This URL has 1000+ links from 6 domains.
- angelfire.com 1
- annbrundigestudio.com 20
- digg.com 1
- mythphile.com 25
- squidu.com 952
- squidutils.com 1
(Once again demonstrating the limitations of social media for SEO, since the links from StumbleUpon, Del.ici.ous. Tagfoot and others don’t show up.)
1000+ backlinks is pretty good, right? Well, yeah, assuming (a) all search engines see the same backlinks as Yahoo Site Explorer (the database SquidUtils uses), and (b) all search engines count those links as relevant. But of course, they don’t.
Checking my Swoosty SEO Tools Firefox Add-on…
(Pagerank 4, not bad, could be better…)
Links according to Google:
- 40, of which 36 are other Squidoo lenses, 4 on my Mom’s blog.
Digg doesn’t show up. That ancient Angelfire site I’ve had since the dawn of the web isn’t listed. More troublingly, my blogs started 8 months (this blog) and 2 months ago don’t count, even though Google indexes their new posts within an hour.
Note that Googling for link:http://www.squidoo.com/lensname may not does not give all the backlinks that Google considers relevant for ranking in search results. I know Google search results occasionally turn up SquidU posts, so it’s seeing those signature links. [EDIT: Fluff explains why Google’s link: search doesn’t show all the links Google knows about.]
But this test is a sobering wake-up call that using Yahoo tools to count backlinks for Google optimization purposes is like using a German dictionary to translate a French menu.
Okay, it’s no secret that I am better at on-page SEO than backlink-building. But my “Free Web Graphics” lens (and the blogs mentioning it) are less than a year old. How about…
Test #2: A More Established Lens
Ancient Greece Odyssey is a less-searched topic, but it’s been around since May 2007. It’s got pagerank 5 instead of 4, for what little that is worth.
SquidUtils backlink checker:
- This URL has 595 links from 64 domains.
That’s half the number of links, but 10 times the number of different domains.
Google link checker:
- 28 links, of which only TWO are from non-Squidoo pages, but they’re my older blogs which are relevant to the lens topic. Surprisingly, one of those links was from Livejournal, which I don’t often hear of as a good blogging platform for SEO purposes, whereas only my older WordPress blogs showed up (the ones 2 and 8 months old didn’t, though Google indexes new posts on them promptly).
Among the Squidoo pages that Google’s link: search turned up as links pointing to my lens, I notice a few things:
- Some but not all of my lenses turn up. I am stymied as to which lenses get chosen — they’re not all highly-ranked, they don’t all many backlinks, and at least one of them is old, stale, un-trafficked, and hasn’t changed much since 2007. Hm.
- Lenses with links to my lenses in Plexos did not turn up. I wonder whether Google demotes big lists o’ links.
- Lenses with regular updates tend to get listed. If you haven’t built a “Latest Ten Lenses” lens, do it now.
- The Squidoo tag page for the PRIMARY TAG was listed.
- Other Lensmaster profiles with Ancient Greece Odyssey listed FIRST under Favorites turn up. Checking Webconf’s Spider Simulator, it looks like Google may be giving extra love to the first link on a webpage after the header links.
Edited due to comments: As Fluff points out, just two examples isn’t a big enough sample size to let us draw any sweeping conclusions. And the link: search delimiter doesn’t tell us which links Google recognizes as backlinks for SEO; it just shows us “here are some pages that link to yours”.
But it does at least suggest that a good primary tag and links from other Squidoo lenses may help get your lens seen by Google. When you’re looking for places to build links to your lenses, I would start with lensrolling, featured lens modules, careful choice of the primary tag, and embedding links to your new lens in the body text of your other lenses.