Addressing Panda

It’s been a bit since I posted an update on addressing Panda, so I wanted to let all of you know that we are still working aggressively on it; we are as concerned about this issue as you are, and are committed to finding a solution. Since the Panda update, we’ve been working around the clock and exploring every avenue and source of information.  We have reached out to Google several times and have spent countless hours analyzing our data, running tests, and making modifications.  Our entire goal is to lift the dampening effect on HubPages’ best authors, who are the people that create expert and enthusiast content that others on the Web enjoy.

Google has specifically pointed us to this line: “low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings.”  Low quality has been defined very broadly.  There isn’t a list that says which page is good and which one is bad.  So, we have focused our efforts and have driven several policy changes on HubPages to help improve quality, while maintaining an open publishing environment.  Doing so with a site as large as HubPages, with many diverse authors, has certain tradeoffs.

While we desire to be as open as possible to all types of contributions, the current environment makes that challenging when one piece of content has the potential to depress other content.  We have been committed to testing and modifying the editorial policy until a balance was struck.  This is a very tricky business and like many things with search engines, the impact of a change isn’t seen right away.  We have focused on changes that we believe are good for both authors and readers in the long run, and we can understand the frustration and concerns that some of our users have experienced as result of seeing the rules change.  The web is a very dynamic environment that is changing quickly.  At times it requires rapid adaptation and innovation.  This is one of those times.

We love getting all the emails asking what people can do to help.  To those we say: keep creating great Hubs, making suggestions on how we can improve, flagging Hubs that aren’t up to our standards, and letting us know of changes you don’t agree with.  While we don’t respond to every forum thread and email, we are constantly reading and listening.  We, as a company, deeply value the opinions of HubPages’ authors.

Going forward, we hope to limit editorial policy changes as much as possible.  However, we will continue to run tests and make tweaks to improve the site.  Most changes we’ve made you don’t see, like the hidden rel=”author” tag we’ve added to Hubs that designates the Hub’s author.  Over the next few weeks we will run small tests on pieces of HubPages that work to lift the depression on high-quality content.  Improving the experience for Hubbers and readers is our top consideration as we roll out any additional changes.

We genuinely appreciate your patience as we work to get traffic to your high-quality Hubs, and are proud to count each one of you as members of our writing community.

20 thoughts on “Addressing Panda

  1. We appreciate your efforts! Thank you for the update. I am spending time updating my older hubs bringing them more up to date. Looking forward to a rosy future with HubPages!

  2. Its great to hear that you guys are listening even if you cant always respond directly.

    The author tag sounds like a promising tweak. Any suggestions on where I can read more about that?

  3. Hi Paul, glad to hear from you once again on panda updates after a while following the initial panda tension in the community, change is constant and I believe that HubPages Team is truly poised to bringing a lasting solution even with the seen policy changes.

    Honestly, It has not been that usual positive fun at all since the panda. Well done for your team’s continued commitment to improve standards and welfare of HubPages and authors respectively. Thank you so much Paul. It can only get better!

  4. Paul, I have to say I’m disappointed with this response. You say you are reading and listening,but this post does not address any of the issues which are causing Hubbers distress,and even causing them to walk away.

    We all know changes are required following the Panda update. We may not agree with all the changes you are making, but it is your site and we respect HP’s right to make decisions in that regard.

    The fundamental concern is that existing high quality Hubs are being moderated and unpublished for minor infractions (and sometimes by mistake), while blatant spam Hubs still survive.

    Most Hubbers feel there is an urgent need to examine how moderating is done to ensure priority is given to catching the biggest offenders.

    The other issue is that we are given two weeks to fix non-compliant Hubs – but if the warning is not clear, and we need further clarification, it takes up to three weeks to get assistance from team@.

  5. I appreciate this update. For the most part, I’ve put all Hub-related activity on hold (with the exception of fixing any that I’ve gotten an e.mail about), mostly because I’ve wanted to hold off making changes or writing any post-Panda Hubs without knowing exactly what will/won’t be acceptable now. (I’ve spent my HubPages time on the forums instead, kind of keeping an eye out for what’s going on – not the “mentally healthiest” thing to do these days, by any means and in view of the whole post-Panda climate on there. LOL )

    In any case, I appreciate the update and your efforts.

