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My Tier One Challenge Lens: FAIL! But also success

First Tier One Payout for a one-year-old lens

Soooo. My Tier One Challenge lens reached Tier One on Nov. 11, dipped DOWN to lensrank 2119 on Nov 29, and is back up to 1624 today due to an Amazon sale. That fails the challenge to keep it in tier one a month, but I don’t mind, as its average for November is 1800, early its very first tier one payout! Not bad for a lens which averaged in the 100,000+ range for all but 2 months Nov ’09 to Sep ’10.

It’s still not a tippy-top lens, but I’m noticing a few trends that we can learn from, maybe.

So let’s take a tour of Dashboard Stats. First of all:

Vital Squidoo Statistics (12/2/10)

  • #1,624 overall
  • #49 in People Note: I am sneaky! Its content also fit in How to & Education, but “People” had less competition, and Athena is a person…well, sort of. ALSO it’s a SquidQuiz. Optimization gave it a chance to get to the front page of the People category AND the SquidQuiz co-brand, both of which are “top of the hierarchy” pages which should have good pagerank.
  • Highest rank achieved: #918 overall
  • Days on the Top 100 list: 0


My Top Ten Suggestions for Squidoo Lenses

Have I not mentioned this lens on Squidbits? A while back I created a lens with Ten Great Ideas for Squidoo Lenses.

I’m not talking “write a lens on [insert celebrity name, dog breed, or specific product].”

I’m talking ten general areas you can use to combine what YOU know and love to write about with what OTHER people are searching for.

I’m talking ten methods that will generate lenses with a good chance of getting search traffic.

I’m talking ten ideas that will tend to get clickouts and/or sales, both of which boost lensrank.

I’m talking ways to create unique Squidoo lenses on topics that haven’t been done to death, so you won’t have huge competition.

I just tossed in a few edits/tweaks based on winning strategies I’ve observed among Top 100 List lenses.

Go look, if you haven’t. This is a toolbox that should help you brainstorm.

Updates to Squidoo Modules List

There have been a few recent modules added to the Squidoo module browser. They’re listed under “new” at the bottom, but haven’t been filed under any category, so the only way to find them is to click “Browse all modules” and then search for them by name. They are:

  • iTunes – earn commission, feature iTunes tracks
  • My Lenses – show your lenses filed under a certain category or topic.
  • RSS Mashup – show recent posts from several RSS or blog feeds.

Click links above to see them demonstrated on my “Secret Squidoo Modules” lens!

NOTE: All of these have NoFollow links, so “My Lenses” isn’t the best way to get link juice from a lensography. But the content is crawled/indexed/seen by search engines.

Also, did you know? The Netflix module is commission-earning too!

I’ve been adding and updating my complete list of all Squidoo modules, so you might want to stop by and browse the list or download a new, updated version.

Controversies & Hoaxes Draw Web Traffic

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…


My Purple Stars and Other Squidoo Awards

Wow! Where are these purple stars coming from! This is a HUGE huge huge thank you to everyone who has nominated my lenses for purple stars, Lens of the Day, and other Squidoo awards.

I also feel like bragging, although I am actually a little surprised at one of the purple stars I just found in my inbox. It’s not my best lens. I suppose it’s unique content, though!

So here are all my Purple Stars and other Squidoo awards, plus a few personal benchmarks for which I am proud.


SquidQuiz — A Great Way to Build Relevant Backlinks

SquidQuiz is a fun, quick kind of Squidoo lens. Create a trivia quiz on a topic you love, add a Featured Lenses module to your other quizzes, and you only need one more content module to get the lens featured. For those of us who tend to make long, involved lenses on topics, this is a great way to force us to be brief.


But WAIT! Back up. See what I said back there? Add a Featured Lenses module to your other quizzes. Or any sort of links to your lenses on related topics!

I think this could be very powerful for SEO. I didn’t figure out the system until lens #3, but I soon realized there’s an SEO trick staring us in the face.


Using Squidoo’s Traffic Stats to Tweak SEO

Last time I talked about Squidoo Tags functioning as meta keywords. We know that meta keywords don’t boost SEO much, because most search engines, apart from Yahoo, don’t give them any more weight than any other link text on your lens.

So when you check your traffic stats tab on a lens, what good does it do to see which search phrases people used to get there? Newbie lensmasters often think they should add them as tags, but in fact, that may not be helpful.

Instead, I recommend using that data to apply SEO techniques manually. In this post, I’ll walk you through an example to show you how.


The “Antwerp Sound of Music” viral video and SEO

I  just made a new lens on a popular funny YouTube video, the “Antwerp Train Station Sound of Music” prank.

If you haven’t seen the video, you need to– it’ll make you smile. VERY effective. So far it’s gotten nearly 13 million hits, and that’s not counting all the duplicate copies floating around on YouTube plus a few million more on various European YouTube sites.

It’s a great case study in “linkbait,” content that’s so good people start linking to it. (Also known as “viral,” since linkbait this good can spread by word-of-mouth to millions of web users within days, even hours).

It also illustrates an SEO blunder.


My Squidoo Successes

A lot of Squidoo members post in SquidU when they reach various milestones. I’m too shy do that, although I’m not too shy to plug a lens when it answers a question somebody’s asked!

However, for a week or so now, I’ve hit a new threshold that I want to toot my horn about:

18-20 lenses in the top tier, every day, and
Four lenses in the Top 100.

That’s out of about 80 lenses.

I want to thank Squid Angels profusely. You’re not the only reason my lenses are doing well (I hope!), but I know that the current batch of Squid Angels has been very, very actve. I’ve seen a lot of you stopping by some of my successful lenses and showering pixie dust — openly or (I suspect) covertly. Thank you so much.

Finally, my Jackie Robinson lens, which has spent two years wandering around in the 20,000-50,000 lensrank range before my recent efforts got it into the 1000-2000 range, is now rank six.

I feel guilty about submitting it for Lens of the Day. But I always thought it was one of my best lenses, and I knew from clickouts it had been submitted before. With Jackie Robinson Day coming up again this year, I couldn’t resist plugging it! Now, thanks to the LOTD nomination and recent traffic, that lens will finally be sending more than eight cents a month (or a bit more if someone buys memorabilia) to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.  Thank you again, everyone!

For far too much info on my Squidoo traffic, tiers, stats, see my Greekgeek’s Squidoo Stats lens, which is probably pretty typical for an experienced Squidoo user who’s not doing affiliate marketing.