For some time now, I have been following the specific advice that when publishing pages on sites like Squidoo and Wizzley, it helps your SEO to interlink your content. It’s the same on blogs and websites, take every opportunity to link to other posts within that blog or websites – you will also see us doing exactly that here on Squidlog.
And this is where Squidoo Modules, like Featured Lenses and My Lenses come in very handy. For Featured Lenses, you just add the URL of the lenses you want to link to the lens you are creating and voila, the Lens Pic and the first few lines on the intro are automatically pulled in.
My Lenses works slightly differently. You specify a lens tag that is common to all the lenses you want to feature and they magically appear too. The advantage being that you don’t have to keep going back and adding lenses to this module – as soon as you publish another related lens with the same tag, it is automatically featured in the related My Lenses module on the other lenses.
“it seems the my lenses module is set to not be visible to Google”
She expands on the point she is making:
“On checking it also appears that the featured lenses module is at present not indexed.”
Another member (JS0425) asked this question:
“How much does Google value a text link from my lens, pointing to another one of my lenses?”
and the response from Spirituality was:
“It’s precisely why I stress interlinking lenses so much: links make a difference, as long as Google can see the link it does not matter HOW you link from one lens to another.”
Spirituality expands on this discussion in this post on her blog: Squidoo SEO – a moving target: my lenses module and featured lenses not indexed by google.
Further conversation on the thread, including some very interesting contributions from Thefluffanutta has turned up the information that Squidoo HQ has introduced some script into some of the modules called “Lazyload” – you can see it if you check the Source Code of your lenses, using something like Firebug.
Apparently, HQ had concerns that certain modules were loading too slowly and something needed to be done to speed them up. The Lazyload script does just that by making the modules invisible to Google.
Thefluffanutta also told us that Squidoo HQ was concerned that by pulling in part of the Lens Intros on these modules, they were actively duplicating content all over Squidoo. Given the fears about the amount of duplicate content on Squidoo, I am guessing that there’s worries that Squidoo may eventually get an adverse reaction from Google during a future Panda update.
One opposing school of thought is that we should not be concerned about intros being duplicated – after all, those few lines from the intros act just like excerpts, but of course without any official word it is difficult to know what to think.
Which modules are affected?
At the time of publishing this post, the modules affected, ie those that Google no longer see, are:
Featured Lenses Widget (in the sidebar)
Amazon Modules (but not the Amazon Spotlight)
What is the effect of de-indexing of these modules?
The biggest effect on our lenses is probably on those that make heavy use of the Featured Lens Modules – particularly Lensographies, which many of us have to been using to link together related lenses.
“Lazyload” has wiped out some of the benefits to the lenses that the Lensographies link to. All those internal Squidoo links are gone – however they can still be used as links to navigate between lenses, therefore traffic from within Squidoo should not be affected.
From the discussion on SquidU it looks like many of those participating in that discussion have prioritised their higher ranking lenses that may be affected by losing their links. However, Spirituality has commented that she does not think her higher ranked lenses have been adversely affected, although traffic is drying up to lower ranked lensographies and groups. I have to say that this is my own experience too.
Again we can only speculate as to whether or not lensrank is being affected, because there are always other factors to take into acount when you look at what contributes to rises and falls in lensrank. For example, some Lensmasters recently reported some crazy drops in Lensrank.
But when you consider that updating a lens has a positive effect on lensrank and that more lenses are being updated than is normal, probably because of all the changes on Squidoo recently, then a sudden increase in this activity is bound to skew lensrank across the site.
What action should we take?
The general consensus is that if you are concerned about losing the benefit of the internal links provided by these de-indexed modules then there’s several courses of action open to you:
1. Replace Featured Lenses and My Lenses modules with a Links List, or leave the modules where they are and just add the list
2. Leave those modules alone and add text modules. Write a general summary about related lenses and link to those lenses. Use keywords for the anchor text
3. Replace Plexos with Link Lists, or leave the Plexos alone and add a Link List. However, the advantage with Plexos is that other people can add to them
4. Leave the My Lenses widgets (in the sidebar) where they are and add links to those lenses within the body of the lens, either using a Text Module or a Link List as described above
My personal preference is currently to leave the “invisible” modules where they are and ADD links rather than remove anything. This is because on September 01 Thefluffanutta said:
“Gil said he will consider reverting this change”
This post was published following a discussion about this topic on Giant Squid Open Mike on September 06, 2011. You can catch up with an archive recording HERE.