Posted by Martin Gregory of Legal Futures Associate Lateral Law
Squidoo is an online publishing platform and community that lets you create “lenses” (pages) about a particular topic. It is free to join and you can even earn 50% of the company’s advertising revenue for charity or yourself.
You can make a lens about your law firm, its website or blog, or your speciality. Either way, there are, as I see it, three main benefits from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective:
- The obvious one is that users searching Squidoo itself will hopefully find your lens.
- Your lens may also appear in the organic results for Google and other search engines.
- Linking the lens to your site/blog will help increase its own visibility.
Consequently, the choice and use of keywords and associated SEO techniques is crucial in creating your lens and there are some useful resources on the site and elsewhere on the web to help. However, from my own experience, I found the dashboard not as user friendly as, say, Blogger or WordPress, especially as, in the absence of an editor, a basic knowledge/understanding of HTML code is required.
The proliferation of Google Ads, the majority originating from your competitors, is a real pain to say the least and impacts badly on the aesthetics/overall impression. You can turn off other types of adverts, but I have not yet found a way to do so completely. Any tips in this regard would be appreciated.
Squidoo has also introduced a “fun”/”game” element in the form of Rockstar mode and trophies and badges, perhaps in homage to Foursquare.
HubPages appears remarkably similar. Simply substitute “hubs” for “lenses” and “Accolades” for “badges”. Your share of the advertising spoils is 100% of Google AdSense clickthrough revenue and 60% of total hub impressions (although the affiliate and referral programmes complicate matters). However, one distinguishing feature is the “community-wide HubScore ranking system”. A HubScore relates to the quality of the hub (up to 100) and apparently a low HubScore (40 or 50 have been mentioned in forums) results in “nofollows” for outbound links.
The dashboard is more professional and there is an editor (including HTML). Spam is prohibited. Overall, HubPages seems more involved and complicated.
Free means of improving your web presence and traffic are surely a good thing and should not be sniffed at. I have to say that their biggest advantage for me is the “link juice” passed back to your own website/blog, although, as usual, quality content is king.