Our long-term goal is to make HubPages the go-to place to write in-depth, media-rich pages on topics you’re passionate about.
We are not alone in our emphasis on quality and engagement. Hubbers recommend that we improve the overall quality of Hubs we present to the world. Search engines, not to mention sites like Pinterest, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter, also actively seek to improve the quality of content people discover through their services. We all want quality, we have the same goals, and we believe that those who focus on quality will see great success in the long run.
How does HubPages highlight good content?
One of the ways we maintain a reputation for quality content is by only showcasing great long-form, media-rich Hubs on Topic Pages, related Hubs, and making them available to search engines. We announced the first part of this effort a few months ago as Featured Hubs. Our initial version of Featured Hubs does a good job with basic, broad evaluations of quality, but it is mostly driven by assessments of reader engagement, which by no means offers a complete picture of a Hub’s quality.
How does HubPages decide what is quality content?
Identifying quality content is no easy task. Computer algorithms, though useful in identifying very poor content, are not capable of the depth of understanding needed to reliably assess the quality of “good” content. Human beings can truly understand the content but have widely varying assessments of its quality. While researching this problem, it became clear to us that even highly-qualified and knowledgeable people can disagree fairly drastically on the quality of an article for very valid reasons.
In an attempt to address these challenges, HubPages is evaluating the effectiveness of several potential approaches to solving this problem. We refer to this effort as our Quality Assessment Process (QAP), which addresses three primary factors:
1. Automated computer-based quality ratings through intelligent learning algorithms
HubPages employs some of the brightest minds in artificial intelligence and machine learning to help develop and refine computer algorithms to reliably identify and rate the quality of content. These algorithms constantly monitor their own success and perform adjustments to a multitude of variables to optimize their own performance. Additionally, whenever available, these algorithms ingest ratings from human raters to identify successful patterns and provide suggestions for improvements to the automated algorithms.
2. Hubbers assessing content quality via the Hub Hopper
A few months back we made some changes to a feature we call “The Hub Hopper” to allow the data gathered there to inform our assessment of a Hub’s quality. This combines a feature that Hubbers frequently use to discover new content with an easy means of providing actionable feedback on the quality of the content in question.
While Hub Hopper ratings are very helpful, the current HubPages volume is not sufficient to assess the quality of the huge quantity of content published on HubPages on a daily basis, which is why we have reached to external sources for help.
3. Paid quality assessments via Mechanical Turk
Our most recent addition to the Quality Assessment Process is the inclusion of paid quality assessments. We currently acquire these assessments from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. We are garnering Hub ratings from Mechanical Turk because ratings through the app are available at a scale capable of handling the volume of content published on HubPages. In order to mitigate the inherent variability of these assessments, raters must pass a qualification process and go through ongoing assessment. In addition, learning algorithms are applied to compensate for each individual rater’s specific biases. As long as sufficient volume is met, the result is a surprisingly reliable quality assessment.
We welcome Hubbers to use this app (and receive compensation for Hopping). If you are interested, check out HubPages’ HITs on Mechanical Turk and consider creating an account.
So, what’s changing?
At this point, the following things happen when you publish a Hub:
- Ads are shown on your Hub and its status is Pending for approximately 24 hours as it is assessed to see whether it meets our publishing standards
- So long as the Hub meets our basic publishing standards, it is Featured
- Should your Hub not see continued engagement from readers over time, it might lapse out of a Featured state, but editing it can bring it back to a Featured state within 24 hours
Starting early next week, when you publish a Hub, the flow will be a little different:
- When you publish a Hub, its status is Pending as it undergoes the Quality Assessment Process, which should take approximately 24 hours; this process includes a quality assessment in addition to a check as to whether the Hub meets our basic publishing standards
- After a Hub undergoes the Quality Assessment Process, ads will be added to the page; Hubs that meet certain Quality Assessment Process criteria will also be Featured
- After being edited, Hubs go through the Quality Assessment Process once more, hence each time a Hub is edited, it is given a new chance to be Featured
Hubs are now being assessed by real people (including Hubbers such as yourself), and their evaluations will contribute toward your Hubs’ chances of being Featured
Ads will not be shown on new Hubs until they are no longer Pending (this should prevent Featured Hubs from seeing delayed coverage in search engine results)
We are excited about the direction in which we are going and hope these changes will help to make you a stronger, better, more successful Hubber.