- In my last post, I got inspired to take all my dud Squidoo lenses at the bottom of the dashboard and see how many I can improve enough for them to earn a tier three payout.
I quickly rediscovered why each lens was doing so poorly. They weren’t on very popular search topics, so trying to earn visits to them is quite challenging. Many will remain duds.
Nonetheless, I have set myself this challenge, because even when I fail, I often learn something. In this case, I’m learning what one can do QUICKLY but meaningfully to update a lens, when you don’t have time to do lots of keyword research and SEO, beautiful graphics and CSS, hours of researching/improving content, or tens of minutes doing self-promotion in places that probably won’t give much (or any) longterm traffic anyway.
Once again, I’ll be slowing myself down by spending 5 minutes telling YOU what I did for 20 minutes to improve each lens. I’m trying to share tips you can adapt for your own lens updates, although, of course, part of the reason for these posts is to create some (very low-quality) backlinks.
BACK TO WORK! Next lens up is…
1. Lensrank 202,803: Getting Rid of Little Black Ants in the House
Uh oh. I applied keywords research and SEO to this, going so far to target a long-tail search phrase in the URL, about 5 seconds before I decided that long-tail SEO is dead. (It’s not, but it’s changed. See my Semantic SEO lens for how.) So I’ve got a very niche-specific sales lens that’s getting no visits and has 2 likes. And there’s Squidoo competition, so Google didn’t even INDEX it, even though I thought I had good, unique content. Probably a dud. Can anything be done?
Surprisingly, yes! Although who knows if this will help.
- Added an eco-friendly pest control blog feed in the sidebar. I’m not sure this helps, as I’m not sure clickouts to blog posts count for lensrank. I KNOW the content isn’t indexed by Google. But hey, improving lens content is always good. Also, I like adding at least one sidebar widget to each lens. Never waste an opportunity for unique content.
- Added a Google News Search module for latest news on these nasty pests, which are a known problem. This adds unique, search engine crunchy content related to my lens topic. Probably no one else has ever aggregated for that particular search term, so maybe my lens on this topic will beat out the others because of unique material found together only on this page.
- Rewrote introduction, with more call-to-action, benefits-focused language. Moved a non-essential bit of “cool to know” info into a Black Box near the bottom of the page.
- Used Google Snippet Optimizer to get the most compelling call-to-action copy I could into the lens title and first 125 characters:
Getting Rid of Little Black Ants (Argentine Ants)
Getting rid of house ants is a common problem everywhere, but especially in California. With no winters, they don’t die. Worse, our little black ants are mostly Argentine Ants, an invasive species tha…
Get Rid of Little Black Ants (Argentine Ants) – These Ant Baits Work
Living in southern California, I fight little black ants. As an eco-friendly homeowner, I won’t spray poison! But most ant baits don’t work. Finally, …
Note sneaky psychological trick: withholding the info they most want, but showing that it must come very soon on that page. I didn’t say which ant bait I used. People must click link to find out what DID work!
- Normally, I’d check the one-month traffic stats for ANY traffic to the lens, trying to figure out what’s sending traffic so I can get more. Right now, Squidoo’s tentacles are in a twist over traffic stats. Time to move on.
Pinged. Time spent: 18 minutes.
2. Lensrank 184,469 Ancient Greece Odyssey: Nauplion
o visits, 4 likes! This is that rare bird, an unfinished lens I published and never got around to finishing, although in fact it still looks more polished and has more unique content than many paying lenses out there. It’s part of my Greece travel diary series. I got bogged down on it because I have less to say about a modern (or medieval) Greek city than Ancient Greece. Right now, it’s basically an introduction, then a photo gallery of my Nauplion, Greece photos with quick blurbs/captions. I really need to FINISH it, as in, add more content to it and link it up with all the rest so it’s got some backlinks and traffic. But I can at least make it a little more finished.
