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21/06/2014

Squidoo Introduced a New Featured Lens Threshold

Squidoo is millions useful pages...
Squidoo introduced two new policies this past week. Not actually policies... Let's say that they introduced two new features to all lensmasters. Today I am going to talk through the second one as it affects all lenses and all lensmasters all at once.

What is going on right now? Starting yesterday, the number of featured lenses will be reduced to 175,000 instead of the 350,000 that were already a reduction of the previous number of featured lenses on the site. This means that all lenses below the 175,000 mark won't be featured or found by search engines. This also means that if you have lenses languishing in the 175,000 and above mark, they will not be featured on the Internet any more. Only direct traffic will be able to reach them.

Direct traffic will only be able to reach WIP lenses


Unfeaturing these lenses means that they will be marked as WIP (work in progress) and search engines will not see them any more. This means that they will not be enable to index these lenses in their database and, therefore, unable to serve them as their search results.

This also means that your lenses will be visited by people who received your link and/or clicked on it from your social media profile, for example. Direct traffic will be the only way to discover your work.

What are the lenses concerned?


From what I could read on HQ's blog, lenses that have a rank superior to 175,000 are lenses that have not been updated in many years. However, I know that many lensmasters who updated their lenses not long ago have some that are ranked higher than 175,000.

They also stated that lenses with such a lensrank are those that get no traffic. This is not absolutely true: many lenses that get traffic are ranked above 175,000 because some categories seem to be ranked higher than others. For example I have lenses with low traffic figures ranked higher than lenses with higher traffic figures. Just because the category is not that popular on the site.

Another reason seems to be that these lenses are incomplete. Well not all of them since there are millions of lenses built and only 350,000 featured until Friday. This does not imply that they are incomplete but more than there is a huge competition and that it is not easy to be featured on the site.

I will not criticize their decision : it is their site... I am just a writer that posts her articles on Squidoo and earns some pennies for doing so. 

Is there a benefit to such a new policy?


HQ seems to think that there is a benefit to this: it is supposed to make the site look good in search engines' eyes. They try to do whatever they can to get back in to Google's good graces as, if you are a lensmaster, you have noticed that the major search engine punished Squidoo like a mother would have done to a child who would have stolen the honey pot.

I don't buy Google's will to own the Internet but many site owners to abide by their rules. I think that if everybody online would stop using G for searching and advertising, they would be forced to work for the good of their customers and not the sake of their shareholders. Sites like Squidoo would become once again favorites and we would all benefit from that.

But I digress and criticizing G is not the purpose of this post.

What reducing the number of featured lenses means for us?


From some people's perspective it is best to have a site with less pages than a site with more pages that aren't visited. 

I don't agree with this opinion: with more pages available, G and other search engines might find out that the site is worth a second look and a second exam. They might even find pages to feature in their page results. However with only 350,000 pages featured on millions, they can't have any idea of what is available on Squidoo.

I'm pretty sure that there are worthwhile lenses hidden in the above ranks. Now with the reduction to 175,000 it will be harder for search engines to find out that Squidoo has a big collection of quality pages. 

Keep in mind that within the pages with the lowest rank there are pages that benefit only from internal traffic. This doesn't mean that they are of quality.

There is a huge number of lensmasters that do not dare updating their lenses for fear to have them locked, others didn't log into their Squidoo account because of the lack of incentive for doing so.

These are people HQ should care for: I know many of them and know their pages are of top quality. If they would update them they would help bringing back traffic to the site.

As said earlier, less traffic means less revenue. But this does not seem to be important these days as if Squidoo had decided to cut on revenues any way sooner or later.

Cutting on featured lenses will help the site recover and get more traffic.

Once again, I disagree. How all lenses after 175,000 can help all lenses before 175,000 generate traffic? In no way. Instead, all lenses above that number would help people find all lenses below that figure.

Even worse picture: with less lenses and, therefore less traffic, if all 175,000 lenses got 1 visit each - some would have 4 some would have zero - the site is about to lose 175,000 visitors and potential ad clickers and buyers.

Cut on the number of featured lenses, you cut on the revenue as well.

My view on this is that instead of reducing the number of featured lenses they should have increased it to 500,000 or even 1,000,000. Doing so would have given search engines some food. They would have found lenses that are worth featuring, they would have forgiven Squidoo for... what? Being a membership site, a writing platform that was once successful.

Ah well that is life and it is not my site. I just can sit and watch. With sadness...




Posted by Holly Day