Greekgeek's Online Odyssey - Hubpages and Online Article Writing Tips

Tier 3 challenge

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 just aren’t many people 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).

A Small Update on that Tier Three Marathon

I cut short that Tier 3 Lens Marathon abruptly because of real life ickiness hitting the fan right after I signed off. I alluded to it in a Tweet and won’t rehash, but suffice it to say I was in no mood to work on Squidoo for a few days, and when I came back, I had other things to work on.

So the question is, did 20-30 minutes of work on my bottom-dwelling lenses lift them up enough that they would at least earn pennies a month, which isn’t much but adds up long-term?

That was…let’s see, 15 lenses:

  1. moved from rank 224,041 to 97259. NO.
  2. moved from lensrank 223,022 to 115,816. NO.
  3. moved from LR 223,021 to 86,437. MAYBE.
  4. moved from LR 223,020 to 176,095. NO.
  5. moved from LR 210,838 to 113,621. NO.
  6. moved from 202,803 to 176,092. NO.
  7. moved from LR 184,469 to 96,551. NO.
  8. moved from LR 180,666 to 91,101. MAYBE.
  9. moved from LR 178,986 to 173,659. NO.
  10. moved from LR 161,985 to 115,814. NO.
  11. moved from LR 161,336 to 142,165. NO.
  12. moved from LR 160,519 to 101,840. NO.
  13. moved from LR 158,377 to 126,461. NO.
  14. moved from LR 126,461 to 90,548. MAYBE.
  15. moved from LR 123,718 to 71,414. YES – BY PAGE BREAK.

Conclusion: it’s not worth updating lenses below tier 3 hoping they’ll get to tier 3, unless you’ve really got some new material.

However, I did learn one thing! With #15, I took two related lenses that were getting tiny bits of traffic, but both were in the LR 100K range. I deleted lens B and copied its contents into a Page Break page for Lens A. That combined the amount of traffic, clicks, etc that two lenses were getting enough to create a single tier 3 lens.

NOTE: Frequent updates can continue to lift lensrank a little more each time. I know some lensmasters improve their chances by republishing all their lenses frequently. But that is time-consuming for the amount of return you’re getting. I was looking for simple ways to improve lenses so they would earn at least a few pennies AND maintain themselves.

I think it is better to sink most of one’s time onto more successful lenses. I was simply willing to try to sink a day into least-successful lenses, if it meant that long-term, they’d pay more. It looks like they don’t.

It might be worth doing this not on the bottommost lenses in your dashboard, but on the lenses that over in the 70,000-90,000 range. It’s possible that with minimal improvements,they could consistently pull in a tier 3 payment (all of a quarter).I may try that as an experiment at some point.

Tier Three Lens Marathon, Part 2

  • 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…


Tier Three Lens Update Marathon: Ready, Set, Go!

In a SquidU post, Timewarp asks if Tier Three lenses, with their piddling 20 cents a month income, are really worth it. My short answer is that (a) yes, they’re worth it, because if ten Squidoo lenses are earning you $2 a month, you’re $12 wealthier at years’ end, and (b) yes, it would be better if tier one was capped at $25 (or $20) and the excess distributed to lensrank tiers two and three.

However, that got me to thinking. If tier three lenses really are worth something — and they are to me, since my 100 tier three lenses are earning me over $200 a year — then I should kick those lenses below tier three into tier 3!

To my dismay, I discovered that out of 159 lenses in my main account, I now have OVER FORTY LENSES below Tier Three. Inconceivable! Intolerable!

Some lenses are duds. They just aren’t going to earn payouts. Our time is better spent improving our GOOD lenses, the ones that are successful, rather than wasting time on duds. But still. I look at my dashboard and see many lenses with less than 10 visitors a week, no sales, and few clickouts in tier 3. Surely I can get half of those 40 dud lenses up to tier 3 with one day of improvements. At least, I’m going to try. So here’s what I’m doing to improve each lens.