Sunday, February 05, 2006

Squidoo Changes Lens Ranking Method

On Sunday, February 5, 2006, I received the following e-mail message from Seth Godin, the founder of Squidoo:

As one of our top 100 lensmasters, you ought to know about a new iteration of the Squidoo beta that will happen today or tomorrow. We're posting many new features (which Heath will mention on our Squidblog and we're also going to change the way we compute the top 100. Instead of using "all-time" stats, we're going to institute a two-week rolling stats window for computing rank. Simple version: if your lens is high-ranking just because you've been around for a while, it might not be ranked as high by Tuesday. I didn't want you to be shocked at the new stats, hence this note, and I hope you'll decide to juice up your lens and your traffic and use this as an opportunity to move on up now that the log jam is broken. Thanks for all your support so far! Seth Original Squid
I raised the issue of unexplained and unexpected ranking of my four Squidoo lenses in an earlier "Squidoo Beta Problems - December 2005" post. Most of the problems I reported in that post have been solved, as noted in the update text. For example, there's a new workaround I discovered that lets you claim your lens, which should (but doesn't) enable Technorati tagging; a new Text List module eliminates my problems with the 2,500-character limit on plain Text modules. Updated 2/15/2006: Starting Monday, 2/6/2006, my lenses were ranked as follows (commas separate data for Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu...): 15, 23, 23, 22, 30 228, 245, 194, 152, 180 246, 289, 197, 179, 235 337, 380, 164, 156. 199 Monday and Tuesday: All my blogs gained in rank (like in golf, lower scores are better), presumably as the result of the new ranking method. However, their ranking declined on Tuesday, probably because none of the lenses were modified that day. Wednesday: The Black Scholar lens was updated with a major new entry and the .../oakleafsystems (Databases) lens was updated by automatic addition of a new Atom link for this entry on Tuesday night (2/7/2006). The .../surfboards and .../microsoft_access lenses were last updated on Sunday, 2/5/2006. Thursday: Only .../surfboards was updated, yet all four lenses gained rank. This is probably due to lack of updates to lenses rated below mine as of Wednesday. Friday: All lenses except .../surfboards were updated with minor changes (primarily Technorati tags). All lenses lost ground in the ratings. Other Rankings:

Squidoo also added "Top 100" rankings within many categories. Here are some results for me and my four lenses as of 2/9/2006:

  • I was #21 on the "Top 100 Lensmasters (by LensRank)" list.
  • "No More U.S. Custom Surfboards?" was #58 on the "Top 100 Most Visited (most traffic)" and #3 on the "Top 100 by Topic (Computers and Technology)" lists.
  • "OakLeaf Database Lens" was #25 and "Microsoft Access Lens" was #28 on the "Top 100 by Topic (Computers and Technology)" list.
  • "The Black Scholar" was #7 on the "Top 100 by Topic (People and Society)" list.

Obviously, these rankings are likely to change as more authors create new lenses and existing authors update formerly high-rated lenses.


The low ranking of The Black Scholar lens, compared to the .../surfboards lens, continues to be questionable because of the former's extensive content, more than 200 external links, and very frequent modification. The Black Scholar lens ranks #2 in a Google search for "The Black Scholar". The journal's site is #1. I'll continue to update this post daily for a week or so and attempt to determine what effect minor text and link modifications have on lens rank. --rj