So Hub Pages have made some sweeping changes to their publishing rules that will affect all users (Hubbers, as they like to call them). Well, it was going to happen and to be honest, I’m really glad they finally came to their senses. So what are the changes?
Here is an excerpt from an email I just received from them:
…it is now a requirement on HubPages to have at least 50 words for each eBay or Amazon product you feature in a Hub, and it is no longer permissible to place RSS, Link, News, Amazon, or eBay capsules as the first full-width capsule in a Hub.
We have also changed our policy regarding duplicated content. While we used to allow Hubbers to have some duplicated content (e.g. to publish their off-site writing and blog posts to HubPages as well) so long as they did not link back to the original source, we have now simplified the rules so that no duplicated content is allowed on HubPages, period.
No big surprise about the duplicate content thing. It is a big no-no from Google’s point of view and really anyone who was going to the trouble of creating a Hub Page and then copy/pasting a page of text from their own website was being pretty naive. Two reasons for that.
- Google hates duplicate content so duplicates get removed from their index pages
- If you put your website’s content on a big authority site like hubpages.com then they are going to “own” the content in the eyes of Google simply because that site has more authority than yours, meaning your site could end up taking a penalty from Google resulting in a drop for your site (or its page) in their index.
They don’t seem to have addressed another potentially big problem that may well have had a big influencing factor in getting the whole domain devalued in the Google index. That is the nature of the content that is being published on hubpages. Most topics are fair game and rightly so, but there are a few topics, particularly those branded as spammy, that Google are cracking down on. They include things like weight loss (or more particularly the acai berry and hoodia side of that subject), penis enlargement (yes, we are all fed up about hearing about it), getting your boyfriend/girlfriend back (this has reached epic proportions), certain feminine viral infections along with male virility drugs, smokeless cigarettes and of course the old chestnuts of adult topics.
There are more and to get a good idea what they are, just head over to squidoo.com and check their list of banned topics to see what they are.
That last statement may make you stop and think for a moment why Hub Pages were penalized and Squidoo were not. In 2009, Squidoo were badly penalized by Google because they were allowing so much spam to be published on their site. They reacted back then by creating a list of banned topics and systematically removing all lenses that fell under them. It took a while, in fact the best part of a year before Squidoo lenses started to rank well again in Google’s index but they did and they still do.
They don’t allow certain spammy topics that places like Hub Pages and Ezine Articles (another casualty of the recent Google crackdown). Funny, neither do eHow, who also came through the crackdown unscathed.
Anyway, I digress and these theories have already been written about elsewhere so I won’t go expanding on them too much. The point of this post is to let my 3 readers know that Hub Pages are doing something positive about their current lacklustre performance in the SERPs because of Google’s “Farmer” update as it has become known.
Whether they are doing enough remains to be seen.