Well. it’s time for Part 3 of Improve the Search Engine Placement of a Squidoo Lens. I’ve been putting off this post because I wanted to be sure of how I wanted to explain this part of improving your search engine rankings for your lens. You see, I read…and I read A LOT. I read SEO blogs and forums and articles and SEO whitepapers…. I am even in the process of getting my SEO certification to further my education and enhance my ability to learn even more, so there is all THAT reading to do, too.
After all my reading, and all my wandering the internet, I have come to a serious conclusion about a good bit of the SEO advice you can find online…
There is a LOT of crap SEO advice out there. Actually, TOO much crap and flat out wrong advice.
People don’t stop to think before typing things onto the Web.
Fact is, folks… I do not want to be yet another person who types crap about SEO online. The learning curve to SEO can be a real booger, no doubt, but when it is compounded by bad advice, it is even harder. People don’t stop to think before they type – they don’t realize that there are many people that are new to SEO that are utterly lost and confused and will, eventually, have to UNlearn all the crap about search engine optimization that they are being fed.
The SEO Puzzle
I am fascinated by the search engines – especially Google. Why one site/page ranks higher than another…. why a page that seems irrelevant to me ranks highly in the SERPs…..why a fantastic site gets lost on page 23…. it all fascinates me. It intrigues me. I’ll even admit that for “fun”, I will type in some random keyword into a Google query and look at the top 10 sites. I will SEO analyze site #10 and then do all I can to figure out what that site/web page has to do to beat out the 9 sites above it.
I ask myself, “If this was my site or web page, what would I do to get to #1?”
Yes, I do this for fun. Am I weird? Yeah, most likely. SEO is like a puzzle to me and the thing is, there is never an exact answer or solution. The search engine result pages are dynamic, constantly changing. The competition in your chosen niche is constantly changing. People who are doing the searching are constantly changing. What you do to improve your search engine rank could do a LOT of good…or it could be counter-acted by a competing site who got on the ball, too.
When we begin to try and optimize a web page, blog post, or a Squidoo lens, we have to look at our competitors and ask ourselves – if all else remains the same (ie, no one else changes their site, Google doesn’t change, etc), what do I need to do to get to #1?
Getting Your Squidoo Lens to #1
When I posted about how to create a Squidoo Lens, I mentioned that the ‘hard work’ was done BEFORE you create a thing on Squidoo. That “hard work” was your keyword research. A Squidoo lens is like the lens on a camera – it focuses in on a subject. In the case of a Squidoo lens, it focuses in on a very specific subject. If you’re trying to get a Squidoo lens to rank #1 in the search engines for something extremely broad like “music” or “insurance”…well…. sorry, I can’t help you =)
You want to narrow your keyword research down to three specific and highly targeted keywords/key phrases to your subject that have a track record of traffic (ie, people actually search for these terms). Ideally, these three phrases will have a good bit of traffic, but very few competing sites. BUT – your research does not stop there when it comes to really good keywords to optimize for.
When It Comes to SEO – Know Thy Competition
Just picking 3 keywords that show search volume but not that many competing sites is not enough. Type your keywords/key phrases into Google… look at the Top 5….make note of them. Now, I want you to become familiar with two search options on Google: allintitle: and allinanchor: Simply checking Yahoo for the quantity of backlinks a site has is NOT ENOUGH.
Allinanchor: for Squidoo Seo
The allinanchor: query is used to show you what sites have backlinks pointing back to their site or ranking page with specific anchor text. If your keyword/keyphrase that you are optimizing for is “purple banana hats”, go to Google and type:
allinanchor:purple banana hats
This will how you which sites are actually accumulating back links to their site with the words purple, banana, and hats in the anchor text. For sites that are using that EXACT phrase, type: allinanchor:”purple banana hats” and this will show the sites that are being optimized for that exact phrase with optimized anchor text links back to their site. Make note of the Top 5.
AllInTitle: for Squidoo SEO
allintitle: is used to show you which sites are using your keyword/key phrase in the <title> tag of their lens, post, or web page (You remember how to optimize a title tag on a Squidoo lens, right?) Again, you can use ”’ to find the exact phrase.
Make note of the Top 5.
Now you have lists of the Top 5 web sites you will be competing with. You will probably find the same sites or web pages within these lists. Now, really, really, LOOK at these sites. Go ahead and check their backlinks in Yahoo…see WHERE they are getting links from and HOW they are getting links. Can you beat them? With many long-tail keywords, it is quite possible that you CAN get to the top. Maybe not #1, but perhaps #2?
Keyword Ranking for Squidoo SEO
Now, I want you to “rank” your three keywords. Which of your three keywords is going to take more work to rank higher for in the search engines? That will be keyword #1. Your #2 keyword will be for the next “hardest”, and #3 will be your “easiest”. Now, create your lens with good on-page Squidoo SEO. If your lens is already created, get back in there and make sure your Squidoo lens is optimized for your 3 keywords.
Most importantly, make a lens (or web page, or blog post) that people will WANT to link to. That will do A LOT of the link building work FOR you.
In Part 4, we will start the link building process. We want to tell the search engines that our Squidoo lens is relevant to the search terms we are optimizing for. Link popularity….relevance….because other links on the web tell the search engines so… and this boosts the importance of your page, which in turn helps the Page Rank of a Squidoo lens (or blog post, or web page). Got it? =)