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tier 1 challenge

Getting a Lens to Tier One: Action Plan

Not every lens has content that can achieve Squidoo tier one. I have some lenses that aren’t going to get above tier 3, or if they do, it would take tons of social promotion, and they’d drop back down as soon as I stopped.

So when I selected a lens to submit to the Tier One Challenge, I looked carefully for one with the potential to do better. I needed a lens where I knew why it wasn’t succeeding, so I knew how to improve it.

Why it wasn’t succeeding: quiz module content is not indexed by search engines, and it had little else besides pictures, so it was getting no search traffic.

Why it might succeed: Its topic satisfies 5 separate, overlapping searches/audiences: mythology, trivia quizzes, Athena, pictures, and paganism. The topic had the potential for clickthroughs and interaction, and maybe the odd sale. Also, it’s in my primary niche. I have other lenses, blogs, a messy collection of sites and nodes I’ve scattered across the web that can be tapped for traffic and promotion.

Squidoo ratings and social promotion are great, but they are not enough to keep a lens in tier 1. A lens must be self-sustaining.

So now comes work. LOTS OF WORK. What have I done so far to improve my test lens’ chances?


Old Squidoo Lens Rises from Lensrank 100K to 10K in 7 Days

This is why SquidQuizzes need extra content.

Take a look at what happens to the lensrank of an old SquidQuiz when I supplement it with new content for search engines to pick up. A little promotion doesn’t hurt either.

Average Lensrank –  Nov ’09 to Sep ’10: 105,197

Lensrank – Oct 5 2010: 101,282

Lensrank – Oct 12 2010: 13,824

Ten months in the life of a Squidquiz:

Squidquiz Lensrank by MonthBreakdown from SquidUtils:

Date Lensrank Visits
November 2009 127,995 1
December 2009 93,938 36
January 2010 103,854 66
February 2010 121,585 47
March 2010 110,926 53
April 2010 80,809 51
May 2010 118,422 48
June 2010 89,571 35
July 2010 122,344 43
August 2010 106,551 49
September 2010 103,974 52

Lensrank Last Seven Days:

Squidquiz Lensrank By Day

Breakdown from SquidUtils:

Date Lensrank Visits
30 September 2010 104,110 0
1 October 2010 108,284 0
2 October 2010 109,855 4
3 October 2010 106,819 4
4 October 2010 103,502 6
5 October 2010 101,282 4
6 October 2010 69,496 3
7 October 2010 75,158 1
8 October 2010 80,357 3
9 October 2010 84,138 4
10 October 2010 84,121 6
11 October 2010 25,125 18

So far so good, although most of this is not sustainable since it derives from SquidLikes which wear off in a few weeks.

However, as outlined in the first post for the Tier One Challenge, I’ve been laying the foundations for longterm improvements; the Squidoo social stuff is a side effect and not what I’m targeting. I see single search traffic results from Yahoo, Google, and Ask targeting the new lens content, and a couple visits from the LJ* post I made yesterday.

Today I’m going to work on syndication of Squidcasts and RSS feeds.

I already have a syndicated PR2 Livejournal blog that’s several years old where I announce updates to Ancient Greece Odyssey, so I just announced the quizzes there, and I’ll announce it on as well, a PR3 site that’s 2.5 years old.

I’m also going to finish updating related lenses, the other Squidquizzes in the series. I did most of them last week, but there’s two still awaiting my attention. They all cross-link to each other, so they need uniform look-and-feel plus good content on all of them, which will attract traffic and drive some to the test quiz.

*(I’m both surprised and relieved that Livejournal, forerunner of MySpace and Facebook, has never registered on SEO / Social Media radar; it’s only a huge social blogging community that’s been around since the 90s! But it’s not designed in an SEO-friendly manner like modern blogging software and sites.)

The Tier One Challenge – Getting a Dud to a Stud

LindaJM has issued a Tier One Challenge:

Choose ONE lens that has never made it into Tier Two… in other words, the highest lensrank ever must be under 10000. The challenge is to do everything you can to get that lens into Tier ONE.

I was surprised and pleased to discover that it was hard to find a Tier 3  (or below) lens that had never been in Tier 2. Yes, there are a few, but I know they just don’t have tier 1 potential.

However, eventually, I found one. It is one of a set of SquidQuizzes I created a year ago while working towards Giant 100. Each of them consisted of:

  • A SquidQuiz (quiz content, created by Javascript, is not indexed by Search Engines)
  • A Text Module with an attractive ad/backlinks to my Greece Odyssey lenses.
  • A Featured Lenses module pointing to the other SquidQuizzes in the series.

Unsurprisingly, they never saw much traffic; most never even reached tier 3. Then Squidquizzes started earning points, two of the series crawled out of the depths into tier 2, and I realized I needed to make them easier or do something to give more value them to Squidoo members, as opposed to for the students I had in mind when I wrote them.

I was in the process of revamping the series when LindaJM issued the challenge. I picked one that I think has the most potential for improvement. I’m going to keep notes here on what I’m doing to improve it, and how its rank changes.

So, here’s its starting condition: