Friday, June 26, 2009

My Thoughts on Squidoo Policy Changes: How They Affect You!

If you are a Squidoo member then you will probably aware of the impending policy changes due to take place in July. If you haven't read them then you can find them here.

This a very brief summary of the changes are as follows:

  • No porn.
  • Limit of 9 outbound links to a single domain.
  • No lenses on junk topics.

I have no problem with the no porn rule - not that I am prudish in any way, I just don't feel that it is good for the site's credibility.

Also the new outbound link rule I don't see as a problem - I think that 9 links to a single destination is enough for any page.

Where I struggle is the junk topics issue. I can see that there is a need to clean up Squidoo and that lenses that are nothing but sales pages with no useful content do nothing for the site, and probably don't help Squidoo's rankings with the search engines. I tend to work on the principle that if you are using Squidoo for affiliate marketing then you need to provide useful and entertaining information, after all people do not search for sales pages. It is about "pre-selling" - i.e. giving people some of the information that they are looking for, and then pointing them in the direction of where they can find more, or buy a product in keeping with the subject that you have been talking about.

However, the policy changes refer to junk topics and lists the following as examples:

  • Free movie downloads.
  • Hoodia Gordoni.
  • Acai berry reviews.
  • Toenail fungus sales.
  • LoseBellyFat!
  • Pharmaceuticals.
  • WoW gold farming.
  • Forex reports.
  • Adult content.
  • And on and on.

To me, this list is somewhat ill-defined. How do we know what is, or will become a junk topic? I would imagine most of our lenses will be just fine, but I know that a few of mine may just fall into the junk category.

So, what should you do?

Well, here are my suggestions:

  1. Review your lenses
  2. Check your outbound links and amend as necessary
  3. Do your lenses lack original and useful content? - if so amend accordingly
  4. Does the subject of your lens fall into the "junk" category - consider amending, deleting or exporting your content elsewhere.

What are your options if you want to export my content elsewhere?

  • Consider one of the many alternatives to Squidoo, but bear in mind they all have their own policies, most of which are stricter than Squidoo's new policies, so check carefully.
  • Build your own niche website - your best option is build a site with Wordpress. There are, of course, cost implications for this in respect of web hosting and domain names. Alternatively, you could use one of the free website builders such as Google Sites or Yola - hosting for these sites is also FREE!

So are the changes a good thing or a bad thing?

I think that there is currently a lot of junk on Squidoo with little or no useful content, and this can only be harmful to the site's credibility and to its authority as seen by search engines. Overall, I think that the changes are a good thing. BUT, I for one would like more clarity over what constitutes "junk" subjects.

So, what do you think?

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