HubPages, Idle Hubs, and Keeping Pages Indexed

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March 2, 2013 by Brian Rock

There are a few countermeasures in place at HubPages to prevent people from flooding it with poor quality content simply to build backlinks.

In some ways, this is a good thing if you’re using HubPages for SEO – an increase in the quality of the domain will in theory increase the value of your links. If Google sees HubPages as a linkfarm, then it won’t be very useful to write hubs with links.

However, it also means you need to be careful in writing to make sure you create quality content. For one, you need to be relatively active in the community and achieve a “Hubber Score” of at least 70, or else your links will be nofollow’ed. You should also take care to write original content, instead of trying to submit spun content. Every hub goes through a quality assessment that involves being read by real humans – and spun content is pretty easily detectable by real people.

But there’s another issue that you need to consider… idling.

What Is an Idled Hub?

Hubs can be either “Idled” or “Featured.” When you first publish a hub, it’s pending for about 24 hours and if it passes the quality assessment test, then it will become featured. If it fails the test, or if it is later found to subpar, it will be idled.

This is no good, because an Idle hub has a “noindex” meta tag applied to it. Once a hub is de-indexed, it won’t get any search engine traffic (bad, if you are trying to make money at HubPages) and the links in it will become worthless (bad, if you are trying to use these hubs for SEO purposes). Basically, the hub is worthless.

So we want to avoid that at all costs.

When Does a Hub Become Idled?

Well, that’s a good question. It’s one that doesn’t seem to have a clear answer.

I’ve been on HubPages for about two to three months now, and for a while I wasn’t sure what the fuss was about. This week, however, I finally had my first two hubs idled and lose their feature status.

It’s not exactly clear to me when a hub will be idled. What is common knowledge is that hubs without significant levels of traffic will eventually become idle. What I can’t find a clear answer about is how much traffic is “significant,” and when this check is run.

I can say that the two hubs I had idled were both idled approximately 60 days after they were published. Based on that, I would guess that after 2 months or so, a hub is evaluated. This seems reasonable, since a hub that isn’t getting any search traffic after two months is unlikely to ever get any search traffic. I’m unsure if editing a hub changes this time frame (since I didn’t edit either hub after it was published), but I’ll re-evaluate this assumption when I have more data to work with.

Based on these two hubs, I’m not exactly sure what a “significant” level of traffic is, though. Initially, I had assumed that a hub might fall idle if it had zero visits in a 30 day period. However, both hubs had at least one visit in the last month, and I think one of them had a couple visits in the last week. Neither had seen significant traffic, and they were probably in the single digits for the preceding thirty days, but they did have over zero visits.

What Can You Do About Idled Hubs?

Well, it’s fairly easy to edit the hub and get it featured again. You simply unpublish the hub, make some edits, and then re-publish it. It should go back into “Pending,” and, if you’re lucky, become featured again in 24 hours. I tweaked the title and made a few edits in the text on each, and everything was fine. It might also help to add an image or a video, if you’re short on multi-media.

If you’re interested, one hub was about getting featured in the “Hot on Twitter” section of Slideshare and the other was a more general discussion of getting featured on the Slideshare homepage.

The bigger question, and one I’m eagerly interested in testing out, is how to ensure that a hub doesn’t get idled in the future. Obviously, if you write a good hub that gets traffic, it won’t get idled.

That’s fine and dandy if you’re writing for income (and I do have a few hubs that are getting search traffic, and I am trying to build a small revenue stream at HubPages). But that’s not always gonna work if you’re writing Hubs for SEO.

Instead, you’ve got to contrive some way to drive a little traffic to these hubs. The question is, how much traffic?

The hub about getting featured on the front page had about 5 views in the preceding month, and it had a shade over thirty in “All Time” (in the preceding two months). The other one was similar.

I’ve got two other hubs published just over two months ago that weren’t idled. One has 9 views in the last month and 61 views all time, while the other had 13 views in the last month and 61 all time. At this point I’m going to assume that roughly 10 views in a month is enough to keep a hub featured; 5 or fewer is enough to get it idled.

While I’m not prepared to state that with any level of absolute certainty, it’s a start. And it’s a few points of data. Now, moving forward, I can compare that with other hubs that do or do not get idled and come to a better understanding of the algorithm.

If anyone else has some actual data on views on idled hubs, I’d be eager to here about it in the comments.

And, as an aside, one annoying thing abut idled hubs: you don’t receive any notification when a hub moves into idled status. That’s just not cool. If you want to monitor your hubs, you’ll need to log into your account, look down the stats, and make sure every hub has the “Featured” icon.

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