Squidoo Heads-Up Warnings: (I will be making the video of how I use Google to find my Keywords very soon…my microphone has decided it should retire, so I’m waiting for a Yeti to arrive any day soon.)
In the meantime, I want to just address the mighty upheavals going on over at Squidoo. Over the last couple of months there have been a lot of back-room changes concerning how Squidoo would like to see Lensmasters provide content for their lenses.
I feel Squidoo has been carpeted by the Big G about low content, duplicate and spammy lenses starting to appear in the SERPS. This has set alarm bells ringing at the Squidoo HQ and, quite rightly, the team are putting out new filters left, right and center to catch these offenders and stop them ruining Squidoo’s great reputation as an informative and authoritative website.
The problem began with all these WSO’s coming out promising how easy it was to earn money with Squidoo. Many were short cuts, one I saw boasted about getting a lens done in 15 minutes! I can’t blame them for trying, after all, we all want an easy way to make money, But these type of WSO’s were lining themselves up for a mighty fall. It would only be a matter of time before Squidoo realized they were being gamed, and in the process, were gaming Google themselves! Something had to be done to stop this avalanche of poor lenses getting rich off Squidoo’s Page Rank.
Along came the filters!
But, they’ve been a bit heavy handed in their sledge-hammer approach to some of the filters…thousands of lensmasters have been hit and not only the newbies. Giants have had their lenses, and even some of their accounts, locked completely (surely a glitch). Squidoo have given lensmasters a week to repair their work, or 3 weeks for Giants.
Out of the 200+ lenses I have over several accounts, only 11 lenses were hit, and i fully deserved the zap too! They were poor, commercial lenses that reeked as catalog sales pages with only the intro having a couple of paragraphs to support the whole lens.
I’m glad they were hit because I didn’t like them, they were certainly nothing to be proud of and, indeed, were lenses that I tried to get away with gaming Squidoo! I’m surprised they got under the radar in the first place. But I wasn’t about to just delete them. I had done keyword research on them and they were getting sales…so what did I do to repair them?
Firstly, I added content to the Intro. That was easy. Secondly I deleted ALL modules relating to Amazon, such a the Spotlight Module, Search etc including the Amazon Widgets in the side-bar, If I had content in any of those, I just copied and pasted it into a new text module and included my own Amazon link to the content and photograph.
N.B. I realize this may be harder for folk who can’t get an Amazon Associates account. In this case, just use common sense and use two or three Amazon modules and add a good review alongside it…maybe 300 words or more.
Thirdly, I got rid of all the Plexo modules. Why Squidoo have these is beyond me anyway, they are just spam in my eyes. I replaced them with a Poll or Debate module. If you didn’t have any Plexo modules, adding a Poll or Debate module will help getting a green light.
Next, instead of having 20 or so products in the lens, I took just 5 of the best and put them into their own text module with a review of that product. It didn’t take long and all the lenses passed the filter first go. I simply added a ‘More Information’ button in each module. Nothing pushy, just a suggestion to the reader that there was more info if they wanted it, if they clicked the button.
I found that writing about 5 products strangely pleasing! A little research by reading the product reviews on Amazon and you get a big picture of what readers want from their potential purchase. I not only talked about the good things, but also the not-so good things. This gave me a true view of the product ‘I’ was reviewing and not just a link to the product itself.
And lastly. I cut down on the keyword density. this can be tricky when your keyword is what you’re lens is about! Just watch the titles, subtitles and anchor text. Mix these up with relevant keywords. You lens will be ranked quickly anyway, so need for over the top keyword usage.
Each review took 10 minutes, they are interesting and have my personal appraisal of the product. This helps the reader, therefore providing good content…something Squidoo wants as well as the Big G.
So, if you get the ‘Head-Up’ warning, don’t panic. Be brutal in deleting the modules mentioned above and write some good relative content. If you type the way you speak, it makes all the difference, and is much easier than having to think up what you’re going to say.
In recap to repair your lens:
1 – Write a better Intro…it’s easy!
2 – Delete ALL Amazon Modules, including sidebar widgets, (copy content and use in text module and attach your personal Amazon link with a ‘More Information’ button) You can always add them back in the future…just keep it to one or two tho’.
3 – Delete Plexo modules (I think they’re rubbish anyway!). Add Poll or Debate instead.
4 – Don’t have so many products on your lens. Pick the best 5 and write a good review on each in a separate text module using the Amazon reviews as your research. Don’t forget to use an easy tone and in your own words. It’s surprising how quickly each module will fill.
5 – Don’t overdo the Keywords…it’s difficult sometimes, but find relative words to your main keyword and use them to good effect.
You now have a perfectly good, readable, interesting, relevant lens that was once just a list of products from Amazon.
On a side note, I notice it’s the Amazon modules that trigger the filters…which is strange seeing as Squidoo earn their money from Amazon? It’s early days yet, and I think the whole filter thing was a knee-jerk reaction to Google’s warning. I’m sure overtime, Squidoo will realize there are better way to keep spammers away.
Keep this in Mind When Making a Squidoo Lens:
Just keep writing great content about things that interest you. If amazon has a product that relates to your content…that’s a bonus!