE. Last chance! Whatever else one can say for it, Squidoo gave us good data on keywords tucked away in the depths of the dashboard. Really tucked away, since they hid the 90 day data.

You can get it by creating a random bookmark (be sure to add it to your browser toolbar), then editing the bookmark in your browser’s bookmark editor and changing the URL to the following mini script (scroll right in the code box below to make sure you copy all of it):

javascript:Qr=prompt('Enter%20lensname%20(minus%20http://www.squidoo.com/)','');if(Qr)location.href='http://www.squidoo.com/stats/traffic/'+escape(Qr)+'?range=3month'

Click that bookmarklet while you’re logged into Squidoo, and it’ll ask for a lens URL  – just the stuff after http://www.squidoo.com/ — and then it takes you to the 90-day traffic pane for that lens. Be sure to click the “see more” toggle at the bottom of the keywords list to grab ‘em all. Save ‘em to a text document with all the keywords for one niche, and they may give you some ideas about the sorts of things your primary audience is looking for.

I’m trying to collect the keyword data for my favorite niches and top hubs. That’s not something HP is going to preserve.

Hubpages Dashboard: Sorting Hubs to Help You Batch Edit

SPIRITUALITY WROTE [on the hubpages forum]

GreekGeek – any idea how hubs are organised on our profiles? What determines their order?

Yep! By default, they’re sorted according to [Hub]Score, but there’s lots of other ways to sort & filter. Pardon my scribbles…

Hubpages Dashboard

Click the top of any column to sort by that column. “Published” is original publish date (Hubpages will keep our lens creation dates). “Changed” is the most recent update. Or sort by traffic to tackle popular articles first.

Export as csv” creates a tidy list you can import into a spreadsheet and use as a to-do list.

Hubs > Groups  Create new groups. Scroll down on that pane for “orphaned hubs” which you can add to groups. You can also add a hub you’re editing to groups in the “Display Options” pane in the workshop sidebar.

Warning: Hubpages asks us to limit groups to hubs that are relevant to one another. Each grouped hub gets a “Next” and “Previous” link at the bottom, passing traffic to the adjacent hubs in the group like a webring. Therefore, we can’t set up groups for our own organizational purposes. (i.e. no “hubs I need to work on” group.)

The filter pane  (beige box) has some useful sorting functions for finding hubs that need work. For example…

designation > Not Featured – Engagement 
…lists all hubs that have fallen out of “Featured” status because not enough traffic or reader engagement

designation > Not Featured – Quality
… lists all hubs that need more work to pass QAP.

capsule > Amazon
…lists all hubs with an Amazon capsule. Or look for hubs with eBay capsules, or hubs with Photo capsules (although that’s probably all of them).

 

As we revamp our imported lenses, the sort by “Changed” (last edit) is going to be the most helpful option, and I also highly recommend “export as csv” and plugging the result into a spreadsheet, which you can then use to cross off those you’ve updated.

 

 

EDIT: AND I TOTALLY FAILED TO ANSWER SPIRITUALITY’S QUESTION. Hubs on our profile are displayed to the public according to creation date, newest to oldest. I have found no way to sort them.

Hubpages Dashboard: Icons Explained

Hovering over the dashboard icons gives you tooltips explaining them, but for those Squids waiting for their lenses to transfer, a quick overview:

Hubpages Dashboard

  • Blue/red arrows: significant decrease/increase in typical traffic
  • Black alert triangle with !: One or more links on this hub appears to have broken. Edit hub; the workshop will highlight broken links in pink.
  • Hub title is red and there’s no icon in the “Featured” Column: either you haven’t published it yet, or you’ve chosen to unpublish it because it’s out of date and desperately needs an overhaul ;), or (I think?) if a hub is unpublished because Hubpages’ editing team / moderators have flagged it, it looks like this. Edit and fix problems, them publish again!
  • Red © symbol: Hubpages has a detected a duplicate of this hub’s content elsewhere on the web. Edit the hub and look at the top. It’ll give you a link to the copied content. It also provides a link to file a DMCA notice if Hubpages has figured out where to report that particular site.
  • Black circle with white H: A featured hub. It’s live, it’s indexed, it’s visible.
  • Half circle: Unfeatured hub. It’s still live, it’s visible to your Hubpages followers (I think?), and it’s visible if you send someone to it with the link, but it’s no longer crawlable by search engines. Review the suggestions at the upper right in the Hub workshop, edit and publish, and it’ll be featured again after going through another Quality Assessment (takes a day or two). See my guide on keeping Hubs featured for more tips.

