My Photos of Apollo Moon Landing Sites From Space lens has existed for a month, and looks to be a long-term second-tier lens with 50 visitors a week and a fair number of clicks. Those two factors will help this lens maintain its lensrank.
Here’s the steps I took to make this effective lens.
1) Find a controversial subject LOTS of people are talking about, and/or notice something in current news/buzz that people may look up.
I follow space news, and heard there were some new cool photos of moon landing sites. When I searched for them on the web, I ran into a whole pile of people claiming the moon landings are a hoax! (This would be news to my Mom’s friend Neil Armstrong.) A number of people were asking why there were no photos of moon landers from space. Aha! A question that can be answered with a Squidoo lens! Juicy debate and controversy! Perfect for getting traffic. Now, how to target it…
2) Find popular keyword searches for that topic.
First I looked at news posts, blog posts and especially the comments to see what words and phrases people were using to discuss the topic. I paid special attention to questions people were asking in comments, because when people ask questions, they often search the web for answers! I wrote these words, phrases and questions down, then checked their popularity in Google Adwords and Wordtracker to see what people were searching most often. Finally, I Googled for “allinurl: <keywords>” and “allintitle: <keywords>” to figure out which of these phrases didn’t have too much competition (other webpages optimized to target those keywods).
Remember the golden rule of SEO: find popular search phrases for which there isn’t too much competition!
3) Weave keywords into page title, URL, lens photo’s filename, links, and a few module headers — this is standard Squidoo SEO practice.
My title is actually long– ideally it should be 4-5 words long — but it’s covering several different popular search phrases.
4) Write entertaining copy that answers the exact questions people were asking.
For example, I noticed some folks asking about photos of the American flag on the moon, so I found a photo that showed it it. I noticed that some critics were complaining about the bright white spots on some of the moon lander photos, caused by major sun glare, so I found a video that illustrates exactly that.
5) Provide LOTS of clickthrough links.
Clickouts are key. Getting visitors to a webpage is step 1. Step 2 is to get them to DO something once they arrive — click links, buy products, view videos, vote in polls, etc. I included links right in the introduction that Mr. Five Second Attention Span might click on, then useful links — again related to the questions people asked on the topic — throughout. Clickthroughs boost lensrank, and are a vital part of second tier lenses!
6) Get good, free, LEGAL graphics and videos to illustrate the webpage.
NASA images are very handy: since NASA is a US government agency, most of its images are available to the general public for reuse! Check permissions on NASA pages to make sure. This means that space-related topics are a gold mine for Squidoo lenses, since there’s lots of free photos available. See my Free Web Graphics lens for other sources of free images. For ideas about new lenses, you might take the unusual step of collecting interesting images, then writing a lens on that topic!
7. Interactivity (polls, guestbook, etc).
Interactivity increases reader interest in a lens, and the clicks may boost lensrank.