Squidoo Policy Changes

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Will Squidoo’s New Policies Effect YOUR Lenses?

Squidoo recently announced site-wide policy changes that will be put into effect in mid-July. These changes sure have cause a good bit of uproar and discussion among the internet marketing community so I figured it was important that I come out of my vacation for a bit to gather some facts, bust some rumors, and basically share my two cents. Let’s talk about the newly announced Squidoo policy changes, see whether they will effect YOUR lenses, and talk about things we can do to protect our content now.

Squidoo and You – What Will Happen To Your Lenses?

I’ve talked openly about my thoughts with other Wealthy Affiliate members, but haven’t spoken publicly here on my blog until now. First off, Wealthy Affiliate is private – my blog is not private. It is all too easy to stick my foot in my mouth without having all the facts and I was not about to risk doing that here on PotPieGirl.com. In Wealthy Affiliate, they will forgive me if I have to take something back as I am trying to interpret these policy changes.  I don’t know if the rest of the world would be as forgiving if I screw something up.

There is no real graceful way to remove your foot from your mouth online…lol!

The first thing I want to say about the impending policy changes on Squidoo is that I support them 100%. Now, please hear me clearly – I am not happy about others losing content they have worked hard on, but I AM in favor of Squidoo taking proactive steps to clean up the site.

I also do not envy the Squidoo staff even one little bit. No matter how much work you or I have to do in order to have our lenses comply with these new policies, it will be NOTHING compared to what the small Squidoo staff will have to deal with. I foresee a lot of chaos and overtime in the near future for them. They already are an over-worked staff and I can only imagine how working thru these policy changes will effect their work load until all the dust settles.

I can see policing these changes as a very big job. Squidoo HQ – Bless your hearts..and thank you for making the effort to make the Squidoo site better for all of us – even if it means MORE work for you.

Because, you see, that IS what is happening – Squidoo is being all shined up to be better than ever.

It’s Fine If You Don’t Agree With Me

I know there are many, many folks that do not agree with my view on all this – and that’s ok. I hope that those that do not agree will hear me out. I welcome all comments on this topic here as long as they are not hateful or personally attacking. I don’t play that way, and won’t allow it here on PotPieGirl.com (that’s MY policy)

The most important thing of all is that there is NO reason to panic over these policy changes. There is very little that is MAJOR and Squidoo has given us all plenty of time to correct our lenses that may be effected – or to even move our lens content somewhere else if it is on a topic that Squidoo no longer allows.

In case you have not read the official policy change lens from Megan Casey (Editor-in-Chief at Squidoo) please take a moment to do so now. That way, we are all on the same page about these changes.  The lens will open in a new tab/window so you can follow along here if you’d like.

Squidoo Policy Changes – Official Lens Announcement

It is bound to be chaotic as these changes take place.  It is bound to take even more time for a review of your content in case your lens gets locked.

Because of this, I’d like to also say this:

Help Squidoo Help YOU!

If we all take our frustrated energy and work together to clean up our own lenses to make the site better, I think we will all be better able to reap the rewards of our combined efforts.

Squidoo Is No Longer Allowing Affiliate Marketing?

This is rumor #1 that is driving me crazy. No where, in anything official I have read from Squidoo does it state that affiliate marketers or affiliate links will no longer be allowed.

Who the heck started that rumor, anyway?  Never mind, I don’t want to know….lol

While Squidoo is trying to make it harder for those that create those massive “Click Here!!!” lenses that are copy/paste jobs from sales pages a little harder to create, they are not trying to end the ability to market and make money from your lenses.

How to Help Squidoo Help You –

Don’t make these kinds of crappy, copy/paste sales page lenses (yes, it’s as easy as that).  If you want to be objective about your own content, take a long look at your lens.  If you take out all the links on your lens, does it really provide useful content for the reader?

Would YOU read it?

No More X-Rated Lenses

This one is true – and I’m all for it.  No, I don’t have any business issues with this market, I just don’t think it is in Squidoo’s best interest to allow these topics on the site.

In fact, if you are thinking about making a lens that has to do with poker, pills, or porn – you might want to think twice.  Your lens will get locked and you will have wasted your time.

How To Help Squidoo Help YOU –

If you are thinking about making a lens on a topic that is not allowed on Squidoo – don’t do it.  You will seriously be wasting your time.  If you already HAVE a lens on a topic that is now not allowed on Squidoo,save your lens content and put it somewhere else online then delete your lens.  Or, make a copy of your lens and then wait to see if your lens gets locked.  Either way, if you feel your content is good, save it so you can use it somewhere else.

