Inside PotPieGirl’s Brain
I was checking the stats and rankings of a few of my Squidoo lenses tonight and found one I wanted to do some work on. As I was about to make changes I thought, “Wow, this would make an awesome search engine optimization tutorial post for my blog!”. So, I took a few extra hours (on something that would have taken me all of 5 minutes to do) to take screen shots and walk through all the steps I take to get to the actions I take to make my Squidoo lens rank better in Google. Grab a cup of coffee because you are about to take a long trip inside the brain of PotPieGirl (be afraid…be very, very afraid…lol)
I Want My Squidoo Lens to Rank Better in Google
Tonight I found a lens of mine that needed some love. It’s not a money-maker, but it ranks well, gets decent traffic so I figured let’s see what I can do with it to make it rank better, get more traffic, and maybe see if I can’t turn it into a money-maker (which probably will NOT happen now that I am about to spill everything here on my blog…sigh).
I have this lens about worm composting. I made it in February of 2008 and hadn’t touched it since April of 2008 (yes, I have not “freshened” the lens in almost 17 MONTHS).
This is why I am always all about telling my One Week Marketing followers to get their lenses out there and simmering. Once a lens ages and gains some Page Rank of it’s own, it has real power and it becomes a resource that you can leverage.
Sooooo…how has this lens been doing in all this time being left alone?
Let’s take a look at the traffic stats for the last 30 days:
Not too shabby, huh?
BUT, it can be better.
Next stop is to see how my lens is already ranking (I use a little online tool for this that I will link to – as well as other tools shown – at the end of this post)
Not too bad. I know there are more keyword phrases I can work for now that the lens is older and more established.
Upon examining this, I see that I rank #1 for how to start a worm farm, but I am about #4 for how to make a worm farm. I wonder which phrase is better… Could changing one word make a big difference in search volume?
Let’s hop on over to the Google keyword tool and see:
Well dang! Changing just one word in that phrase could mean four times more traffic if I rank #1 for it!
I’ve read in a few places that a #1 ranking in Google means that you could count on about 40% of the search traffic, but for me, it never works out that way. Seems 20% of the exact search volume is more like it for my lenses and other web pages so I stick with that number when I am “guess-timating” potential Google traffic.
In fact, 20% is about right for this lens, too. Google indicates about 480 searches per month and 20% of that would be about 96 visits per month from that keyword at #1 in Google. My actual Squidoo lens stats for the last 30 days say:
Yup, that’s about right. I rank #1 in Google for that phrase and got 98 visits in the last month for that search phrase.
Based on that, if I could increase that Google ranking for how to make a worm farm to #1, I could guess-timate that I could potentially get 20% of THAT search volume which would be about 320 visits a month. To me, this is worth looking in to! A nice boost in traffic would be sweet!
I also decided that it was time to work this lens for a bigger and more competitive keyword search phrase. It’s well-established, sits on an authority site so why not? After poking around a bit, I came up with worm composting.
8100 searches a month… Yup, that’s what I’m talking about! I’d like 20% of that search volume, too!
BUT – How Hard Will It Be To Rank?
This is the BIG question. It is cool to pick keyword phrases you’d like to rank #1 for, but how hard will it be to get there?
This is where experience comes in for internet marketers to help us identify when something is “do-able” or not…and how much work it will take to achieve that ranking. We stop looking as much at the results for a keyword phrase in quotes and look more at the sites we want to out-rank. This comes with time, experience, and some good tools.
Starting out searching Google in quotes for the phrase competition is a great way to learn and to see yourself rank a web page. If you find keyword phrases that have less than 10,000 competing web pages in quotes, odds are good that you will be able to rank your web page IF you target that one keyword phrase and learn to optimize properly.
This is not a part of your learning that you rush through. When you’re new and you try to optimize one web page for lots of keyword phrases out of the gate, odds are good that your web page will rank for nothing worth talking about…and you won’t see results…and you’ll give up.
Start at the beginning and learn to do it properly. Then, the sky is the limit!
The great thing about using Squidoo is that most of the work for on-page optimization is done for you… and the part you need to know I am about to share with you here in this case study.
Now, what I am about to show you might totally boggle your mind if you are new to all this. For some of you, it could very well be an “A-Ha” moment where you can really see how rankings happen. Now, if it boggles your mind and you don’t “get it”, that’s ok! Really, it is perfectly ok. No one is expected to ‘get it’ at first. This is what learning is for =) Just keep all this in the back of your mind and then one day you will say, “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh…. I get it!”
Google Rankings and SEO Analysis of a Web Page
So, I wanted to know how hard it would be for me to get my lens to rank #1 for how to make a worm farm. I used another tool I have to check out what it going in in the query space in Google.
Take a look at what I found out (you can click the image to see it bigger if you want to):
Highlighted in green you can see my worm farm lens. What I am looking for are opportunities to optimize my web page for this keyword phrase and do it better than those above me. Things that have a green check mean yes, that page has that – a red x means no, that page does not have that.
Now, one of the cool things about a Squidoo web page is that the Squidoo.com site is already listed in the DMoz directory and the Yahoo directory. How much this really affects ranking, no one knows for sure – but this is a factor that most SEO analysis programs will look at.
Also, there are a LOT of back links to the Squidoo.com site, so all I really need to work on are links to MY page on the Squidoo site. Remember, web pages are ranked individually in Google based on their own strength. What site the page sits on has it’s benefits tho – especially when the web page is new.
