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When Google updated its search algorithm a few months back, many so-called content farms saw their search ranking take a big hit. One site that feels it was unfairly targeted is now claiming that by making a few changes (some of them very minor) they were able to claw back significant search traffic. In fact, HubPages says it has gotten back to its pre-update traffic levels.
The site was negatively affected due to the presence of the typical low-cost SEO content Google was going after. But HubPages also produced a fair amount of high-quality articles. CEO Paul Edmondson searched for ways to counteract the search update, but tactics like tightening editorial standards were mostly ineffective.
HubPages hit upon the idea of breaking the site into subdomains and bounced the idea off of Google. The Google spam-killer Matt Cutts told Edmondson he should go ahead with his plan, and offered a few more tips. By breaking each author’s content into its own subdomain, the Google index was able to sort the good from the bad without penalizing the whole site.
The effect was dramatic for those authors using subdomains. HubPages is now in the process of rolling out subdomains for all its authors. The site makes about $10 million annually, and that’s after paying 60% of ad revenue to the authors. Do you think Google’s anti-spam update went too far, or maybe not far enough?