This is another of my off-the-cuff observations not backed up by evidence, but I really like one approach Hubpages has taken to recover from Panda: establishing author-based subdomains.
On the one hand, this means backlink churn. They’ve got redirects in place, but any time you shift the URLs of part of a website, there are bound to be problems. They’ll iron out over time.
But on the other hand, this makes it much, much clearer who’s written what. Is everything in one subdomain scraped garbage? Fine, penalize it. But if another subdomain has unique, well-written content with sound links to related content, don’t give it a penalty because of Jane Q. Scraper/Spammer in the next domain over. It’s the same principle as web hosting from the last decade. There’s quite a mix of websites on the hosting service where I’m posting this blog, and search engines don’t judge us the same way.
There’s one other piece of the puzzle that Hubpages and Squidoo are getting half right.
Both Hubpages and Squidoo have added a hidden rel=author link from individual articles (lenses, hubs) to the member’s profile page. Good. That makes clear that the member is the author of all those pages.
But as Marisa Wright of the HP forums reminded me, there’s something more to do. There needs to be a rel=”me” field on our Squidoo and Hubpages profiles to link to our Google profile, or Google won’t count the authorship, and our suite of articles, as our own work separate from the rest of the site, because the authorship won’t be confirmed.
Update: Squidoo has now implemented this field. (And it didn’t matter anyway, since we could add a rel=”me” link manually, but still, the field makes it easier.)