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September 5, 2008
How to Use Squidoo to Drive Traffic to Your Web Site
 
I’ve been investigating Squidoo lately, especially in terms of using it as a marketing / promotional device. Squidoo is an interesting concept – sort-of a cross between an online encyclopedia and a social networking site. It works by letting users create “lenses”, which is Squidoo’s term for a web page devoted to a single topic. A user can create as many lenses as he wants, and in fact is rewarded for creating many by achieving the title of “Giant Squid.” However, the title isn’t bestowed automatically. You have to request it, and all of your lenses have to be of high quality.
 
To prevent spamming, Squidoo lenses do not automatically show up in the list of lenses or in site searches for lenses. Before that happens, it has to have strong content and it has to have traffic. So there is definitely work involved. However, Google seems to love Squidoo pages, so if you operate in a category that is very competitive in terms of search traffic, then Squidoo can give you some ammunition and a roundabout way to get your site ranked in competitive markets.
 
As you set up a Squidoo lens, there are various modules you can install on the page that perform various content functions. Examples are a YouTube module that displays videos and an eBay module that displays auction items. If you don’t take the time to configure some modules, eliminate some automatically installed modules, and add some content, then your lenses will look bad. The lenses that are created by default are often very nonsensical and will do nothing for your promotional efforts. So you have to spend some time manually setting up your lenses.
 
As I stated above, Squidoo lenses are not automatically added to the site directory or search of lenses. So after creating lenses, you must drive traffic to them. If you have a blog, that may be a good way to do that. Another advantage of using a blog to promote your lenses is that Google can follow the links to your lenses to index them. So even if your lenses are not considered good enough to show up in Squidoo searches, they can show up in Google searches (a little ironic, isn’t it?).
 
The site has a very high Google PageRank, so a link from the site to your site is quite valuable. This can easily be accomplished through the use of tags. Every lens is tagged with relevant keywords. A tags page on the site that features your tags will link back to your lens. Your lens can in turn link to your main web site. Pass the PageRank, please.
 
Squidoo was founded by Seth Godin (the “Permission Marketing” guy). One interesting and very positive aspect of the site is that a large percentage of the revenue generated by the site goes to charity. The concept of the site and the use of its revenue certainly fits in with Godin’s philosophy. Speaking of revenue, it is possible to earn revenue on the site. If you are really diligent, then the site could even turn into a full-time source of income. However, for most businesses, I think the greatest use for the site is as a promotional / SEO tool.
 
This article is merely an introduction to the possibilities in using Squidoo. My company is working furiously at developing some strategies to leverage Squidoo. The site is very new so if you get in now there is still a lot of opportunity. For example, there are many rich keywords available that have not been used to create URLs for lenses yet. Every lens set up for a specific keyword gives you the possibility of greatly improving your visibility for that keyword. So go sign up for an account, create your first lens, and see what you can do with it!
 
By the way, my company has released a brand new book available on Amazon.com or at our web site via digital download. The book, Scientific Search Engine Marketing: Strategies for Maximizing Your Pay per Click Return on Investment, will show you the strategies that Work Media uses to manage paid search for companies such as the power equipment division of Honda. To learn more, visit http://workmedia.net/scientific-search-engine-marketing/.

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Jerry Work is president of Work Media LLC, a Nashville SEO firm that specializes in orchestrating Internet marketing campaigns that blend organic search, paid search and social media. He is also the author of "Be the Magnet," a new book on using social media and content distribution to promote websites. For more info, click here.

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