"We are confident that over time the proven quality of our writers’ content will be attractive to users," HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson told us soon after the Panda update was first launched in the U.S. "We have faith in Google’s ability to tune results post major updates and are optimistic that the cream will rise back to the top in the coming weeks, which has been our experience with past updates."
With that, it's interesting that Google has taken to the HubPages blog to tell HubPage writers how to make better content for AdSense.
Specifically, Thomas Tran, a Googler since 2008, who works "mainly in AdSense newbies education," talked about "how to drive quality traffic" to "hubs" (HubPages articles), so they can increase their AdSense ads click-through-rates and earn more money.
Google has been talking about more open communication with webmasters, but it's interesting that they're going so far as to write guest posts on publishers' blogs aimed at helping writers have more success. I wonder if they'll write for eHow, Suite101, or other sites that churn out content for AdSense dollars.
Tran's four basic tips to writers are:
1. Write authentic, non-scripted, easy-to-read and structured content.
2. Get inspiration from Google AdWords Keyword tool and the Top Search Queries from the Google Webmaster Tools.
3. Use unique and accurate titles.
4. Promote your hubs internally and externally.
He elaborates on each of these points in the post.
Based on Compete's data, it looks like HubPages was on a steady increase in traffic from month-to-month, until February, when Panda hit. Edmondson told us some content went up, and some went down. When asked if articles are written specifically for search, he said, “It’s up to our writers. We let them choose what they wish to write within our editorial policies. We offer tools and education for our users to become better online writers – this includes – among a vast array of things – best practices for search.”
“SEO has to be an important part of any publisher’s traffic sources,” he added. “We make SEO tools available to our writers, its up to them whether they want to use it or not. We are very sensitive around not abusing search engine practices and will take down articles that are obviously trying to game the system.” More on our conversation with Edmondson and with a HubPages writer here.
HubPages then posted a 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.