Three Things That Are Essential For A Successful Article
The most discussed topics on the Hubpages forum is about ways to improve traffic and getting more money for hubs. In the past, there has been so many discussions and questions about reaching a payout and improving hub traffic. This all depends on following:
- Ability to write well, which Hubpages fondly calls a stellar hub.
- Ability to optimize your hubs using basic SEO techniques. Hubpages has done a good job of writing articles about elements of a "Staller Hub". However, it also looks like one written by a technical writer with some legal background. Informative, authoritative and utterly boring words of wisdom imparted in an official manner.
- Lastly, your ability to understand your audience (readers) and promote your hubs with them. Lets face it, a good writer can become a successful writer only by marketing and promotion.
Hubpage Vs Web Page
Let's start with understanding elements of a hub, which is nothing than any other webpage in the eyes of major search engines. While you toil and infuse your creativity to make your hub special, but to a search engine it is only a bunch of text and code. So you have a dual job of writing for your reader and keeping the Google robot happy. The good news is that the design of Hubpage is extremely search robot friendly which makes your task easy.
Google or any other search engine treats a hub like a page of a website. Anything that is considered good for a web page is also good for a hub.
All good writing should begin with a keyword research. Keywords in simple English means search terms that your readers are likely to put in the search box while looking for an article (Hub) similar to one you will be writing. Keyword research is very important for the success of your online article. Most successful Hubbers would vouch for the fact that a moderately competitive keyword could bring better traffic with minimum work. If the keyword is very competitive your hub would be buried under hundreds of search results even though you have written a useful and interesting article.
The easiest way to check the keyword competitiveness is to type your keywords in the search bar and check Google Pagerank. If top few articles have a Pagerank of 4 or 5, it means it will be difficult to reach to top 10 search results. Another way is to use the Google Adwords tool which is free. It's also important to discover your long tail key word.
Ideally, your key words should be in url, title and meta description. Oops! Did I sound like a techie? Well, I am not one of them so let me get back to simple English.
Keyword Density - What You Should Know
Title Of An Article or Hub
Title of An Article / Hub
The Hubpage suggest the length of the title to be 70 characters, whereas most search engines will display 55 to 60 characters of your title so keep your title small.
Why the title should be short?
When Google displays a title it uses Arial font of 18px with resolution 512 pixel. This is just about enough to fill 55 characters, even less if the title is written in all capital letters. So I would suggest to keep title short and keyword rich
A good format (not universal one size fits all) for the title of the hub will be
Key word 1 - Key word 2 | Brand
For example, you are writing on the hub page as RoseTravel so your HP sub-domain will be rosetravel.hubpages.com and you are writing a travel hub about famous towers. A good title would be:
Tallest & Famous Towers in World | Rose Travel Guide, and your URL will be rosetravel.hubpages.com/hub/tallest-famous-tower-world-rose-travel-guide
Does it work with creative stuff like poems? Most of good hub about poetry never rank high is Google search results.
A Poem about a Mysterious Woman by Polly C, a fellow Hubber. This title is too short to get a higher rank in Google search. I would suggest:
Poem of Mysterious Woman | Poetry of dangerous love, emotion
About dangerous love - Emotional Poem of Mysterious Women
In both above cases I have taken keywords that are repeated most in the hub and put them in the title. I have deliberately used a Pipe (|) not colon (:) as a separator. A pipe separator tells a search engine that both parts are equally important.
Matt Cutt of Google Speaks About Title & Meta Description
Summary of a Hub
Summary Of A Hub: Meta Description
This is the second call for action required by HP team. Think about describing your hub in a SMS. That’s right! Because search engines including Google allots just two lines under your title in Arial font size 14px which is roughly 155 characters. HP allows you to write a title up to 200 characters, but I would keep it between 115 - 160 characters.
Why? Mobile devices display only 115 characters of the title so it pays to optimize your content for mobile users also. I do not have concrete data, but an educated guess is that over 50% of hub readers are using mobile or tablet to read your hub.
Meta description is what an SEO professional call our HubPages summary. Search engine like Google uses HubPages summary that you write, whereas Bing or Yahoo will use snippets from your hub to create a summary based on query of a user. Think of the hub summary as your elevator sales pitch so make it count.
