How to Check Your Subdomain for a Google Penalty and an Update to Amazon and eBay Products

In the past week, Google launched a feature that allows webmasters to check if their domain or subdomain has been penalized because of spam; publishers now have the ability to check whether or not Google has placed a manual webspam action on their account.  With this information, Hubbers can remove or fix their content and ask for reconsideration by clicking the “Request a Review” button.

To check if your site has been hit with a manual webspam action:

  1. Go to Google’s Webmaster Tools (If you don’t have a Webmaster Tools account set up, we have a Learning Center entry that can help!)
  2. Sign-in to your account and click on your subdomain
  3. Click on Search Traffic > Manual Actions in the left toolbar
  4. Google will list any manual actions that have occurred on your account

 

The webspam-detection feature is incredibly beneficial to Hubbers and to HubPages.  In the next few days, we will make a change to our product capsules because of the results that we found in our Webmaster Tools account.   When analyzing the Hubs that were penalized, one of the factors that we were able to isolate was the use of products.  Other than multiple products, many of the penalized Hubs were high quality.  We concluded that a large block of products will negatively influence Google’s assessment of an otherwise fantastic Hub.  Our analysis has instigated the following changes to product capsules:

  1. We are reducing the number of products per capsule to one on all new Hubs (your older Hubs where you have chosen a specific product will not be effected unless you edit and change the capsule).  If you have a Hub where readers would benefit from seeing more than one product, you are welcome to add another product capsule.  We hope this reduces the number of tangential products within a Hub and reduces the number of webspam actions on new Hubs.  When including products in your Hubs, a good question to ask yourself is:  will this product be incredibly useful to my reader, and would I include it even if I didn’t receive any monetary benefit?  If the answer is a resounding yes, then include it.
  2. We are reducing the number of keyword or search-driven products on all old Hubs to one product per capsule (this effects all eBay products and Amazon products that are chosen with a keyword).  Many Hubs have multiple products that are exact matches because they are chosen by a search driven keyword; reducing the number of products per capsule will help Hubs with duplicate or extremely similar products.  We realize that this may cause some formatting issues with older Hubs; we are incredibly sorry for the inconvenience, but with the new information that Google has provided, we feel it is in the best interest of Hubbers to make the change.

 

Overall, the new information that we have received from Google has been very beneficial.  We know that the changes that we have recently made have been on the right track, and this new resource is affecting the changes that we will make in the future to help reward our great Hubbers and deter spam.  Cheers!

 


Announcing Editor’s Choice Hubs

We want to continue rewarding Hubbers who create content readers enjoy with a new designation highlighting their achievements. Today we are excited to announce Editor’s Choice Hubs. These are exceptional Hubs that are selected by HubPages Editors and are available to readers on the HubPages.com domain.

Hubs provide value in unique ways.  Editors consider many elements when making the Editor’s Choice selections (from how well written the Hub is to if we have already selected a similar piece.) Good Hubbers should expect some of their Hubs to be selected, but shouldn’t expect all Hubs to be chosen.  We will be using a variety of measures to assess your Hubs, but ultimately Hubs on HubPages.com will be editor approved; hence the name Editor’s Choice.

Quick Facts on Editor’s Choice Hubs:

  • Only a very small percentage of Hubs will be selected; don’t be disappointed if most of your Featured Hubs are not Editor’s Choice Hubs.  All Featured Hubs that aren’t Editor’s Choice Hubs will remain on your subdomain.
  • Editor’s Choice Hubs will be phased in slowly over the next few weeks. It will take us time to get through all of the potential candidates, so please be patient with us.
  • Editor’s Choice Hubs will receive greater social exposure on HubPages’ social media profiles.
  • Being Featured is a basic prerequisite to becoming an Editor’s Choice Hub, but there are many more factors that candidates are evaluated on, e.g., uniqueness, quality, engagement, intent, a good search experience for the reader, and whether the content is trustworthy, reputable, and authoritative.
  • Hubs that lose their Featured status will also lose their Editor’s Choice status.
  • An opt-out option is available in My Account > Profile > Edit Profile. However, each time you toggle this setting, you will need to wait 60 days before you can do so again.  You can only opt-out at the account level, not on a Hub by Hub basis.
  • Editor’s Choice Hubs will not lose their status if they are edited; in fact, we recommend regularly editing and improving your Hubs.
  • The Editor’s Choice status is not necessarily permanent.  At any given time, only a small percentage of Hubs will be designated Editor’s Choice.
  • An Editor’s Choice accolade is in the works!

