As an open publishing platform we have always tried to err on the side of giving Hubbers of all backgrounds and experiences the freedom to share their unique knowledge and opinions. Over the past 5 years, we have invested in educating and supporting our writers, offering technology and tools to help good writers become even better online authors.   Recently, there have been questions about how the latest Google search algorithm update has affected us, what it means for our community of writers, and what you can do to help.  We believe that some basic adjustments – several of which you can do on your end – to improve the quality of Hubs will go a long way to improve your experience as a writer on HubPages.

First, we want every Hub on HubPages to be original – we have updated our policy to not allow duplicate content at all. We allowed it in the past with many caveats, but to simplify our editorial policy, we will no longer accept articles that exist on other sites.  If, for example, you have some blog posts that you’ve also published on HubPages, you will now have to decide whether to keep them exclusively on HubPages, or host them elsewhere online.  We want to make it clear, we won’t unpublish a Hub if someone copied a Hub from you.  It’s only an issue if it already exists online when you publish your Hub.

Second, we found that Hubs which successfully maintained their traffic were much more likely to judiciously use the Amazon, eBay, news, RSS and link capsules, so we ask if you choose to add news and RSS capsules, you make sure that you have plenty of original content in your Hub to accompany it and that you write at least 50 words of text in your Hub for every product you feature in your Amazon and eBay capsules.

There are three easy ways to better present your Amazon and Ebay products:

  1. Edit your capsules to reduce the number of products shown.
  2. Err in favor of specific product URLs or ASIN numbers instead of search terms and select only one item per capsule when you do list products by keyword search.
  3. Write unique descriptions for each product.

On our end, we will no longer allow RSS, news, Amazon and eBay capsules to be the first full-width capsule at the top of a Hub. We are also going to further examine our rules around affiliate links because our analysis shows that Hubs linking to affiliate sites were much more likely to have lost traffic. For this reason, you might consider removing affiliate links from your Hubs.  We are also investigating ways to adjust our ad layout for a more pleasing aesthetic.  We plan to release a new ad layout in the coming days that will be good for Hubbers and for the site.

As more people use Search as an integral part of their everyday lives, more people are realizing they have insightful answers and knowledge to contribute to those who seek it.  An open platform like HubPages gives everyday experts a way to share these insights.  We believe that open publishing is an important part of the Internet’s ecosystem and every individual with valuable knowledge should have access to the technology required to share it.  Professional experts ranging from anesthesiologists, to college instructors, moms and poets have seized the opportunity that HubPages provides and made the Internet a better place by sharing their insight.  HubPages is the most rewarding place to publish online – we appreciate your efforts to keep it that way.


Posted by:HubPages Admin

67 replies on “Things to Help Your Hubs

  1. What do you mean by “affiliate links”? If I publish an article on Hubpages and a related article on another site with a link back to the Hubpages one, is that an affiliate link? Or if I publish an article on another site and put a link to this Hubpages under my name, is that one?

  2. Thank you so much Ren for letting us know about all these new updates from hubpages after google algorithm change. Now it will be really easier for us to check out all the hubs to be in compliance with HP and google terms so that we all combine together to make HP a totally clean and useful site for visitors around the world.

  3. How does an Amazon or eBay affiliate link differ from any other affiliate link?

    Does Google give a special consideration to an Amazon or eBay link over say Sears or Walmart?

    Is the copy and style of the Hub Authors who use affiliate links taken into account , perhaps the Hubs with aff links are more likely to have been poorly written, copied or lacking in substance that keeps page view duration?

    Unless you can block capsules from being crawled, its just another affiliate link

  4. Thanks for the clarity Ren. I can see there may be some more changes coming too, from some of what you’ve said. Good stuff, shame we had to get the wake up call though.

    I’m sure we’ll all be the better for it in the end 🙂

  5. Following to this recent updates, I deemed it neccesary to take out time and check all my hubs one after the other, take off the lots of amazon capsules I had amongst other adjustments made.

    In fact, it was quite evident to me that my hubs were been choked while carrying out the exercise, but the case is different now with improved quality traffic since almost 48 hours I did that. Will still have to go back to fine tune them better having read this blog post. I’m glad I did. Thank you HubPages Team.

  6. Our internal data showed a significant coloration between Hubs that went up and those that went down. I’ve been running tests on about 15 hubs where I removed news, amazon, and ebay. About 1/3 of these Hubs have been recovering everyday. Hard to say this is the exact thing bringing them back, but overall, I think it’s good to significantly reduce syndicated content on Hubs.

