The Secret to Finding High-Traffic Topics for your Hubs

Over the last four years, I’ve published over 150 Hubs in my livelonger account, and have experimented with various types of topic sources. Some of my Hubs have been major hits, with over 100,000 views and several hundreds of dollars in my AdSense account; others barely got any views at all. Let me share with you the worst sources of high-traffic topics, and the best sources, for me, at least.

WORST

  • Anything covered in the news
  • Anything with a “newsy” title
  • Reprinting anything viral (funny videos, etc.)
  • Reviews of individual low-cost products (things that aren’t heavily researched online by people before a purchase)
  • Anything personal

These types of Hubs usually only got traffic from other Hubbers, fans or people I know, with a tiny/nonexistent trickle of searchers from Google beyond that. As traffic- and money-bringers, they were not good at all.

DECENT BUT NOT GREAT

  • hyperlocal reviews
  • better-titled information that is already available online on a single page

These kinds of Hubs do tend to get a trickle of search traffic. Better-titled versions of topically-grouped local reviews (“Best vegetarian restaurants in Orange County”, for example) outdo reviews of individual places, which face stiff competition from the likes of Yelp, CitySearch, etc.

PRETTY AWESOME

  • better-titled information that is only now starting to become available online
  • a much, much better treatment on a topic than what Google serves up as the first result (more capsules – like videos, polls, pictures, videos, etc., and a better writeup)

Following these approaches to sourcing topics has worked consistently well. If I’m a bit ahead of the curve on a topic, and publish a Hub on it with a search-friendly title before the large groundswell of traffic comes, I can usually rank and do well on it. The same goes for Hubs that do a lot better job than the 1st search result in Google on the same search term (better information, pictures, maps, charts, etc.).

THE BEST

  • topics that I google and can’t find a comprehensive answer in any one of the top results Google sends me

I can’t stress this enough. My top three Hubs – which represent over 40% of my Hub traffic – were sourced from this method. I was curious about something, a friend was curious about something, or someone in the Answers section was curious about something (one of each in this case!), I googled it, and the first few results were pretty bad. I had to poke around several sites, digging through pages, to stitch together a comprehensive Hub that really addressed the topic. From all of my research, I was able to put together a Hub that addressed the topic far more directly and thoroughly than any of the sources I found in the first few search results could.

So that’s my secret: when Google’s results frustrate you, take that as a signal and create a Hub that will earn you visitors and money for years!

26 thoughts on “The Secret to Finding High-Traffic Topics for your Hubs

  1. Jason, I think as a writer you really need to decide if you are writing for profit or for something else, and if you are writing for your own sites vs writing for content sites like HP. Some of those topics you listed as Worst are topics that can get you good short term traffic but a very poor earners. And the topics you suggest as Best are those that have zero competition which means little chance of Adsense earnings.

    I do, sometimes, look at the questions being asked on HP as well as Yahoo Answers, and when I come across a topic that has been asked multiple times with little or limited answers, I do some research to see the traffic potential of the topic. Then I have to put it up against my own value means test to see if it is actually worth my time to write an article on it.

  2. I liked the livewithrichard reply, where he mentioned that ‘More competition = more conversion’ – Never thought about this, BUT I think it will work.

  3. livewithrichard: There are two types of competition – competition for search ranking, and competition among AdWords advertisers. There are definitely “niches” where there is little search competition (or, little quality search competition) but still competition among AdWords advertisers so that there is AdSense earning potential.

    And you can certainly write for profit about the sort of things that interest you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an either/or 🙂

  4. I completely agree with your Better and Best sources of niche research.

    The Best source can take a pretty fair amount of effort as you search for poorly covered topics. I’m sure there are automated tools that compare Yahoo Answers type-of-site questions and answers, that provide some measurement of the quality of results. If the results are poor, then it is ripe for a quality Hub.

    The big thing is that your “Answer” is superior to all others.