How to find if I wrote a summary for my older hubs?
Fortunately, HP has a nifty way to find it quickly. Go to your account statistics page. Here you will find an icon A next to Hubs without summaries.
Length Of A Hub
How Long Should Be My Hub?
Hubpages guidelines suggest a minimum length of 1150 words. Well, that is just a passing grade - a minimum requirement. We are here not just for getting a C grade. Most of us have zeal to excel and exceed expectations of their readers. Your readers and Google both prefer an information rich, engaging content written, devoid of grammatical and spelling mistakes.
Ideally, one should write an article of 2500 words or more. If you do a simple google search, you will find that most articles ranking in top 10 are 2000 words or more. Longer hubs have more success with the long tail keywords. The longer article allows the reader to spend more time on your hub. The total amount of time spend on a page is an important ranking factor for all search engines.
It would be a good idea to break up your hub into the smaller text module. Normally one paragraph or two describing parts of your main topic should merit a separate text module. The title of your text module is equivalent to a H2 tag in SEO lingo. Search engine pay attention to your H2 tags (title of your text module) and it is considered an important ranking factor.
Hub SEO Quiz. It Takes Less Than a Minute.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- What is the ideal length of the Title?
- 55 - 60 Characters
- 70 Characters
- 115 Characters
- No Ideal length
- What is the ideal length of the summary of a hub?
- 115 to 120 characters
- 200 characters
- No Ideal length.
- What is the minimum required words in a hub?
- The title of a hub is similar to the HTML H1 tag of a web page
- The summary of a hub is equivalent to
- H2 tag
- Meta description
- Meta robot text
- Meta keywords
- The heading of a text module is similar to HTML H2 tag
- 55 - 60 Characters
- 115 to 120 characters
- Meta description
The Basic Elements Of SEO
|Title||Summary||Hub or Article|
55 to 60 Characters
115 to 150 Characters
HP recommends 70 characters
HP allows 200 characters
HP requires 1150 words minimum
Keyword in title
Keyword, preferably, in the begining of the summary
No keyword stuffing, use long tail key words as text heading
How to make a reader stay longer on my webpage
Normally more time your reader spends on the hub is better. Most of the web pages in the world get under a minute of the visitor's time. You need to increase it to at least three minutes. This brings us to our next problem. How my reader will spend more time on my hub?
SEO professionals like lawyers and bankers invented technical terms like session length and page view duration to confuse us. Believer it or not, Hubpage, again has provided enough arsenal to keep your readers captive to your hub.
Here is what you should do (apart from 2500 words of word play)
- Put a video or two (at least 60 seconds). Recipes, DIY instructions, TV clips of related items, YouTube even the one taken on the iPhone will do. People prefer watching over reading. Let them watch two minutes of the YouTube video on your hub.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Use plenty of them. They can be viewed as a slide show so provide at least 15 to 20 high quality preferably original pictures augment your hub. If you are using a picture that you do not own, use proper attributes to acknowledge the owner of the original work.
- Use at least one table and a map capsule. Even if you do not need it but does google robot care? Feed him his fix. Tables are great for summarizing your ideas, making lists of ingredients of a recipe or items needed for a DIY project. If you are writing a travel hub, include a map capsule, which makes it easy for a user to find the place and Google loves it.
- Use a review capsule for a recipe or a travel hub. The stars in the review make your hub stand out in the search results.
Still need more help. At this time, why not involve readers. This will give them something to do while they are spending time on your page. Hubpages gives you two tools:
- Create a poll. A poll gives some time to your user to form a conclusion. People are always curious to know others opinion. Checking out poll will give them a few more seconds to spend on your hub.
- Create a quiz. People like to interact and test their knowledge.
Last but not the least would be to check your hub for grammar and spelling mistake. Proofread it or have someone else do it. High quality content will gain trust in the eyes of the user as well as Google. Google has started ranking pages based on level of English, namely basic, intermediate and advance.
Now, do not try to write in difficult English to show your writing skills because your reader is more likely to be frustrated and leave your page. You should research your visitor's profile and write to keep up with her level. A good writer is a great writer if she can explain a difficult topic to a common man.
Write In Easy To Understand Style
Why time spend by a visitor on a webpage is important ranking factor?
