If you've been subscribed to Niche Surfer, you've already heard me talk about how building topical authority is important to improve your SEO and increase organic traffic to your website.
The most powerful tool for achieving this and Step 1 is through the use of topical maps before publishing a single word on your niche site.
I've seen some more "topical map" services pop up. Some are SEO agencies that have done it for a while already as part of their content strategy, but now packaging it as a "topical map" service. Other services come from freelancers.
However, before you rush to purchase a service or hire a freelancer, it's important to understand what a true topical map is and what it should accomplish for your website.
Here's something I replied to a potential client recently after they showed me a "topical map" delivery. They weren't happy with it and I might've mentioned it was a poor excuse of a topical map.
Topical maps take a lot of work and at minimum should include:
- All the categories, main topics, and subtopics for your seed keyword/niche.
- A topical hierarchy of all the topics for a clear and organized representation of the topics and their relationships.
I share a portion of a full topical map that I use as a sample on topicalmap.com - spiral stairs example.
As just one part, it already has nearly 300 topics that could be written on. That's on spiral staircases too. Not exactly something that's in high demand.
So imagine your seed keyword was something more popular like "golf clubs" and your topical map had 50 topics on it. Do you think that's even close to what would get you topical authority?
Check out the WordAgents new site case study below. They ordered a topical map from TopicalMap.com and shares their thoughts. I especially love the "kid in a candy store" comment.
Here's to all of you and getting your candy too this week!
Bankrate and CNET Use AI Content - What Does Google Think?
Google trying to thread the needle on wording as Bankrate.com now shows when articles are written by AI, and edited and fact-checked by an editor.
You can search for Bankrate's AI-generated articles with this search on Google. Numbers will differ with each search, but my search now shows up 258 results. That's a lot of articles.
Google reiterates that they don't care how content is created. They focus on who the content is created for - "search engine rankings" versus content for "people first."
Gael Breton from Authority Hacker also found out that CNET (DR 92) uses AI content and shared it on Twitter.
My Take: It's actually pretty nice to see that these authority sites are saying they're using AI to generate content. The sites do say they're thoroughly edited and fact-checked though, so we don't actually know how much has or hasn't been changed from the AI-generation. The ones I spot-checked do show up as human-generated.
These two examples should not be taken as permission that you should use AI content yourself, especially for newer sites. These are high-authority sites with many years of being established as a brand. What also happens is most people will do minor edits and fact-checks (if any).
Tools and Resources
GPT-3 ALT Tag Generator
Danny Richman with another free script using GPT3 to generate image ALT tags in Google Sheets.
ALT tags are important to add for all images. They help search engines understand the content of your images and improve the visibility of your images in the search results.
For all you pSEO folks out there, you may want to add this to your tool kit.
Adding this free script to Arielle Phoenix's Bulk Publishing Sheet is perfect.
Introducing NeevaAI - Neeva
Neeva launched NeevaAI, an authentic, real-time AI search that leverages cutting edge LLMs and an independent search stack to create a unique and transformative search experience. It shows a synthesized single answer summarizing the most relevant sites to a query.
References and citations are directly embedded in the answer, enabling users to determine the authenticity and trustworthiness of the sources cited.
My Take: This might be the future of what Bing, Google and other search engines will do too. They're scraping the top search results and summarize an answer.
So does this mean that content creators like us are essentially filling out the databases for search engines without any benefits to us?
All the more reason to figure out what your USP is and to brand it!
Check out their free plan and start searching yourself.
They do have a paid plan (how they make it ad-free) that also gives you access to Dashlane, Lastpass, and Bitdefender for $50/yr. So if you use any of those 3, it might be good value and worth considering.
GPT-3 + Google Docs: Create Your Own A.I Text Editor in Minutes
Want to use OpenAI with Google Docs?
This Prompt News video shows how to use GPT-3 to create your own text editor. He plugs Google Docs directly into an open API using an API key. This will allow you to use the power of GPT-3 to create different models within our Google Docs.
My Take: I've been playing around with it and it's definitely very cool, but getting the prompt right is the key to getting it to something usable.
How to Build a Brand Identity For Your Business
When Dim and I were talking about starting our Topical Authority + Programmatic SEO Case Study, we spent quite some time discussing branding because of how important it is for long-term success.
Branding helps set your niche site apart from competitors. A unique and consistent brand identity can help your site stand out in a crowded market.
Branding helps increase the value of your niche site. A strong brand can make your site more valuable and easier to sell if you ever decide to do so.
A strong brand can also help generate more organic traffic and attract more advertisers.
How to Use Google Keyword Planner in 2023
Google Keyword Planner is a keyword research tool for advertisers. But you can also use it to find keywords for SEO. It can even show you the keywords your competitors are targeting.
In this guide from Ahrefs, you’ll learn how to get some SEO value from Keyword Planner.
- Get access to Google Keyword Planner
- Discover new keywords
- Look for the best keyword ideas
- Find low-competition long-tails
- Find trending keywords
- Find seasonal keywords
- Find lucrative keywords
Private Blog Networks (PBN): The Myths and the Risks
Carlos Silva with an overview of Private Blog Networks (PBN):
- What Are PBNs?
- PBNs Violate Google's Webmaster Quality Guidelines
- The Risks Associated with Private Blog Networks
- Why Would Someone Use a Private Blog Network?
- Debunking Myths Around PBNs
- What Should You Do if Your Website Has Links From PBNs?
It's been a while since I've shared anything about PBNs since the talk has been all about AI. People are still using PBNs and it still works for some people.
