For months, some have been touting the existence of a “Squidoo Slap” by Google. Drops in Page Ranks by score of Squidoo Lenses have led some to lend credibility to this supposed phenomenon. Although it may appear that Google took issue with Squidoo because of the potential of spam-like lenses, the “slap” may turn out to be more of an adjustment. A clearing out of the deadwood.
It’s amazing to see just how fast some turned on Squidoo, when just months earlier they were singing it’s praises.
The first time I recall hearing about the Squidoo Slap was from Ed Dale, on TubbyNerd.com. Dale came out saying, “The lab has been investigating the recent drop in ranking for Squidoo lenses in Google’s search engine results. It appears that as of the 7th of July nearly all Squidoo lenses have dropped in ranking in the Google search engines. There is a lot of speculation in various forums at present (including Squidoo’s own SquidU forum) but the reasons are uncertain.
Dale went on to say that he believed there were 3 potential causes.
1. Recent Squidoo changes have resulted in Google indexing Squidoo lenses in a different way and consequently that caused lower ranking scores as compared to before the infamous “slap.”
2. Google “slapped” a virtual penalty on the Squidoo domain for reasons known only to Google.
3. Google was undergoing a re-indexing process. The re-indexing resulted in unusual SERP rankings which will re-assert themselves after the re-indexing has completed (again think cleaning out the driftwood.)
Ultimately, Dale confessed that the lab leaned more toward the penalty cause reason because websites that ranked above their previously high ranking Squidoo lenses had much fewer backlinks and lower page rank than the Squidoo lenses they had replaced.
Seth Godin himself discussed the “slap” in an interview with Howie Schwartz of Searchingdot.com. Godin states, “Squidoo’s promise from the start has been simple: we give anyone an easy-to-use platform where you can help people understand your little part of the world. A page where you can include links and content and pointers and a bit of community to help people figure out what’s going on. That hasn’t changed and won’t change. Along the way, Google and other sites rewarded these pages with plenty of search engine traffic. No surprise. If we can help search engines find meaning for those that are searching, it’s all good.”
From the latest program being promoted by Schwartz, Conversation Domination on Jack Humphrey’s BendingTheWeb.com, Schwartz likes Squidoo and now actively uses them in his approach to generate traffic and consequently monitization of that traffic. On a conference call with Humphrey on 10/9/07, Schwartz announced he made well into FIVE figure for the month with a Halloween costume site that in part was promoted with…HIS SQUIDOO LENSES.
Makes me wonder if some of those shouting of the early demise of Squidoo arent doing so to thin out the herd so they can make more money with less competition (with the exception of Schwartz who actively pushes using Squidoo.) Unfortunately, some of the faithful walk away with more questions than answers after watching to their guru lead the funeral pyre with Squidoo being the firewood.
Dan Raine, who is one of the partners with Ed Dale in Thirty Day Challenge, said “Well I am one for rampant speculation here (an Ed’ism) but Seth pretty much shot himself in the foot by pimping the fact that Squidoo was responsible for sooo much traffic to eBay Stores that Google (after their embarrassing retreat) had to take action and slap him… (Well come on… serious loss of AdWords revenue)
True, don’t get me wrong, there has been a lot of really crappy lenses created recently, and that is not what Squidoo is about, but using Squidoo as a marketing tool is not a bad thing… It is all about responsible marketing…”
Still questions arise with no clear answer…even from those who composed the supposed Squidoo Slap. Take for instance this question from one reader named IBCynical on TubbyNerd.com. IBCynical asks…”Bummer that I never saw an answer to the question, “Should we stil use squidoo to link to our sites”. Does it cause a drop in the ranking of a page it links too, now today, Sept 29th 2007…So, do we use squidoo or not.”
Although I have huge respect and admiration for Ed Dale and Dan Raine, as of today, no one responded. Unfortunately some will go elsewhere. Take the post from Stuart at earnersblog.com who said that he had a notable decrease on his Squidoo ranking. He states, “I’ve seen about a 75% decrease in traffic to all my lenses since Wednesday 4th July, but I’ve also seen some of the more popular lenses keep their consistent rankings.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the rankings come back or whether Google has applied a permanent penalty to Squidoo or whether you just need to put more effort into building backlinks to get the lenses ranking (this seems more probable).
It’s not surprising really since 80% of the lenses on Squidoo are probably spam anyway & rank ridiculously well without any effort.
In the meantime, don’t despair many people are already jumping onto Hubpages which also seems to be doing equally well in the SERPS.”
Hmmmm… Hubpages.com huh….?