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

Useful Advice from Hubstaff

So, the transfer from Squidoo to Hubpages has been a mixed bag. While some lensmasters are reporting good results (including me, so far), others are watching their traffic dry up and wither away. On top of which, a major Panda update just rolled out.

Paul Edmondson has some really, really good advice on affiliate links. Read the top post, then scroll down slightly to find the gold-colored post where he responded to questions. His advice is based on (a) Google Webmaster Guidelines and (b) “example[s] where google applied manual spam action on the account…”

Robin (of Hubpages, not Squidoo) had some pointers which I think are well worth trying to follow, even though we may kick at them.

Again, thinking we know better than Google may result in our not getting traffic than Google. It’s irksome, but if we’re losing traffic anyway, we may have to give in and play the game.

I am certainly ripping out Amazon products left and right as I update hubs. I did not get rid of my Greek mythology books hub, but…we’ll see. Going forward, I will definitely be focusing on my informational articles and not writing any more product reviews  unless I really, really hit something that I love enough that I want to share it with my RL friends and family and online friends.

Looking Back at Squidoo’s Mistakes

Drat. I’ve been trying so hard to focus on the transition to Hubpages and getting on with it, rather than rehashing what’s done and past.

However, I keep see more and more posts by people throwing all the blame on members and absolving SquidHQ of the policies that led it into a death spiral.

Sorry, no. That’s not what happened. I’ve been on Squidoo since 2007. I watched the site change its focus and its approach. HQ erratically tried to backpedal, but even as late as the end of 2013 they were forcing us to create low-content sales-generating pages or lose Giant Squid status.

Here’s my full rebuttal, with more details on what I saw go down when.

And now I’m going to try to get back to looking ahead and slowly getting my transferred articles up to snuff under Hubpages’ QAP standards which, honest to gosh, I want to hug. They’re a nuisance, but it’s the first time since early 2013 that I’ve revamped all my Squidoo articles and have some hope that this will help them.

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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