    You could find a brand new product and answer all the questions about it. Every question that is asked in Yahoo Answers and the like, you address it in your Hub(s).

    Right now I am working on a Hub that covers an aspect of this post, regarding niche research and the value of Hub Pages toward that end. I hope others find it helpful.

  5. I am new to hubpages, been here in this great community for a little over two months. This is another great hub that I can learn from. Thank You Very Much!

  6. Thanks for this clear and crisp explanation. You’re right. My hubs are getting out of nowhere. I better follow your suggestions to improve my status on HP. Others should follow, too!

  7. Detailed and accurate explanation Jason. This is perfect for me as a new hubber and I noticed that your category break downs contradict some of the other hubs I have read. Your write up makes a little more sense, to me anyway, and I guess it all depends on if the intent is to generate revenue or just have fun and write. I wouldn’t mind knocking out both in my hubs. Thanks again.

  8. The hubs I have written that have had the most traffic are my “DIY” hubs. I think there are a lot of people out there searching for information on home projects.

  9. That’s a great tip … writing better Hubs than the topics that appear in the top rankings for Google. Here’s another idea: look at the keywords visitors use to reach your top traffic Hubs and then writing Hubs on those keywords.

    I can agree news may not work — perhaps on some sites. And local / regional has worked well for me on Associated Content, now owned by Yahoo! perhaps because Yahoo tries to have a local presence.

  10. thank you for sharing,Iam new to the hub I only written one a year ago need to start back up and become passionate about my writing and who my content will help in various topics.

  11. Your “Best” suggestion IS the best. I research articles for another venue, as well. They assign the titles, supposedly SEO friendly. Some of them just do not have adequate resources to do a decent job with the article. If we don’t have good online resources, the article may not get accepted for publishing. I will now write down those titles of unwritable stuff. I may just make it into a great Hub.

  12. News and analysis is crucial to the understanding as good citizens. I hope people would attempt to understand our world and understand what is happening to our country or there may not be a market place that works in the future as it has in the past.

  13. Hi Jason 🙂
    I think your insights are very good.
    Usually i look for interesting topics which there are not many Hubs about in Hubpages.I also check to see how many results there are in google.I still have trouble driving good traffic ,and have only about 300 visits each day.I will try to follow your advice as well .

  14. I totally agree. Anything newsy has just way too much competition. You can not outrank CNN.

    I google all that time. So the method of writing a Hub when google does not provide good answer is a good method to use.

  15. Do you make a distinction between news and opinion?

    Most of the subjects that interest me are somewhat topical. I like to write about things that are clearly controversial. Often these would are opinions on current political or economic issues.

    Are these not good subjects?

  16. Hi SRBAC! When it comes to satire, traffic depends less on search and more on social media sharing and your popularity as a writer. So it certainly has a shot at success, but it is less likely to see the kind of traffic experienced by Hubs on much-searched-about niche topics 😀

  17. @Simone

    Thanks for your reply. I’m not doing much social media right now so that seems to be something to learn. Of course you’re right about both the evergreen and productive niche topics, so that advice is appreciated

    Just one more question Simone. What do you see as the advantages of publishing on hub pages as opposed to my own blog/site? Particularly if I’m interested in using my blog to promote the ranking on my site. Will a blog display higher in the search results if its got the hub URL?

    Well I guess that’s more like 3 questions. You’ve really been a great help. Thanks again.

  18. Thanks for this great advice, I kind of feel silly for not realizing this. Instead of being one more answer in a sea of answers, I want to be the best answer.

  19. Hi Jason (and the rest of you),
    I’m so glad I found this Hub and your comments.
    I’m a REALTOR and new to HubPages and was planning to write evergreen articles about All Things Real Estate. But, I’m feeling there’s not much broad interest in that subject, so page views would be low as well as revenue.

    Any comments? Thank you!

  20. Every hub page is a tutorial to me. Now a days I try to understand content in the spirit t it is written and it teaches you a lesson. Let me see whether I can en cash on each of these lessons

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