  7. If I’m reading this correctly affiliate links in whatever form are killing hub traffic. So the minimum is the better.

    It’s what my instincts are showing as well. I’m afraid that my sales hubs will have to be converted to adsense. A very time consuming venture. I’m trying to work out the details as efficiently as possible.

  8. Having lots of amazon and ebay items in a hub was the most correlated item to seeing traffic decrease. Using them in the most helpful, but least aggressive way is recommended.

  9. As a new Hubber, I only know the HubPages that I found and love. I believe a writer should not have material on multiple sites. It goes back to not submitting manuscripts to more than one publisher. Basically the same. I love Hub Pages and find the rules and regulations fair and easy to follow. I know as I become better known and followed, traffic will increase.

  10. I’m a bit dubious.

    What’s the difference between an affiliate link to Amazon in a capsule and a straight affiliate link???

    On one hand you are saying you are going to look at affiliate links since they “appear” to be related in some way to loss of traffic yet you will continue to OK Amazon and eBay capsules???

    Something doesn’t smell right….

  11. I am so glad this change has been made to hubpages. With all the people who just write to make a quick buck being severely handicapped it should give serious writers like myself the edge. I have over 30 hubs and none of them were even near being affected by this new change by hubpages. I am happy with Google’s new algorithm change as well. Finally we people who go for quality over quantity will be justly rewarded. Thanks hubpages as well for weeding out those people who are not up to par. I say get rid of em once and for all!

  12. A little confusion about RSS feeds: I normally include two, 4 spot, feeds on each hub. One to my similar hubs about similar topics that I think the reader might be interested in and one to my latest hubs in general.

    Do I understand that this may be a mistake? Or are you referring only to RSS feeds going out of HubPages?

  13. Thank you so much for this blog post. I am pleased with the new guidelines, and will go back over them to make sure the Hubs are per your new rules.

    HubPages will succeed. The principles are basic for success.

  14. Thanks for the Update Paul.
    Where you talk about the Ads placements for aesthetics, I have suggested in the forums recently that there might be a choice to add an Amazon capsule to the far right of the page. (Not in the text area)

    For those that do not write a sales hub, it would present a much cleaner look and be less distracting to the reader while being available.

    And do you have a suggestion as to how many News or RSS feeds we should adhere to in a single capsule?

  15. As sony2006 very well mentioned here, all hubber’s combined efforts ‘to make HP a totally clean and useful site for world wide web users’, as per the guidelines updated, will make HP no.1 in its way shortly.

  16. This is music to my ears. As a new Hubber, I’ve arrived just in time to be aware of the difficulties HubPages is experiencing with Google, but not to have a really clear idea of the issues. Nevertheless, I have taken it upon myself to observe, in comments, answers, even a Hub, and as I am doing again here, that someone has to stand for quality, unique, original, user generated content, because really, everything else must and will, fall by the wayside , as people continue to become more sophisticated and discerning in their search/es for information and /or written entertainment.

    The challenge is for Google to develop SEO metrics that can replicate what humans are looking for, not robots
    In due course then HubPages, if it maintains the new disciplines outlined in this blog, and thus returns to its original raison detre, will dominate and ‘own’ the central leadership position in the market. What happens then, in the branding / marketing sense, is that competitors are cast as followers, and all their efforts to take share will simply have the effect of confirming to the internet world, that HubPages has got it absolutely right. So, HP rises to the top, and we Hubbers, writng quality content, will rise with it.

    Simple as that…. I’m excited.

  17. This is great news because I suspect there is a great deal of duplicate content that has sneaked in over the last few years. I am happy my own pages seem to have not suffered from the Google Famer up date which I find to be good news, as my content is now deemed as worthy, valuable and unique by this fact alone. These pages of duplicate content and such do have some impact on us all, including me, even though my pages have not suffered directly, just by there being content that is questionable existing on the same domain, it devalues everything.

    I do have some cleaning up to do but that is no big problem because I only put it there, because I could, it brings no value to my pages and adding some content to individual items will be good practice.

    It gives me more incentive to build some more inbound links which will help also and might even push my pages up some more.

    I like HubPages, thanks.

