Preparing a Test to Further Address Panda

We are nearing the last phase of our plan to address Panda, the Google search algorithm change that has hit HubPages.  I’ve shared a number of major changes we’ve made in prior blog posts, but, to reiterate, we have been working on a plan to lift the punitive aspect of Panda from HubPages, where search engine rankings are being negatively impacted regardless of the quality of the Hub.  Open publishing platforms like HubPages, by virtue of their openness, attract a wide range of content quality.  As part of the Panda update, the presence of low quality Hubs has the ability to bring down rankings for all authors.

As we work to remedy this and restore traffic to high-quality Hubs, we take all changes to HubPages very seriously and have great respect for HubPages’ authors.  Many of you have expressed feedback about Panda, about the disruption and the changes we are making, and about how we are going about it – both good and bad.  Our sole focus is to create the most rewarding place for people to publish online that focuses on earning an income by providing information and interesting content to those that seek it.  We will emerge from this as a stronger community and thank all of you for the feedback and thoughts.  Part of that feedback has been to be given a heads-up on the changes we plan to make, so keep reading for a recap and our next steps.

Our plan has focused on four things to improve traffic to high-quality authors.  First, we have improved quality on HubPages across the board by only allowing original content, we reduced the ratios of syndicated content to original, tripled the size of the moderating team to remove substandard content, and improved the type of sites we allow people to link to and promote.  Even if weren’t for Panda, we believe these steps are an overall positive to the future for people that choose to participate on HubPages as they improve the overall experience with the site. Second, we have made architectural and other changes under the covers of HubPages to get rid of pages that may be construed as thin.  These include noindexing pages like tag pages, forum posts and questions without responses, and implementing the rel=”author” tag.  Third, we’ve spoken out against Panda’s effects on HubPages’ open platform compared to Google’s own properties, and we’ve reached out to Google in the official forums, and to Google employees directly.  This effort has been fruitful in getting feedback on our overall plan.  Our changes line up with the feedback we’ve been given from Google directly and their communication to us should allow us to better serve all of you.

We are now going to start testing moving individual authors to subdomains (e.g. pauledmondson.hubpages.com).  This is a major development effort that is underway.  Putting authors on a subdomain clearly delineates between sets of Hubs by author, so one author’s Hubs won’t negatively impact another.   Paul Deeds, Jay Reitz and Tim Martin are working as quickly as possible to prepare the test. We are shooting for the last week of June to start the test on the site.  We have the infrastructure in place to evaluate the results and will then consider a broader roll-out.  We expect Hubs to get reindexed on the subdomains over a period of several weeks.  Ideally, high-quality Hubs will see an increase in rankings and traffic.  We have evidence on a small scale that this is the case and that it warrants further testing and a site-wide rollout if results are promising.

We are optimistic that the previous changes coupled with subdomains will allow high quality authors to prosper.  We will report back on the changes as soon as we can evaluate them.  We may be looking for a few participants to volunteer their accounts for testing.  If you’re interested, leave a reply in the comments below (be sure to include your username).

83 thoughts on “Preparing a Test to Further Address Panda

  1. While these changes are good, the way in which Hubpages has become a black box without clearly identifying the issue why a hub is unpublished is not reasonable. Listing out 20 items and then not responding when emailed multiple times to try and resolve the exact issues at hand make hubpages become less attractive for some to want to be part of.

  2. Great, i hope it works for all of us like others i am also ready to volunteer my account for a good reason

  3. Willing volunteer, here. I have over 50 high-quality hubs–only a couple of what I consider slackers, but even those are relatively good according to HP standards.

    I really have nothing to lose because 1) I joined just before Panda and don’t have anything that ranks well, and 2) I don’t have many followers to lose.

  4. I’m a fairly recent Hubber and I am also supportive of the proposed changes. Thank you to the team for working hard to bring a constructive outcome from the Panda changes. Being relatively new, I may not have enough hubs to make a good “guinea pig” but happy to throw my hat (or is it hubs) into the ring.

  5. @Paul, good development, and thanks for carrying us along, I do carefully observed that a lot of innovative changes have already been made by your Team. I strongly believe that it can only get better. Time will tell. We’ve learnt our good lessions with panda. I support your great moves. Username: andrew0208

    “We considered subdomains by topic and authors, and folders by both as well, but the feedback from Google was subdomains by author.” Impressed to hear of your guide by Google.

    Thanks HubPages Team

  6. I would like to volunteer to help assist with this process. If you need me. My profile name is aw1219

  7. I too am pleased with the changes Hubpages has made and the willingness to take action going forward. I would be happy to volunteer as well with my avamum account.

  8. Of late, I noticed a drastic dip in my traffic. Now, I understand the reason somewhat more clearly. Yes, I’m open to the testing as a volunteer.

  9. I think it’s wonderful that you have been collaborating and consulting with the big ‘G’ for assistance. I am just curious if this means we will have to change our profile links or will it auto-change? since articles l write off-site, point to my profile page. l am keeping faith that recovery is viable. Wonderful!

  10. I think this is a very cool idea. My hub traffic is always highest on the hubs with the ClickBank stuff you made me remove.

    Laura

  11. If you are looking for writers who have just started writing here I’d be happy to volunteer. Posted my first hub only a week ago or so but I’ll be writing for Hubpages all summer. Would be very excited to test this. My username is: LastGunslinger

  12. I’ll offer up my humble collection of hubs to the test, _if_ links to articles previously written will be automatically forwarded to the new subdomain structure. Could you please confirm that before adding me to the test? I’d greatly appreciate it.

    And, I’d like to add my applause for all that HubPages is actively undertaking to improve the site overall. There may be some bumps along the way, but it is evident that HubPages cares about its visibility, the quality of its material and the viability of its site overall. Thanks for all your efforts.

  13. Well, all I can do is trust you guys to know what you are doing. After all, all I know is what I know, and sometimes I can produce a good hub out of it.

    I am learning how the internet works by leaps and bounds – but by and large I feel as though I’d be best off at this point by continuing to do what I can do well – and hoping that you all who do the business end of it, do that well.

    Best of luck to us all.

  14. Count me in Paul if you want to use my account for your test. Good luck and best wishes. I know you are doing all you can to make HubPages the best!

  15. I think it would be interesting to be part of the test program. I have been a member for 6 months, written 69 hubs, have 296 followers . . . and my score typically ranges from 82-88. Thanks
    Truckstop Sally

  16. I am surprised and disappointed that you are moving to a sub-domain structure.

    My experience is that I get great links from my articles on sites like Squidoo that use sub-directories, but get virtually no “link juice” from sites like Gather that use sub-domains.

  17. My main question is: what about the pagerank? A subdomain isn’t passed pagerank as easily as a subfolder, so starting a subdomain on hubpages is essentially like starting with a PR0 blog, right? Or am I missing something? I think the idea of separating out to subdomains is a good one, but worry that posting content to a subdomain will not lead to my articles ranking more highly and will not lead to an increase of earnings.

    • Applesauce – Remember that your old profile page might have had PageRank, and since that is now going to be 301ed to your subdomain, most of that PageRank will pass through to it (although it might be a while before it’s reflected). The best way to focus on ranking is to write excellent-quality, unique articles. They will attract the sorts of natural backlinks on their own that Google truly values. – Jason

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