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Hubpages Money Making Update

OK about a month ago I asked if you could still make money with Hubpages in 2011. You might want to read that again quickly but here are the results of my two case studies:

Case Study 1 Adsense Niche

Starting positions

previously top ranking hub #4

niche vacation site #7

All links were built using BMR (Build My Rank review here). All dates in proper format!

16/5 Adsense  hub  is back to #1 on  42 articles live on BMR

31/5 after sitting at #1 consistently for a week, today is back to #2 – 60 articles live on BMR

16/5 niche site dot info – #8 on – 32 articles live on BMR

31/5 after sitting consistently at #2 and #3 for the last week – has now dropped to #6/#7 – 60 articles live on BMR

Conclusion – a hub will rank again if you build links to it – whether you have to keep building links to it remains to be seen.  For the amount of work you have to do – you might as well just build your own site. will continue to drop traffic because most of the writers there believe passionately in the old chestnut “build it and they will come”.

Case Study 2: Product Hubs

Starting positions

New hub published 9/5.

16/5 new product hub not int top 100 – 1 link.

31/5 sitting at #28 on – 15  links.

16/5 niche site #15  12 links.

31/5 now at #5 with 15 articles on link.

My niche site is a only a bit over a year old – but is a fairly closely related excact domain match. Its less effort to get the new page on it ranked then to rank a new hub – no prizes for figuring what is the best decision going forward.

What To do About HubPages?

  • If you haven’t started – don’t bother.
  • If you have hubs that have dropped – then it might be worth a backlinking effort to get the top-paying ones back in position #1. For the ones that never ranked well – I’m seriously considering un-publishing them, waiting for them to de-index and placing them elsewhere ie on my own websites.

The Quantcast figures for HubPages -continue to tell the same story as last month:

Traffic still dropping on - from

It should all be slightly sad really. In some ways it is – but much more so this entire little exercise has made me really excited. While I was looking at the data for this experiment I had a real “duh” moment. The moons aligned – the scales fell from my eyes – and figured out the Next Big Thing on making money online.

But that’s a whole other keyword – so another post ! Sorry!

Lis Recommmends Making Money Online Paid Tools Product Reviews Tools

Niche Reaper Review – Scam or Legit?

Well the whole world is buzzing about the launch of the newest, greatest, bright shiny object of the Make Money Online world – Matt Garrett and Gary Prendergast’s Niche Reaper – this is pretty much the best thing since the invention of the Internet  – on account of it it will pay me a nice recurring affiliate income  and hey you guys might have fun playing with it – was that hardcore affiliate marketing enough for you?

Anyone still here? OK. WTF Lissie why are you doing flogging yet another MMO product – well Splork has a way about him that makes me buy shit that gets past his bullshit radar.

So when I was procrastinating today Splork came up in my Google reader – and I am now $67 dollars frigging poorer – thanks mate.

Niche Reaper Review

So what does Niche Reaper claim to do – well their main claims are:

  • Uncover Hidden Keywords Over 20,000 brand new fully researched keywords unearthed every single day!
  • Dominate Entire Markets – Keywords are grouped into niches so you can build authority sites, not just keyword landing pages
  • No More Keyword Research – Simply log-in and pick a colour-coded niche we’ve done all the hard work for you
  • Remove Uncertainty – Know the dollar value of each niche BEFORE you risk your precious time and money promoting it
  • Save Time, Earn More – Quickly filter by expected earnings to build your personal portfolio of killer niches
  • Rank Faster via Google’s Backdoor – Discover hundreds of new keyword domains every day with a virtually guaranteed page one ranking
  • Join The FaceBook Gold Rush – Build Fanpages and boost their value with thousands of available keyword-rich FaceBook URLs

Been been there done that you might think – well I did anyways – as I am old and jaded. But what caught my attention was the second claim – build authority sites.

Now I’ve said before that niche sites work just fine for me, but I also know from experience of this site that once you rank for one term e.g. “site build it scam” then ranking for “hubpages scam” is a lot easier than ranking a new site for the same term.  So if you can start a site based around a bunch of keywords rather than just one – its easier – particularly if those keywords are closely related.

But stepping back one step further – Niche Reaper will actually suggest keywords to you – no not just by you putting in a keyword and it returning the variations –  they have a ticker tape screen / running board of new keywords on the front page – and within minutes I’d found some new keywords which not only have never thought of but actually had a hope in hell of ranking for with my existing sites.

The Niche Reaper’s method for calculating the ease of ranking of keywords and their potential value seems to be fairly similar to that of the Keyword Academy  not identical but nothing stupid like looking at the total number of competing sites  – but what made me put me hit the subscribe button was actually the feature that the computer itself would come up with suggestions for me.

The suggestions aren’t bad –  some are more commecial than others, a few were in Spanish, some related to the UK market – but it would be hard not to find something useful in an hour or two’s browsing.

