Tag Archives: Hubpages

Does the Google Panda Update Spell the End for Duplicate Content?

Google Logo officially released on May 2010
Image via Wikipedia

Remember the Google algorithm, now nicknamed ‘Panda’ which was rolled out in March to the USA and now last month to the rest of the world? The implementation of the algorithm has caused much interest in internet marketers and some consternation in the websites it has affected but now results are beginning to come in to show how much websites have been affected by the changes.

Changes Caused by the Update

If the USA version of the change had one effect, it instantly knocked back articles by Suite101 and Hubpages. These websites have traditionally been used by internet marketers to backlink to their websites to enable them to rise in the search engine rankings. The problem was that although these websites were moderated and edited, the articles on them went back to the beginnings of the website. There needed to be some changes and both websites have implemented stricter edits and have begun to delete older and perhaps less useful articles. The change did not affect all websites however such as Ehow which also contained a lot of content.

The version rolled out to the rest of the world showed that Google had listened. Ehow lost some of its traffic, but so did UK tech websites and price comparison websites. Ebay improved their ranking as did UK newspaper websites.

Improving Search Results

The stated aim of the update was to improve the Google search and eliminate duplicate content. For years internet marketers have suggested that the best way to get quick results have been to submit the same or very similar articles to article websites such as Ezine and Technorati in order to gain back links. The articles can be submitted for free and are allowed links. Members of these websites can copy these articles for their own use and therefore spread the links over the internet. The problem is that many of these articles are simply copied, spreading duplicate copy over the web.

Using these articles allowed website owners to populate their websites quickly with copy for the price of a link and it seemed a win-win situation. The problem occurs when a user searches for information and the same article on several different websites is returned.

Say No to Duplicate Content

Duplicate content has never been a good idea. There is so much rubbish out there on the internet that it can be hard to find the right information that you are looking for. Google is going to continue to update the algorithms and try to eliminate websites that it perceives as being nothing less than spam.

The message is clear: by all means add content to your website. Regular, relevant content added to a website will help it to rise in the search rankings but make sure that it is original and useful information in order to ensure that your website is not hit by further updates.

 

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Google Panda Comes to the UK

Google Logo officially released on May 2010
Image via Wikipedia

Google has rolled out its latest algorithm worldwide. The first introduction of this code change to the search engine had some far reaching effects on websites that had previously flourished under the Google regime. Websites such as Hubpages and Suite101 were affected but they are websites with many contributors and with volume, quality can go down.

The aim of the algorithm change was to increase the amount of quality information returned when a search is conducted. However computers are not foolproof and although some websites can be spotted easily when they are simply there to spam or make money, some are less obvious and therefore are more difficult for computer robots to pick out.

The Google team monitored opinions on the original release of the change and were pleased with the initial results. They seemed to feel that it was doing the job correctly. Website owners and web marketers will be monitoring their website statistics closely to check that it does not have an adverse affect on their results. If you are checking your own website statistics, then do take into account the seasonal changes and the weather. Good weather means that people are less likely to stay indoors and be working on their computers.

The algorithm was rolled out in the USA in March. Now it is here in the rest of the world. What will be the after affects? Only time will tell.

Have you noticed any unusual changes to your website stats recently? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Top Five Blog Posts Last Month

Writing
Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Every so often, it’s helpful to run a ‘best of’ blog post particularly once you have picked up your blogging rate. Here are the top five blog posts on The Creative Writer in March in my humble opinion. Feel free to share any posts that have helped you this month.

OK, going to break my own rules here – this wasn’t strictly published in March but on 28th February, but Google Algorithm Change Rocks Content Websites was a blog post about a big change on Google. The effects of this change, known as Panda is still being assessed, but it affected some pretty big sites such as Suite101 and Hubpages, making those organisations take steps to improve the quality of their publishing. Some people are still concerned about the effects of this change, but I think it will all even out eventually and that great content is still king.

How to design a successful leaflet began life as a sample for a company, but turned into an interesting blog post. I have had a hand in designing leaflets, but as part of a committee and that can be a difficult thing to do, with everyone having their own opinion on how it should look. Some useful tips here.

Regular blogging can make a difference. I have noticed it on my own website: my stats are still steadily rising since I started making a commitment to blog three times a week. Try it and it could work for you.