What About Weight Loss Lenses?

This is a tough one to interpret right now.  While it seems that the over-all topic of weight loss is still ok, what is sold and linked to ON those lenses could be a huge problem.

Did you know that as of this writing, Google has 4,260 lenses in their index about Acai?  I mean, c’mon… how many pages of the same info does one site need on that topic?

Or, how about diet pills?

Sheesh…would YOU want all that on YOUR site? I know I sure wouldn’t.

It’s these kinds of topics and products that get flooded with marketers trying to take a short cut as if Squidoo was some sort of trick that I think Squidoo is trying to get rid of.

Are there some good lenses on these topics? Well I’m sure there are, but unfortunately, the bad massively out-weighs the good – and the bad has ruined it for the good.

How To Help Squidoo Help YOU –

For now, my best advice is to just avoid the weight loss topic for a lens.  It is just not clear to me what might be ok in Squidoo’s eyes and I don’t want anyone to spend time making content that they might lose.

Only Nine Links On a Lens?

This one is partly true.  Yes, there will be a limit of nine links max on a lens as of mid-July- but that is links to the SAME DOMAIN…. NOT nine links total.

Personally, I think it should be a max of nine links to the same web page.  I can’t think of a single reason why ANY lens should have any more than nine links to the same exact web page on it.  However, I CAN see instances where more than nine links to a domain could be necessary.

My Squidoo Help Lens has a TON of links to the same domain – to PotPieGirl.com – BUT, they are all deep links to individual Squidoo help posts here on my blog.  It’s a big ol’ lens that has a ton of info on it…. and a ton of links to the same domain.

Now, because that PotPieGirl Squidoo account was awarded Giant Squid status in September of 2007, that out-bound link limit does not apply to that lens.  However, it WILL apply to my other Squidoo accounts.

How To Help Squidoo Help YOU –

Look, if you have more than nine links on one little lens and each link goes to the same exact web page, you are being overly-promotional and you know it.  I don’t care if you use domain forwarding, link masking, or any other form of link cloaking – if you click the text link and the same page loads in the readers browser more than nine times, you need to change it.

‘Nuff said

This Is Another “Squidoo Slap”!

No, it’s not.  Like many other long-time Squidoo lensmasters, we lived thru a true “slap” – and this is not it.  A “slap” is something that Google does TO Squidoo.  Google hasn’t done a thing.  Squidoo is making these policy changes on their own.

During the real “Squidoo Slap” in mid 2007, Google started hating on Squidoo since there were so many lenses that would frame in other web pages (for example, the listing in Google said the lens was about basket weaving, but when you opened the lens, the lensmaster had used an <iframe> to frame in a porn site.  This is trickery and Google wants no part of a site that does that to readers.

Squidoo did a lot to clean up after that slap and Squidoo became a really powerful site that is loved by Google as a result.  Squidoo wants to KEEP that Google love – hence the reason for these impending policy changes.

How To Help Squidoo Help YOU –

Gather your information about the Squidoo policy changes carefully.  In short, don’t believe everything you read – find out for yourself THEN make your own informed decision.  I feel strongly that those that play by the rules and stick with Squidoo thru these changes will be very pleased with the results.

My Questions About The Squidoo Policy Changes

As I’ve mulled over the official info from Squidoo and tried to interpret it the best I can, I found myself with some recurring questions.

1. WHO will be locking lenses that violate the new Squidoo policies?

I know this question might seem silly, but I am curious.  I know a lot of lenses will be locked once the lensmaster tries to re-publish, but what about the lenses that get locked via a visual review?

I’m not a conspiracy theory type of person, but let’s look at this way… If I am playing in a golf tournament, I shouldn’t be on the rules committee.  If I am in a beauty contest (cough cough), I shouldn’t be a judge, too.

2. WHO will be performing the hand-reviews?

With all the policy changes and talk of asking to have domains white-listed and alllllllll that stuff, there will be a ton more hand-review requests.  It is already stated to allow 30 days for a hand-review now.  In order for Squidoo to keep up, WHO will be doing these hand-reviews?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am so appreciative of anyone that volunteers their time to work on managing the Squidoo site.  These are an awesome group of folks that make Squidoo that much better than a lot of other sites.  But peer-review in the situation of hand-reviewing a lens, or locking a lens may not be the best idea (if that is what is going to happen).

