What I just did to get 5% more traffic to my squidoo lenses…

That’s right, I just got my squidoo lenses about 5% more traffic within a week. The result was great at first, then traffic went back to previous levels and now it’s beyond the growth I saw at first. I think it’s fair to say it worked:

How? By optimizing my tags. I find that this is rather complicated work. I can see why fluffanutta is considering creating a payed tool to help do this.

Now, there’s no guarantee that this is what caused the sudden increase in traffic. Google if a fickle fiend and may take all that traffic away just as easily. However I did just top 15000 visits to all my squidoo lenses in the past week – and it’s coincided with me going through ALL my lenses and doing the following:

  • Getting rid of orphan tags OR putting them in a text file for use in other lenses (so they weren’t orphan tags any more).
  • Making sure only tags where a lens was on the first page of the tag results stayed in. This reduced the ‘religion and spirituality’ tag from over 70 to 45 lenses.
  • If a tag had a tag page a lens was not likely to get in, but the keyword was important to the lens, I made sure it was in the text. Or I made an alternative tag that contained that key word. For instance: I created the tag ‘spirituality quote’ as an alternative for the crowded ‘spiritual quotes’.
  • Finding tags that others in my niche were using and using it on several of my own related lenses

If that didn’t make sense – tag pages are indexed in google now. That means a link from the first page of a tag page can be a pretty powerful, and on topic, link. I think of tag pages as the new-old groups. Except no one is managing them. The same rules apply: tag pages, or the first page of the tag pages, are linked to by all the lenses that have that tag listed. This makes popular tag pages a great page to have your lens listed on.

What’s more: tag pages are interlinked. Each tag page links to tags the lenses on that page are using. Check the difference in tag clouds between first page and second page on any tag. They are usually considerable. And they all link to the first page of the tag. So the second page tags are all supporting the first page of the tags. I hope that makes any sense.

There are two rules that govern tag pages these days, though there seem to be exceptions:

  1. First lenses that have that tag as their primary tag get listed. Lowest lensrank first of course. [edit: oct. 19th, nov. 18th ’09]Seems true except for low ranking lenses. I’ve not determined the cut off point is at lensrank of 100,000: lenses of mine with a lensrank over 50.000 100000 often don’t show up on the tag page for their primary tag. In those cases it’s best to list the primary tag as an ordinary tag as well, to at least end up on ONE of the tag pages.[/edit]
  2. After that lenses get listed that have that tag on their lens. Again, lowest lensrank first.

A few times a low ranking lens had a certain tag as a primary tag, but still wasn’t listed on the first page for that tag. I’m not sure why that was. Perhaps only lenses that are rated get that privilege?

So the thing to do is: find a primary tag that is relevant to your lens, and popular. Preferably not popular as a primary tag though. Check the no. 20 lens on the tag page and check their lensrank. If it’s lower than the lensrank of your lens, go ahead and use that tag as your primary tag. If it’s higher than your lensrank, check whether they’re using it as a primary tag.

For new lenses wait a few weeks before worrying about tags. By then they will have gotten traffic, or not. However, the lensrank they have at that point is your benchmark: use it to compare with the other lenses listed for the primary tag.

For low ranking lenses the other tags should just be tags 19 or less lenses are using. But not nobody.

Last criterion: not too many tags. I’ve been trying to limit myself to having no more than 20 tags per page.

Now I hope that wasn’t too complicated… Here’s more (and easier) info on SEO for squidoo.

11 thoughts on “What I just did to get 5% more traffic to my squidoo lenses…”

  1. Hi Mulberry: under ten is not a problem, but for high ranking lenses you are losing out on some google juice. And for related lenses you’re missing out on interlinking.

  2. Coincidentally we came across this at the same time. I’m competing with a pro site that uses tag pages highly effectively and decided I needed to improve my Squidoo tag pages. Getting on to the front page of tag pages is important.

    What you’ve perhaps missed is that lenses outside the Tiers can be good at propping up tag pages so on those you want tag pages you dominate with your top lenses.

  3. Hi Phiz,

    I didn’t miss that – just didn’t mention it because it’s a) pretty obvious (and implicit in my comment to Mulberry) and b) this blogpost was already on the complicated side.

    Thanks for the addition.

  4. It amazes me how much I still have to learn about Squidoo. It took me a few reads to understand this better, and now I am revamping my Squidoo tags again for about the 4th time. As much as I have already learned, there is so much more that I can do to gain better traffic, and that is an area that I still need to work on.

    Although I understand your post, I do not understand what phiz is saying. Can you explain that?

  5. > Lakeerieartists

    1) Unfortunately it seems the improvement in traffic was TEMPORARY, so it’s certainly not worth obsessing too much over.

    2) If you have a niche you dominate, like say spirituality for me, you can dominate a tag page. That means that any lenses you have that aren’t strong enough to be on a tag page, can help strengthen those top lenses by having that tag listed anyhow.

  6. This is an excellent post Katinka, I am going to head off and tweak one of my lenses right away to see if I can make a difference to the number of visitors. I have a few ideas between what you wrote here and some tricks in another excellent lens from MrLewisSmile. Hopefully I can put these to use effectively.

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