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


Quick Check-in: Year Stats

I’ve been enjoying writing for my own sake, being active on social media, and not worrying about traffic. From time to time I stop by Hubpages and add a new article or edit some old ones. I’ve started a new blog recently, vhswhovian, which is probably of interest to exactly one of you who knows what a Whovian is. And I converted an old, early 2000 website into a WordPress format, to make it better for mobile. (And for anyone who cares, my mythphile blog is on hold while I concentrate on other projects, although I still update it once in a blue moon.)

It’s been a year since Squidoo folded and transferred my Squidoo articles across to Hubpages, so I thought I’d check analytics and see what’s happened.

Total Traffic for the year across my hubs and blogs where I’ve installed analytics (which doesn’t include this one, oddly enough):

649,600: Pageviews Sep 14, 2014 through Sep 19, 2015

Surprisingly, that’s nearly all Hubpages.

And I’ve got about 2000 followers between Tumblr and Twitter.

Below is the weekly pageview breakdown. The Squidoo imports (marked with S) perform better on average than my native Hubpages accounts, because I jettisoned about half my articles when they came across so I’d have breathing room to edit the rest. There’s something to be said for a really thorough spring cleaning.


My Thoughts About Hubscore on Hubpages

Many Hubpages members are anxious about Hubscores. I feel almost the same way about them as I did about Squidoo points and levels: they’re in-house metrics that have no bearing on my success as an online writer. From time to time, I’ll glance at my dash to see which of my articles Hubpages scores as the best, partly to feel a tingle of self-satisfaction, and partly to get a general sense of the kinds of articles Hubpages prioritizes. (In that case, I’m judging Hubpages— never mind how it arrives at those scores, are the articles it’s giving 90s to good articles? If  Hubpages starts ranking junk above what I consider quality, then I’ll worry.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, my recent Hub of the Day had a Hubscore of 83. That shows just how futile it is to chase Hubscores. Looking at all my Hubs with better scores, a quick glance showed no obvious patterns. Some had more comments, some more traffic, some more user interaction, some more or fewer words, some more or fewer photos. Maybe I could figure out why they outrank my HotD if I analyzed them all carefully, but it’s just not important. (Especially since I agree that, while it’s a successful article, it’s not my very best work.)

The only reason Hubscore matters is that it’s Hubpages’ requirement for DoFollow links. If your overall Hubberscore drops below 85, or an individual Hub’s score drops below 40, then links in your article are set to NoFollow. That means Google won’t count them when assessing the value of the sites they point to. Many people actively plant DoFollow links as a way to make their own websites rank better on Google— or so they hope.

Personally, I’ve stopped caring whether links on my hubs are DoFollow. My websites, blogs and good articles attract plenty of dofollow links on their own from other people linking to them.  That spares me from worrying about Google cracking down on various kinds of spammy backlinks. What Google wants to see (and use as a ranking factor) is links from other people who genuinely find your content valuable. To that end, Google’s Penguin algorithm is designed to filter out self-promotional links which tell it nothing about how good the content actually is.

Many years ago, I decided that the best thing to do is not to build my own backlinks, but to try to build content that’s worth linking to. As long as I do that, my Hubscore generally stays above 85 anyway. (I just checked, and all my Hubpages accounts are 85 or better except one, which is an old test account.)

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.

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):


Click that bookmarklet while you’re logged into Squidoo, and it’ll ask for a lens URL  — just the stuff after — 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.


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.


The Mobile Web on Squidoo and Hubpages

Yep, it’s another geeky stats post trying to figure out “what’s going on with our traffic?”  using two similar article-publishing sites to contrast and compare trends.

Squidoo launched its “responsive” layout on Friday, December 7, 2012, hoping to cash in on the skyrocketing use of mobile devices to browse the web. Many of us had emailed HQ about the need to adapt to mobile/tablets over the past few years, so we certainly understood the reasons for the change, if not the timing. But the proof is in the pudding. How did the Responsive Layout launch impact traffic?

I’m kicking myself for not doing a screengrab of Quantcast’s traffic tracking before the changeover, showing what percentage of Squidoo visitors came in through mobile, but I’ve at least got that info from my own Google Analytics (see below).

