Honestly, Does The Slap Now Extend To Squidoo Lenses?

Now to be honest, I don’t know what to make of this.

No sooner do we learn about the probable threat of the loss of PR to blogs sporting the Do-Follow plug-in, I now find even more sinister evidence when logging in to my Squidoo account in order to update my lenses. First a bit of background…

About six weeks or so ago, I was delighted to find that some of my Squidoo lenses had been adorned with some page rank, several of them achieving PR3, for which I was very happy and grateful. Some of those lenses have had a lot of work done on them by yours truly and it took a lot of writing, I can tell you! I felt they deserved the accolade and was very proud of them.
So honestly, imagine my horror as I log in and view the state of my well performing lenses.

They’ve all, with the exception of two, been reduced to No Rank – not even a PR0! The Honest Way Lens managed to retain it’s PR2 while one of the others promoting My One Stop was slapped down from a PR3 to a PR1. All the rest – slapped down to the ground.

Why?

That is an honest question I have no honest answer for. They are not blogs, so cannot contain paid reviews, as the sites that promote paid reviews only accept blogs! They are certainly not selling links in any way, shape or form. They don’t accept comments with followed links, so that idea can honestly be ruled out too!

So what have these honest, information and relevant knowledge packed pages been slapped for?

One can only speculate this awful possibility:

That those lenses do provide one-way links to my own websites.

Could Google honestly be going so far as to be trying to stop people from working hard on their various web projects and rewarding their hard work by linking their own sites together?

Why in all honesty would they do that?

It’s not gaming the system to link your own sites together for heaven’s sake. Or maybe they think it is? Who can possibly know what goes on behind those closed boardroom doors in Silicon Valley?

This could be the start of a chilling campaign to stop all inter-site linking as a means of climbing up the SERPs ladder. Maybe their eventual plan is to instead give the top SERPs pages only to those sites big enough and rich enough to buy their way up there. Surely not – they honestly wouldn’t go that far, would they?

Maybe this is an isolated incident and it’s only my lenses that have been affected so far. Although I somehow doubt it. I posted this question in CYN forum earlier this afternoon, so I’ll look back in there later this evening to see if anyone’s lenses have suffered similar fates.

In the meantime, you all had better be careful who’s links you have in your blogrolls…

Terry Didcott
The Honest Way

18 thoughts on “Honestly, Does The Slap Now Extend To Squidoo Lenses?”

  1. I wish it were that simple. But no, they really have all lost their page rank.

    Until I learn more about this, there’s not much I can do.

    Terry

  2. As I had mentioned in my response to your comment on my blog, Squidoo lenses have been being regularly penalized since this summer due to excessive spamming by marketers. Do a search on “Squidoo google penalty” and you’ll find out more about the issue.

  3. Hi Frank,

    Oh, I already knew about that, but that was old news.

    It seemed after the last round of PR increases that Squidoo had fallen back in favour with Google after they’d made some pretty sweeping changes to keep the spammers out.

    So if they thought any of my lenses were spammy, which they’re definitely not, they wouldn’t have awarded them the PR in the first place.

    So why take it away again?

    That’s my point here.

    Terry

  4. You’d probably be right, except the links to My One Stop are all affiliate link redirects from TheHonestway.com

    This site and all my others are full of ’em as it’s the only sure-fire way of protecting affiliate links from being “stolen” by unscrupulous marketers – and they’ve still got their PR.

    I didn’t get any sensible answers from CYN so maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye?

    Terry

  5. Terry,

    First time reader. I haven’t looked at your Squidoo pages, or really anything for that matter. Without the research, I wonder how you were promoting the Squidoo Lenses in the first place. Did it involve link building? If so, especially because they are all owned by the same person (they are likely to have a lot of similar inbound links) perhaps those links lost value themselves. Maybe they were poor directories, or sites that got hit by Google for selling links themselves. Either way, it seems like a pretty wide sweep to not be something of this nature. Let me know what you find.

  6. Hi Josh,

    Thanks for looking in. The odd thing about the PR awarded to the lenses in the first place was that there was little in the way of external links coming in. They were from a few forum posts and one of my blogs. No directories or bought links, everything was done slowly and naturally.

    In fact the whole reason for building the lenses was really to link out to my sites/blogs to boost their one-way inbound links. I never expected the lenses to get any PR themselves.

    However, the lenses (18 of them) are tightly interlinked so that none of them have reciprocal links to another lens. I set up quite a complicated array of circular linking so they all gave each other two or more inbound links from different places and never linked back. Obviously one lens benefited more than others and that was the one to hang on to its PR2.

    Each lens page is highly relevant to its topic and is pretty well internally SEO’d with its main keywords and a reasonable amount of original content, which probably contributed to the PR awards in the first place.

    The only outgoing links are to my own sites and a few affiliate links, so there’s no linking to banned sites or bad neighbourhoods.

    It could be that Google simply decided their interlinking structure was not relevant and dumped them all. Who knows?

    Terry

  7. Terry, there are other pages similar to this, I think, Hub Pages, I understand, it’s not about , but maybe it’s an idea to change the site or to add the same in this other?

  8. I hadn’t checked on my Squidoo lenses in a few weeks but this post made me go take a look.

    Guess what? I lost all the PR on all my lenses too.

    I have 3 lenses and all of them had a PR3 last time I checked and now they are all grey bars.

    One of them is a lens about American Pit Bull Terriers. It has no links to any other sites I own, and all the outbound links it does have are to helpful sites about Pit Bulls. None of them are banned or anything like that.

    So I have no idea why they would have dropped it’s PR.

  9. Hi Luidmila,

    I think Squidoo is a special case here especially considering Trent’s last comment – at least I know I’m not alone!