  18. Sorry I’m a bit dim but still a newbie. Certainly wish to comply but am not sure what affiliate links are. I thought Adsense was an affiliate link. If I remove it how do I earn money?
    Think I need a bit of clarification here please …

  19. What is the problem with first publishing on Hubpages, then posting the same article on another site under a slightly different title, but generically covering the same material? Also, why cannot we do an extensive blog on a topic and a reduced version on Hubpages?

  20. Making an income writing content has just become more difficult, but not impossible… Keyword research and unique niche I.D. are the key to trying to eliminate competition, when making income using Adsense.
    Personally, the way to make a consistent living online is freelancing… negotiating upfront income from people, companies, websites that need specific content to reach or sell there subscribers. Use HP as passive income… build when you can.

  21. The Google Panda update did test my faith in HubPages but you guys have really gone the extra mile with all the positive changes you are making. I long to see all the poor, spammy content removed and the google algo change has been a real wake up call to me to improve my own writing and content.

    Love the new Ad program too. I’m really optimistic that the future here at HubPages is really bright. Well done!

  22. It is interesting that ‘news’ links, etc, appear to be causing a reduction in traffic, since a number of the hubs, which offer help and advice, suggest always adding a news capsule. That is why I started doing so. I assumed that this was why you offered the facility.

    Should I now go through and remove them all?

    Are you going to remove the ‘news’ option, if it is neither benefiting individual hubs, nor HubPages generally?

    Also, I have always added several Amazon capsules to my hubs, on the basis that, if readers find my content interesting, then they might seek out further reading ~ and I might as well benefit from any potential commission.

    I haven’t earned much, but there have been a few sales, because I have offered them a wide choice of linked literature, etc. I have now had to edit down this choice, and have been going through my items to do so, but I do wonder why these Amazon links might cause a lack of interest in the Hub content. I’m a bit bewildered, I have to say.

  23. I feel that the correlation you are speaking of has a lot to do with the fact that product hubs are more competitive. With the way that Google is displaying their searches now, it’s more likely that only one person writing on a specific subject will get on the first page of Google. The losers are found 4-5 pages back. These hubs written with duplicate titles and keywords in mind have suffered because of that.

    In Google’s eyes taking the most authority hub from a single source on a site seems to make a lot of sense… and it makes a lot of sense to leave those who don’t have the authority off the chart.

    As a product reviewer myself, many of my hubs that are still on the first page of the SEP have a significant amount (10-30) of amazon product links and are still doing very well.

  24. I recently wrote to the help desk about having a hub copied. In this blog post, I see you have this statement:

    “We want to make it clear, we won’t unpublish a Hub if someone copied a Hub from you. It’s only an issue if it already exists online when you publish your Hub.”

    That is exactly what happened to me with one of my most recent hubs. I would like it clarified that this means OFF-HUB-PAGES copying, as in the past, the policy sounded as if this only meant if OTHER HUBBERS copied your content.

    The site that copied MY content is a well-known consumer action group, “T.U.R.N. (The Utility Reform Network).” I contacted them, requested that they remove their copy, as it was a direct copy/paste of my ENTIRE article. I told them I would not mind if they had a teaser excerpt, with a link back to my hub.

    However, not only did they NOT comply with my request, the did not even give me the courtesy of a response.

    I am annoyed!

  25. But you don’t give me a chance to to rewrite the articles. I deleted all amazon links from my hubs still my hubs are not published

  26. Up until yesterday 12/03/2011 my hubs seem to have not done too badly after the farmer/panda update in Google and did not seem to have suffered very much if at all. Yesterday I removed all Amazon, Ebay and news capsules from my hubs and they seem to be gaining a better positioning in the search engines than they had previously after only a few hours.

    I now seem to be ranking better than before. I have reached position 5 on the first page in Google for a secondary keyword with one of my hubs which has a much greater competition than my primary key word. I am a very happy bunny and it proves to me once again that I am doing things right with the help and advice of hub pages. Thank you Hubpages.

  27. I notice if I do a Google search, much of the garbage is gone, and it’s easier to find sites that have actual answers to my questions. This can only benefit HP in the long run.

