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Tier Three Marathon: Results

On Dec. 4th, Timewarp asked if Tier Three lenses really mattered, since they get so little income. We discussed it in SquidU.

More recently, I made a chart of Tier Three payments and how they’ve grown:

squidoo payouts tier 3

Now we’re getting somewhere, especially if that trend continues.

Back on Dec. 4th, I reasoned that if tier 3 lenses really are worth something, then it’s worth taking 20 minutes with each lens below tier 3 and trying to make some changes that could make it a steady tier 3 lens, without any maintenance. (If it requires constant updates just to keep it in tier 3, it’s not a good return on time.)

Spending 20 minutes to half an hour apiece, overhauled 15 “dud” lenses. It’s time to check on them and learn what we can.

4-Dec 28-Jan January
Lens Lensrank Traffic Lensrank Traffic Clickouts avg LR
About Squidbits 224,041 0 223,235 0 0 152,001
Matt Holliday Song 223,022 0 144,691 2 0 124,605
Henry the Hexapus 223,021 0 65,179 3 2 84,343
Alex De Campi 223,020 0 223,237 0 0 163,249
Around the World 210,838 0 223,236 0 0 161,908
Get Rid of Ants 202,803 0 41,549 9 8 104,067
Nauplion 184,469 0 62,441 6 1 129,670
Fluffunutta Fans 180,666 1 107,151 4 2 127,130
Traveling Squid 178,986 0 222,354 0 0 138,390
Ann Brundige 161,985 0 91,317 3 4 117,695
Facing Fears 161,336 1 158,183 1 0 147,300
Travel Threads 160,519 0 115,463 6 0 129,985
I HATE COWS 158,377 0 134,711 3 0 137,784
Squidoo Widgets 91,541 1 91,541 1 0 129,447
Photo Gallery 143,910 0 107,503 2 2 68,083

As you can see, 2 of 15 made tier 3 payouts. In addition, I believe from trends that Nauplion and Ants may soon be permanent tier 3 members.

The few lenses that reached Tier 3 now have reliable clickouts + traffic of 5-6 or more. That combo is significant. Clickouts multiply, or at least add to, the lensrank-boost of traffic.

So what’s helping those lenses cling to tier 3 now, when they were duds before?

The Hexapus lens now gets some traffic through very specific image searches: I’d added images of a particular species of octopus, and it’s getting image searches for that species. People are also clicking on those images. Conclusion; I turned a static “news” page into a “here’s what you want…click it!” page.

The Ants lens now gets improved traffic through search queries targeting its topic better. I’m not sure whether my slight tweaks to image names, headers, and body text improved on-page optimization, or it just needed one backlink (my last blog post), or whether this is just the typical in-and-out Google dance, but apparently the page is now ranking in Google and other search engines, and it wasn’t before.

Take-home lesson: one quick way to boost bottom-rung lenses is to add images and label them with alt-tags.

The lenses that failed were all narrow-interest topics that few people beyond Squidoo care about.

Many were “my story” or “I have something to say about…” type lenses, which in my experience don’t do well. Whether it’s things you love or hate or are thinking about, people may find them interesting if they ever discover your thoughts, but there justĀ aren’t many peopleĀ searching for your thoughts. Traffic isn’t everything, but everything starts with traffic. (Gee, I need to bronze that quote somewhere — did I just say that?)


Professional bloggers like Seth Godin and Arianne Huffington eventually get lots of people reading what they have to say. But they didn’t get their following through search traffic. They got there by saying more clever things, and/or providing more information, than 99% of the web, and then depending on word-of-mouth. In other words, social media, the alternative to search engine optimization.

Two tools for two different kinds of content. But I think on Squidoo, or anywhere, you have a harder time getting traffic to idea-based content than person-place-or-thing content (which is easier to SEO).

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