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How To Improve Lensrank
How I'm improving my lensrank - one tweak at a time!
This lens is intended to be a blog of sorts, similar in style to the lenses where the lensmaster tracks their earnings on Squidoo. I'll show you my progress over time as I polish and revamp my existing lenses to give them their best possible lensrank. And, since in theory a higher Google pagerank leads to more search engine traffic - which in turn leads to higher lensrank - I'll be working to improve the way my lenses rank outside of Squidoo as well with Search Engine Optimization.
Please note, this is a work in progress! I am by no means an expert - in fact, that's kind of my point. I've been around Squidoo for quite a while and enjoyed moderate success, but I want to take it to the next level. That said, I invite you to follow my progress on my journey to higher lensrank!
My Squidoo Dashboard Snapshot: Boy, I sure need to boost those lensranks, huh? - I have my work cut out for me boosting the lensrank on my existing Squidoo lens
Here's a quick peek at my top 20 lenses, as of May 6, 2013 (about 1:20pm). If you're an information geek like me, you'll have fun scouring this for possible trends. It's certainly my first step in figuring out what I'm doing right and what needs improvement.
You'll notice that my numbers are pretty scattered; SquidLikes in particular are all over the map. I suspect that's because some lenses naturally attract more traffic within Squidoo, which gives them a higher chance of getting likes.
My last-updated dates definitely show room for improvement; I took some time off from Squidoo, and you can really see some big gaps in lens freshness because of it. There are a few that haven't seen an update in several months or even a year - yikes!
An interesting trend to note is how much the traffic correlates to lensrank. Not perfectly, of course, but notice how much more traffic the top ranked lenses get than nearly all the rest. For some it's because they are seasonal. How many views do Christmas lenses get in May? But I'm sure others can be coaxed into attracting more traffic, and given that my most successful lenses are almost exclusively my highest trafficked lenses, increasing traffic to my lenses is the first place I'm going to start in my journey to improve my lensrank.
Update Your Lens to Improve Lensrank
Find something to add - or even something to remove - if you haven't updated your lens in months. Lens freshness is part of lensrank. As you can see from the image above, when I updated this lens after leaving it to languish for far too long it got a massive spike in lensrank. I'll need to keep at it, but it's a nice place to start.
In my experience, most traffic-building techniques fall into one of three categories:
- On-site SEO - tweaking the words I use in tags and intro modules, module titles/subtitles, bold typeface, and links to help the search engines understand what my lens is about, so they can send the people looking for that information to my lens
- off-site SEO (backlinks) - creating backlinks to my lens, using my keywords in the anchor text whenever possible
- and social media - driving traffic to my lens without using search engines; getting people on sites like Facebook or Twitter to follow a link to my lens. Even if the link to my lens is nofollow (and thus not improving my search engine ranking) if it's getting actual people to click on the link then it is building traffic.
On-site SEO: A note about keywords
It's almost impossible to improve your search engine optimization if you don't know what words to optimize for!
One very important step to improving traffic is keyword research - even on existing lenses. Fellow lensmaster _Joan_ made an interesting comment in the Guestbook that illustrates this well.
- I'm not an SEO expert, but I took a look at your top lens. As you probably know, you're #1 on Google for "steampunk hair styles", but that phrase doesn't get a whole lot of Google searches (according to Google Adwords). You might consider whether some additional search phrases like "steampunk diy" or "steampunk style" would be appropriate to add to the content of your lens.
To be perfectly honest, I'd considered that lens to be about as good as it could get. I found a niche search term, created a lens that dominates the search results for that and all the basic spelling variants, and patted myself on the back for a job well done. Sure, I keep it updated from time to time, checking that the items in the sales modules are still available and so forth, but as far as keyword research went I considered the job done.
The task of keyword research is never done. You can certainly opt to do it once and stick with your initial keywords. But if you've dominated a keyword and still don't have the lensrank you'd like, then what? It's time to re-examine and see if you can gather more ideas. There are seven billion people in the world, and seven billion ways of thinking about things. A few good sources of fresh perspectives on your own content are:
- Search terms people used to find your lens.
- Google's Keyword Tool
- The Guestbook on your lens.
Once you've generated ideas for keywords, look over your lens - polish it. Make sure every product, video, image, etc has descriptive text to accompany it. Think about how you would describe your lens to some one over the phone. Whenever appropriate, use bold, links, or titles/subtitles to emphasize the most important keywords. Don't overdo it, the human reader is ultimately who you're writing for - however, using these to help explain your lens to the search engines is what helps get those human eyes reading. Strike a balance; the best SEO is the SEO that brings visitors to the page but doesn't make the page hard to read for them. It's like cosmetics; when it's done right, no one should notice you're wearing it.
Off-site SEO: Building backlinks to your lens - A comprehensive list of backlink building sites and ideas
If you haven't tried Xomba yet, I really have to recommend it. The idea is that you write article and save links, and Xomba places Google Ads on the page and splits the profit with you. There are a few sites like this out there but this is definitely
- She Told Me
Similar to Xomba, SheToldMe presents adsense-revenue-sharing in a Digg-like format. You add links, those links get voted up or down.
- Best Reviewer
One more Adsense-sharing site - Best Reviewer. At BestReviewer you write article in a Top Ten format, called Tops. You can change the number, it canbe a Top Five list or even a Top Seven if you like - whatever works for you really. Each item on the l
Social Media - finding the people who like what you like
And telling them about your lenses - without being obnoxious!
For me, the best approach to social media traffic is to narrow in on the area of interest I lensmaster about most - art. Specifically, altered art, collage, and artist trading cards. So I've built up a following on Twitter consisting largely of like-minded crafters. I try not to just drop a link to a new lens and run... I try to stay active on Twitter, and tweet other articles I come across on Squidoo or elsewhere, join in conversations, share tips, tricks, and anecdotes about what happens when my cat gets into the glitter. The big lesson with social media: Be real, be who you are, be passionate about your subject - not just your own content - or don't bother. Internet users today have a very strong knack for weeding out anyone on a social media site who's just in it to "sell something" even if they aren't selling literally. The more you try to get people to do something, the more they resist; even if it's something they WANT to do. Be passive, be friendly - get your content out there, but make it a friendly suggestion, not an order. And never let it be your only content.
Where else am I planning to use social media? Facebook, to an extent, because a lot of my real life friends are from my ATC group, New England Artist Trading Cards. But because I mostly limit Facebook to my "real life" friends (people I know offline), I plan to keep most of that to the bulletin board in our group. I'm also planning to be more active in art and craft communities online like Craftster.org and Mixed Media Workshops. Whatever your niche, find out where people are talking about it, and join in the discussion!
I hope you found these little rambling helpful or at least interesting. I'm maintaining this lens at least as much for myself as anything else; it's one of those lenses that I initially intended to create as a document on my computer, only ever accessed by myself. And then I thought, "What the heck, may as well share it with other lensmasters - maybe they'll spot insights I miss, or point out where I am chasing my tale. If I'm really lucky, other's may learn a thing or two - wouldn't that be cool?"