Imagine you have no idea about art and you are tasked with the ranking value of the paintings with the help of a timer. You, being an intelligent person, start timing visitors stay in the gallery and time spend near each painting.
If most of the visitors come in and quickly leave the gallery within seconds of their arrival you can quickly assume the art gallery is not very popular. However, if visitors spend some time browsing paintings, stopping to take notes and appreciate some works you can reasonably be sure that painting where visitors spends more time is a more valuable piece of work.
If some of the visitors come back next day again spend more time gazing at a lady with crooked smile you are pretty sure that this painting is worth far more than others.
Search engines use the same technique in a more sophisticated way.
Lower Your Bounce Rate
How To Retain Your Readers And Reduce Bounce Rate
Now that step 1 and 2 are covered
So finally you succeeded in keeping your reader for a reasonable time its now time to lure her to your next hub. It is important, I do not care if she reads next one, but she must go to my next hub. When a visitor reads a single hub from your collection and leaves, search engine call it bounce rate event. A high bounce rate gives search engine negative signals.
Explained in English
Imagine, in an art gallery people just look at one painting for two minutes and walk out. What would you think as an external observer?
The Hubpages design does not help much in this case. It shows your previous and next hub, which is pretty lame. To make matters worse for you, they also show few of related hubs from your competitors. While they do this to overall improve a visitor's experience by exposing her to a variety of related hubs, it is not helping you to reduce your bounce rate. So what do you do?
Put your own hubs before in a link capsule with related pictures at the end of your hub. Hopefully your reader will click and go to next one.
Understanding Bounce Rate
Know Your Readers To Attract More Traffic
Before we start with a plan to promote hubs lets familiarize with the profile of an average hub reader.
These are many reputed companies that measure search matrices and sells these data to large websites and business. They track visitor demographics, their behavior that is where they come from (upstream traffic) time spend on a page and where they go (down stream traffic) but they charge thousands of dollars. Google offers similar data for free via Google analytics and Google webmaster services. I strongly suggest that you register and set up your account for both services and link them.
An average hub page reader is most likely a woman between 18 to 45 having kids with some or no college education, who is most likely to surf the internet from the School or place of work. She visits 2.3 pages in 3 minutes using a mobile device. Her household is likely to be less than $50000 per year. Her interests are beauty & fitness, home & garden, crafts, books and cooking. No wonder recipe and relationship hubs do well here!
Demographics Of The People Visiting HubPages
HP Visitor's profile
Using Google Webmaster tools to improve your traffic
Google webmaster tools gives out a wealth of information to manage, control and improve websites or a Hubpage. I would strongly suggest that any serious Hubber or blogger must register with Google webmaster's in order to take advantage of the tools that they offer.
1. Index your web page or Hub faster. Although sites like HubPages are crawled many times a day so there is no need to actually ask Google to crawl and index your hub or web page in their search results. If you do not want to wait even for few hours, I suggest that you use fetch as Google tool to get your article indexed faster.
2 Finding long tail key words: Once your hub has been online for some time, Google starts collecting data for long tail key words. Over the period of time Google collects information about long tail search terms and compiles them neatly as explained in the next picture.
Go to : Google webmaster > Search Traffic > Search query > Top Pages
Click Top Pages to reveal long tail key words. Once you know these key words, incorporate them in your hub or web page as H2 tag (heading of a text module) and elaborate them. This will ensure that your article will attract more traffic in the future because it has already included keywords searched by some readers in the past.
Finding Long Tail Key Word Using Google Webmaster Tools
How Google Analytics Can Improve Your Web Traffic?
Google analytics is free. It is a very powerful tool that allows you to:
- Get real time data on location, traffic source and hub visited by a reader.
- Audience date such as age, gender, interest, location and language of your readers
- New Vs Returning readers, their engagement level
- The type of computer or mobile device used, which browser they use
- User flow which means which hub they read first and what they did after that
- It also tells how many people came via organic search and how many came via social media
- In social media, it gives a breakdown of traffic from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Pintrest and others
- It also tells about average time spend in reading a hub and bounce rate
Armed with these data, one can plan what to write and how to keep readers engaged for a longer duration.
