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Page One Ranked Squidoo Lens: Hurt You or Help You?
How Squidoo Can Rocket Your Business to Page One
Is search engine optimization (SEO) art, science or luck? My feeling is that there's a bit of all three involved.
If you are struggling to come to grips with how SEO works and why a select few seem to be able to turn water into wine, then this lens may give you some insight into what's going on and what you can do to get better results for your website.
What I'm going to show you in this lens is how you can do good for Squidoo and at the same time get the most Squidoo has to offer you.
Why Is SEO So Difficult?
I'm an SEO consultant. I was recently hired by a local San Diego SEO firm to help them develop new products and services for their clients. One of the things that came out in my research for them is how fast the growth of the Internet has accelerated.
Here's a FACT that every webmaster and business owner needs to come to grips with, and it's scary. More websites have been created in the past 18 months than in the first 15 years since the world-wide web was created. This growth acceleration will continue for the foreseeable future.
I recently received an email from a marketer promoting a YouTube publication tool. One of the facts that he presented in his sales letter was equally frightening. He said that for every keyword tracked by Google there are an average 4.3-million competing web pages. That's a number that will continue to go up, as well.
What Are Google, Bing & Yahoo Doing?
Pssst... Here's a hint. It's not in our favor!
Much has been written about the famed "Panda" update that Google made to its search algorithm earlier this year. One of the chief goals of the change was to weed out low quality sites. While there was and still is a lot of complaining about this, the purpose of a search engine is very clear. They are designed to bring forward the best information available for every search. The day a search engine can't deliver on this promise is the day a new tool will be invented to do the job. If you don't believe me, just ask Yahoo! Does anyone remember the Yahoo! Directory?
One of the most significant changes that came out of the Panda update is a significant level of favoritism towards large sites, including Squidoo. You see, mega sites like Amazon, eBay, eHow and Squidoo have a vested interest in squashing spammers and elements that could ruin their reputation. That makes them more trust worthy in the eyes of the search engines. What's more, these sites are part of the Web 2.0 generation that merges content creation with social interaction. It's the social interaction that interests Google, because social interaction is the best indication of social proof. I'll get to the importance of that in just a moment.
A Quick Show Of Hands, Please! - Come on... it only takes a second.
Do you actively promote your own website(s) by placing keyword links in your lens?
Help Squidoo Help You!
We're listening, Jerry Maguire!
The result of the mega site favoritism by the search engines is that the large will keep getting bigger and stronger. So the question becomes, how do you take advantage of the situation and go along for the ride?
The answer lies in understanding what I like to call search engine currency. That's the points system used to determine page rank. Every professional SEO knows there are basically six elements to getting on page one for a specific search. Here's a review:
1. Keyword Research
2. A Website
3. On-page Optimization
4. Quality Content
Where most people fail is their emphasis on each of these important steps. Without a doubt the two most important factors are keyword research and backlinks. After all, a keyword without traffic or commercial value is worthless, and backlinks are the only tool the search engines have to asses popularity. In effect, strong keywords backed up by a volume of strong, diverse backlinks is the currency of the Internet.
So, how can Squidoo help us achieve this goal? It's simple, really. Take advantage of Squidoo's preferential treatment by putting as much or more energy into backlinking your lenses as you do your own website pages.
What's Good For Squidoo Is Good For You!
Or, How I Got My First Lens To PR4 Page Rank In 20 Days!
I'm brand new to Squidoo. I started my first lens just 21 days ago. I've been back every day since, too. I love this place.
My purpose in creating my account was two-fold. First, I needed to prove a point to my client about Web 2.0 properties and second I'm starting a new hobby website for myself (have you figured out it's about cars yet?) and want to get my promotion machine going.
Twenty days after publishing my first lens the page has a PR4 page rank. That's right... PR4! And, guess what, there are plenty of lenses with a PR5. If you were to ask me, I'd say that's a sweet-smelling opportunity.
Okay, so how did I do it? It was simple, really. I back-linked the heck out of my lens with more articles on the same topic. Then I pinged those article pages to make sure the spiders found them. Then I bookmarked my lens all over the place using my OnlyWire account. Then I asked a couple friends to +1 it for me on Google. Frankly, it was all too easy.
The result is a backlink to my site that's worth more than the 180 backlinks and 25 bookmarks I sent to my Squidoo lens. However, the backlinking and bookmarking do help Squidoo. They make it stronger and give it more authority. The benefit was mutual.
Is Google +1 The Secret Sauce?
Why EVERY Squidoo Lens Master Should +1 Quality Lenses!
The other day I started playing with Google +1 to try to assess the value Google places on it in terms of social proof. What I started to uncover is really interesting.
Try this experiment (you will need to be logged into your Google account and be registered to use Google +1). Go to Google and search for anything. On the search engine results page (SERP) click on the #1 result, stay on the page for 30 seconds or so, then hit your back button to return to the Google SERP. Did you see anything new? You shouldn't.
Now, click on the #2 page on the SERP, stay on the site for at least two minutes, then back out to the Google SERP again. Now what do you see? You should see an invitation to click the +1 button for the site if you like it. Interesting, don't you think?
Here's a little experiment I conducted, and I suggest you try the same. I did a search for "cuban cigars" and went to page 10 of the search results. I visited the 100th page in the SERP, wandered around for a few minutes, then accepted Google's invitation to give the page a +1. I had my sweetheart and one of my sons do the same thing and +1 the same site. Can you guess the result?
In less than four hours Google boosted the ranking for the site from position 100 to position 79. That's 21 positions for three +1's. WOW!
If you want Squidoo and your fellow Lens Masters to do well, smack that Google +1 button at the same time you leave a comment or click the Squidoo Like button. It helps Squidoo and it helps the Lens Master's page build page rank. Remember that social proof thing I was talking about up above? Expect that +1 is going to lead the way, at least in Google's eyes.
Hurt You or Help You?
Huh? What's That All About?
My lens title asks the question "Hurt You or Help You?" Here's where you need to think like a true article marketer.
Every good lens has a dual purpose. Purpose number one is to share knowledge, thoughts or things. The direct beneficiary of the lens, for the most part, is Squidoo itself. Sure, you can promote products, but that brings in trickles of revenue. Squidoo benefits because the trickle from each lens turns into streams, and those streams funnel into a raging river.
The second purpose is to casually promote your own interest. In this regard you don't want to create lenses that compete with the pages (on your own website) that you're trying to promote. That means keep the keywords you're trying to rank for out of your lens title and use it sparingly in the lens itself. I taught myself this the hard way with two of the lenses I've created so far.
The bottom line is this. Write a great lens but do so knowing that it will become a competitor for someone. Don't make it your competitor.
Squidoo is an amazing community. If you participate in the spirit of what Squidoo is all about you get to learn, contribute, meet new and interesting people, help other Lens Masters reach their goals and bring your own website up in the search rankings.
The Secret Squid Sauce is investing as much effort into a lens as you do pages on your own site. That means backlinking, bookmarking, tweeting, +1 and fan pages. All of these things come together to produce a powerhouse Squidoo Lens page that give your website massive leverage.
In my next SEO lens I will write about the right way and the wrong way to use Squidoo for backlinks. In the meantime, I recommend watching the video below from Nobel Samurai.
I'm working for a good cause... our deployed men and women in uniform. If you like this lens, please send our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines some squid love by clicking the Like, Tweet, Facebook or Google+ 1 buttons at the top of the page.