Since there’s been a good bit of an uproar over “reclaiming ” lens urls of locked Squidoo lenses, I thought I’d go ahead and make a post to clear up some misconceptions about it all.
For a short background on all this (for those that are clueless about what’s been going on over at Squidoo.com) – Squidoo has been on a massive clean-up effort in attempt to get rid of what they consider ‘low quality’ web pages on their site.
When their staff finds one of these pages, they do what’s called “locking” the lens. In essence, that particular web page on the Squidoo site is taken down and is set for eventual deletion.
Once a lens is deleted, the url of that lens goes back into the “pool” of available lens urls that anyone can then make a new lens on.
Now, here’s the kicker – many, MANY, of the lens urls that are recently released back into the pool still hold a good bit of authority with Google. BUT when Google kept trying to go to it, they found a 404 type page that says the lens was taken down…..
From a SEO standpoint, a couple 404 pages, no big deal. But since October 2012, Squidoo has lost top Google rankings for something like 5 MILLION keywords.
Now, that’s not 5 million PAGES , ok? One Squidoo lens could rank for hundreds and hundreds of keyword phrase variations on its own. But all these 404 type pages combined account for a good bit of the 5 million lost Google rankings.
If *I* owned Squidoo, I would WANT people to build out these urls with great content…wouldn’t you?
What would YOU rather on YOUR site… 404 pages that eventually Google drops? OR – great new content on those urls so Google gives those rankings BACK?
That was MY thinking.
How Do I Find Those Urls?
Before I even dig into the how, let me clear something up.
The accusation and/or insinuations that I “troll” online in forums to find people who say their lenses have been locked is…. is… well, just plain WRONG.
WRONG on SO many levels – and I do NOT do that.
I also EXPECT those experienced Squidoo lensmaster to reclaim their OWN urls.
For those that have had lenses locked, why AREN’T they reclaiming their lens url if it worked great for them before?
I don’t get NOT doing that.
If I had a page on this site here – PotPieGirl.com – that suddenly lost its content and was throwing a 404 error to Google, you BET I’d rebuild that page url for so many reasons (404 pages NOT good, get my Google ranking back for that page, get my traffic to that page back, etc etc).
If you never even considered reclaiming your lens url – here’s how it works.
- your lens gets locked
- you open your lens in edit mode and take your content somewhere else (ie, another site – NOT back on Squidoo)
- you then DELETE that lens
- when you go to the lens now, it should give the ‘Go Fish’ message
- immediately make a new lens with the SAME EXACT url
- put great content on it and play by Squidoo’s new rules and republish
(if you can’t seem to reclaim it on the original account, try another account if you have one)
What About Duplicate Content?
Ugh, I hate that term…lol! But ok, here’s the thing – lens gets locked, Squidoo takes content OFF said lens, Google drops that content from their index, content put somewhere else equals new content. That’s my short answer.
Listen, you worked hard to get that lens to rank and played within the rules that were in place at the time.
Why SHOULDN’T you be able to keep that url, but put new content on it just like ANYONE who makes a new lens could also build on that url?
This isn’t “stealing” – it is protecting YOUR WORK and YOUR TIME and YOUR EFFORT to get it ranking in the first place.
Why would you even chance anyone else getting that url that YOU worked so hard on? (that is, IF you even care about that url)
Ok… all that said -
Here’s how I find these urls
I have a monthly subscription to this service.
It is a very important tool for my business online – and that is totally aside from finding Squidoo urls.
It’s not cheap, but being able to KNOW what keywords any web page or website is ranking for is a BIG DEAL.
But to keep on topic of lens urls…
Back in the day, when Squidoo locked lenses, you could easily do a Google search for a certain string of words that were found on locked lenses.
Now they do it differently, and if there IS a way to find them thru a Google search, I can’t seem to figure it out. Plus, doing it thru a Google search still wouldn’t tell me what keywords that lens url ranked for… or if it ranked at all.
So, I use my software.
I realized that if I isolated the reports it ran and used the filter options carefully, it would return lists of keywords that Squidoo used to very recently rank for in Google, but have dropped.
THEN, I have to click thru each and every lens url result on that report to see if the lens is actually live and just had a hiccup in Google when the software scanned OR if the lens is actually locked and/or available.
That takes a LONG time to do – and it’s tedious as you-know-what.
But I know, as most of us do, that there were TONS of people randomly making Squidoo lenses as a “drive by” backlink and/or extra Google ranking. If/When their lenses got locked, they aren’t coming back to fix it.
I *WANT* new – GOOD – content on those urls. I do NOT want Google finding all those 404 pages and watching the number of keywords that Squidoo has top ranking for CONTINUE to drop and drop and drop.
If a lens got locked for bad backlinks, the url should NOT be put back into the pool of available urls….. but there are TONS that just need to be reclaimed and new really good content put back on them so we can get those Google rankings BACK.