  6. This is great to hear Paul and whilst I personally have took a break from writing here I certainly have lots of draft content to write up when I do return to writing new hubs at the end of this year.

    Cheers now

  7. Hey Paul,

    Low quality content is definitely a broad term, but here is how Google defined low quality from their blog. Obviously, many of these self asked questions are for owners of personal websites, but I’m sure that some of these can be applied to the articles here in Hub-pages.

    I have been a member of Hub-Pages for over a year now, and I would love to see the site return to the place it used to be.

    .Would you trust the information presented in this article?
    .Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the .topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
    .Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
    .Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
    .Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
    .Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
    .Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
    .Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
    .How much quality control is done on content?
    .Does the article describe both sides of a story?
    .Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
    .Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
    .Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
    .For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
    .Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
    .Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
    .Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
    .Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
    .Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
    .Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
    .Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
    .Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
    .Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

  8. Paul, I have to agree with Marisa. In your quest for renewed Google love, you’ve apparently left hubber love behind — and yet one cannot coexist without the other. Your decision to allow Jason and Simone to be the frontmen in the forums instead of Maddie and Norah confounds me, as does your refusal to outline details of what we can and cannot do to any workable degree.

    And then your “slow cooking” post completely threw me over the edge. It struck me as being like trying to start a pep rally in Germany during the Holocaust.

    I understand that it’s your company to do with as you like. It’s just a shame when businessmen forget the people that helped to get their companies to where they are.

  9. This was a good post Paul, but as Marisa said you are still missing out on things as you implement vital parts of the new policy – namely, staff/hubber interaction. The moderators MUST be clearer in their reasoning for unpublishing a hub. Too many people are left confused as to why it happened to them, and for some people it turned out to be a mistake.
    Well, that makes it an expensive mistake for the hubber as well as HP if that was an earning hub.
    The whole problem seems to stem from lack of clarity. Can’t software be written to say which pixelated image, or which external link is causing the problem? We ALL want to see the site rise again. But it will be much easier if we all work together, which we could do easily if we knew where the problems in our hubs lay exactly.

  10. I think it would benefit all of the core members if these warning messages were more helpful.

    Instead, we are left guessing as to what is the actual cause of the infraction.

  11. Thanks Paul for the update. .. I believe most of the great writers that are here on Hubpages have all the confidence that the team is doing what it has to for the best of us all.
    “Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of vices.” ~Thomas Fuller

  12. Very much appreciate your thoughts Paul on this post but can’t help feeling it is 4 weeks too late. With the likes of Misha, Mark Knowles, Sunforged, Marissa and a dozen others the site could have kept the big earners and used their experience to bring about some massive “hub love”, they would have helped hubpages keep the rank and file majority quiet and expressed the views of HP’s but as it’s turned out you have only managed to alienate many people.
    Keep trying to make the site great again, but I can’t help thinking you have missed a massive opportunity.

  13. Useful update from Paul. I’m mystified by the negative response from some people here. Panda is a challenge for the admin and Hubbers alike but in my view Paul and his team are approaching the challenge the right way and doing the right things.

    Tom Hooper (thank you!) has reminded us all on how to judge the quality of an article. It is all common sense. Let’s resist the finger pointing and re-apply ourselves to the task.

  14. You are very lucky that you have a lot of data that runs into millions. With that kind of data, I believe, you should be able to come up with a solution to the panda update problem within the next six months. Good luck.

  15. Thanks for the update, Paul. We appreciate the time and hard work you guys put into HubPages. I’m sure none of us can see the whole picture, and how frustrating it must be trying to implement changes and running the site with a relatively small staff. Kudos to all of you, and I know there are a lot of smarts behind the helm. I do hope you and the staff have some time to enjoy your weekend! The Greeks here like to slow BBQ lamb, and it is unbelievably tender! Thanks for all you do!!

  16. Well, as for myself I know that I need to bring my game to a new and higher level. This was true before Panda, as I was learning the game – and still am; but at least I now know what I’ve done here that isn’t so great, and those hubs are still here, and will be improved upon.

    I appreciate all the work that the staff here does – and I have complete confidence in you guys and gals. If more hopping is requred on my part – I’ll do it, if more “whatever” is requred on my part, I’ll do it.