What I Didn’t Like About Niche Reaper

  1. There is no way to add your own keywords into the tool – if they are not there already – or picked up by whatever method they use to find new keywords – you are out of luck.  There’s a comment somewhere in support saying this is a possible future enhancement.
  2. There seems to be no way to download you keyword lists – you can classify keywords of interest by adding a star – but you have to stick with the tool (and the monthly subscription) – to easily access them. Looked harder you can download them into a pretty little spreadsheet.
  3. I’m pretty cynical about the suggested values of the keywords  – I happen to have been #1 for one of the keywords I found in Niche Reaper – according to them its worth  $40,956 /month. That would be nice – my experience is that when I am #1 its worth about $333/month. (Niche Refinery from the Keyword Academy thinks its worth $3600). Now this may be a fluke keyword and exposes another limitation – the keyword I rank for (and I’m #1 in Australia and #3 in the US) gets me six times more Australians than Americans – and according to Google – most of the searchers are actually from the UK (where I don’t rank at all) – so take the values with quite a lot of cynicism.
  4. Frigging two upsells before I even bought the produce – for goodness sakes – the product looks good  – you just cheapen it by offering me a one time chance to get $XXXX value for $49.95 – or whatever it was – I wasn’t paying attention. AND DON’T SHOUT AT ME WHEN I TRY TO LEAVE THE PAGE – you will not make me a customer by getting me fired from my current job where I wasn’t supposed to be surfing the web.
  5. Too much emphasis on social media particularly Facebook – for getting traffic, never found anyone who goes on Facebook to buy stuff- just saying.
  6. Most of the training videos aren’t yet available. This may because they are just not ready yet – or it could be a ploy to keep you subscribed for month after month. I didn’t like the titles of the upcoming videos on getting traffic either – I think the Keyword Academy offers a much more solid approach for traffic generation.

What I Like About Niche Reaper

  1. The software works – its not always a given online – but this has a nice interface and it works for me. I had a look in the support pages (nice they have those too) and the only people having problems are running Internet Explorer. Use Firefox or Chrome and your life will be better – in general – I promise.
  2. The keywords are reasonable keywords – they seem reasonably commercial – ie you may actually make some money if you rank for the terms being suggested and I haven’t seen one “make money online” keyword yet!
  3. They acknowledge the value of exact match domains – still working for me  though I would stick to 3 or fewer words if at all possible.
  4. The training videos are clear and no fluff.  They recommend namecheap for domains and Hostgator for hosting both solid companies that provide excellent service  even though there are others out that paying better affiliate commissions.
  5. It appears there will be step-by-step videos for the basics of getting a site up and running and they recommend that you outsource your articles (though I thought the particular recommendation was a little on the expensive side).
  6. This is a Clickbank product – you get 60 days to get a money back refund – and Clickbank provides the refund so there is no question about it. (Although I’ve not bought a subscription product on CB before – to be on the safe side I’d unsubscribe and request the refund before the next payment is due).

What I haven’t Reviewed

I didn’t review the upsell videos/ebooks on the initial purchase.

None of the training videos under First site – after “Getting Articles”, Facebook, Twitter, Traffic, Monetization, Resources were available at the time of this review.

Who Do I Recommend Niche Reaper For

  • Someone starting out who has no idea what a buying keyword was – that was me for years – so even if you are not a beginner if this is your weakness check the product out.
  • Someone who wants to find more related and easy keywords for existing sites – this is what I’ll use it for and its nice
  • Procrastinators. I don’t think its unreasonable that its a monthly subscription – there will be an overhead maintaining the system. For many people though you could subscribe get enough keywords for the next 6-12 months in a day or two and then unsubscribe. So don’t stay subscribed for months not using it (though my paypal account will thank you if you do) – get in, get out.
  • If you know how to setup a website but not how to do keyword research – this product may be worthwhile for you.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Niche Reaper

  • While the basic training videos aren’t complete – I wouldn’t recommend this for the complete beginner – try Keyword Academy instead.
  • If you can’t afford the $67 already gone up to $77/month – obviously really but possibly needs to be said in this age of credit card debt.

This May or May Not Be a Time Limited Opportunity

The claim is that Niche Reaper will be limited to 1000 subscribers (at one time I assume) and that they are about 1/2 way there as of the the time of writing. Now a time limited offer, act now or forever miss out – is an oldie but a goodie in online marketing.

It may however be true in this case because if it became incredibly popular then there would be a) a huge load on their servers and b) the keywords they are identifying as  easy to rank for would suddenly have a whole rabble of marketers going after them – thereby shooting their prediction in their metaphorical foot.

If it does close I bet there will be a waiting list though – thought the price might go up (because they have proven the demand).

Genuinely – I don’t know if you should hurry or not but:


if you want to.

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Hubpages – Can You Still Make Money in 2011?

I started on – 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:

Traffic drop on as measured by Quantcast

Looking at my own analytics for the same period – its the same but different :

hubpages traffic drop April 2011
Analytics on my main Hubpages Account - same period as Qantcast

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.