GSC is finally back up after being down for almost a week. From their Twitter account, you might think it was only down for a couple days (Sept. 21-23) based on when they posted tweets about it.
I once saw 110 hours from when GSC was last updated once, so it was definitely longer than 2-3 days. Some SEOs reported their last day of data was Sept. 17th and that was mine too during the outage. No data was lost though, it just wasn't showing on the front end of GSC.
Since I don't have weekly SEO reports I need to deliver, it wasn't too concerning for me. And if there was a week of data that was lost, no big deal. I can only imagine how SEOs with client reports needing to be delivered were feeling though.
That's just one of the things we live with though in the affiliate/niche site world. We're at the mercy of Google when it comes to organic traffic. Many people talk about building audiences and brands, so you're not reliant on Google. I believe that too.
Treat your niche site as a brand, in the sense that you want people to remember your site and want to come back directly to look for information. Or at least feel that the site and content is reputable, so they'll stay on the site for that session and visit multiple pages.
Building a site/brand is not an easy thing to do by any means, but there are two main aspects to it. There's the design aspect that gives users a first impression and overall feel to the site. Then there's the more important meat of the site - the content.
How can you tell what visitors think about the content though?
There are lots of metrics that tell different parts of the story. You can look at direct traffic, external link clicks, time on page, natural backlinks, social media referrals, etc. They can all add up to give you a picture of how users interact with your site.
One thing I also like to look at is how people navigate the site and if they're clicking through to other posts. Do they feel that the page they landed on was good enough info that they want to stay on your site to look up more information?
Google Analytics offers this up in the "Behavior Flow" report in the "Behavior" section of GA. It should look like the image above. Each column is an "interaction," a click to another page on your site. The default view is 3 interactions, but if you click the "+ Step" link on the right, it'll add more columns until there are no more.
Once someone leaves your site, it's considered a "drop-off." Drop-offs will tell you the last page (aka Exit Page) that the user was reading before they left your site.
The behavior flow can tell you how visitors interacted with your content and what topics they are interested in. If you spend some time on it, the data can help inform what internal links you add to individual pages. You can even start directing the flow of your visitors.
For example, if you have a food and cooking site, you might have "best [cooking appliance]" articles, as well as recipes. Are visitors going from the "best of" posts to the recipes? That tells me that they thought your review of the products had good insights and that you know what you're talking about when it comes to cooking. So they want to see how you make dishes.
If they're reading a recipe, do they click to another recipe? If yes, that tells me that they think that the first recipe was good, and they want to see what else you've been cooking. If the first recipe was bad, I doubt they'd want to see another recipe from you.
In the end, it's about how much time and effort you want to spend on optimizing your sites. Every little bit counts.
Niche sites aren't something you should throw together haphazardly. Don't overlook the details.
Put in the work and you'll reap the rewards.
Are Google‘s Core Updates Becoming Less Powerful?
Mordy Oberstein from Semrush takes a look at whether the Google core updates are having less of an impact when it comes to each one's impact on rankings.
I do agree as well too. This year alone we've seen so many Google updates that it's hard to remember them all. Even though there is volatility with each of the updates, I think they're not as volatile as the past ones. There'll still be exceptions of course, but I think overall it's not as drastic because of all the mini-updates they're continuously putting out.
Core Web Vitals is a ranking factor
Compared to all domains, these domains have 2.7 percentage points less Google visibility since the update. If you compare them with domains that fully meet all core web vitals, there is even a 3.7 percentage point difference.
Slow domains rank 3.7 percentage points worse than fast domains on average.
5 Ways to Beat Google Title Rewrites
If you missed it, Dr. Pete from Moz showed 8,000 title tag rewrites last week. The sheer number of possibilities can be overwhelming.
This post is more digestible. Here are 5 common scenarios in which Google is likely to rewrite your titles, along with strategies to avoid it, so your title tags are more likely to display exactly the way you want them. It's a good article to look at to cover these title scenarios:
- Relevancy Refactor
- Lengthy Logjams
- Keyword Kerfuffles (aka Stuffing)
- Boilerplate Boggles
- Bracket Blindness
6 Risky Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid (And White Hat Alternatives)
Ahrefs covers 6 black hat SEO tactics and white hat alternatives to avoid getting your site penalized by Google.