  17. These new affiliate link topic blanket rules stink!

    They are a useless and ignorant knee jerk reaction to the Panda change and will only funnel spam hubber to write low quality hubs on other topics.

    It’s clear that Hubpages is looking to slowly ‘cut off’ all affiliate links no matter what the topic.

    Hubpages is treating its most talented and prized hubbers with complete contempt and as a result they are leaving the platform or devoting more time and effort to their own blogs and other projects.

    Professional hubbers with 100’s of hubs simply don’t have the time to stay within forever moving gaol posts at the whim of hubpages.

    There is no evidence that these affiliate link topic blanket rules will make any difference to the quality of hubs being published.

    In the past Hubpages has operated with a certain amount of goodwill!

    In return for being allowed to create a small proportion of hubs with affiliate links I was more than happy to do more than my share of hub hopping.

    BUT NOW, hubpages expects me to write a high quality hub on micro niche marketing without any affiliate link for Jeep car impression adsense ads and adsense insurance ads which are worth didly squat!

    Once more my hubs on micro niche research and marketing as well as keyword research are invaluable to new hubbers as seen from my comments of my hubs covering this topic.

    In short due to the ignorant blanket rules I would rather delete these hubs rather than keep them on hubpages without the affiliate link.

    Huboages says this new rule was to discourage low quality hubs being written to promote low quality products yet my hubs on these topics as well as the affiliate product on these hubs are of there highest quality as can plainly be seen from comments.

    Yet due to this ignorant and highly destructive rule these high quality hubs will not be allowed to be published without the ‘high quality’ product links which are extremely relevant and helpful to hubbers.

    What message is hubpages is sending to aspiring online publishers. You can make as much money on the platform as your effort, determination and expertise will allow, but be under no illusion the Hubpages platform will always look after itself first, second and third!

    Extremely disappointed with the direction the platform is going as well as other high performing hubbers such as Ryankett and Sunforged.

    Target spam hubbers! Don’t create in-effective knee jerk rules.

    I for one won’t be wasting time hub hopping anymore until Hubpages realizes what side its bread is buttered on!

    P.S. High quality hub, high quality product, hugely popular, extremely useful information for new hubbers! But flagged under the useless affiliate link topic blanket rule and soon to be deleted and re-posted to my micro niche wordpress blog!

  18. To be honest, I think the problem with affiliate links would be fixed (in the eyes of Google) by allowing us to manually set them to nofollow.

    This way Hubpages wouldn’t seem to be endorsing shaddy sites.

    And about the spammers, I guess encouraging people to flag and just removing stuff that uses spammy language and topics may do the trick. But if people are happy because they can use affiliate links that don’t reflect badly on Hubpages they may hop more.

    Alternatively, change it so the higher your hubkarma, the more affiliate links you can use? I doubt spammers really work on that side of things, while professional hubbers would.

    Just my two cents, for whatever they are worth.

  19. Could HP implement a filter to keep out all the very short hubs, as well as the mostly pictures of hot girls hubs? When hub hopping, I still see these as well as hubs that are near gibberish, or one text capsule with no paragraphs.

    Seems like there should be a way to filter out the obvious rubbish. Hub hopping allows us to flag new hubs that are poorly made, how about the ones that have been sitting around for some time?

    I still have confidence in HP. When I look for information on the internet, I still see a lot of sites that are inferior to hubs – sites that are hard to read for the ads and piled of links in the beginning. Hubs just look good to me. The good ones, I mean.

    • Hi Dolores – We do have a filter in place that prevents empty or nearly-empty Hubs from being published. If you see some Hub that somehow got through that filter, please filter it.

      All Hubs that are primarily pictures of celebrities are segregated into their own category. If they are not categorized correctly, please flag it and we will change it.

      Unfortunately, for a lot of the poor-quality content that you mention, it is impossible to automate detection; a human has to review it. We are not equipped to review the thousands of Hubs which are published every day one-by-one but we are getting better at detecting low-quality content after it’s published and taking it down. A very large percentage of Hubs are unpublished within the first week of publication.

      Thank you for helping us out, and, even more so, for publishing consistently terrific Hubs!

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