Again, if Squidoo were MY site, I would absolutely, totally want people to do this.
Yes, I Sell Lists of These Squidoo URLs
No, I’m not linking to WHERE I sell them in this post – that’s not why I am posting all this.
As I’ve mentioned, there are a ton of these urls available just waiting for someone to reclaim them and get some great stuff on it.
I’ve read people say that this technique is not “fair” or that Squidoo should protect those urls AFTER they’ve been locked.
WHY would Squidoo take those urls out of circulation?
And as for the ‘fairness’ viewpoint, why not go reclaim your OWN locked lens urls?
If you don’t want someone else to have it, and you care about the topic, reclaim it and rebuild it.
Should you just go reclaim a bunch of locked lens urls and then sit on them?
Heck NO, that is ridiculous!
For one, WHY get a url if you have no interest or need in the basic concept of the url?
Secondly, every day that the reclaimed lens url sits unpublished in WIP state on your dashboard helps nothing.
It doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help Squidoo.
Why Am I Selling These URL Lists and Not Just Giving Them Away for Free?
Two reasons -
1. I pay good money every month to be able to use that software (and before anyone even says it, NO that software is NOT… N.O.T. “blackhat” or any of that nonsense.)
2. I spend a lot of TIME doing this. I don’t know about you, but time equals money. I don’t work online for fun or as a hobby – it’s my business. If you hate me for it, so be it.
You can totally do this yourself! Just go get the software and start pouring through the results. You can use that software for ANY website or web page to see what they are ranking for AND what they lost rankings for -
including your OWN sites and web pages.
Ever wondered what keywords your web pages rank for? Not the phrases you are tracking, but all the other ones? The software will tell you (if your page/site is one they track – but they track millions and millions – and add more all the time).
Ever wonder what phrases your competition gets traffic from and ranks for? The software will tell you.
It’s awesome – not cheap, but a very valuable tool to have access to. You CAN use it for free here, but your results are limited to only 10 keywords. When you pay, you can get thousands and thousands of keywords and lots of options for the reports you generate based on the plan you have.
It’s also great when you’re stuck as to finding other related keywords for your sites/pages – you can great ideas to run through your keyword tool.
So there you have it – I’m not stealing, I’m not being “shady” or a “bottom feeder” or trying to profit off of others bad situations either.
If you want your lens url back, reclaim it.
If you don’t want it, delete it and let someone else build it out (just keep in mind dashboard money when doing this. Not 100% on the ‘rules’ about all that, but keep it in mind)
If everyone that had a lens that ranked well in Google and they cared about would reclaim that url and put new, unique, original, awesome-according-to-Squidoo content on it, Squidoo would be in a much better situation.
Yes, traffic IS dropping to the Squidoo site – but it’s because we’ve lost SO MANY keywords we used to rank for because Squidoo locked/404′d those urls – and eventually, Google will let those urls go from their index unless someone can get good content back on it.
Here are two screenshots to give you a visual of just how bad it really is – and it is NOT Google causing this to happen.
(btw, the site name has been erased out because Squidoo requested I not mention the site name on my landing page where I sell the lists.)
This is back on October 2012.
Squidoo had top Google rankings for almost 8 MILLION keywords. The graph is from inside my software and reflects the number of KEYWORDS – not traffic.
If Squidoo had to PAY for that traffic via paid Google ads, we’re talking Millions and Millions of dollars. BUT, we lensmasters gave them content so they got all those rankings for FREE.
Now, look at the number of keywords Squidoo has top ranking for as of June 2013:
Barely over TWO million!
That’s a LOT of lost Google rankings in such a short span of time.
And the monetary value of their traffic (organic vs paid) has dropped drastically as well.
Squidoo makes a chunk of their money from those that pay to advertise on their site – traffic is very important to their business (no, not if it trashes up the site, which is why I suspect they are doing all this – less ad impressions is way better than lost advertisers because site quality).
And folks, Squidoo did this. I know people are mad about it and I don’t blame them at all. Whether it’s fair or not fair, they (Squidoo) are doing what they feel is right – just as WE get to do with OUR sites (and Squidoo lenses are not OURS. The content ON them is, but we don’t own our pages there)
I had 45 or so lenses locked on one of my accounts very recently – got the ol’ “All Lenses Locked” email. I’ve been working on moving the content of the locked ones elsewhere and then reclaiming/rebuilding the ones I really care about.
(and as I go through them, I’m amazed at some of the crappy lenses I’ve had out there…I’m first to admit that all my lenses are NOT masterpieces…lol!)
If I lose a lens url and someone else gets it, that IS fair because *I* gave it up.
Ok, that’s it. Comments are open – for now. But if it gets out of hand by either bashing Squidoo or personally bashing ME, I’m closing them. This is a business topic so let’s keep it professional.