Not shown:

  • White circle: Failed Hubpages’ Quality Assessment Process. See Hubpages’ guide to Featured hubs and the QAP.
  • A gray circle of two arrows chasing each other: Hub is newly published, and it’s pending the Quality Assessment Process before it’s added to Hubpages’ index. The hub is visible if you send someone a link, just noindexed. Nowadays the QAP usually takes less than 24 hours. You’ll know it’s passed when the gray circle turns into the black circle with the white “H” indicating it’s Featured.

I have a few “unfeatured due to lack of engagement” hubs. I may massage them to try and drive more traffic to them. Or I may just ignore them. Once you’ve published many hundreds of articles, having a few that have fallen out of circulation is no biggie. In fact, it may be useful to learn from: why didn’t it draw traffic or engage readers?

Also notice the “last edit” date. Hubpages doesn’t care when you last updated. All it cares about is that the article is still drawing readers who are interacting with (or at least reading) it.

Hubpages – A Grab Bag of Tips and Observations

I became active on Hubpages again in 2011 and churned out a little over a hundred hubs in two years. I have been next to useless on that site for the past year. So take anything I say about Hubpages with a grain of salt. That said, I may have learned a few useful things.

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R.I.P Squidoo: A Long Time Coming

Squidoo shutting down shouldn’t be much of a surprise to those who have been watching it for the past year. The only surprise is that it’s giving away member content without explicit permission, despite its TOS which states,

Squidoo does not claim ownership of the Content you place on your Lens. The Content will be owned by you or a third party from whom you got permission to post the content.

I suppose, since Squidoo is merging with Hubpages, a lawyer could argue that Hubpages is now, legally, Squidoo, in the same way that my old bank is now owned by and named something else. Nevertheless, it feels a bit shoddy, especially with the “good news” spin in Seth’s announcement and the incredibly short notice.

That discourtesy towards members also doesn’t surprise me.

In a way, I’m relieved — the death by a thousand paper cuts is over, at long last. Nevertheless, I feel enormous sympathy for the many members who were still active and passionate about keeping the site going. You folks were just kicked in the gut. I wish I could wave pom-poms and give you “good news” and put a positive spin on this. But… I’m worried about those of you whose family budget depended on that Squidoo pay day.

Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news.

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Scientific Study Discovers What Gets Retweeted More Often

Chenhao Tan of Cornell University and his colleagues have completed an extensive study of what types of wording tend to generate the most retweets. There’s not one cookie-cutter template that works in all situations, because, unsurprisingly, you need to adapt your vocabulary and language to the particular community or audience you’re addressing. Nevertheless, the study suggests a few generally successful practices:

  • being specific and including some specific information
  • picking up on topics tweeted before
  • using news headline style copy (hey, I wrote a tutorial about how to draw clicks by mimicking news headlines a few years ago— ahead of the curve!)
  • asking followers to retweet

Best of all, for the moment, Mr. Tan’s website has a free tool letting you compose and compare Tweets using the intelligent algorithm he devised, based on this study of what wordings are most effective.

Translation: free Tweet optimization tool, at least until everyone discovers it and he has to shut it down due to traffic overload (just a hunch)! Probably worth using for article headlines as well.

Happy Squidversary to Me! (7 Years)

Well! I turn 7 on Squidoo today.

Much has happened since my last Squidbits post. I got banned! (Only from Squidoo’s HQ blog and forums, at a time when I hadn’t been posting on them for many months.) As far as I could tell, HQ thought my last Squidbits post “too negative,” according to the form letter I received. Thus chastened, I stopped posting.

Ironically, my Squidoo lenses are now attracting approximately the same amount of traffic that they were drawing back in the halcyon days of 2012, although they only earn about 1/4th of what they did back then.

