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Oh No, Should I Update More Often?

Ugh. There’s a part of the Squidoo lensrank algorithm I’ve been ignoring, because it’s not what I want to be doing. From the Squidoo FAQ:

Wikipedia has a system with one entry per topic. We don’t. Instead, we encourage multiple lenses on a topic. Then, we use an automated algorithm-LensRank-to rank the lenses. We look at community ratings, lensmaster reputation, clickthrough rates, frequency of updates, inbound and outbound links, revenue generated, and lots of other factors and give the lens a number.

Fine and dandy. But I have over 200 lenses! I generally don’t update unless I’ve heard some news, discovered a product, or found some interesting tidbit to add to an existing lens. Only rarely do I go back and substantially tweak/improve lenses. A photo here, a caption there, adding a new featured lens or widget, sure, but most of my updates are cosmetic. I republish each lens every sixty days, since lenses sitting longer than that appear under the “needs to be updated” label, but beyond that, it’s ad hoc.

However, I’m beginning to suspect that republishing lenses once a week really does give a lensrank boost, especially to bottom-of-the-heap lenses. Check out this week’s lensrank on Sunday, two days after I actually did republish all my lenses:

Most of the tiers haven’t changed that much, which is good: they’re holding position through performance. However tier 4 (“dud”) shows a distinct improvement between last week and this week.

IS it worth it? Republishing every lens takes a lot of time, and updates are meaningless unless one looks at every lens and edits/improves each one. I’m sure most of those updated tier 4s are just going to earn 25 to 30 more cents as tier 3 lenses, at best. Whoopie.

I don’t want to just republish for the sake of republishing. It’s time consuming and perhaps not as valuable as making another lens. However, I may be doing it more often than every sixty days, now.

Fooey. I honestly hope the results turn out to be “it doesn’t make much difference,” but that uptick is troubling me.

And in more cheery news, my 2011 goals are on track so far. Can’t wait for the next payout.


  1. I do update all of my lenses frequently, but I only have 32 right now. I can imagine that it would be a full-time job with as many as you have. I’ve also noticed that the updates don’t hold much permanent value, unless you do it more often than once a week. Right after an update, the lensrank jumps. Within 2 or 3 days it has dropped way down again. It can be really frustrating!

    I also fear that many people just click that Publish button without making any changes at all. I don’t know if the algorithms are good enough to know that no change has been made on those, but I do wonder if some people don’t try to get away with doing that.

    It’s a complex question, isn’t it?

  2. Dee says:

    While I have a little over a third of the number of lenses you have, my aim is to get as many into the three tiers as possible, and it seems updating has some influence on that. However, I don’t feel that it is worth it for many that clearly won’t get into a tier without ALOT of work being done on them, unless I have the time to do it. Where I think updating really can be beneficial is when a lens is sitting on the border of tier 2 or 1 and constant updating could ensure it gets in there and STAYS there. Of course, updating is only one of the factors that go into lensrank, so many of the other factors would have to be working for that lens also. How important is constant updating to Google? After all, Google is the one that I want to please more than the Squidoo lensrank algorithm, and I am not totally convinced that constant updating is necessary for Google. Considering I only have one lens that gets into Tier 1, 3 or 4 in Tier 2 and around 40 – 50 in Tier 3 it is early days for me to be worrying too much about Tier payouts. When I am getting bigger numbers in the tiers 1 and 2 then updating will be a bigger priority I am sure. In the meantime, my time is better spent learning more SEO and building more lenses.

    1. Greekgeek says:

      Dee, you are very wise. Making lenses that succeed beyond Squidoo, through traffic, clicks and sales, matters more than anything one can do on Squidoo, which tends to take more manual work.

      I was actually alarmed to see how much of a lensrank jump there was from updating lenses. I’m relieved to see that after that initial bump, the benefit has been much less for subsequent updates. Moral: if you’re lensrank chasing, update once a month, but it’s not the most important thing to be worrying about.

      I’m getting in the habit of doing it while stuck on the phone or watching TV. :)

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