Writing compelling copy offers an insight into the copywriter’s mind which is a dark and murky place… just kidding! Actually this suggests an idea that might help your company write copy that can help convert visitors into customers. Try it and let me know how you get on.

Form alliances with your fellow freelances is a great suggestion which can lead to more work for both of you. Find people that you can work with and get alongside them to the benefit of you both.

So these are some of my better blog posts this month that I think contained real value to the people reading them. Let me know what you think and please ask any questions that you would like to know the answer to.

 

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Starting out as a Copywriter

Photo on Flickr by itselea

It seems such an easy job that the world and his wife could do it with one hand tied behind their back (not their writing hand, obviously) – copywriting!

How can you become a copywriter? If you have always wanted to have a go, then here are some of the steps that have got me here today.

Read. Yes, I know you want to write, but every good writer is also a reader. Find out all you can on the subject and keep reading. There is some really great information out there and not all of it is paid for. If you want to learn to write, then keep reading.

Write. Now, we’re getting to it – you have to write. What can you write about? The easiest way to start is to begin with a free blog. Pick a subject that you are reasonably knowledgeable about and set up a blog through Blogger or WordPress. If it is just for you, then it doesn’t matter too much about a domain name, but if you want to make money with it later, then you will have to buy a relevant domain name at some point. These free blogs offer some great themes which you can customise to your own design. You can use them to upload photos and videos too.

Bookmark some websites that you think are really helpful and keep going back to them. There are places that you can publish for free like Suite101 and Hubpages. These can be useful to form the basis of an online portfolio. A portfolio is a body of work that you can show a potential employer, and it is important to build up clips or articles so that you can prove that you can write. Don’t expect to make a lot of money with these two websites but they are great for teaching you the basics of Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

You might like to read some writing magazines. These are really helpful with lots of ideas for how to get started in writing. One of the first ways they suggest is by writing a readers’ letter to those very magazines! Look for those that are available in your country. Some are available online.

The best way to get confident in your writing is to join a local writing class. Some are run from libraries, and some from colleges, but they are a great way to meet other writers and get some feedback on your writing. Your tutor will provide you with subjects to write on and if it is a general class, you will get to try out lots of different writing. Find out what kinds of writing you really enjoy and pursue it.

As your confidence grows, so might your wish to earn some money from this new-found skill. You can find job boards, search Google for jobs or approach potential employers directly. This all depends on the kind of writing that you want to be doing. Always be comfortable with the rate you are being paid – don’t accept work for free. You can try reviews for your local press or write letters to your favourite magazines. Start small, keep going and keep learning.

Photo Link: Photo on Flickr by itselea

 

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Google Algorithm Change Rocks Content Websites

Image via CrunchBase

Last week, the biggest search engine on the internet at the moment announced a change to the algorithm it uses to rank articles when responding to search criteria. The change was meant to help to weed out duplicate and low ranking articles on content websites, sometimes referred to as ‘content farms’. The idea is that more relevant content will be brought to the top of a search listing which should help to reward more useful articles and blogs.

This caused speculation as to which of the content websites are being targeted in this way. Suite101 and Hubpages, which are both revenue-share models, are two websites which have seen some of their articles fall from grace, although whether this is due to the implementation of the algorithm, who can tell? On the other hand, Ehow articles seem to have benefitted from the changes.

Demand Media owns Ehow and is considered by some commentators to be a content farm although it pays for articles upfront. The company has responded that it is not being singled out for this treatment and that of the articles it has, some are benefitting while others are suffering. The company suggests that it will pay more heed to what consumers want in the future.

In the early days of internet marketing, web marketers threw up websites with a little content and a lot of adverts. These websites were of little informational value; they were unashamedly there to encourage visitors to click on the ads and no more. Now consumers demand more of their websites: they use the internet regularly for information and expect the results returned by their searches to be of good quality and useful. The search engine could argue that it is responding to consumer demand and trying to crack down on low quality websites.

I think that this will even out in time. The results will show an initial dip and the companies affected will have to take steps to protect their page rankings and ensure that the content that they produce is of a good enough quality to count as useful information. However, Google has a symbiotic relationship with these websites. They use its adverts as part of their revenue share model and to destroy them completely would not be in the search engine’s best interests. It is therefore probably more likely to be a warning shot to the companies to encourage the production of well-written information rather than lazy, badly constructed content. This can only improve the internet for everyone concerned.

For more reading, check out this article.

 

 

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