However, we can do a current comparison of Squidoo vs. Hubpages mobile traffic.

But first, a baseline. Quantcast shows that Squidoo’s overall (mobile and desktop) traffic remains above Hubpages — barely — although it has been dropping for a few months. Squidoo is probably more dependent on holiday shopping:

Squidoo traffic vs. Hubpages traffic, August 2012 through Feb 2013.

Quantcast only gives 1-month data for mobile, but I’ve seen that Hubpages has always drawn more mobile traffic than Squidoo, despite having slightly less traffic overall for most of the past two years. Even after Squidoo’s responsive layout update, this is still true…


Google Panda 20 Loves Squidoo, Hates Hubpages?

I’m having a little trouble separating out Squidoo’s Happy Traffic Season from impacts by the latest Google Panda update (rolled out on September 27 and the following 3 days), but I think this may be indicative of a Panda blessing on top of the usual seasonal traffic patterns:

Squidoo: “W00t, thanks for sending us more traffic for the holiday shopping season!”
Hubpages: “Why so mean, Google, WHY?”

(Note that it is normal for traffic to rise mid-week and tail off on Friday-Saturday-Sunday; it’s a web-wide pattern.)

Two possible reasons for Hubpages’ Sep. 28 traffic crash were discussed by Paul Edmondson, head of HP, in this announcement post: (1) they’d added a “buy on Amazon” button to the Amazon capsule to try and tweak its utterly ineffective conversions and (2) they just entirely revamped Hubpages’ profile page, adding a “Hubpages activity” section at the bottom that might be diluting the SEO value of the profile by linking to a lot of spammy social chitchat.   (1) is unlikely — I get plenty of Google traffic to pages like this with lots of nofollowed Amazon links — but (2) might be so.

Paul says HP has rolled back these two changes:

We believe it’s possible that one of these two changes started impacting traffic late last week, but aren’t sure which one, or if it’s the cause at all, but to be sure we are going to make some changes to test.

Translation: “We’re flailing, but we’ll test this and that until we find something that seems to help.” (Site outages on Friday and Sunday didn’t help either, but Squidoo has outages now and then and doesn’t show traffic dips). Hub traffic is starting to recover on my own account, but is still off by about 20%.

This was an interesting Panda update. Google was extremely cagey about it as SearchEngineLand’s write-up of Google Panda 20 explains.

On Friday, September 28, Matt Cutts announced a separate EMD Google algorithm update, which removes the advantage the Google algorithm used to give to low-quality websites using an exact match domain name that fit a popular search query. ( took a rankings dive, for example).

Many people without exact-match domain names were noticing significant traffic changes over the weekend, during which time Matt Cutts resisted answering questions, but eventually SearchEngineLand called up Google and got a confirmation that yes, it was a Panda algorithm update.

An algorithm update.

During a regular Panda update, the Panda algorithm evaluates all websites (i.e. domains like, and then uses the overall Panda rating of the website as one big factor in determining how high or low to list pages from that website in search results. This is like colleges getting evaluated annually, after which employers use the college’s rating as one big factor in deciding whether to hire particular job applicants from that college.

However, this was more than a regular Panda data refresh, in which it reevaluates all the colleges, er, websites. Instead, this was an algorithm refresh, which means Panda adjusted/tweaked the criteria it uses to evaluate websites. We don’t yet know what those criteria are— although at least some of them are listed in Google’s Inside Search blog post on Oct 4 (which unfortunately covers dozens of Google’s algorithm changes for the last two months, not just the Panda component).

At any rate, it appears that the new algorithm rewarded Squidoo and punched Hubpages. As usual, my chief reason for comparing these two websites’ Panda fortunes is that I keep hoping I’ll detect differences between the two websites — and how Panda treats them — that shed light on what Panda actually is looking for.

I still believe it was not a wise SEO move to noindex Pending Hubs. “Yo, Panda: from now on, Hubpages will not show search engines any fresh content until it’s stale, and we’re going to expect your searchbots to keep coming back to see when, randomly, we release new content from the noindex penalty box!” Maybe I’m crazy, but that just doesn’t seem like it would earn high marks from Panda. Again, stay tuned.