    Changing pages is not really an option as these have been around for many months now and have good keywords in their domain names.

    Thanks anyway!

    Terry

  10. Hi Trent,

    As I said in my reply to Luidmila, now I know it wasn’t just my lenses being targeted. That’s tough about your pit bull lens – it’s a good lens!

    Last night I went through all my lenses (18 of them!) looking for anything that might shed some light on this mystery.

    In five lenses, I noticed that someone had added a link or two to my links plexos. The sites and other lenses they linked to didn’t seem out of place in any way, but I deleted them anyway.

    Other than that, I couldn’t see what Google thought was wrong with them.

    What is stranger is their choice of lenses to miss. All my alternative lifestyle niche lenses that had PR3 were knocked down to grey bars. Also all my IM niche lenses the same except The Honest Way which went down from PR3 to PR2 and the My One Stop promoting lens which went from PR3 to PR1.

    Of all my lenses, the One Stop lens in my own opinion was the least deserving of any PR in the first place as its content is pretty shallow and it actually has the least amount of inbound links of all!

    Why Google chose to let it keep some PR and not, what in my opinion are far more deserving lenses in terms of content and links, my other more informative and tightly niche orientated lenses.

    It’s a bad loss for me as those lenses provided good links to my sites and blogs and were meant to help boost my next set of projects that I have in the pipeline.

    I wonder if it’s worth trying Google’s arbitration procedure to try and get them reinstated?

    Terry

  11. Hi Terry! When did this PR drop happen? I have 5 squidoo lenses about different business opportunities.There are links from these lenses to the opportunities, but the links are cloaked, so it appears to be linked to my domain.What is the logic behind the PR drop, this is what I would like to know.

  12. Hi Terry!

    Just got this “squidoo” alert from Google tonight – and I had to come join the conversation…tho, it looks like I am a little late for this party =)

    Well, you have just caused me to go thru and evaluate all 78 of my lenses.

    I definitely see some ‘shifting’ in the PRs of my lenses, but nothing crazy. I’ve got a PR5, 4 PR4’s, 13 PR3’s, and a boat-load of PR2’s and 1’s.

    First thing I want to mention is that Page Rank and ranking are two different things to Google. Page Rank (or PR) is mostly determined by what is happening OFF your page – ie, links TO your site or lens. These count as ‘votes’ and give your site or lens ‘weight’ which, in turn, results in PR.

    Page Rank (PR) is one element that comes into play for how your site (or lens) ranks in the search engine returns (ranking). Also figured into this are your on-page factors such as content, title tags, etc etc etc.

    From Google:
    http://www.google.com/technology/
    (Page Rank explained)

    Also good on this subject is a thread from WebMasterWorld forum:

    http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3530018.htm

    (These are not aff links or anything bad.. hope it’s ok to post these)

    I had a few lenses – some quite ‘aged’ – show with a now grey tool bar. Oddly, I have a lens made back in MARCH that has a grey PR bar – but I also have 2 lenses that were made in December that have PR3 and PR2. Yes, in just over a month. Go figure. None have an amazing amount of links coming into them…. just odd.

    So, I got to looking at some of my “greyed” PR lenses. Seems they all have something in common. I had a hard time finding them in the Google index and when I DID… it wasn’t my url from Squidoo at all. It was from some proxy site called hidemytrace.com.

    As Google warns – watch for links from bad neighborhoods… yikes! I have no idea what this proxy site is, what it does, or WHY my lenses are indexed thru them…but they have gotten a grip on quite a bit of my content.

    Terry, check what is going on with your lenses OFF page. Check who is linking TO you. Do a Google search for some content off your lens in “” and see what comes up.

    In closing, I will mention that I did some checking on this HideMyTrace site. Apparently, the owner was trying to sell it not long ago on SitePoint.com

    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/auction/14396

    The last statement in that thread sums it all up. That site is up to no good.

    Sorry for the exhaustive comment – I just had to add my two (hundred?) cents.

    Hope all is well!

    ~Jennifer
    aka PotPieGirl

  13. In regards to the comment on Google Knols….

    Yes, this should prove to be very interesting, indeed. However, I don’t feel these PR adjustments are related.

    I did a post on my blog about Squidoo and the (still in testing) Google Knols.

    http://www.potpiegirl.com/2008/01/google-knols/

    I’m quite curious to see how this all pans out. Don’t forget, tho, that Google has had Google Pages all this time…..

  14. Tom, sorry I didn’t answer your comment – I must have missed it (not like me) – The drop happened late November and I think I might know why now thanks to Jennifer’s comments.

    Michael, I checked out the knol thing and as Jennifer mentioned, Google have had Google Pages for ages (that rhymes!)

    Terry

  15. Jennifer – thanks for the massive comment!

    Since all that kerfuffle, Google machine has swung back into action and PRs have changed across the board once again.

    Most of my lenses have got their PR back, albeit a point below what the got before. I’m not complaining as actually none of my lenses are linked to from outside (except my terrydidcott.com blog and maybe a couple of forum posts).

    All are interlinked with each other in a complicated series of links designed so no lens links back to another that links to it – in other words all my lenses have one-way links from my other lenses!

    I did notice that someone had been adding the odd link to my links plexos in some of the lenses that lost their PR last time – so that might have done it.

    I’m in the process of removing all links plexos for that reason – think about it, if anyone wanted to sabotage a good lens with decent PR, they only have to add a link in a plexo to a bad neighbourhood site and BAM – no more PR!

    I think I should maybe post about this.

    Thanks for all that info Jennifer – I’ll check it all out when I get a minute or ten!

    Terry

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