We had a conversation recently with HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson about the Google Panda update and its affects no HubPages, as it was often reported to be one of the hardest-hit sites from the update.
Edmondson had said in a recent blog post that they hadn't seen it consistently drive traffic to better-quality Hubs. "On one hand, some of our best content has seen a drop in traffic; simultaneously, we have seen traffic rise on Hubs that are just as great," he wrote. "We are taking this seriously — behind the scenes, we have been crunching data and focusing on making sure that we are doing everything right from our side. We have an editorial policy and internal system that rewards original useful content, and this aligns with what Google wants, too."
HubPages has posted a new message to users, regarding the update, conveying a continued quest to boost quality:
As we continue to adjust our way through the most recent Google algorithm changes, we are actively reviewing how we can improve the HubPages experience and make adjustments to improve the site and experience. As mentioned in previous posts, we have already made some changes, primarily focused at weeding out lower quality content that adds little to no value to the site and community and to optimize the advertising layouts. In the upcoming weeks, I expect to announce further changes we will implement aimed at improving sitewide experience and quality of Hubs. We have various methods for measuring "quality" including HubScore, community ratings and feedback, link quality, etc.
I appreciate everyone's patience as we devise and implement our next course of action. The most important effect of the next wave of changes will be to our writers who will benefit from a rise in the overall quality of content published on HubPages and the removal of lower quality content that tends to decrease traffic and visitors’ experience to the site. I see a lot of great discussions in the forums and am encouraged to see so many active members of the community that are just as concerned and motivated to improve the site as we are.
Demand Media's eHow, which is sometimes compared to HubPages, just launched a redesign with what the company is calling a "curation layer," which is essentially a feedback system, also aimed at improving quality.
Having such ways of monitoring quality and audience perception has to be in the best interest of both of these sites. It may be that how they handle the feedback and use it to improve content that helps them both in the long run - and that's not just for Google's algorithm, by the way, but for users who are gaining more control over the distribution of content, whether that be through social sharing, or through blocking domains in their own search results.
If a user gets enough poor quality content from a single site when searching, Google has empowered them to be able to do something about it. This is one reason that any site might do well to do some evaluation of past content, and perhaps some house cleaning where necessary.