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How To Improve Lensrank

Updated on May 14, 2013

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

Effect of updating on lensrank
Effect of updating on 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.

Traffic is just one factor in lensrank, but easily the most complex. There are so many ways to get traffic; some of them good, some of them bad - and some techniques will work like gangbusters for one lens, but not for others.

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:

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.

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?"

What do you think so far? - You've come to the end, or at least "the end for now" :)

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    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 4 years ago from Ethiopia

      A very informative and useful lens. It hasn't been updated for a while, so I do hope you return and add to it. There's a lot to take in, so I shall certainly be returning here, to follow links you recommend and learn what I can. And there's so much to learn! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      This is a great personal explanation of lensrank! I have much more experience as a blogger, but I've been getting more into Squidoo recently!

    • msparrow82 profile image

      msparrow82 5 years ago

      Thank You for the tips I really liked being able to see a snapshot of your prgress give me more insight of how it can be done

    • Lucky Robby profile image

      Lucky Robby 5 years ago

      Hey that's a cool personal story. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi wish I knew how this lens rank stuff work. One of my lens was in tier one for a few days. Thanks for the tips and info.

    • alittlebitofeve profile image

      alittlebitofeve 5 years ago

      Traffic, Traffic, and more Traffic. I don't have the lenses to show it, but I have been working on one lens day and night for months to perfect getting into tier 1. It's all about traffic, click-outs, and user interaction with the page. I get around 3,000+ views per day to just one of my lenses. Create more lenses just like that and link them all together. Be forewarned though. Squidoo does NOT count clickouts from squidoo page to squidoo page. Might wanna get a blog. Hope this helps!

    • chookyco profile image

      chookyco 5 years ago

      Wasn't aware of some of this information, thanks very much for sharing with us.

    • profile image

      sonykkid 5 years ago

      i now have one of my lenses in tier three working hard to get it to tier two wish me luck i am only a newbie lv23

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have only two lenses so far and my first lens has had a lot of ups and downs in its' ranking. Thank you for the information.

    • SFO taxi profile image

      SFO taxi 6 years ago

      interesting stuff about Lens Tiers. I had not heard that before

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Lensrank is a combination of factors which are kept as secret as the KFC's secret recipe. There is internal and external traffic, likes, comments, sales, clicks, and a bunch of other stuff that goes into it but hitting it right is perhaps a combination of a whole lot of work and a little bit of luck. Best wishes.

    • lilmuchang1 profile image

      lilmuchang1 6 years ago

      I've been having a hard time climbing in rank :(

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I think more traffic that comes from search engines is important too, not just the internal squidoo traffic. However Squidoo traffic could play important role in increasing a lens rank by other lensmasters adding your lens in their lensroll or add as featured lens which helps in building internal links and increased search engine ranking. I think Squidoo lensrank is actually based on good SEO analysis.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 6 years ago

      I totally agree that you should focus on traffic. Once you have a handle on that, in the shape of a few lenses consistently in top tier, you should focus on sales :)

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I would love someone to uncover the mystery of "Tier 1", it is so difficult to get into it. I am even struggling to keep my lenses in Tier 2. I hope, it is high time, the threshold for all tiers to get revised.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      I'm always interested in improving lensrank, many thanks for the lensrank tweaking 'blog' -:)