Hubpages’ new Idle Status should’ve removed a lot of low-quality hubs from Hubpages around Aug 29-30, giving Googlebot a little time to crawl the website and reevaluate it with some low-quality content cleared out.
A Googler reported a Panda reset on Sept. 18. This is the standard Panda update where Google reevaluates all websites based on their overall spam to useful/unique content and assigns that domain a Panda rating, which then becomes a strong factor (a boost or a dampener) which it uses to rank individual webpages on that site.
Our guess was that Hubpages’ “Idle Status” would give Hubpages a better overall Panda rating, and help it draw more traffic. This is dependent on whether Hubpages guessed correctly— idling the sorts of pages that Panda tends to downrank— and whether Googlebot has re-crawled and removed Idle hubs from Google’s index. Googlebot re-crawls stale pages less frequently than ones that are updated often, so it’s possible that Panda is still judging Hubpages based on what it looked like before a lot of those pages were idled.
What does Quantcast show? Unfortunately, the last date on the chart today is Sept 19, so we’ll have to wait a week to see for sure:
What I still can’t figure out is why Squidoo took off like a shot this August, although it parallels the June sag. Take a look at Hubpages vs. Squidoo traffic on Quantcast:
I mentioned in my last Hubpages vs. Squidoo post one hypothesis: Squidoo appears to me to be oriented much more towards family and kids products, so its traffic may go in lockstep with the parents-and-kids demographic. In the comments of that post, Simon of Hubpages asked me to clarify why I believed Squidoo had a greater lock on that demographic than Hubpages. I answered her at length, explaining the ways I think Squidoo has visibly and officially catered to that segment, but I’d add one more datum: Quantcast rates Squidoo as slightly above average in the “parents with kids” demographic, Hubpages as slightly under. However, the difference between them isn’t all that much.
I’m not sure how Quantcast is able to measure demographics like that. Raw traffic I can believe — embedding a 1×1 image on each page and counting pageloads is a straightforward visitor counter — but I wonder how Quantcast is able to determine details of who is tripping the turnstyle.