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Recipe for a Successful Squidoo Lens

Now and then I like to review what I actually do to make a successful Squidoo lens, since this has changed as I’ve learned more.

Note that this is the Lazy Lensmaster’s guide to making successful Squidoo lenses. I want to spend most of my time making content, not promoting and linkbuilding, so I craft self-sustaining, quality lenses that pull in traffic without my having to build tons of links. Combine my techniques with a lens promoter’s techniques, and you’ll blow both of us out of the water. :)

1. Have a great idea that hasn’t been done to death.

I ask myself, “Would I want to read a webpage on X?” Too many people go right to traffic tools and SEO without stopping to think whether anyone would really want to read a page like the one they intend to make.

2. Brainstorm keywords, phrases that people might search for to find my page.

I use Wordtracker and Google Adwords to figure out what related words and phrases generate a lot of traffic. At the same time, in another web browser tab…

3. I search Squidoo and the web to make sure there’s not thousands of pages with those keywords. Popularity doesn’t mean YOUR page will be popular; it means tons of competition.

I do this by Googling to see which pages use my potential keywords in their title:

  • allinurl:keyword1 keyword2
  • allintitle:keyword1 keyword2
  • allinanchor:keyword1 keyword2
  • keyword1 keyword2

Note that I search Squidoo. When Google serves up search results, its default view only shows the two most relevant pages for one domain, with a “more” link. If there are two well-optimized Squidoo lenses for my keywords, they’ll bump mine out of view.

4. Provide a lot of useful, original, exciting content.

If I’m struggling to figure out what to say, or I’m not having a lot of fun making the lens, there’s a good possibility I don’t HAVE enough to say, or people won’t have much fun reading my lens. I’ve been known to abandon ideas at this stage when it’s clear I don’t have a great lens idea.

5. Good graphics/design/visuals.

The best content in the world won’t hold visitors if they don’t have shiny things to look at. I use my Free Web Graphics: Where to Find Them lens to help me search likely sites for graphics, or make my own.

6. Provide tempting places for people to click.

Link to good, relevant, and USEFUL content. Cicks and clickthroughs are vital. They boost lensrank. They keep your reader engaged in your lens. They send your reader to other lenses (maybe yours). Attracting web traffic is great, but what do you DO with it once you get it? This is the payout.

6. Integrate keywords into page.

I use keywords when I think of them in the writing stage, but really, getting great content out is MOST important. Then go back and tweak headers, text, link text and graphics filenames to include your keywords in a subtle way.

8. Refine Squidoo tags.

Remember that the primary tag is like the label on a grocery aisle, broad enough that your lens will be cross-referenced with lots of lenses that are likely to have the same kind of audience as yours. Other tags may be more specific, but there’s no need to get REALLY specific: Squidoo tags are used to help lenses get cross-linked, so they always have to be broad enough to be shared by other lenses.

Search tags pages. Turn on your Discovery Tool and see which lenses show up in your sidebar. You may want to search tags to make sure the tags you pick tend to pull up GOOD lenses.

9. Get the word out.

Ping it with SquidUtils’ Workshop Add-on. Twitter. Tagfoot. Post in Lenses We Like. Add to Lensography (you do have a lensography?) Blog it. You may want to Stumble /Digg, but see my post on which social networking sites help SEO. Lensroll your lens, feature your lens, or add it to the Discovery Tool of your other relevant lenses. This lets your followers AND search engines know about new lens.

10. Refine.

  • Monitor traffic.
  • If a lot of people are coming to your lens searching for some particular phrase, make sure your lens has what they’re looking for near the top of the page, or make a NEW lens targeting that query and cross-linke the lenses.
  • Refine text of lens to match phrases in search queries that come up fairly often.
  • Look for new resources / videos / lenses that are related to your lens.
  • Lensroll related lenses.
  • Improve graphics/layout and readability.
  • Trim unnecessary filler text.
  • Reply to guestbook queries.

Remember, lens updates give a lensrank freshness boost. Don’t worry about getting your lens perfect before publication.

Final Tip: Don’t be afraid to publish your lens to see how it looks.  Squidoo’s not going to index it for a day; search engines usually take a day or two to find a lens, and your friends and followers are not likely to notice the new lens on your Squidoo Profile until you’ve Squidcast, Twittered, or otherwise announced the new lens. Few if any eyeballs will see a half-finished lens, as long as you really do finish it within a day or so. You can also add a Text Module with a humorous “Under Construction” note as the first module after the introduction, as long as you remember to remove it. I’d wager that very few people have seen my “Whoops! You’ve caught me with my pants down!” message with the dancing penguins animated gif!

One Comment

  1. Joan Adams says:

    Excellent advice from one of my favorite lensmasters — This is a great guide for everybody at Squidoo!

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