Google Analytics for All my Squidoo Traffic (about 400 lenses): 

My 2012-14 Squidoo Traffic

…when the heck did Google change “unique visits” to “sessions”?

 

Don’t be fooled. My March traffic upsurge is largely due to a niche account capitalizing on new, remastered releases and sequels to some popular titles. (I say vaguely, since my niche account is connected to a fandom alias that I prefer to keep as an alias). Yes, I did plan ahead with lens updates and articles that anticipated said releases as far back as 2011; I have not totally abandoned my old skills. I expect that niche traffic to tail off again over time.

So, what have I been doing with myself on Squidoo?

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A Squidoo Timeline: Looking Back at the Past Year

This is my attempt to round up a year’s worth of changes on Squidoo, with particular focus on which Squidoo changes and which Google algorithm updates may have caused traffic gains or losses.

As usual, I’m using Hubpages as a reference, because it’s a comparable site, although its traffic trajectory has been quite different. (Hubpages took its big Panda hit in Jan 2011, and has been climbing back ever since; Squidoo was mostly unaffected by Panda until Nov 2012).

Quantcast Chart of Squidoo & Hubpages traffic, July 2012-2013

I’ve marked specific dates of Google algorithm changes plus significant events at Squidoo.

Squidoo traffic, Google panda/penguin updates, 2012-2013

(Also available on YouTube, where you can pause and move the playback position, but video is a little fuzzy.)

Squidoo Timeline July 2012-2013

  • Jul 5, 2012: START. Squidoo and Hubpages both draw ~1 million global unique visitors a day; Squidoo is on top.
  • Jul 24, 2012: Panda #17.  Sistrix shows both Squidoo’s and Hubpages’ overall visibility in Google search results DOWN 10%. [See Google's guidelines on what Panda rewards].
  • Aug 10, 2012: Pirate / DMCA updateBoth sites unaffected.
  • Aug 15, 2012: Departure of Megan Casey, Squidoo co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.
  • Aug 20, 2012: Panda #18. Sistrix shows Squidoo UP 3%, Hubpages UP 9%.
  • Sep 18, 2012: Panda #19. Sistrix shows Squidoo UP 1%, Hubpages DOWN 2%.
  • Sep 27, 2012: Panda #20, EMDSistrix shows Squidoo DOWN 4%, Hubpages DOWN 12%. [Hubpages uses subdomains, which might trigger EMD downranking; Squidoo does not, so it should be immune to EMD.]
  • Oct 5, 2012: Third Penguin Update. Sistrix shows Squidoo UP 13%, Hubpages DOWN 32%. [Searchengineland explains Penguin, Google's explanation].
  • Oct 9, 2012: Page Layout Algorithm #2. Sistrix shows Squidoo unchanged, Hubpages 17% DOWN. [Info on Page Layout Algorithm, also called "Top Heavy"]
  • Oct 31, 2012: Squidoo implements Postcards.
  • Nov 5, 2012: Panda  #21. Sistrix shows Squidoo 35% UP, Hubpages unchanged.
  • Nov 12-16: Sporadic Squidoo traffic drops. Several veteran Squids report significant traffic drops at a time when traffic is usually increasing due to holiday shopping season. I have never been able to correlate this to a known Google algorithm update, unless it was a Nov. 15 change in Google Image Search.
  • Nov 21, 2012: Panda #22. Sistrix shows Squidoo 60% DOWN, Hubpages 33% UP. [FWIW,  some Squidoo members were reporting spammy ad popups at about this time.]
  • Nov 26, 2012: Squidoo implements Crowdignite Ads.  These have finally been replaced with “related” Google ads; not sure when that happened, but it’s after Mar 1.
  • Dec 7, 2012: Squidoo implements “Responsive Layout redesign. Quizzes, polls, and some Amazon and eBay modules break or lose content, and new ads appear in the middle of lens body content for mobile devices and on some web browers (Chrome OSX).
  • Dec 21, 2012: Panda #23. Sistrix shows Squidoo 14% UP, Hubpages 9% DOWN.
  • Jan 22, 2013: Panda #24. Sistrix shows Squidoo 15% UP, Hubpages 3% DOWN.
  • Feb 28, 2013: Bonnie posts about Spun Content problems (the day before, Bonnie warned against thin sales lenses, but that “Showercurtain” blog post was removed.)
  • Mar 5, 2013: Squidoo adds “You may also like” with 5 supposedly-related products to the bottom of every Amazon module. All Amazon module content blocked by Adblock on Mar 6, and on Mar 7, Squidoo discontinues “You may also like,” but Adblock continues to block Amazon modules for several weeks
  • Mar 12, 2013: Squidoo implements new “Discovery Bar”, at first covering part of first screen of content, then moved down, then removed on Mar 18.  On May 28, HQ replaced it with a popup for non-logged-in visitors.
  • Mar 18, 2013: Panda #25. Sistrix shows Squidoo 17% DOWN,  Hubpages 3% DOWN. (From this time onward, Panda is ongoing.)
  • Mar 19, 2013: Giant Squid conference call with Seth, Bonnie & Gil.
  • Mar 21, 2013: Squidoo bans most coloring pages.
  • Mar 25, 2013: Squidoo’s new filters announced, giving members 7 days (Giants 21? days) to fix flagged lenses before they’re locked. Some members choose to delete/move flagged lenses. Thousands of lenses must have been locked after this window. Since then, many members have reported finding lenses locked without warning.
  • Mar 28, 2013: Squidoo Nofollows all outbound links.
  • May 7, 2013: widespread reports of Phantom”  Update, unconfirmed by Google.
  • May 13, 3013: In response to many people bewildered by “thin content” flags and locks, Bonnie posts about Keyword Density.
  • May 16, 2013: New Squidoo Homepage. At first it’s missing links to categories, making them unfindable to search bots, but now those links are restored.
  • May 22, 2013: Penguin 2.0Sistrix shows Squidoo 25% UP, Hubpages 8% UP.
  • May 29, 2013: Subdomain testing.
  • June 10, 2013: Outbound link limit more strictly defined.
  • June 18, 2013: second Seth Godin/ HQ conference call.
  • June 25 , 2013: Squidoo adds Scorecard. (See Q&A.)

