Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Legofun - Working On A Niche Account

Today we're having a break from doing lens dissertions and we're looking at my second account which is a niche account focusing on Lego.   I'm trying to take note of everything I do so that you can follow along from the beginning of a new account to what I hope will become a very successful account - we live in hope anyways!

I was so excited when I logged in yesterday because I got my first sale on my Legofun account!   Now my main account still has three figures showing on the dash and yet I’m doing a happy dance over a mere 29 cents, but I know that you’ll understand.   Since starting this second account I haven’t really had a chance to do much in the way of marketing and promoting so I wasn’t expecting to get a sale so soon.

The sale was on my Lego City Police Sets lens, this was my second lens ever created and was ‘born’ on 20th December 2010.   Considering how little I have done with this lens I think that it’s pretty cool to have had a sale in less than a month.   (See below for what sold.)

Now, however it is time to start promoting this account and as I was going to start at the top that will be the Lego City Police Sets lens, so what am I going to do?

First I’m going to take a look at the lens and see if it needs anything changed and to refresh my mind as to the lens itself.   Next I have to look at Google and I’m number 8 for Lego City police sets, the ones above are all big players like Lego’s own shop, Amazon, K Mart etc.   Being on the front page does explain why I’m getting regular traffic though.  

According to the Google keyword tool I am well optimized for legos city police which gets 22,200 monthly views, I’ve had 213 visits since I published (just under a month ago) – obviously I need to get to the number 1 spot!

First up I lensrolled my Lego City Police Sets to all of my other Lego lenses.

Next I submitted the lens to –,, isle of squid, lensmasters.slinkset, squidpoint, squidirectory.

With each of these submissions I entered the ‘description’ into the Google SERPs tool that we’ve discussed previously to make sure that I had some keywords in them.   That’s all I had time for yesterday, but that alone has seen an increase in Google this morning as I find myself at #5.  

I think the fact that I wasn’t able to jump on and add all of my backlinks straight away might be working in my favor.    Google has some pretty complicated algorithms and gets suspicious if you try and add backlinks too quickly, maybe leaving the backlinking for a few weeks before starting was a good idea??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Jackets - Another Lens Dissection!

From Chocolate to winter jackets we’re looking at more lens critiques today and this one comes from a long time reader of our blog and a fellow Australian lensmaster ElleDeeEsse.   Her lens is Best Winter Jacket for Men.

ElleDeeEsse has also told me that she has had some sales from the lens and if you read it you won’t be surprised to hear this, she also sent me the top keywords that had sent her traffic from Google which is always a great place to start looking at your own lenses when trying to improve.

The top keywords that were finding traffic were –

best winter jackets
best winter jackets for men
heavy jackets for men
best jackets for men

When you first look at this lens straight off the bat you see what looks like a really warm and comfy jacket and you’re also drawn by highlighted text in the intro.   You can buy that jacket without scrolling down at all!   Having 2-3 links in the introduction has been found to be very good and I love the way that ElleDeeEsse has done this, I would say it’s part of the reason she’s had some sales.

Now let’s see what the introduction looks like in Google –

Best Winter Jackets For Men

eview by Darren Slatten - Jan 1, 2010 - Price range: $999.99
 ... Winter is coming for those in Northern parts and as the weather gets colder now is the time to start thinking about whether to struggle on for another ... - Cached - Similar

Unfortunately as you can see there are no keywords showing in this text, so if you’re searching for a winter jacket and you saw this result along with a result that actually said winter jacket in the first sentence you’d click on the one that says winter jacket wouldn’t you?  

Before we look at the introduction more though we need to work on what keywords we are going to use.   First up let’s look at the top two keyword phrases that showed up in ElleDeeEsse’s stats.

best winter jackets
best winter jackets for men

Best winter jackets gets a monthly global search of 1,900 which isn’t bad and ElleDeeEsse comes in at number 8 which means she’s on the front page of Google.    5 of the results above her have the words best winter jackets showing in their SERP, only one as a complete phrase.    This could be good for us.

Best winter jackets for men gets 390 monthly searches and ElleDeeEsse is at number 6 for this result.   The search doesn’t show anyone above ElleDeeEsse using this exact phrase in their SERP, the closest is Best Men’s Winter Jackets which is only used by one person above her.  

Okay so that was one step to looking at keywords, but what does Google keyword tool think the lens is about?

The biggest keywords that it recognizes are coats, men’s coats and coats for men, but we’re going to ignore these as they are too broad (coats) or with too much competition (and hopefully if we optimize for a different phrase we may find that we naturally start ranking for these too).

