Someone made the suggestion to me to make some tutorials about Squidoo, an interesting article/webpage publishing service that many online marketers use for a bit of article marketing and backlink building. I will be publishing a series of Squidoo tutorials here, shortly. Before that, let’s take a look at some of the top-ranked lenses out there to see what we can learn about making great Squidoo lenses.
To learn about the best lenses on Squidoo, I simply took a look at all of the top ranking ones within Squidoo itself. The site has it’s own ranking system that evaluates the lenses according to how many visitors they’ve had, how frequently they are updated, how many ratings they get and probably many more factors.
I spent some time browsing the top entries in every category as well as some random, not highly ranked lenses to get a feel for what contributing factors to a high rank might be.
While I will be talking about some objectively measurable metrics in just a minute, you always have to keep one thing in mind: There are many factors that play a part in getting your lens noticed, liked and ranked highly, but above them all is the quality of your content. If your content is not compelling, interesting and generally worth reading, it doesn’t matter how much you tweak other aspects of your lens, it will simply never fly.
Having said that, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the other factors that I found the most popular Squidoo lenses have in common.
This one is quite surprising, actually. It turns out that the majority of Squidoo pages that are getting a lot of visitors, are very long. Since Squidoo is very multimedia rich, I didn’t do a word-count. Instead, I just counted how many pages I had to scroll down on my screen in order to get to the end of the page.
The shortest lens among the top ranked ones I analyzed was 5 pages long.
The longest one was a whopping 32 pages long!
The 20 top pages I analyzed had an average length of 17.5 pages.
With only very few exceptions, the most successful lenses all feature a lot of images and the occasional video. I didn’t count the images in the Amazon ads modules or the user-pics in comment-modules, only the images and videos the author inserted themselves, by hand.
On average, the lenses I analyzed have exactly one image or video per page. So when you go through them, you’re never just staring at text.
Here is how the image density (imaged per page) was distributed for the lenses I analyzed:
What this shows is is that there are some exceptions with lots of pictures and some with very few (steep bits at the beginning and end of the curve), but the majority of the lenses have around 0.8 to 1.2 images per page. So, having at least one image per page seems to be a good rule of thumb.
On Squidoo, you can include different interactive modules in your articles. From simple comment boxes to polls there are lots of possibilities to get the readers involved. I noticed that practically every successful lens contains at least one interactive element. Practically every lens I looked at had a comment section. Most of them also included a poll or some similar type of interactive module. I can imagine that these modules motivate readers to return to the lens several times, to see whether someone has replied to their comment, for example.
On average, the analyzed lenses had 1.7 interactive modules. Most of them had two.
Finally, I noticed that around one third of all the top ranked lenses are about a topic that is something of a trend. For example, you can find quite a few highly ranked lenses about twitter, the new Twilight movie, celebrities and, currently a real winner, Christmas.
This is no big surprise. Content about current and trending topics tends to do well and Squidoo is no exception.
Build That Lens!
So, there you have it. Head on over to Squidoo and build a lens. Add lots of images, make sure your readers get to have their say once or twice on the page and write about a current issue and you could potentially have a traffic-driving winner on your hands. Give it a shot!
For more instructions on how to go about building a lens, check out my upcoming video series.