- Fixed “New Guestbook” with the guestbook I use on all my Greece Odyssey Leses
- Added navigation links to other lenses in series
- Did NOT work on sidebar navigation menu, which takes time and work (Photoshop). Later.
- Time to promote it! I posted it on my Greece Odyssey Blog, Squidcasted from Greece Odyssey Part One (uh oh, more Twitter spam), and added links to it from all the other lenses in the series. I’ll have to tweak their sidebar navigation menu later, and add links from a few of my other lenses where I’ve created handsome graphic navigation menus to the Greece Odyssey series, but at least now they’re cross-linked.
- Checked /added tags.
- Rewrote intro slightly with more keyword content.
- Founded and added two good, relevant links to webpages on Nauplion…I don’t talk enough about it, but THEY do, so clickouts yay.
- Added a Google Maps module to show where the city is. This is a fun area to explore with Google Maps because of all the ruins surrounded by pretty countriside.
Pinged. Time: 31 minutes. OOPS.
3. Lensrank 180,666 TheFluffanutta Fan Page
1 visit, 22 likes.
Awww. Unsurprisingly, this has limited readership, although TheFluffanutta most certainly deserves tons of kudos! There’s no way this is going to get search traffic, and it won’t get much social traffic since I feel funny about plugging it. So it’s probably doomed to remain below tier 3. Still, what can we do here?
- RSS Widget to SquidUtils Blog in sidebar
- More visual variety: added a black blox module
- More tempting clickouts
- More call to action type language
- Added a Fluffanutta fan poll and duel for more lens interactivity
Pinged. 19 minutes. Uh oh, getting sleepy. Still a ton of lenses to go!
4. Lensrank 178,986 The Traveling Squid: A Mini-Odyssey
It’s the only Giant Squid t-shirt I’ll ever see (wah!) and it came courtesy of Julie, who’s had the Journal of the Traveling Squid wandering around multiple continents collecting signatures, memories, and notes from Squidoo members for several years. But unsurprisingly, this is not a high-traffic topic, and it’s almost reassuring to see a lens that got a purple star and lots of SquidLikes in August drop and disappear below Tier 3 almost before it was eligible for a payout (silly me, all those Likes wore off before its first month of existence, so it ddin’t get a benefit from them.) Is there anything to be done? Probably not, but let’s do SOMETHING.
- Added alt-names and/or labels to several photos I have been too lazy to name properly. Image searches = traffic source!
- Added a Google Blog Search for mentions of the Journal of the Traveling Squid. Again, crawlable search engine content.
- Added an RSS widget in the sidebar, lens updates from Julie’s Journal of the Traveling Squid lens.
- Added two videos: one Youtube video, one non-Youtube video, in hopes of getting traffic for *drumroll* traveling, Giant Squid! Not our kind. The type that lives in the ocean. But hey, it doesn’t take that much lens traffic to get a Squidoo lens to succeed.
- Added links on the Giant Squid program, plus links to a printable or at least downloadable set of 50 tips for becoming a Giant Squid… clickout bait!
Ping. Time: 21 minutes.
5. Lensrank 161,985 Ann Brundige, Author of Annie’s Resource Attic
Yet another so-specialized lens that no wonder it gets no traffic! I’m beginning to feel warm fuzzy feelings about the Squidoo lensrank algorithm for working properly, and not ranking these too high. This about my MOM and her blog, where she distributes free homeschooling resources. I created this lens as a mother’s day gift for her, a little bit of PR for her site. But Mom’s birthday is coming up, so let me brush up this lens a bit.
- Add better image alt-names
- rewrite body text slightly with more content
- RSS feed in sidebar
- affiliate link in sidebar recommending the web host we BOTH use (including this blog) — clickout juice.
- changed title to more personal: “My Mom, Ann Brundige, and Her Free K-12 Teaching Resources Blog” because this will mostly be seen by Squidoo members, who know the kinds of tutorials I write, so maybe they’ll be more interested in my Mom’s!
Pinged. Time: 14 minutes.