Mens winter jackets – 6,600
Mens winter coats – 5,400
Winter coats for men – 9,900
Winter coat for men – 2,400

It seems to identify more with the term coat than it does jacket, do we want to change the keyword?   Personally I don’t think so because when you search for best winter coats for men or winter coats for men you get double the amount of competition as when you search for jackets.

Okay so I think we’ll stick with the two keywords that we already know have brought ElleDeeEsse traffic and combined these keywords account for 2,290 monthly searches.   At the moment ElleDeeEsse gets 123 per week.  By targeting on these we should also find ourselves ranking for mens winter jackets which gets an additional 6,600 monthly searches.

Although we’re only targeting for the two main keyword phrase you will usually find that your style of writing, products on the page, images etc means that you will usually hit other keywords as well.

Let’s look at the introduction – the title contains the words winter jacket and for men even though they’re not together, but the title doesn’t actually show in the search it shows afterwards.   In this case I would leave the title because it actually doesn’t scream keyword stuffing it reads as though you were being given a lovely, warm idea.

We do need to work on the introduction however, I don’t like to see lenses targeted too much for seasonal things (except international holidays) because you want to be selling the whole year around.   It is always winter somewhere and the internet is global.   I have one particular lens that makes sales every week because I resisted the initial urge to put it into a pigeonhole for something that was primarily targeted at a US market, despite the fact that this is my biggest market.   I wrote it so that it was relevant all year around and I think this is key as I’ve spoken to an online friend who wrote something very similar and they make a lot of sales, but primarily just for three months of the year.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again The Internet is Global!

Okay rant over and back to the lens in question!  

Here's an idea on how to change your introduction -
As winter fast approaches it means that it’s time to check out the best winter jackets for men and I have found a great collection of some of the best winter jackets online.   It’s always hard to know when to struggle on for another year with that old favourite and oh so comfortable jacket or take the plunge and ditch it for a new one.

If you’re in any doubt at all then check out this collection of the best winter jackets for men that I have compiled, you may find that just one look is all you need!   Look at the picture opposite for example – this fabulous…….continue on with existing intro.

This is what it looks like –

Best Winter Jackets For Men

eview by Darren Slatten - Jan 1, 2010 - Price range: $999.99
 ... As winter fast approaches it means that it’s time to check out the best winter jackets for men and I have found a great collection of some of the best ... - Cached - Similar

Now only one of the keywords show up in the serps, but if you remember only one of her main competitors has the phrase as a whole in their serp and I’ve tried to emulate ElleDeeEsse’s chatty and friendly tone,    It also doesn’t look like it’s stuffed which, in my opinion, her main competitor does look like.   This is obviously subjective and you have to go with something that you’re happy about.

Now moving on down past the introduction ElleDeeEsse has Great Savings and Free Shipping as a title, this is also repeated on the link below which stands out enough so I wouldn’t waste a heading with these words.   Instead I would change it to the type of jacket (which is in the subheading and add the keywords to the subheading for example –

Carhartt Men's Extremes Arctic Quilt Active Jacket
One of the Best Winter Jackets for Men

I would add this subheading to all of the headings that name a particular jacket.

I would change the heading on the selection of Carhartt jackets to –

Selection of the Best Carhartt Winter Jackets for Men
This will just add the keywords best winter jackets for men in their quite naturally.

Again I would change the heading of – Most of the Excellent Marmot Thermal Jackets to Most of the Excellent Marmot Thermal Jackets for Men.  

Personally I would get rid of the ad for heated shoe insole as it dilutes this lens’ niche, if you really wanted to add it I would pop it on the bottom of the page instead of running the Chitika ads.

You’re on the right idea with asking a question in the guestbook, but I would rephrase it to get your keywords in.   Try - Did You Find the Right Winter Jacket for Men From This Selection?
Or - Did You Find the Right Winter Jacket for Your Man From My Collection?

Having the sidebar widgets to sell something that compliments your main lens is a great idea, but I would also incorporate a little keyword juice in here as well.    For example on the first Amazon widget use the title for something like – Even the Best Men’s Winter Jacket Needs Some Headwear! – then add your existing titles as sub-titles for the individual modules.

Hope all of this helps and not just ElleDeeEsse, I’m hoping that as we look at people’s lenses we can look at how the advice can be applied to our own.  

Lens Critiques & Chocolate!

Well it appears that a lot of you are brave enough to have your lenses publically analyzed which is fantastic, but when the first email appeared in the box and included the words chocolate and cupcake in a single line I'm afraid I momentarily forgot I was supposed to be analyzing it - I was suddenly very hungry!!