  28. Today I received an email stating “The following published Hub has an Amazon, eBay, News, RSS, or Link capsule as the first full width capsule. ”
    I know I didn’t purposefully add this capsule because it was my second post and I still really don’t know about adding such things. I checked my hub and could not see the offending capsule. I did edit the capsule and removed an empty text capsule. Is that what became the offending capsule?
    After I saved the hub and looked at it there are Google ads in the topmost paragraph area that take up half the column. I have looked to see how to reformat the hub but right now I can’t see any way to take this off. Can someone help me with instructions on how to remove the offending ads?
    Thank you for your help,

  29. Is the “write a unique description for each product” a requirement or a suggestion? In most of my hubs I do this, but I do have some which provide content that provides a buying guide, tips for use, cost/benefit analysis kind of things but no particular description of the items shown on the page. Is this unacceptable?

  30. “…write at least 50 words of text in your Hub for every product you feature in your Amazon and eBay capsules.”

    This requirement is idiotic. If I write an article about teas in general or the uses of various teas, I should be able to add an Amazon capsule with a good assortment of various teas without having to write a 50 word description of each.

    Likewise with movies. If I write an article about an actor that is about the actor (not movie reviews) I should be able to include an Amazon capsule that serves as a listing of that persons movies and gives my reader the opportunity to click on each movie individually to read about it at Amazon.

    This requirement is totally unreasonable and restrictive.

  31. I have no idea what you are talking about. I didn’t mention any links to anything on my HUB, No advertising.

  32. I’ve diligently checked up all of my hubs and found no warnings inside. However, for hubbers with hundreds of hubs this should prove to be a time-consuming experience. Could the HP team create some kind of icon to place it on the left of each hub which is breaking any rules? There are already icons for hubs containing “broken links”, “malicious links” etc, so one more icon should be pretty easy to implement. Those little signs are really convenient.

  33. Thanks for all the helpful tips, Ren. Sounds like all my hubs can benefit from a comb-over, deleting any extra Amazon capsules and items that might have gotten added through greed, not need!

  34. Hello everyone! Thanks for the comments.

    To respond to your questions:

    watergeek – affiliate links are links to special affiliate programs trying to sell something, so linking to related articles on external sites does not count.

    sunforged & tom – Amazon and eBay links may be trusted more than other affiliate links. We do not know if there is a particular sort of affiliate link that is more trusted than others, but some larger, more reputable online stores might indeed be seen as more trustworthy. Of course copy and style are taken into account, and Hubs with many sorts of affiliate links to tend to have poor quality. And sorry- we’re just behind on moderating comments because there are so many on so many channels!

    Scott – no; duplicate copy of any sort is no longer allowed. If you want to publish something on HubPages, it must only exist on HubPages.

    Wilderness – it is fine to include RSS feeds in your Hubs so long as you don’t overdo it. We just ask that you don’t put those capsules as your first full-width capsules.

    Michael – as of yet, we don’t have any concrete suggestions on how many news capsules or RSS feeds to include, but from experience, I can say that including more than one even can be overdoing it.

    Angie – w’ere talking about other sorts of affiliate links – not AdSense – no need to remove that from your account! That’s an entirely different thing, so no worries 😀

    William – We have found that having duplicate content on the site is not good for traffic. Beyond that, we just want the information and articles on HubPages to be original. What’s the point in having it on our site if it can already be found elsewhere?

    Trish_M – You do not have to remove all of your News or RSS capsules – we just suggest that you not go overboard with them, and that you don’t have them as your first full-width capsules.

    Liz – You should check out our guide on what to do if someone copies your Hubs: Sorry to hear that this happened to you, but do know that you ar not alone, and you do have rights.

    Mulberry – writing a unique description for each product is a suggestion; all we really ask, rule-wise, is that you have 50 words at least for every product you feature.

    Kelly – yeah, it would be nice to have a warning icon in the Stats section of My Account, but we don’t have that now. What I recommend is sitting tight until you get the email notification listing any Hubs that might need revision.

  35. I understand the required changes to modify hubs, with the exception of (at least a 50 word text for each amazon or ebay item listed). A 50 word minimum for each is excessive, and will make the hubpage incredibly long. It shouldn’t take 50 words to describe, or define the benefit of a product. This will either make hubbers opt not to list products, or list only one product. A better and more sensible solution is a summary for all products in no less than 50 words,

  36. I see Suzanne’s point. I have featured ‘coupon organizers’ in one of my blogs (a Hub in which I have been asked to correct now before March 25), but I am not sure why I have to write 50 words for each of my coupon organizers now (that only range in price from $3 – $17).

    Like Suzanne mentioned: “If I write an article about teas in general or the uses of various teas, I should be able to add an Amazon capsule with a good assortment of various teas without having to write a 50 word description of each.”

