Social bookmark sites: More than bookmarks

Do you have a del.icio.us account? Have you been using Blogmarks as your bookmark tool for a while now? How about other bookmarking sites? If you answer yes to these questions, you might already have a page with a non-zero PR value. That page is your user profile page. For example, in del.icio.us, it’s http://del.icio.us/xxx; in Blogmarks, that page is http://www.blogmarks.net/user/xxx, where xxx is your user name.

What determines the PR value of a user profile page? It’s the same as any other web page — The more links to a page, the better it’s PR value. As a user, then, you just need to really use the service to bookmark your sites. The more pages your bookmark, the higher the PR of your user profile page is going to be. Also, don’t forget adding relevant tags to your bookmarks.

The significance of this is that if your user profile page already has a PR and you are launching a new site, all you have to do is bookmark your site to that particular bookmark service, and the search engine spiders will automatically find your new site from your user profile page. In addition, if your user profile page has a PR of at least 2, your site will likely to gain a PR value after the next Pagerank update.

Squidoo

I want to share with everyone here my experience with Squidoo, which I first learned about from Earner’s Blog. Below are my thoughts:

Excellent traffic generator: The reason I signed up for Squidoo was to generate traffic to a blog of mine. Squidoo delivered a home run in this role. The Squidoo page I set up quickly ranked well in Google for a number of closely related query terms, and initially Squidoo was accounting for > 50% of the visits to my blog.

Not really good for your site if you are using Adsense to monetize: This is because there are already 3 Adsense ad blocks on every Squidoo page, so chances are visitors who come from Squidoo to your site already just seen a bunch of Adsense ads. So, they are less inclined to click on Adsense ads on your site, especially if your site is closely related to your Squidoo page (which should usually be the case).

The revenue from Squidoo itself is low: Squidoo talks about sharing revenue with its Lens masters. This is nice, but it takes a long time for them to calculate the revenue share for each site (for example, February revenue share was just made available earlier this month), and the revenue amount was disappointing. So, if you set up a Lens on Squidoo with the idea of generating $$$ from Squidoo’s revenue share program, you’ll be disappointed.

You cannot track it with Google Analytics: This is because Squidoo already has Google Analytics installed on every page. So, if you want to track referrals into your Squidoo pages, you’ll need to find another way.

In conclusion, if you are looking for Squidoo to generate traffic to your site, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, given that you did put in some effort to set up your Squidoo page. On the other hand, don’t expect much revenue directly.

My experience with Google’s Supplemental Index

Here’s my recent experience with the Google Supplemental Index:A relatively new site that I had launched was receiving some traffic from Google. All of a sudden, traffic stopped, and I ran a site: command to find that my site is still in the index, but now there are two copies of my site’s homepage: http://www.mysite.com?q=a, which is in the main index, and http://www.mysite.com, which is in the supplemental index.

Clearly, my URL got placed in the supplemental index because http://www.mysite.com?q=a and http://www.mysite.com are quite similar (they are not identical, but it looked like Google thought they are close enough to be considered duplicates), and Google just happened to keep the one with a query string in the main index. Of course, all the backlinks point to http://www.mysite.com, so http://www.mysite.com?q=a ranked poorly (was top 5, now in the 200′s), hence the reason I was no longer receiving traffic from Google.

Once I found out what the problem was, the solution was straightforward: Modify robots.txt. I changed robots.txt so that Googlebot cannot see http://www.mysite.com?q=a. This had the desired effect, as 2-3 days later, http://www.mysite.com got back to the main index with its original ranking, and the site started receiving traffic from Google again.

Google Analytics Down

Google Analytics has not been reporting data since the 9:00 am hour Pacific Time yesterday (February 1, 2007). Whenever this type of thing happens, the first thing people wonder is whether this is an isolated instance (in which case there is a lot to worry about), or is this happening to everyone. Judging from discussions in Google Groups, lots of people are seeing it, so it’s not an individual site issue.

Updated at 5:54 pm Pacific Time Feb 2, 2007: I just logged into the Google Analytics reporting console and saw all traffic for Feb 1, 2007 is now being reported. There is still no data showing for Feb 2, 2007.

Updated at 11:15 pm Pacific Time Feb 2, 2007: Google Analytics reporting is now back to normal.