MamasCritics is a lensmaster that I haven't come across before and she wanted me to look at her lens - How to Make a Giant Chocolate Cupcake.

The first thing I did was to simply google - how to make a giant chocolate cupcake - and this lens came in at number 1 which was fantastic, unfortunately there are no monthly searches for this phrase according to the Google Keyword tool which explains why MamasCritics was only getting 31 visits per week.    

How do I know the number of visits to a lens - well I checked Squidaholic - this is a great site to use not just on your lenses, but on your competition to see how they're achieving a higher ranking than you (you can't see everything though).   What you can see is the traffic of a lens and the backlinks to that lens.   With this lens there are no backlinks either.

What do we do now?   We have to find some better keyword phrases that will apply to this lens for starters so I looked at - how to make a giant cupcake - this phrase is searched for 1,000 times each month, but unfortunately this lens isn't listed on the first 5 pages for the term.

Giant Chocolate Cupcake is a phrase that has 260 monthly searches PLUS MamasCritics ranks at number 7 for this keyword.   This is obviously a good place to start.

This is what MamasCritic's lens looks like in Google -

How to Make a Giant Chocolate Cupcake

eview by Darren Slatten - Jan 1, 2010 - Price range: $999.99
 ... I made this Giant Chocolate Cupcake for a church get-together, it was a hit. I took pictures as I put it all together, it was so simple! I thought I ... - Cached - Similar

It's the reason why she ranks well for Giant Chocolate Cupcake, because she's one of only 2 on the front page that actually has the words together.    Remember my last post we discussed using the Google SERP tool?   That's what you're seeing above.

In that same post we discussed checking what Google thought your lens was about and using that tool we find that Google already thinks that MamasCritics lens is about these keywords -

how to make a giant cupcake - 1,000 monthly searches
giant cupcake recipes - 720 monthly searches
giant cupcake decorating ideas - 1,600 monthly searches
giant cupcake cake - 4,400 monthly searches
giant cupcake - 33,100

I think we should work on the keyphrase 'how to make a giant cupcake' the reason being that is already in the title and I've looked at the top ten results for this and stringing the words together in the first two sentances has NOT been done in the results, the closest has been how to make a polka dot giant cupcake and how to make a giant 3d layered cupdake.  

The first step is to change the introduction for example - I am often asked how to make a giant chocolate cupcake because my recipe is always a hit.   My giant cupcake recipe is very simple to make, let me show you how.   This is what it will look like-

How to Make a Giant Chocolate Cupcake

 ... I am often asked how to make a giant chocolate cupcake because my recipe is always a hit. My giant cupcake recipe is very simple to make, let me show ... - Cached - Similar

It includes the keyphrase how to make a giant cupcake as well as giant cupcake recipe which is another keyword phrase that has been identified on this lens already. 

I would continue on about the 10 easy steps and when you endorse Betty Crocker (if you're an Amazon Associate) I would make her name a link to her products on Amazon.

Before leaving the introduction we need to do something about the introduction title - at the moment it reads
 In 10 Simple Steps – this doesn’t mention any potential keywords so we need to beef it up.

The Easy 10 Step Way to the Perfect Giant Chocolate Cupcake is an example or Make a Mouthwatering Chocolate Giant Cupcake in 10 Easy Steps.

We really need to look at your titles and make sure that they add keywords because the best recipe in the world won't be found unless it appears in Google and keywords are crucial to Google finding it.

What You Will Need could be changed to Ingredients for a Giant Chocolate Cupcake.

Now Let's Put It Together etc could be changed to How to Make A Giant Chocolate Cupcake in 10 Steps with the sub title Giant Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.

Another thing you could do is after the cake is assembled and you say now for the icing you could start a new module and have a title or subtitle whichever looks better as it's part way through your 10 steps with the words Decorating Your Giant Chocolate Cupcake.

As well as this lens I see you enjoy cooking so I would consider settng up a food lensography which would link not just to your recipe lenses, but also to your blog recipes.   You can then add the lensography to the bottom of all of your food recipes with customized headings such as Because You Can't Survive on Giant Chocolate Cupcakes Alone! 

Hopefully those tips will help, but getting backlinks will also help as they're like signposts to content.

For other people hoping to get tips from this you're at an advantage because you can look at what keywords are bringing traffic to your lens already and see where you're rating for these.   Once you've found these you need to Google them to see what position you hold.    Next you should compare with others that are above you and ask yourself which link would you click on if you were making this search?



Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Do Google and People Think Your Lens is About?

Now you've written a great lens about thingamejigs and it has everything you could ask for of a webpage, but no visitors. What can you do now? Well first up you need to check what Google thinks it's about because if Google doesn't index it for thingamejigs then it won't show up in searches.

Let me introduce you to the Google Keyword Tool - now you've probably already seen this, but did you know that you can leave the keyword area blank and enter your url? I didn't until I read Thriving Mom's blog post about it. It can be quite interesting to see what Google thinks you've written about and it can help you keep focused and to the point.

Once Google and you are on the right page and you've managed to rank on page one in the Google results are you still not getting traffic? This was the case for me on one of my lenses - I was ranked well, but people weren't clicking on my lens for some reason.

The reason was my introduction - I thought my introduction was very clever with a play on words that worked really well when read completely. Other people had commented to me about this too and I loved it. Enter the Google SERP Snippet Oprimization Tool, by entering your lens details in here it will actually show you what people see of your lens when they find it listed in Google. Your introduction that looks great as a whole doesn't always look great as a snippet!

This is a fantastic tool and I'm planning on going through all of my lenses and hubs and checking them out with it - I've already started to sort through some of them - the words 'what was I thinking' has come to my mind a few times!!!

Now who among you is brave enough?

With such an enticing heading, what am I going to ask you to do?   I have helped (I think anyway!) a number of people over the last couple of years that I have been on Squidoo and I thought I'd put something out there on this blog.   If you're brave enough to have your lens dissected on this blog then email me through my Lensmaster page.   

I'll post the lens on this blog for people to see and then I'll critique it for you and we'll see how it goes.   Now I'm not sure how many people will be brave enough to do this publically so I can't promise I'll get back to everyone, but I'm looking at starting this in next week's blog if you're up to it.   Think of it this way - it will be another backlink!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Updates and Looking Forward

Hubby's back at work today and the sky is actually blue which is great so it's time for us to recap on 2010 and see if we've learned anything which can help us as we enter not just a new year, but a new decade!

When I first started this blog I made a lens to demonstate how important niche was, now long time readers will remember that things didn't quite go as planed!   However I've been happy with the results I have had, here's where you can recap on the HIMYM t-shirt lens and the steps I took.

HIMYM Part 1
HIMYM Part 2
HIMYM Part 3
HIMYM Part 4
HIMYM Part 5
HIMYM Part 6
HIMYM Update

HIMYM Update

So what do I think of my HIMYM experiment?   I'm pretty happy with it, although it certainly isn't one of my biggest earners it has made a bit of money so let's see how we're ranking in Google -

how i met your mother t-shirt - #5
how i met your mother tee - #6
himym tee - #2
himym t-shirt - #8

These rankings are a lot better than we had to start with which shows that sometimes you need to add time to the equation so January is still a great time to make Christmas lenses that will have time to 'percolate' for next Christmas!

My How I Met Your Mother Tees lens is currently in Tier 2 while my 'supporting lenses' (Barney Stinson and Barney Stinson for President) are both in Tier 3.

I've received $19.83 from this lens and I have just under $3.00 on my dashboard.
My other two lenses have earned me a grand total of $2.75.

Every month my hub on the Bro Code is making me a few dollars on Google, unfortunately I can't reveal exact figures as it's against adsense toc, but it's aroundabout the amount on my dashboard for my HIMYM tee lens.

Amazon shows $1.96 for purchases which have definately come from the hub, but of course it's hard to track which hub was responsible for some of the spending sprees so it could have netted me a lot more than that.

My article on Bukisa also gets a lot of views and is responsible for just under half of my earnings on there.   

For the time involved and the lesson to do a search on google using site: instead of relying on Squidoo's search next time I don't think it's too bad of a payoff especially considering that it's at the best ranking it's been so far which means it can only get better!

My other experiment in 2010 was with the Chitika ads, but to be honest I haven't implemented this on enough lenses and had a chance to analyse the results that well yet, but I'll report back when I have.

Looking forward I've decided to create a second account as I told you all last time my Lensmaster name is Legofun and (as the name suggests) it's devoted to the world's favorite building blocks - Lego!   I have a whole 1 fan at the moment so I'd love some visitors (hint, hint!)

At the moment I have 5 published lenses under this account and one of them  is in tier 2, another tier 3 while the other 3 are way down.   They have already found Google traffic which is great.   Going into 2011 I will be updating you with how I'm managing this account and seeing if a non-Giant can earn decent money.   I'll continue to write posts on my tips as well.

Here's to a prosperous New Year for everyone.