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

Hubpages vs. Squidoo Traffic: August 2012

Riddle me ree, riddle me roo, why is Hubpages traffic different than Squidoo?

And what the heck happened around August 4/5?

Dates of Recent Google Updates:

Hubpages traffic vs. Squidoo’s on Quantcast, from Aug 22, 2012 (click image for larger-size)

Which just goes to remind us that big, publicly-announced Google updates are only one small factor, and that Google is CONSTANTLY tweaking its algorithm. (In fact, there were about 85 minor algo tweaks announced for June-July. Here’s a good discussion of some of them on Searchengineland.)

At first, my hunch was that this was due to one of the other algo tweaks. But I don’t think it’s that. With past algorithm tweaks, we’ve often seen Hubpages dip afterwards. But this isn’t a dip. Squidoo is climbing. What’s up?

Hubpages has a lot more writerly writers, whereas Squidoo has a HUGE chunk of Rocketmoms, work-at-home moms…. see a pattern? They create a ton of lenses based around kid-related and family-related products. I suspect we’re seeing a back-to-school climb, corresponding to the dip in traffic starting at the end of May .

What’s odd is that Hubpages writers also have mentioned a summer slump, but they’re not seeing a climb yet. I suspect there are more “informational” hubs and fewer sales hubs, or at least fewer sales hubs catering to the Soccer Mom demographic. Squidoo seems to have a lock on those. But that’s just a guess.

Why do I care? Partly, raw curiosity, but mainly, here we have a lab experiment: two sites with very similar models and similar ratios of spam to content. When their traffic diverges, that means there’s some small difference causing the change. If we can understand that difference, then we may begin to get a better grasp of factors that impact search traffic. (I would love for Wizzly and Zujava to grow enough to get directly-measured traffic for Quantcast; then we’d have  four sites with basically similar models to compare and contrast.)


  1. Sheri says:

    Yes, well, aren’t squidoo and hubpages authors helping wizzley and zujava grow? After all, so many of them are the exact same authors.

    It is interesting the trend on squidoo of so many homeschooling and family oriented lenses. From what I can see so far on wizzley, they are promoting sales articles that are at the same time informative to a greater extent than are the squidoo lenses.

    It will definitely be interesting to see what develops.

  2. Andrea says:

    In several niches I follow some of the top sites have been hit with penalties in search engine results and Squidoo pages have by default moved up in the rankings. I have not seen much of the same with Hubpages.

    Perhaps Squidoo writers are more focused on niches that have been hit with Panda and Penguin.

    1. Greekgeek says:

      Squidoo users are a little more SEO-savvy than Hubpage users, I’ve noticed, but do NOT go in for bad backlinking schemes; they focus on keywords. Squidoo users don’t have the wherewithal to get themselves in real trouble with Penguin, which was cracking down on major phony build-a-gazillion-backlinks schemes.

      I also worry about the number of Hubbers who use paid links on Redgage as backlinks. Google specifically considers paid links to be bad, and has said so many times. (Google should stuff it; who are they to say people can’t use links as a way to earn a little income? But it’s Google’s search algorithm, and they can decide what to favor or penalize).

  3. Flynn says:

    First… line… doesn’t… scan…a rejfdfjdfbrainmeltingfromeffortnottocorrect….

    1. Greekgeek says:

      There was a young poet named Stan
      Whose limericks never would scan.
      He muttered, “Dagnabbit,
      I can’t shake the habit
      Of cramming as many different syllables into the last line as I ever possibly can.”

  4. Simone Smith says:

    Very interesting, Greekgeek! The theory about a higher proportion of mothers being on Squidoo and driving back-to-school traffic is interesting. What evidence have you seen that leads you to think that the Squidoo community has more mothers than HubPages?

    1. Greekgeek says:

      Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, Simone! I don’t really know whether there actually are more mothers on Squidoo than Hubpages. I guess what I’m really getting at is what type of content each site emphasizes and actively supports.

      Different sites emphasize and support different kinds of content, inevitably, based on the philosophy of those who run the site and those who use it. Hubpages seems to me to attract and nurture “writerly” type of content, as reflected in its very look and feel, with a handwritten logo and a clean, professional magazine appearance. A quick glance at Squidoo’s cartoon monsters and bright crayon colors suggests that it’s taken a different approach and is designed for a different audience.

      Squidoo’s shift towards the WAHM market started around 2008, and was officially recognized when Seth Godin wrote in Feb 2009 on the “Getting Started” page of Squidoo that:

      We don’t gather demographics, but anecdotally, it’s pretty obvious that we’ve been hijacked by some of the smartest stay at home women and moms and independent writers on the web. Not by design, but by luck.

      I was briefly appointed one the volunteer staff members in 2008, and observed the same thing during my short tenure: my three fellow “community organizers” were all work-at-home moms. A lot of the categories, challenges, quests, and awards they gave out were geared towards that demographic. That trend has continued as two of them have been promoted to full-time staff members, helping guide the site with their vision and enthusiasm.

      For a long time, Squidoo had an officially sponsored “Rocketmoms” group similar to Hubpages’ apprenticeship program, except that it was uniquely marketed towards the WAHM demographic. The assigned topics and challenges, again, were what a lot of Squidoo members call “cupcake” lenses — not just cupcakes, but any kind of stereotypical “mom stuff” — birthday parties, kids toys, cooking recipes, etc.

      Recently “Rocketmoms” has been retired and expanded to “Rocketsquids.” However, five years of reinforcing and rewarding the “mom and family” demographic and content means that Squidoo has a lot more of that than anything else. Whereas I don’t see Hubpages privileging or being dominated by one particular niche or demographic to that extent.

      Obviously, there’s a lot of content on Squidoo that ISN’T written for that demographic, but over the years, non-WAHM Squidoo members have expressed a sense that we’re more or less on our own, receiving less official Squidoo support, existing in the periphery rather than front and center. We understand and accept that WAHM niches are a lucrative market — something that impacts all of us, due to the way ad revenue is pooled and distributed.

      In short, I believe that the traffic chart above reflects the dominant content niche on Squidoo, NOT so much the actual distribution of moms to non-moms on either site.

      I personally am grateful that Hubpages does NOT emphasize the WAHM demographic over the rest, because it means I feel more comfortable writing there. (If you ever plaster the header with bright colors and cartoon mascots, I’ll scream!)

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