I started on Hubpages.com – because of Hubpages I made my first $100 online and got paid out by Google’s Adsense program. In fact the precursor of this blog was built to support my hubpages – not the other way around!
Until recently I highlighted my pages explaining how I made money on Hubpages – the posts were genuine – but I also made money from those writers who signed up using my affiliate ID – personally I’d moved on from Hubpages, Hubpages is no scam, but I prefer to put time into my own sites – but my hubpages were still making me hundreds a month – until recently.
Panda Update and Hubpages
I’ve already written about how the Panda updated failed to deliver quality to the searcher – and still my niche sites are ranking pretty much where they were before the so-called update.
But Panda was originally nicknamed “Farmer Update” by SEO’s – because the update seemed to particularly focus on large content sites – sites like HubPages.
The official figures – as provided by Quantcast – seems to support this:
Looking at my own analytics for the same period – its the same but different :
My point is that – over all comments about the site – you need to look at your own stats and apply the data. The peak on 1 March was because my Wellington Earthquake hub ranked well in NZ before the local news papers woke up to the fact that locals were panicking about about a barely felt shake in the wake of the wall-to-wall coverage of the previous week’s major Christchurch quake.
Ignoring this outlier – my traffic seems to have only slightly dropped – unfortunately that drop is much more dramatic when I look at my Adsense stats for the last couple of months compared to the same period last year (my traffic is seasonal so the only fair comparison is the same time of year).
Its against Adsense TOS to give you details but I can tell you that my eCPM is down over 50%.
My best ranked hubs have dropped – but are still on page 1 or 2 in most cases. However the drop in traffic from position 1 to position 7 or 8 is huge – as anyone who has been there will attest to.
Experiment to See If I Can Get My Rankings Back
I’m lucky because I have two cases study where I have hubs and sites which target the same keywords.
Case 1: Adsense Niche
In this case my hub has been in #1 position for a couple of years – after Panda 1 in early Februrary it dropped to position #2, in April’s Panda 2 (Panda roll-out worldwide) the site dropped to position 4 for its main keyword. This is a seasonal niche that peaks in the US summer so I want it back!
I also have a niche site sitting in position 7 for the same main keyword – frankly I haven’t built a link for either the hub or the site for at least 2 years – its not the world’s most profitable niche – but its perfect for the purpose of answering the question.
Will backlinks still work for Hubpages?
Now lets be clear in the past – hubpages didn’t need backlinks – or not very many – if you had a trusted profile and wrote a good long hub – the hub in question above is nearly 2000 words you could get the hub to rank for a non-competitive keyword using a combination of site authority and internal links.
In May I will be building 60 links to each of the hub and the niche site. The links will be based on a mixture of the main keyword and related cousins – using Keyword Academy methods.
Case 2: Product Hubs
I have a product orientated site which I have also used hubpages for back links from. I’m going to try adding a new hub on the product – backlinking it from related hubs and then backlink the hub to see if it will rank – this is on a different user from my main one – so will be interested to see what happens.
Issues with HubPages reactions to Panda/Farmer Update
Some would say that changes to Hubpages TOS has caused more damage to their earnings on HP than the actual Google changes.
1. Hubpages has launched their own Ads program.
I’ve signed up for the HP Ads program to see if it will give me a better return than Adsense. I signed up all my accounts about 10 days ago but my two more niche focused identities are reverting to Adsense – I’m not going to hit the $50 payout without decent traffic. In contract my main profile has made that $50 minimum in 10 days – I’ll leave it on for another month to see how the eCPM compares to Adsense. I have a lot of popular hubs on that account that get traffic but few clicks so the HP ads may work for this account.
2. Hubpages may be struggling to stay in business.
There has been pandemonium in the Hubpages forums but I doubt that its even 1/2 of what is happening in Hubpages HQ – the company has got to be hurting a lot and probably wondering how to make payroll. Whether they survive the next few months – will be of interest – there is always lots of knee-jerk changes being made. In the meanwhile I advise anyone who has content on hubpages to back it up.
3. Hubpages is losing a lot of “marketers” because of their changes to TOS
Recent changes in hubpages have varied from the incomprehensible (banning pixelated images), to the odd (reducing the number of Amazon and eBay capsules allowed), and from the sane (banning duplicate content) to the not sane (banned affiliate links).
This is losing some hubbers a lot of money – some at least are unpublishing and removing their content. Its very hard to know how significant this is – but it could be that hubpages is losing a lot of high ranking content and suffering from a lot broken links both internally and externally – this would certainly hurt my websites – so I imagine its hurting hubpages too.
Unfortunately the hubbers they are loosing were the ones who knew how to promote their content – those that are left are the “write it and they will come” camp – which worked so long as someone was promoting the site – if no one is…
4. Hubpages has reduced the number of Adsense ads on hubs
The loss of a the well-placed links unit on hubpages is unfortunate – I continue to make great money from link units on other sites.
At the moment I ma pretty sure that Hubpages isn’t a good way to make money anymore – what I’m trying to establish though is if it still has enough authority to be useful backlinks – watch this space.