Just like the bad marketers ruined some good topics on Squidoo for the rest of us, isn’t it possible that one “bad apple” in the volunteer hand-review team with self-serving motives could cause some bad damage?  For some folks, just having a lens locked and out of reach can be financially rough for the lensmaster.  I’d hate to risk that being done to a lensmaster on purpose.- or to even be perceived that way.

Sorry for saying it out loud, but I think it needs to be said in the spirit of transparency and good-faith.  A lot of people spend a lot of time working to put good content on the Squidoo site…

3.  If Squidoo aims to be less of a target by “not wanted” marketers, why does SquidAholic.com exist?

Sure, for the ethical lensmasters, SquidAholic is a nifty tool.  But, for the not-so-eithical marketer, it is a tool that shows which lenses are doing the best, the back links, the traffic each day, and a lot of other things that could be used for purposes that do NOT help the Squidoo site.

As much as I personally would hate to see the tool go, I know that just having Squidaholic out there for public view and analysis opens the Squidoo site up to more of the type of lenses they do not want.

4. Why isn’t there a dynamic list of new lenses on the Squidoo.com homepage?

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the Squidoo policy changes, but it is something I’ve always wanted to know.

Google finds new articles at EzineArticles.com so quickly, and I think it’s because of the homepage links to the newly published content.  Why doesn’t Squidoo do this, too?  Seems to me that this would be awesome for Google and other search engines to find new content on the site, wouldn’t it?

Anyway…. back on topic….

My Final Thoughts About The Policy Changes

Ok, they probably aren’t my FINAL thoughts since I have a funny feeling we will be talking about this more here at PotPieGirl.com.  But, let’s sum up this initial post for now.

We are all accountable for our own content.  You know a crappy lens when you see one.  Now, I don’t mean a lens that has content you don’t like or isn’t written the best, but instead, one of those lenses that screams “CLICK HERE!” at you and offers no real value to the reader on it’s own.

Don’t be that kind of marketer.

It’s a funny thing about online content that is helpful.  If you really relax and learn how to give to the reader, and learn how to get that content found, things work out A-OK.

— If you take out all the links on your lens, do YOU think that your lens still helps someone?  I’m not asking if you think it’s pretty…do you feel your content helps others?  Are you sharing with your readers….or just trying to take?

— Do YOU feel your lens content makes the Squidoo site better?  Or, are you just throwing some content on the site in hopes that it will do well because it is on a high-authority site?

— Are you checking in Google BEFORE you make a lens?  Seriously, when you think of a topic, are you going to Google any searching the already indexed lenses that are already on that topic or keyword?

Simply go to Google and type in:

site:squidoo.com your keyword/your product/your topic/etc

If there are already hundreds or thousands of lenses on that keyword or topic, don’t do it.  Trust me, you will feel like you are repeatedly beating your head against a brick wall trying to get that one lens to rank and do well for you.  Don’t make all this harder than it has to be  =)

First off, you shouldn’t be working so unbelievably hard to get your content to rank on a site that you do not own.  Secondly, it is better for you and for Squidoo if you find the openings in the long-tail keywords where there is NOT already a ton of lenses (as long as it is an ok topic on Squidoo).

Work really hard on YOUR sites where YOU make the rules.  Relying on sites you do not own comes with risks.  These site owners have no obligation to give you a head start on policy changes the way Squidoo so graciously did.

If you do NOT already have your own sites, it’s ok!  Trust me, it is MORE than ok to start out on Squidoo – it’s how *I* got started!  Free-to-use sites like Squidoo offer an amazing opportunity for ANYONE to make some money online.  When you’re new, getting some money to finally start coming IN is a huge battle – and sites like Squidoo allow you to do it for FREE.

If it wasn’t for Squidoo and my One Week Marketing Action Plan, I’m not sure I would’ve made it to where I am today…and I really like where I am today.  Oh, and just for the record, One Week Marketing does not only apply to Squidoo – it can be used on any free site where affiliate marketing is allowed (it’s just that Squidoo happens to be the most welcoming and effective site that I have found).

All this said, it all comes down to the same “rules” as when we were kids.  If you don’t like the rules in one sandbox, get your toys and move on to another sandbox – or….. make your OWN sandbox  =)

I’m going to stop rambling on this topic and allow y’all to share your own thoughts and concerns.  I really appreciate the feedback and insight here and in our thread on the Wealthy Affiliate forum…. thank you!!

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