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In my opinion, Squidoo is an excellent platform to use to drive traffic to your blog (or blogs). Here at PotPieGirl.com, the traffic I get from Squidoo has a much lower bounce rate than other referral traffic sources. Visitors via Squidoo tend to not only spend longer on my site, but also read deeper than any of my other sources of traffic. Squidoo visitors actually spend, on average, 2 minutes longer than any other site visitors. All in all, Squidoo is an excellent way to increase the traffic to your blog!
Increase Blog Traffic with Squidoo
While I recently talked about using blogs to promote your Squidoo lenses, this post will be the opposite – using Squidoo to promote your blog. Folks, I’m here to tell you that traffic from Squidoo.com is high-quality traffic. True, there a lot of my posts here on PotPieGirl that are about Squidoo, so there is a common tie between my Squidoo traffic on my lenses and those that click through to my blog. However, I also use Squidoo to push traffic to many of my niche blogs, too – and it is still just as wonderful.
So, for all those that have heard of Squidoo, but have no clue what it is and how it works… and for all those that have blogs, and have Squidoo lenses, but don’t know the best way to tie them all together… this post is for you.
What Is Squidoo?
Squidoo.com is a web site that allows users to create a free account which allows them the access to create as many individual pages on the Squidoo site that they want. A user on Squidoo is called a ‘lensmaster‘ and a page on the Squidoo site is called a ‘lens‘.
You can compare a Squidoo lens to a camera lens in the sense that both focus in on a subject. High-quality lenses will have unique content, images, RSS feeds, and yes, even affiliate products and merchandise that all center on a single topic. Most users catch on to making these Squidoo pages fairly easily and then learn to fine tune and SEO optimize their Squidoo lenses for better performance in the search engines.
Squidoo is VERY user-friendly and has a fabulous team and community behind it. Squidoo also will pay you, the lensmaster, a little bit each month as a co-op share of the revenue earned on the entire site from AdSense and other advertisements. (If you are new to Squidoo and would like to learn how all this works, feel free to check out my Squidoo Profit System.)
How Will Squidoo Improve My Blog?
There are two wonderful ways that utilizing Squidoo in your blog promotion can really help your blog.
1) Increase your blog traffic – Every time you get another exposure point on the internet for your blog with a link to your posts or home page in it, you increase your chances at more traffic fro your blog.
2) Generate Back Links to your Blog – The Squidoo.com site is currently a PR7 and each individual lens (Squidoo page) will develop Page Rank of its own. This alone, can provide you with very valuable back links to your blog which, in turn, can greatly improve the Page Rank of your blog and your rankings in the search engines.
Aside from these two reasons, because of Squidoo’s high Page Rank, these individual pages (lenses) you create have an opportunity to rank very well in the search engines on their own. Instead of having one or two pages of your blog ranking for your key terms in the search engines, you can increase your exposure with lenses you have also made – and end up having 3-4 positions covered for a search.
Squidoo is free. Squidoo pays YOU. Squidoo is powerful. Got it?
How to Improve Your Blog Using Squidoo
Blogs have a wonderful little option attached to them called a RSS feed. On any, or all, of your lenses, you can put the RSS feed on your lens for a big boost in exposure for your blog. If, for example, your blog is about cars – you could make a lens about blue cars, and red cars, and green cars, and new cars, etc etc, and each of those pages can include an RSS feed of your blog. Not only will this help your search engine exposure for each individual ‘long tail’ keyword, you have also just greatly improved the exposure of the content of your blog to people who are LOOKING for that kind of information. As I said, QUALITY traffic.
I am also now testing adding the RSS feed for my comments here on PotPieGirl.com. If you go to the browser window while here on PotPieGirl.com and click the orange RSS button, you will see in the drop down menu an option to subscribe to the comment RSS feed for this blog. I added this RSS feed to my lens and presto-chango – the recent comments from PotPieGirl are showing on my lens.
How To Get a RSS Comment Feed Option on a WordPress Blog
Some blogs themes come with this option pre-installed, however many do not. All it takes is a simple piece of code added to your header file for WordPress blogs and you’re done. This post right here tells you how to do this.
I’ve added this comment feed to my Squidoo Help lens (feel free to take a peek). My hope is that this additional feed will generate more interest to this blog based off what my READERS say. Also, my readers gets some additional exposure for their blogs simply because I use ‘Comment Luv’ on this blog. Comment Luv will try and locate the last blog post from someone who comments here and link to that at the end of their comment. Nifty little plug in!
Now, here is the thing about RSS feeds that are found on Squidoo lenses. They do NOT create backlinks to the web pages listed in the feed. Google cannot read them. (read this post from CaptainSquid about common squidoo mistakes).
If you already have a Squidoo lens that has an RSS feed on it using the RSS module, go ahead and Google the url for your lens. Now, take a look at the ‘cached’ version of your lens. You will see in that cache Google has that the RSS feed areas all render with the little spinning wheel icon and the words “fetching rss feed… please stand by”. Apparently, these RSS feeds load after the Squidoo lens does, and Google can’t read them.
Just for fun, look at this Google search for “fetching rss feed… please stand by”. Yup, looks like quite a few web pages get indexed for this term… haha! The Squidoo “Ever” lenses are very popular for ranking for this useless term.
RSS feeds from the RSS module on Squidoo are for your humans… not for the search engines. These RSS feeds give your readers unique and updated content to look at – but Google has no idea they are there. Don’t be fooled into thinking that these type of RSS feed are providing fresh content for your Squidoo lens at regular intervals.