Role Of Social Media
Using Social Media To Drive Traffic To Your Website
I have seen that people talk about promoting their hubs on social media platforms and getting very positive results. Some Hubber wrote about getting 10K views in a day from a viral Facebook promotion. While social media has its own advantage and certainly helps your hubs, I believe it is over rated.
- Only 10% or less traffic is generated by social media
- It takes too much time to build and maintain an effective social media campaign. The time spend there can be used for writing new hubs which would probably bring more traffic.
If you think social media can boost your traffic, try by all means. I try to limit my time on social media. Every day posting a few articles (not mine, but relevant to my reader) on Twitter, LinkedIn and other takes about 30 minutes. I try not to overdo it and post my hubs once in a while.
The search engines do take social signals as a ranking factor. A Hub or a web page having many Facebook likes and G+ improves trust in the eyes of the user as well search engine, but it can not be the main traffic source in most cases.
Hubpages community, on the other hand, is a great social platform that can generate a lot of internal traffic for you. This could be done by doing following things
- Keeping your HubScore and Hubber score high
- Asking and answering questions
- Getting enough followers to comment on your hubs
- Participate in forum discussions
A Word of Caution
This guide is based on my personal experience on the Hubpages and with the websites I manage. In addition to this I have relied on:
- HubPages learning center
- Google analytics
- Google Webmaster tools
- Quantcast and other web search metrics providers
- YouTube videos from Google
These have worked well for me, but there may be other ways to improve traffic. Increasing traffic and SEO is a long term exercise and results can be seen after months of consistent hard work.
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Bouquets And Brickbats
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 28, 2020:
Informative and useful to all writers
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 17, 2014:
Yes. But, I've been here for some time, also, as Homeplace Series and as DrBill-WmL-Smith, writing my historical fiction, family saga, stories. Please stop by, if you have the time, and the interest… What fun! ;-)
Kamal Mohta (author) from Guangzhou on August 17, 2014:
Thanks for stopping by DrBillSmithWriter. I assume that you have migrated from Squidoo. A warm welcome to HubPages! I am glad that you found my hub useful.
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 16, 2014:
Very informative… Don't know that I can remember all the points, but they are there for reference. Thanks, again, so very much! ;-)
Dianna Mendez on August 05, 2014:
This was quite a detailed and informative post on getting online traffic. Thanks for doing the research and providing us this valuable information.
Kamal Mohta (author) from Guangzhou on August 03, 2014:
@midget38 HP has done a good job of optimizing your contents for SEO. All you have to do is write good content and ensure that the URL, Title and Hub summary has your keywords.
Kamal Mohta (author) from Guangzhou on August 03, 2014:
@bestonlineschool I see that you have just joined HP 3 weeks back. It takes time to see an increase in the traffic. I would say keep writing useful and engaging hubs and you will see traffic rise eventually.
To answer your question: The title of your hub is H1 tag and heading of your text module is H2. You do not have to add it by yourself. The HubPages offers an extremely SEO friendly CMS to add content. All you have to do is to create quality hubs with your keywords in URL, title and hub summary.
There is no need to do artificial backlinking as it will hurt your ranking. When you comment you get a backlink from that page.
Michelle Liew from Singapore on August 03, 2014:
Very useful and thorough guidelines. I guess the balance of writing vs SEO is ways a tricky one!
Best Online Schools from UK on August 03, 2014:
I am a bit concerned with my homepage here on hubpage. No place to add headings like heading 1 or optimize it in anyhow and as a results brings no traffic from search engines?
Am I missing something? Is there a way to improve home page SEO, apart from backlinking?
Are you guys getting traffic to your homepage
Angela Flanders on August 02, 2014:
Thank you for the friendly advice.
Kamal Mohta (author) from Guangzhou on August 01, 2014:
Thanks for reading it, Angela. I have shared best practices of SEO that will work with any website including Hubpages. HubPages has extremely SEO friendly design so all you have to do is to write quality content. I see that some of your recipes hubs need a better summary. Please ensure that your keywords are in the summary of the hub. Also use Pipe in place of the colon as a separator because this tells the search engine that phrases on either side are equally important.
Angela Flanders on August 01, 2014:
Thanks for the info! Nice hub. I took some notes.