Today we had a call with our Giant Squids where we answered the most asked questions. Here are 10 more questions that our Giant Squids submitted…
1) What has, in your opinion, been the chief cause for the drop off in views since December, and what steps are you taking? How can we help boost readership?
As we discussed on the call, search engines change their algorithms often. We believe that the algorithms now are punishing sites (and pages) that have too many unadorned affiliate links, unoriginal or spun content and basically, no good reason to visit. The more human and unique and useful a page is, the more traffic it will get.
2) Could you answer exactly what the difference is between a normal lens and the sales lens and what you expect in content for the sales lens.
This is something invented not-by-us. All lenses should be original and useful and personal in that they are about the user or the writer or both. Sure, you can sell stuff, but no, the web doesn’t need you to be a human search engine, pasting together an alternative to a search box on Amazon or eBay. Be selective, find a real theme, not just a keyword.
3) Is it Ok to add some commentary at the beginning of the Amazon module then list items underneath without additional descriptions, or must every item listed have some sort of commentary or description?
In general, a great commentary goes a long way. But as we said on the call, no hard and fast rules. If you’re gaming the system or gaming the user, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it’s not going to work in the long run. On the other hand, if you stand for something and care, that comes through.
4) Is SquidTools on the chopping block?
Squidoo is designed to be used by hand, one page, one module, one author at a time. If you’re dependent on external tools (wherever they come from) it may be a sign you’re not focusing on the right approaches.
5) How many affiliate links are too many?
If you have to ask, you’re not getting it. How many on a page you visited would make you feel like it was a catalog and not personal? Go visit the wirecutter (http://thewirecutter.com/) to see what your competition looks like. NO, you don’t need to write as much or as detailed, but be honest: are you more likely to buy a TV from prose and opinion there, or from a list of 100 links on a slapped together lens?
We can cover things more broadly and deeply than they ever can. Write about what you care about.
6) Will Giant Accounts be locked without any warning or will we be given time and instructions for correcting the lenses in question?
If you’re actively gaming our systems and testing our limits, no promises, at all. Don’t go there.
If you have a history of doing the right thing and being generous and productive, we’ll treat you the same way you’ve treated the community!
7) Why did you change the policy for Squid Angels & blessings?
The SquidAngels started back in 2007 and we’ve been tweaking the program ever since. This latest change was designed to bring the program back to its roots. The Angels provide an extra “human” set of eyes to ensure that great lenses rise to the top. Not much has changed in that respect. For a few years we made Angel blessings transparent but in recent months we figured out that blessings are best utilized as an anonymous gift to boost quality lenses. We also want to make sure that the program is fair to everyone so we limited each lens to receiving 5 blessings and each Angel to blessings 5 lenses per day. 5 blessings gives a quality lens a nice boost, but won’t permanently keep that lens elevated from blessings alone.
8) Why are you doing so much Amazon testing on the site?
Our goal is to help you succeed. If we can boost clickthrough and conversion, that’s a good thing!
9) Are there any plans to extend Squidoo affiliates such as Amazon/Ebay to non-US territories?
As soon as our partners make this possible, we’d like to. Right now, we can’t easily do this.
10) What is the vision for Squidoo going forward and how do lensmasters best fit into that vision?
We are here for you, about you, connected to you and fans, too. For the next million years.