Squidoo, PR and Natural Search

ML Sep 15, 2006

So, it took me awhile to understand Squidoo when I first heard of it, but it factors into natural search in a serious way. When Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail was first released, I was very interested in what sites were coming up high on the term long tail. We were on search result pages 4 and 8, depending on whether you used a space or not. That was pretty darn good considering the bloggy buzzwordy nature of the term by then, but Chris had THREE entries on the first page of Google results: Wired and his TypePad site being two of them. The third was his Squidoo lens page, so I paid attention.

Squidoo simply lets you edit a page together much like using any Web-based content management system like blogging software or MySpace, but there’s no design involved, and they have all these ready-made modules that let you incorporate data from all over the place, like Technorati, eBay, Flickr or wherever. The end result is creating a page that shows the world some topic the way you see it. It’s like taking the 20 sites you may check in the course of the day pursuing your obsessions and tying it together into one page and showing it to the world. And of course, HitTail is my obsession.

So, I signed up as a Squidoo lensmaster, and started putting my page together. I stared with the most important links and blog posts about HitTail, which I’d like to direct the world into. Then I added a Technorati search for HitTail, the HitTail blog datafeed, the YouTube demo video, my del.icio.us bookmarks, and now I’m thinking about what else should go in there.

I’m thinking I might categorize the links. There are so many types of HitTail links: ones that cover the controversy (are we making yet another a spam tool?), the most insightful ones that describe what we’re doing better than we ourselves have like BuildABetterBlog, the most vocal HitTailing advocates like Gary Beal and David Stockwell, PhD, the mainstream press like CNET and John Battelle’s Search Blog, the tech-savvy public relations firm angle, and more.

I’d like to start using Flickr to keep the most key diagrams in explaining how HitTail works and why. Then, I could use Squidoo to wrap in these pictures. It’s a really excellent example of the spirit of Web 2.0, tying together features of products all over the Web and making it your own. But unlike so many search-unfriendly Web 2.0 tools that hide all the content using terrible Web addresses and AJAX data loads, Squidoo uses well optimized pages–which you can confirm by doing a “View Source” on the page.

So whereas some PR firms are considering monitoring the blogsphere with Technorati and Google alerts the beginning and ending of PR 2.0, Connors advocates (and practices) jumping right into the online world head-first using some of the most sophisticated methods possible: constructing pages that not only alert YOU to new news regarding your obsession, but doing so in a search-optimized way that potentially makes your entire audience able to view the world through your eyes as well.

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