What I am seeing from this analysis is that I need my keyword phrase in my title, my H1 tag, and in my description. Then, all that is left is building links TO my lens with my target keyword phrase in the anchor text (the clickable words in a link).
My lens already has a nice Page Rank 4 – which is because I built links to my lens and have links to my lens on the Squidoo site…and let it “simmer”. Based on the Page Rank of the web pages that currently rank higher than I do, Page Rank is not a problem for me here.
Main thing I am looking at is Back Links to the web page of the ones that rank above me. Can I beat that? Without going too in-depth into back link analysis, the answer for me is yes, I can beat that.
What About My “Bigger” Keyword Phrase?
Then, I took a look at my bigger and higher volume keyword phrase that I’d like to start targeting. How tough will THIS be (especially since I don’t rank in the top 20 in Google at this time)?
Let’s take a look:
Hmmm… this one will be tougher. I did take a look at the back links for the web page that is currently #1 and there aren’t many (maybe one or two) links to the site with the anchor text of worm composting. I also noticed that a lot of links show because they have a few sidebar links on blogs. This means that every page of the blog links to the site and will show like a lot of links.
So, based on that, and on the potential rise in traffic, and based on my sheer stubbornness and my love of a challenge, I’ll give it a try.
Optimizing Your Web Page For Better Google Rankings.
We talked about what I need to do ON my lens to help with the on-page ranking factors. I need my targeted keyword phrase in the title, the H1 tag, and in the description.
Squidoo makes this VERY easy.
This is how my lens looked before I made any changes to it:
The title you give your lens is also used as the H1 tag for the lens as well as what is put in the tag for your lens.
If you right click on a lens, then choose “view source” you can see the code that Google reads.
The tag is here and is taken from the title I give my lens:
And then the title I give my lens is used again in the code as an H1 tag:
The description is taken from the first sentence or two that I add into my lens intro module:
…and just for fun, the keywords are entered into the lens code from the tags I choose:
All of this comes together to make my listing in Google:
So, a good title, a good opening sentence or two in your intro module, and some good tags can really, really, reallllllllllly help the Google ranking of your lens when it is mixed with good back links TO your lens.
My Lens After Making Changes For Google Rankings
So, I went in and changed my lens up. I got my two targeted keyword phrases in the title, in the intro module and in the tags. I also used a modified version of the keyword in an anchor text link. I think that Google puts a little more weight on words it finds as a link on a web page so I do this on my web pages.
Here is how my lens looks now with the changes:
So, wonder how that made the SEO analysis of my web page look now that I made these changes?
Take a look:
Green checks, all the way across – perfect!
After that, I leave it alone. Google will need to “read” the changes on my lens and they will need to find the new back links. It takes time for all this to happen and for it all to work together so I let it simmer and work on something else.
If this was a One Week Marketing campaign, I would print out my Mind Map and write the one keyword that each part is individually targeting and be sure to link TO that page with that keyword I wrote down for it or for that phrase with a modifier.
For example, I am now targeting worm composting, so I would make links to my lens with phrases like –
worm composting for beginners
worm composting for profit
learn about worm composting
As you can see, the phrase I am targeting is still exactly in order in all of those phrases, but I added words to it so Google doesn’t find ALL the same anchor text for ALL my links. Make sense?
People ask me all the time what is the best way to keep track of your One Week Marketing campaigns. For me, it is by simply printing out a Mind Map for each one and writing my campaign details on it. Log ins, keywords for each web page, urls… the whole thing. You can keep track of your rankings over time on the back.
With the help from the tools I used here, you can also print out some reports to keep with your Mind Map so you have everything together. When it comes time to take your One Week Marketing campaign to the next level (ie, start using more than free sites to make money online), you can simply pull out your file and know where everything is when you get ready to make a niche website.
Get Better Google Rankings For Any Web Page
There you have it – inside my little pea brain. What I’ve shown here will work with any web page – not just a Squidoo lens. Thing is, Squidoo makes it easy for this to work, but once you ‘get it’ you will be able to apply this to getting any web page to rank higher in Google.
Tools I Used
I used the Google Keyword Tool. I always switch it to show me the “exact” search volume. I feel this is more accurate that the default “broad” results.
I used this software for the SEO Analysis. This software is really cool and does lots of great stuff – and, it’s FREE. Now, the paid upgrade is awesome and enables you to do so much more, but you don’t have to pay for anything to have the basics of this multi-purpose SEO tool.
I used this tool to see what my web page ALREADY ranks for. To me, this is one of the best tools I have. Being able to enter a url of a web page I own and see all the phrases my page ranks for is so great. And, for reverse engineering a niche or a web page that is ranking higher than you, being able to enter THEIR url and see what THEY rank for is absolutely PRICELESS. Here is an example report you can look at to see all this program can show you.
If you’ve never used Squidoo or have tried, but got too confused to actually make a web page there, you can click here and get my Free Squidoo 101 Guide – I’ll walk you through it =)
If you have used Squidoo and are wanting to take your earnings to the next level, take a look at my One Week Marketing Action plan here.
Hope this info sheds some light on how you can improve the Google ranking of your Squidoo lens or web pages. Guess this post coulda been an ebook because it is SO long and SO in-depth, but hey, why not put it here on PotPieGirl.com so everyone can see it and learn from it?
Any questions? Post them here in the comments area please. I’ll be out of town this weekend, but will try and answer and moderate comments as soon as I can.
If you liked this post or found it useful, please feel free to “tweet” about it or link to it. It would be greatly appreciated!
Have a great day!
(edited to add: You can click here to read the results of this Google Ranking Case Study )