Using Squidoo to Build Back Links to Your Blog
Ok, so if the RSS feeds for our blogs doesn’t generate back links, how can we get good links from our lenses to our blogs?
There are four main areas that are great for generating backlinks from your Squidoo lens to your blog.
1) Your Bio Box – This is a powerful little space on your Squidoo lens – please don’t leave it that old default of “hello world, this is my bio I can edit it later” or whatever it says. That is some prime real estate on your lens. Get your links in there! Also, keep this in mind, even tho your bio area may be larger than the space shown on your lens, Google still reads the whole thing AND the first four lenses listed on your lensmaster page. Be sure to utilize that bio box!
2) Your Intro module – Yet another powerful area of the Squidoo lens. As we discussed in how to SEO optimize your Squidoo lens, the intro module is also your meta description. I believe that a well optimized link to your blog from within the first words of your lens intro is good stuff.
Text links to your blog from within any text area on your lens are good. (Don’t know how to make a HTML text link? Read this post on how to make live links.)
3) Guestbooks – These links appear to be accounted for in Yahoo as a back link to a web page. Here’s the thing about guest books on Squidoo, tho. Many lensmasters are not happy at all about ANY text links in their guest book (even those that point to another Squidoo lens) – and even more aren’t nuts about text links that link to a page OFF the Squidoo site. As far as I know, there are no official rules about genuine lens comments that include a text link, it is more of a personal preference from lensmaster to lensmaster.
My preference? I really don’t care….lol. If you take the time to interact on my Squidoo lens and leave a genuine comment – link your heart out. Remember, that is MY personal preference and I speak only for me. (Also, don’t forget that when you are trying to get Google to index your lens, be sure to NOT link to your lens on other Squidoo guest books until AFTER your lens is in the Google index. Read this post: Getting Google to find your Squidoo lens..and How to Screw it Up.)
4) Automatically Updating BackLinks to Your Blog – Yes, there IS a great way to get constantly updating links back to your blog. To do this, you will use the Google Blog Search module. This little module is either hidden away, or I am just not seeing it easily. To find it, go to “add modules” from your edit/workshop mode, then choose the alphabetical search function. Choose “G” then add a “Google Blog Search” module.
How to Use Google Blog Search for Back Links
Google DOES read these regularly updating feeds and they do count as back links to your blog. To use this function, you first need to make sure your blog in found within the Google Blog index (not the normal Google.com search). Just go here to the Google Blog Search Engine and search for your blog. If you’re in there, great! If you’re not, no problem – you just might need to wait a bit to use the Google Blog Search module on your lenses. (If your blog is NOT listed in Google’s Blog Search Engine, go here to ‘ping’ your blog and get Google in there).
Making this module work for you on your Squidoo lens can be a bit tricky. Sometimes, I have to really fool with it to get it to show what I want. Sometimes the url of your blog is enough of a search term to get this module to return what you want…. sometimes its a pain and it doesn’t work. At times, I’ll try my blog name without the www or the .com…. sometimes some exact text from my blog as the search term for this module works, too. Other times, the name you use to post on your blog could do the trick. (Hint: When making new blogs, try and pick a unique admin name that you post under… it could save you some hassle later on)
After doodling with the module’s search function and getting the results you want, be sure to set –
– Your module title (and some content, too if you want)
– How many posts to show (max 4)
– How often you want the posts to update
– Whether you want the title of each post only, or title with a little content from your blog post.
When these four areas of your Squidoo lens are optimized for your blog, you can offer some great content for your readers AND gain valuable back links in the process.
Squidoo and Blogs Go Together Like Peas n’ Carrots!
Ok, sorry for the Forrest Gump reference, but seriously, Squidoo and blogs are made for each other. The traffic I receive to this blog from the Squidoo site accounts for about 38% of my traffic. Naturally, organic traffic from the search engines is my biggest traffic source as well as all you wonderful return readers.
Also an interesting stat is that out of all the traffic that got here from Squidoo the past 2 months, over 72% of those folks were here at PotPieGirl.com for the first time! Now THAT is great exposure!
I mentioned ‘bounce rate’ earlier, but didn’t define that term. When you have a blog and install Google Analytics to get some sweet stats for your blog, one of the stats is referred to as “bounce rate”. Basically what this refers to is visitors who come to your site and only look at one page. Now, from what I can see, one visit to this blog that reads one page and leaves counts for a 100% bounce rate. However, I have some stats when one visitor looked at two pages and stayed for a total of 6 seconds… and it was only a 50% bounce rate for that visit. The lower your ‘bounce rate’ the better. You want visitors to find what they came for on your blog AND read more of your blog.
Naturally, with any blog, you will have regular readers who will come when you post something new, read that one page, and then leave. That’s the nature of blogs, so don’t obsess that much about bounce rate. I mainly look at bounce rate as it applies to new visitors from various sources. I like to know which traffic sources are sending me ‘sticky’ traffic that sticks around… and which sources send me ‘one hit wonders’. Squidoo sends ‘sticky’ visitors =)
Bottom Line on Blog Exposure With Squidoo
If you have a blog (or many blogs) get to Squidoo and make some lenses! Just think, if ONE little Squidoo lens might bring you 20 new visitors a day…. what if you made TWENTY Squidoo pages? I’m telling you – It is a win/win situation all the way around! (And it sure beats PAYING for traffic!)
Want to see what the search engines see when they crawl your lens? Try this Spider Simulator – it is very enlightening!
Want to see some real stats from a Squidoo/Niche blog experiment I did? Look at these Squidoo stats for ONE lens linking to ONE blog!