- Buying links
- Keyword stuffing
- Blog comment spam
- Article spinning
- Negative SEO
- Rich snippets spam
Top 8 Google Ranking Factors: What REALLY Matters for SEO
Which Google ranking factors matter most to your SEO strategy? Everyone has their thoughts and here are Search Engine Journal's factors:
- High-quality content.
- Page Experience.
- Page speed
- On-page optimization.
- Internal links
- External links
9 Best Web Crawlers for SEO Professionals
Looking for the best SEO crawler? This post covers the key features to consider, and examines the top 9 tools for SEO professionals.
Depending on what your needs are, I'm sure there's something for you here.
Tools and Resources
VisualSitemaps | Exclusive Offer from AppSumo
VisualSitemaps - Generate visual sitemaps with high-res screenshots for any website using targeted web crawls. This is a great way to get crawls of sites visually.
Link Whisper - Spencer Haws announced that the renewal rate for this 1 site deal will be the same price too! The best internal linking WP plugin out there for $49 for 1 site (Reg. $77). You get a better deal if you purchase a bigger license, $102 for 3 sites (with $15 Off "YOYAO" coupon). So if you only need a one-off, this is the best deal out there.
Soundraw - AI music generator. Besides making background music for your videos, you can probably also create workout music. It allows you to change the BPM (Beats per Minute) to create your own workout soundtrack.
The Link Chest - A database of easy-to-win backlink opportunities. So far the count is at 1,147 sites now. These aren't all guest posts links though. Eg., There are places to create account profiles and get links from there. Watch their 6-minute walkthrough video to understand it.
Publer - They just released direct posting to Pinterest. This is the social media scheduler that I use. Pinterest was previously available using Zapier or IFTTT only. Not many of these platforms have direct integration with Pinterest, so this is great to see. You can also use their free plan to add 5 social media accounts, which should be enough for 1 niche site.
Best FREE Keyword Research TOOLS In 2021
Leon Angus shares Free Keyword Research tools. I've used them all before and they're helpful for different purposes.
- Keyword Surfer
- Ahrefs Keyword Generator
- Google Trends
- Keyword Sh*tter (or Keyword Sheeter)
- Answer the Public
- Google Keyword Planner
There's still a lot of research that needs to be done after getting lists of keywords. If you're looking to save time when looking for good commercial and/or informational keywords, I think Keyword Chef is still the most efficient. They have the best filters, so you're not getting as many keywords that aren't useful (eg., local keywords).
Best Freelance Writing Sites like Textbroker
Craig Campbell put together a list of 15 freelance writing sites for you to get content from - or add yourself to as a writer if you're looking to freelance.
If you're looking to hire writers, he also mentions application process for some. That helps give you an idea of the vetting process that these platforms go through for writers. If the application process seems like a pain, I'd take that as a sign that the writers are more "better" and more dedicated. Mainly because they went through all the steps to get themselves listed on the site.
Crawl Budget Guide
Google has a finite amount of time it's willing to spend crawling your site, so if you’re having issues with indexation, you might want to look into your crawl budget.
Understanding more about crawl budget is good to know, especially if you have a new site. Google says that it's you don't usually need to worry about crawl budget until you have thousands/millions of pages, but I think it's still always relevant.
On new sites, Google won't know your sites well, so your site's budget will be low. That's part of the reason why I pay more attention to site structure, what I noindex, and other technical SEO aspects to maximize the crawl budget my sites have.
SEO Office Hours Summary
Nice summary of John Mueller's SEO Office Hours session on YouTube. This blog does a summary of the sessions once in a while. Makes it easy to skim through to different topics. Here are some of the topics from the Sept. 17, 2021 session:
- Word limits
- No changes in Index Coverage metrics
- The Index Coverage report’s updates
- Understanding the quality of the website
- Passing link equity
- Domain site migration
- Adding multiple Schema types
Affiliate Gathering in the UK
All your favorite YouTubers will be in the UK on May 20th, 2022 for Affiliate Gathering. The guest speakers are Ricky Kesler (Income School), Alex Cooper (WP Eagle), Morten Storgaard (Passive Income Geek), Carl Broadbent, Leon Angus, Emilia Gardner, Ben Adler, and Shaun Marrs.
If you can't make it to York, North Yorkshire, then they're also selling online-only tickets.
- In-Person tickets: £99.00
- Digital Tickets: £49.00
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Have a great week with taking your niche sites to another level!