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Squidoo Categories: The Bad News & Good News

For those of you who keep up with every scrap of news in SquidU, there isn’t much new to report. But we’ve had so much information about Squidoo Categories — plus a bug that’s got everybody on tenterhooks (don’t panic, folks, it’s going to be OKAY) — that I thought I’d try to summarize the state of Squidoo Categories, er, Topics… unofficially, of course!

Ready, set, launch!

HQ announced a revamped Squidoo Topics directory on the  Squidblog and in the Announcements Forum on Dec. 29. Topics 2.0 went live on the 30th along with a temporary Bulk Recategorizer tool.

Transition Phase

The mass recategorization of thousands of lenses caused some lensrank volatility, but everyone who recategorized enjoyed a freshness boost, so at least it was across the board. Meanwhile, HQ asked for suggestions for new subtopics from the community. There were some glitches during this period with handfuls of lenses losing their subcategories, but these glitches seemed to have stopped by the time that…

Topics 2.0.1: The Next Phase

The SquidBlog announced Squidoo Topics 2.0 — the next phase on Jan 11. Many of the subtopics suggested by 8+ pages of Squidoo forum feedback were integrated into the directory. Things ran tickety-boo (™ SquidUtils) for about a week. Then… boom…

BUG: Squidoo Subtopics Go KerPlop

On the eve of Jan 19, subtopics largely disappeared. Paul started a thread on this Major Bug in SquidU. The Categories Bug includes:

  • Subtopics have disappeared from Lens Settings in the Lens Workshop
  • There are some reports of main Topics disappearing as well.
  • If you edit the subcategories in Lens Settings, then publish, they’re gone again.
  • In the Squidoo Topics Directory, most subtopics pages are missing their navigation menu of sub-subtopics.
  • All the sub-subtopic pages are still there, if you know their URL.
  • Search engines can still crawl all the “lost” pages, because I mirrored them.

Don’t Panic – The Good News

On 1/19, Ramkitten received a quick email from Gil saying our subcategories are NOT LOST; they’re just not displaying! He thought he’d get the bug fixed in a few hours. Evidently it’s taking longer — much longer. But the data has not been lost. (What do you want to bet Gil got swamped helping get the 1099 forms out last week?)

The other good news: Google has indexed ALL levels of the topics directory, even the sub-subtopics that Squidoo itself can’t see. Test it for yourself. Search Google for: “top performers” “best of” [sub-subtopic name]

(Tipi suggests adding lensmaster [yourname] to the search string to pull up subtopics pages where your lenses are featured!) And jeffryv reports that Top 100 pages for sub-subtopics are indexed, too.

So What?

  • Subcategory data has not actually been lost, according to Gil’s last message. So don’t worry, we probably won’t have to recategorize again.
  • But not all subcategory pages are showing, so I’d hold off on posting SquidAds.
  • Subcategories are going to be good for SEO and bring us more traffic, once they’re fixed. How?

I’m glad you asked that question! (Shameless plug) Read my tutorial on how to take the best advantage of Squidoo Categories to learn all about the SEO benefits of subtopics, Squidads, and how to use them wisely. Or use my linked list of Squidoo categories to browse the pages that have “vanished” from Squidoo’s own navigation links.

Hang in there.

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