Want your Hubs to have an Editor’s Choice designation and be showcased on HubPages.com?  Here are a few criteria to shoot for:

  • Write high-quality Hubs.  Check out our Learning Center entry on Stellar Hubs for guidance.
  • Follow our HubPages Style Guide.
  • Make sure your Hub has passed the Quality Assessment Process.  Again, passing the QAP doesn’t automatically move you into the Editor’s Choice bucket.  Hubs will have to be of even higher quality to make the cut.   Shoot for that 8, 9, or 10 on the quality scale.
  • Remove any promotional links or links to websites that aren’t high quality. Linking should be natural and every link should benefit your reader; the intent of your Hub is considered during the evaluation process.
  • Use the Grouping feature on HubPages instead of including large blocks of links to your own Hubs.
  • Only include relevant and useful Amazon and eBay products and limit their number.
  • If you are writing on a topic that is already extensively covered online, be sure to go above and beyond the best articles on the web.  Rewording the same content won’t cut it.
  • Titles should be descriptive and concise.
  • Proofread:  Grammar and spelling should be perfect.
  • Use high-quality images that are either original or legally used and attributed.
  • Please note:  all of the above criteria are not mandatory for an Editor’s Choice designation, but you increase your chances of your Hub becoming Editor’s Choice if you implement these suggestions.

For more information, please visit our FAQ.

 

Summer Product Improvements: There’s a lot going on at HubPages HQ!

Today we will be implementing four enhancements to HubPages that we hope will have a positive effect on our community and readers: a new HubPages Style Guide with in-line tips displayed in the HubTool, a more streamlined HubTool, a revised Hubber Score that is more reflective of quality, and a change to how profile links work in comments.

HubPages Style Guide and Style Tips

We are excited to introduce our HubPages Style Guide as well as specific Style Tips in the HubTool.  Our Style Guide Learning Center entry breaks down the different components of online writing and best practices, e.g., proper title case in titles and subtitles, appropriate use of Amazon and eBay Capsules, etc.  In addition to the Learning Center entry, we will be showing tips that are specific to your Hub in the top right corner of the HubTool.  We hope that you find these tips useful!

HubTool Improvements

To streamline the HubTool, we have implemented a collapsable option for each section in the right toolbar.   Going forward, your toolbar will be organized under the following headings:   Needs Some Goals, Add Content Capsules, Display Options, and Organize your Content.  To view the content under each heading, simply click the arrow.  One addition to the Display Options section is the ability to add copyright information to the bottom of your Hub.  Since one of our Style Tips suggests removing custom copyright notices, we felt we should offer our Hubbers that want to include this information with a HubPages-approved copyright notice.

Here’s a view of the old HubTool right toolbar.

Each section in the sidebar is collapsable. A much cleaner look! 

Hubber Score Improvements

Our new enhanced Hubber Score substantially reflects the data we have on the quality of Hubs and the intent of the writer.  One significant change is the threshold for the following of links; only Hubbers with high Hubber Scores will have their outbound links followed.  Whether a link is followed or no followed doesn’t affect the reader’s experience, but a stricter policy on link following is an effective deterrent to spammers.  We hope this encourages our writers to only include links in their Hubs that are relevant and useful to readers.

Comment Links

We have found that Hubs with many comments were crossing Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for the number of links in a page.  To address this issue, we changed the way that signed-out readers view profile links in comments: usernames are no longer hyperlinked.  This change will reduce the number of links in Hubs and keep us within Google’s guidelines.

Ultimately, our goal is to continue to improve the site and provide our Hubbers with the best tools to create high-quality content.  Thanks for being the best writing community on the web!