Sunday, 10 January 2010

Why New Internet Marketers should start with Squidoo

Squidoo is a free online platform that allows people to set up stand-alone pages called "lenses" on most topics (Squidoo restrict certain spammy topics - see their terms and conditions). They are particularly good to Internet Marketers because they allow you to place affiliate links on your lenses, and outgoing links on the lenses are "do-follow" as long as you have at least two modules on the lens in addition to the introduction. They are also kind enough to revenue share via a pooled central fund.

The main reason they are ideal for the beginner is because of the way they are structured. The lenses are laid out in a way that is search engine friendly - there is no need for you to mess about with themes and site structures - the default lens structure does all that for you. In addition, if you use Squidoo as it is meant to be used, you get boosted by the tremendous internal linking that is part of the site.

What do I mean by this? Well, when you set up an account, you set up a central profile that lists all your lenses. Each lens in turn links back to the profile (on the top right side), and also links to other pages, via the tags. The tag pages have authority in their own right and link back to the lenses. In addition, everytime you post in the Squidu forum, a link is created to your profile on the left-hand side of your forum post. The more you post in the forum, the more backlinks are created to your profile, which strengthens it, and thus strengthens all the lenses within.

Your first lens will be the hardest to get off the ground. But once you have at least one lens that has backlinks and pagerank, and is spidered by the bots on a regular basis, you will find that each new lens you create gets indexed quickly. That's because the bot visiting your popular lens will follow the link to your profile and will index any new lens listed there.

In addition, the founder of Squidoo, internet marketing genius Seth Godin, has structured the Squidoo revenue share to reward people for doing things that the search engines like.

The revenue share is based on Lensrank, with the bulk of the payment going to Tier 1 lenses (the top 2000 lenses by Lensrank), Tier2 (Lensrank 2000 to 10,000) getting a smaller share, and Tier 3 (Lensrank 10,000 to 100,000) getting a few cents. The Lensrank is based on a) how frequently you update the lens (as the search engines like fresh content) b) the traffic you get and c) how many clickouts you get (to encourage lensmasters to put product links on their lenses and sell things).

As of the time of writing, Tier 1 gets about $16 a month and Tier 2 gets about $3 a month. This may seem like peanuts but everyone has to start somewhere. More seriously, making the attempt to get your lens to Tier 1 will also teach you the fundamentals of getting traffic from Google, and how to get people to click on an affiliate link (and will thus generate additional sales for you from affiliate marketing). When you discover a niche that works, you can then leverage this by building blogs and other websites to exploit the niche further.

I will be outlining a case study on how to make lenses on Squidoo in my AlyssaS account (which has been set up to allow people to see exactly what I am doing).