How to Grow Organic Traffic by 131% With Cold Email (Case Study)
Learn how to increase your organic traffic by 131% with this case study. Antonio Gabrić from Hunter shares his step-by-step recommendations to replicate the same cold email strategies. Some of the key takeaways:
- Guest Posting and Claiming Unlinked Mentions Have 13.7% Conversion Rates
- Short and personalized subject lines tend to work the best
- Follow-Ups Can Increase Response Rates by 66%
- Find the Right Decision-Maker & Don’t Quit After the First Sequence
- Keep Your Email Bounces Under 2%
- Short Email Copy Has Noticeably Higher Click and Response Rates
- Send Emails From Burner Domains
- Automation Is Your Friend, but Be Aware…
Measuring Server Response Time
Michael Martinez discusses his concerns with what he sees in requests for help with server response time:
- People put too much faith in the tool reports
- People assume Google is penalizing their sites for being too slow
- People want to load their pages with junk and make them fast
He also covers a number of things that people should be aware of when testing for and reviewing speed:
- The Correct Way to Use Speed Testing Tools
- Google Doesn’t Care How Slow Your Site Is
- Decide What Is Important for the User Experience
- Google’s Search Console Crawl Stats Report Is Often Overlooked
- SEO Crawling Is A -BIG- Part of the Problem
5 Times ChatGPT Steered Me Wrong in Local SEO
Miriam Ellis discusses 5 times ChatGPT steered her wrong in answers about Local SEO:
- In which ChatGPT merrily instructs me to set about building GBPs for virtual offices
- In which ChatGPT encourages me to violate Yelp’s guidelines
- In which ChatGPT promulgates one of the most persistent local SEO myths of all time
- In which the suite number myth lives on
- In which the robot starts to head down a better path and then goes totally awry
Some interesting things here. Key is that you still should fact check the original sources (e.g., Google for GMB Profiles) for information and not ChatGPT. Otherwise, you end up getting banned.
Case Study 2, Month 2: Our Programmatic SEO Formula
Month 2 of the Topical Authority + pSEO Case Study!
The focus this month has been on creating content, so it's been all Dim this month with creating and fine-tuning content generation processes.
- 1 Topic Cluster
- 6 Templates
- 33 Posts Published
- 24 Indexed
Check out the latest update for the complete workflow and great tips when creating your content templates.
You can also read more about Dim and Paul in their Niche Creator Q&As.
WordAgents Case Study: Topical Map and Editorial Calendar Creation
The next authority site case study update from WordAgents. It discusses topical maps and editorial calendars to create their content blueprint.
Vincent D'Eletto from WordAgents ordered a topical map from TopicalMap.com and gives his thoughts in this post. I love that he covers the good and bad too. Will help me with how to improve the service!
Also love some of what they said. Some of the cool things:
"The [topical] map, essentially, is keyword research on steroids."
"We purchased the 'Authority' package...While that may seem a bit pricey at first glance, it was worth every last penny. Doing this on my own would have been far more expensive considering the tools I would have purchased and the time I would have put into the process."
"I felt like a kid in a candy store. Digging through this data helped me brainstorm a ton of ideas that will help us reach our goal of becoming the most valuable brand in our niche."
"This earned TopicalMap.com additional brownie points. The map included every keyword I had found, and then some."
The last one references how he used the Authority Hacker course's keyword research method and how TopicalMap.com's found some more. Really cool to hear!
Wish them the best with this site because it's an interesting one for sure.
Shawn Hill Used ChatGPT to Build and Sell a Site for $10K
Shawn Hill created and sold a site for $10K within two days with the help of ChatGPT. He created answersbyai.com with a simple input box for ChatGPT. He started out asking Originality.ai for a potential sponsorship and ended up with a sale for $10,000!
Not bad at all for a couple days of work!
Check out Shawn's Niche Creator interview too if you missed it.
It'll be interesting to see how Originality.ai uses the site. Maybe with each query, they'll perform their own AI detection and/or plagiarism check.
Right now, it seems the answerbyai.com's API for OpenAI has reached its quota limits, so the input doesn't actually work.
Google Updates Its Googlebot's IP Addresses In JSON File
For the 1% of you who does something with Googlebot's IP addresses, you'll want to update yours.
Google has updated the JSON files with the list of IP addresses Googlebot. I believe Google added one new IP6 and one new IP4 IP address to the list.
OpenAI begins piloting ChatGPT Professional, a premium version of its viral chatbot
This week, OpenAI hinted that it might soon start charging for ChatGPT. The monetized version of ChatGPT will be called ChatGPT Professional.
OpenAI has begun testing a paid, enterprise-focused version of its viral ChatGPT bot -- and surveying users about their pricing preferences.
You can sign up for their waitlist and help them through a range of questions about payment preferences.
ChatGPT is enabling script kiddies to write functional malware | Ars Technica
AI chatbot ChatGPT has been used for a wide range of tasks, including writing poetry, technical papers, novels, and essays
Now we can add malware development and the pursuit of other types of cybercrime to the list. Researchers at security firm Check Point Research reported Friday that within a few weeks of ChatGT’s launch, people with little or no coding experience were using it to write software and emails that could be used for espionage, ransomware, malicious spam, and other malicious tasks.
Check Point researchers tried their hand at developing AI-produced malware with full infection flow. Without writing a single line of code, they generated a reasonably convincing phishing email. The researchers also used ChatGPT to develop a malicious macro that could be hidden in an Excel file attached to the email.
Be careful out there!
A college student made an app to detect AI-written text
Edward Tian, a 22-year-old senior at Princeton University, has built an app to detect whether text is written by ChatGPT, the viral chatbot that's sparked fears over its potential for unethical uses in academia.
GPTZero works by determining whether an excerpt is written by a bot or human, the bot uses two indicators: perplexity and burstiness.
- Perplexity measures the complexity of text
- Burstiness compares the variations of sentences
If you're an Educator, you can sign up for the waitlist at gptzero.me
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