- Internet & the Web
Website Quality: What Squidoo Can Teach Us About Visitor Experience
Wise Panda Says Give Me Quality Or I Give You Death!
Google's famed "Panda" update had the webmaster and SEO world in a buzz for most of 2011. With this huge change by Google behind us, and all indication that Google will continue to turn up the "quality website" heat, I thought it would be interesting to see what lessons we can learn from Squidoo.
Why Squidoo? Simple. Squidoo continues to grow at a steady rate while their competitors went flat or lost control completely and are headed for ground zero. Google is clearly rewarding some behaviors and discrediting others.
Image available under Creative Commons attribution, findicons.com.
A Hard Lesson In What Not To Do
And Why Some Business Models Need To Be Re-Examined!
What prompted me to write this lens is an incident that happened last week over at eZineArticles. After publishing Page One Ranked Squidoo Lens I crafted a similar variation of the theme to publish on eZineArticles.
Later that day I was shocked to see my article red flagged and not suitable for publishing on the eZineArticles site. Their reasoning was that promotion of eZineArticles on their own site would hurt them and therefore is not permitted.
It's The User Experience, Stupid! Don't You Get It?
There's No Faking This Measurement.
Still shaking my head over eZineArticle's response, it finally hit me. It's the user experience!
My goal here is not to discredit eZineArticles. I think they are a hard working group. However, the Google Panda has drawn a line in the sand. Above the line stands Squidoo, a rising star, and below the line there's eZineArticles in a downward spiral.
What's the difference?
Both sites have content powered by independent writers. Both sites are funded by advertising. Both sites have strict rules that members must follow. In fact there are many similarities, yet eZineArticles continues to loose ground while Squidoo is gaining.
The difference is the user experience. At every turn Squidoo makes the user experience fun and engaging. It's nothing less than surprise and delight at its finest. It's apparent that Squidoo wants people to stay, not go.
Google carefully measures the experience web searchers have when they land on a web page. When a search user abandons a page quickly, the Google Panda assumes the experience was bad. When a search user stays on a site for a few minutes or more, visits multiple pages, and interacts with the website pages, the Panda knows the experience was good.
Adding Some Squidiness To Your Own Website
Pssst... Here's a hint. Keep it fun!
Squidoo's modular publishing system reinforces that people don't really read web pages, they scan. By making web pages that consist of bold blocks with titles and subtitles, you support the way most people use websites.
If you use a publishing platform like Wordpress, you can be very Squidoo-like by using plugins for video embedding, polls, Amazon products, eBay products and more. In fact, most of the publishing features supported by Squidoo are available in one way of another, by the hosted version of Wordpress.
Squidoo Teaches Us To Be Generous
As children, most of us learned that it is better to give than it is to receive. Squidoo teaches us this golden rule all over again with its points system.
When we practice giving and generosity within the topic of our own websites, by commenting on competing blogs and publicly acknowledging other website owners, our generosity will be rewarded by other generous website owners doing the same.
Make Your Website Even Better! - Fix your website's common usability probelms!
Now that you know Google measures user experience and uses it to determine your page rank, what are you going to do about it? Let me recommend the following books by Steve Krug. They are clear, concise and straight forward.
I have recommended both of these books to hundreds of people. Look at the reviews on Amazon and make up your own mind.