    I am in the same boat with regards to ‘coupon organizers’, and I am not sure I know what to correct before March 25.

    I spend a lot of time writing my Hubs, and I do not want any to be unpublished. I am a little confused, and running out of time to correct, especially with a busy work schedule.

  37. The 50 word description for products that will be featured on an add is ridiculous (if I understood it properly). You in essence will be changing the way people write and in fact taking away part of what made people sign in to Hubpages.

    With that said, the suggestion on limiting adds is good, as I have seen it on my hubs after instituting changes. I understand however that some changes need to be made and Hubpages is trying to do what is fair and the best for the community.

    I disagree with some changes but in a democracy everyone needs to compromise at times and I don’t think that Hubpages will be instituting changes that can be detrimental to its community.

    If Hubpages feels that changes need to be made, then all we can do is support them and give the changes a chance to work.

  38. HP admin/staff,

    Please clarify a few things:

    1. My stats page says “To see warnings for your hubs, please click on the title of the individual hubs below.”

    Are we supposed to go through all hubs looking for warnings? If one is missed will you delete or un-publish a hub?

    2. The 50 words per product. Does this mean if an article shows 10 Amazon items, using one or 10 capsules, that the article must be at least 500 words?

    3. Does writing a description in the Amazon description area count? I try to include my own descriptions just because Amazon doesn’t always show all the useful info.

    4. No first full width capsules Amazon, eBay, Link, Comment, News, or RSS:
    – are hubs with a text capsule and an Amazon capsule at the beginning of the hub okay because they split the width?
    – if a hub starts w/text and a pic at the beginning of the hub then the capsule below has to be text, image, etc. IF it is going to use the whole space (full width?)?

    5. Affiliate links – Was it hubs with excess affiliate links that took a hit? I can’t imagine every hub w/an affiliate link was Google-demoted. Overusing them isn’t good for a hub and makes it look spammy, even if that’s not its intent.

    Suggestion: A max of 2 TEXT Affiliate links TOTAL instead of 2 per domain. Please don’t scrap affiliate links altogether.

    6. Changing ad layout. Yes! Woo hoo!

    My Adsense performance on HP is bad. The lower rev share is part of it, but the layout is not helpful. I’m not asking for an Adsense plastered layout (or criticism for # of articles from HP members). From writing at InfoBarrel I know that I don’t need 1000 articles to make $200-$500/month.

    Thank you for some clarification.

  39. I go with Kelly Wright March 14 suggestion that HP adds another icon placed in the hub to warn hubbers of any violation.. Visible to the author only, it should tell what particular policy was broken and suggest ways to improve the system. Thank you.

  40. I received notification about one hub that needed to be updated. The concern stated was “Amazon, eBay, News, RSS, Comment, or Link capsule as the first full width capsule.” I reduced the link to a half width and there were no mention of Amazon, ebay, News, RSS on the post that I could find, Was that directive also aimed at my comments? I see no way to reduce the width on comments. Let me know if you have any further concerns.

    Thank you for your interest in each hub…I appreciate your attention and intend to follow the rules. I actually had read this information and thought I had corrected all the problems.

    sirrot (b)

  41. jp:
    1. You should have gotten an email if you have any Hubs that needed fixing.
    2. That’s correct.
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes, and no – this rule only applies to the first (top) Capsule.
    5. I don’t have specifics on that. We are looking into it, though.
    6. See the most recent blog post.

  42. I have one hub that is really doing very well and has been indexed and linked for many sites. It was originally published on ezine but i wanted to add images and so create a hub. I will take time to write a replacement, i cant just rewrite the content. Not in my character, so will do a new article.

    QUESTION: How long do I have to do the research and replace it?

    1. Ian – I can’t give you an exact timeline, but at the very worst, the Hub could be moderated for review, and as soon as you would amend those changes, it would be re-published.

  43. My Hubpages email goes directly to a filter, so I don’t see it unless I go looking. But with all these changes I thought I better look. Criminy I literally have over 100 Hubs that Hubpages has notified me needs fewer Amazon and Ebay capsules or more content. I’m stunned. And no way I can fix this before the 23rd of March. You’re killing me here.

  44. So, if I have hubs that I also publish on another blog I can no longer have them on bother sites? I understand if I copy somebody else work, but, this is my own work! Have I miss read this completely?

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