6. Lensrank 161,336 How Do You Face the Unthinkable
(1 visit, 40 likes …all old)
Not a very inspiring/appealling title, is it? I can’t imagine being interested enough to click on that link. No wonder it gets almost no traffic. This lens was self-therapy when I was dealing with the terrifying possibility that I might go blind. I wrote to help myself come to grips with it (or not). It’s not informational, except as a testimony to others going through difficult health crisis. It doesn’t really sell anything. It’s not a quick in-out lens. It’s not a focused, specific, noun-ish topic. But it’s one of my better-written lenses. It HAS gotten a Squidoo blessing in the last month, and that’s still not enough to keep it afloat. What to do…
- Much more informative title: “Facing My Fears: Coping with a Serious Eye Disease” and moved original title to subtitle
- More specific language in body text
- Gathered some good links on my eye disease and how it’s treated
- Amazon Spotlight in sidebar with product I use to help with this problem
Time: 30 minutes. Oops!
7. Lensrank 160,519 Travel Threads: My Patch Jacket
One of several lenses I rushed to make during the final push to become Giant. It’s not bad, it’s just content-light. This is a hub for several lenses I created on various places I visited as a child. The theme I used for them was a windbreaker I covered with patches/badges from the places I visited. This lens is just a lensography for the rest, which are usually tier 3.
- Added images with navigation links to all my Greece Odyssey lenses.
- Rewrote and tightened up the text a bit, especially the first sentence which may show up in search results.
- Added an Amazon Spotlight in the sidebar showcasing my favorite pair of binoculars, since that’s (a) related to the topic (b) may get clickouts — they’re a very good deal and (c) more text for search engines to discover.
- Then I ran out of time.
Pinged. Time: 20 minutes.
8. Lensrank: 158,377 I HATE COWS
This is a dumb and strange lens, although, surprisingly, there are at least some people searching for the topic. Not enough. This has good on-page search engine and lensranak optimization, including things like polls, funny/strange videos and creative commons images to attract clicks. It’s got a variety of media and silly links and ridiculous prose. But it just doesn’t get traffic. I’m not that good at humor. So…
- Added Amazon sidebar widget related to topic
- Added Google Blog Search for “I hate cows” and found that yes, people occasionally blog on this topic
- Added an “I Hate Cows” Zazzle design in the sidebar (bio box) and left a note on the person’s design page (nofollow; it may get a few hits)
- And I got nothin’. Dratted cows. COWS ARE EVIL.
Time: 14 minutes of cow purgatory. NEXT!
9. Lensrank: 147,895 Squidoo Modules: Widgets
Drat, another where I know why there’s not many visits. Squidoo-specific, not a very popular topic. And I can’t change it much because it’s demonstrating something specific: Squidoo widgets, which generally aren’t crawled by search engines.
- Changed title to call-to-action “Take the Squidoo Modules Tour: Widgets”
- Added some more content on how to use BlackBox, StickyModules, Most Important Thing, Talk Bubble. These are indexed by search engines, unlike most of the content on this page, which is useful.
- Did some troubleshooting and bug hunting, which slowed me down. Oops.
Ping. Time: 31 minutes.
Lensrank 143,910 Flapping Photo Gallery of DOOM
13 likes, none recent. No Visits.
This should probably have been page 2 of my Squidoo Photo Gallery Module Tutorial. In fact, since that one is at lensrank 123,718 with just one visit this week. I’m going to delete this lens and merge it with that lens. Two pages may attract just a TINY bit more traffic, though right now, obviously, they aren’t doing so.
- Merged lenses using Page Break Module for the “Flapping Photo Gallery” demo.
- copied comments over before deleting old lens. Who knows. They may get some search engine traffic, since before they were in a duel module that I don’t think is indexed by search engines (check me on that).
- Deleted dud #2 lens. Now is one single on how the Squidoo Photo Gallery works…and how it doesn’t.
Time: 30 minutes Pinged