This post could very easily be subtitled “Squidoo Loses Its Damn Mind” because, really, this is some crazy shit going on right now.
First, let me say that I have (thankfully) not triggered the filter for backlinks/outbound links (yet?). I am not an aggressive backlinker, but that may not save me.
So, here’s what is going on in case you missed how it all started yesterday. Actually a few days ago, really.
So, a few days ago a friend has his entire Squidoo account locked out of the blue. He writes epic amount of content for his lenses. I’m talking about over 1,000 words of high quality shit on each and every lens. He publishes a new lens and BAM – entire account locked. No explanation. No warning. No response to his emails. Nothing.
A few people started reporting the same thing on the Squidoo HQ forum, which made the whole thing seem related to backlinking, possibly people who are using GSA.
Then, yesterday Squidoo HQ posted this little gem – Are The Inbound Links to Your Lenses Adding Value? (I totally nofollowed that link! …this will make more sense in a moment)
So, the HQ post is kind of a joke because if you really think that all backlinks are bad then you are a complete and total moron. There is really no way to sugarcoat that. The first time I gave it a read, I missed the final bit-
Lenses found to contain an excess of links from “nofollowed” blog comments or low quality “link directories” could be flagged or locked.
Oh, isn’t that cute? A week or so after Squidoo announces that all outbound site links from Squidoo.com will be “nofollow” they declare war on links coming from sites that do just that.
Someone asks in the comments section if forum links are okay. The response?
“As long as it’s a legitimate forum it’s fine.”
Someone asks – “How can we control who links to our lenses from where? Do we need to worry about lenses getting locked because others have linked to them?” The response?
“No need to worry Kylyssa, we’re not locking quality lenses.”
Derp. This is actually not true based on my friend who I told you about earlier.
Fast forward to today and there are reports on the Squidoo forums of people getting locked lenses and warnings on their dashboard.
Apparently, when you try to publish/re-publish a lens, you can get the filter flag for backlinks AND your outbound links.
Yes, that is correct. Squidoo is now regulating which sites you can link to in your own damn lenses.
Here is what the message looks like:
“Questionable content on linked pages (Squidoo is not only able to look at the links you’ve placed on a lens, we’re also able to see what kind of content exists on those non-Squidoo sites you’ve linked to. If we find that the sites you’re recommending contain a high degree of spam content, patterns of junk, or belong to certain banned affiliate programs, this could negatively affect your lens. It’s up to each Squidoo author to recommend great content on the web, not link to spam.)”
Who is determining the quality of content on linked pages? Who knows!
Not only is this new policy incredibly insane, it is also quite troubling that they are doing this so close to a payout. Why? Because if your lenses get locked, you do NOT get paid the money you have accrued.
If you have already backlinked the hell out of your lenses, you may be screwed. And that is really sad. And if someone else negative seo’d your lenses, you may be screwed. Also really sad.
What Can You Do?
If you have already done the backlinking, then there may be nothing that you can do now except hope that you don’t get caught by the filter. You could try sending some dofollow links but it might end up being a waste of time.
You can try republishing your lenses to see if you get flagged – but do NOT do this on all your lenses at once since that will now get your whole account locked.
In the future, avoid aggressive backlinking. You may want to avoid backlinking all together because who know how crazy it will actually get before it all settles down.
Protect your income by switching out your Amazon modules with your own Amazon Associates affiliate links. If you live in a state where you cannot join the Amazon program, try Viglinks or Skimlinks. I have never used the services, but did manage to find a Squidoo lens on the subject – check it out here. (you may want to do some additional research on your own as well).
Using your own links will ensure that you still get paid even if your lenses get locked. I’ve actually been in the process of changing out modules to my own links for a couple of months now. I’ll be expediting that for sure.
Should you abandon Squidoo? That’s really up to you. The fact is this – the site still ranks like a boss. It is ranking better than any other web 2.0 out there right now (and has for some time). Lately, I have been seeing some HubPages on the first page of Google, but they are at the bottom and Squidoo is usually at the top.
If you do leave Squidoo, I highly suggest starting your own niche sites based on your profitable lenses. I do just that each and every month. It gives you multiple sites/pages on the first page of Google and pads your bank account a little more. And, it is a great safety net in case your lenses get locked.
What Will I Do if My Lenses Get Locked?
Easy question. Even easier answer.
I will start a new account on Squidoo and recreate my profitable lenses immediately. I make too much money from Squidoo to not do that. But, I’ll still keep making my niche sites too. I got a big summer vacation coming up and I still expect Squidoo money to cover all the costs 😉