April-June: Squidoo changes or retires  “About Me” and “My Lenses”Poll moduleAmazon modulesPhoto Gallery, Twitter,  Video modules. After each of these changes, many lensmasters report lost/deleted content from these modules, which searchbots may notice.

A few caveats.

  1. There’s seasonal cycles. Squidoo usually had a shopping-related traffic swell starting in September, cresting at Halloween, peaking again just after Thanksgiving, and staying more or less elevated until Christmas, with a lesser peak at Valentine’s Day and then a slight summer slump. (Part of the reason that veterans started sounding the alarm in November was that traffic was dropping at a time when it normally increased).
  2. “Correlation does not equal causation.” Sistrix measures when a site has gained or lost a lot of search visibility by checking to see where it ranks on a huge database of search terms that Sistrix keeps re-checking. It assumes bit traffic shifts are related to the most recent known Google update, but there might be other causes.
  3. If Squidoo is tinkering under its own hood or purging a lot of content, that may result in traffic changes on that site which have nothing to do with Google updates.
  4. After significant changes, there may be a lag before Google and other search engines recrawl pages they’ve visited before and make adjustments.
  5. During holiday shopping season, the full extent of traffic losses on Squidoo may be masked, because Squidoo has so many sales-related pages.
  6. Google does not announce all updates; it’s making smaller updates and adjustments all the time. (And sometimes, as on May 7, many websites may report traffic upheavals without Google confirming an update.)

Also see: Yuku forum thread where various lensmasters are sharing their May 2012-May 2013 and June 2012-June 2013 traffic stats and changes.

The Great Squidoo vs. Panda Death Match: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Recent major Google algorithm updates that have helped or harmed Squidoo, according to Sistrix.com’s “Google Updates” tracking tool.

 

So, we all knew that Squidoo had to do some major damage control to rescue itself, since Google’s downranked it for… well, we’re all making educated guesses, but Google’s webmaster guidelines provide us with a list of likely culprits (links are to the specific part of Google guidelines detailing each big no-no):

Most of these are content-related problems which are the responsibility of Squidoo members. Some are in the hands of HQ. Let’s take a closer look at each of these problems and how it’s playing out on Squidoo:

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