LisaAuch asked a good question in SquidU on how we update lenses (which could apply to any kind of webpage). My answer got longwinded, so I’m posting it here!
95% of the time, I confess, I assume I made a good page and don’t update much. I’ll just skim titles and images to see if anything jumps out at me that I could tweak. I’ll trim a word or two since I tend to be longwinded. Then I hit publish.
During the 5% of the time when I decide to make a significant update, it’s for one of four reasons:
- I have new content to add
- I’ve decided to improve the graphics and appearance,
- I’ve decided to improve the on-page optimization to increase traffic, or
- I want to add things people are more likely to want to click on (which boosts lensrank).
With 3, it’s often because I’ve learned a new SEO method I didn’t know before. For example, using words and phrases from searches related to my main keyword, rewriting titles so that the most significant keywords are at the start, or reviewing images to make sure their filenames and alt-names are concrete words and phrases like “pictures of the statue of liberty” that people are more likely to search for (as opposed to, “liberty”).
One time consuming but powerful method is to
use traffic stats as clues on how to improve a lens
In my my Squidoo Search Optimization tutorial, I mention making search results sexy, including a Google Results Optimizer tool to help you do it.
Here’s an example. Note that this is the secondary keyword phrase it’s optimized for; it’s at spot #2 for its primary keyword phrase.
Sorry about the squinchy screencap, but it mimics what an actual user sees: they are scanning VERY QUICKLY for results, and don’t spend a lot of time reading each entry.
With secondary keyword optimization, it’s even more vital to make sure the blurb stands out from the rest. Note what I’ve got: (more…)
When I started using SEO for Squidoo lenses systematically, I latched onto Webconf’s 15 Minute SEO checklist.
It was the first recommended resource I included on my Squidoo SEO lens in ’07.
Webconfs’ SEO checklist is oversimplified, of course. It was also written 4 years ago, which is eons in web terms; most search engines will have changed and refined their algorithms since that checklist was written.
Nevertheless, looking back at that page, I still agree with most of their suggestions, even if I think some things are more or less important than they do.
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.
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.
Yep, back in the saddle. Dissertation is keeping me busy! However, I’ve hit a few modest SEO tips in the course of updating and making some new lenses.
First up: CLONE YOUR VISITOR.
This is an idea I’m trying, not yet proven, but it makes sense to me.
Situation: A series of lenses, a sequence of lenses that are all linked up, like different pages of an article.
Query: Which of them should you give the best keyword phrase to for the URL/title?
In the past, I’ve given it to the first page, the gateway lens, so to speak. But that’s linear thinking.
In SEO Blunders: Very Un-sexy Search Results, I showed off my first Stupid SEO Trick! I’d decided not to worry too much about optimizing this blog, since I don’t want to shell out the money for a second webhost and domain name (a URL is the best spot for keyword optimization after page title). However, I did at least want to optimize well enough that people searching for my blog by title would find it– all the more important since the domain name doesn’t match.
Unfortunately, I forgot one of my favorite tricks: make sure your keyword’s first appearance on your webpage is in a sentence that reads well when Google excerpts it in search results.
I took steps to correct the problem. To some extent, my corrections helped, but I still haven’t got it quite right. So here’s another quick lesson in how to shape your search engine results to make them look sexy– or at least what NOT to do.