18.7K Niche Sites Revealed; Keyword Cannibalization; Apply Semantic SEO; Create Pillar Pages; $7.5m Authority Site; and Much More!
Some general thoughts on what’s been rattling around in my head lately…
I think we’re going to have another major update coming up (if it hasn’t started already, but with no announcement). GSC is continually showing delays in the last couple weeks, even after all the recent updates. Something’s brewing.
There’s also some chatter about some sites seeing changes in the last couple of days, so I think Google is doing some testing. Prior to that, SERP volatility sensors were really low.
I feel it’s more than just the regular, unannounced updates that Google releases. If you’ve ever looked at stock charts, you’d look at the SERP volatility charts and note low the levels were. Then you’d start thinking - something’s coming.
It’s sort of like the calm before the storm. There’s more coming in Q4. When you look at some of the changes going on in the SERPs with features and layout display, Google is nudging out the “regular” niche sites from showing up prominently in the SERPs in favor of their own product reviews and/or those of advertisers.
Benefits are going to Google themselves and their advertisers. Even the small change from “ad” to “sponsored” on a different line is a move that benefits advertisers. You think the “sponsored” single word on its own separate line stands out more than “Ad - [page URL]”? Ads start to look like regular search results.
That will lead to more clicks on ads turn up the competition for ad bidding. And of course it all benefits Google in the end with higher bids and more clicks.
Google then generates more revenue, which helps them with their quarterly and annual reports, which helps their stock prices. It’s all connected. And Google isn’t the only company worried about their stock prices.
Look at Amazon. You think they’re offering higher commissions (more than 2x in some categories!) till the end of the year because they love their affiliates?
They want their platform to be promoted more because that leads to higher sales, which then leads to better quarterly and annual reports, which helps their stock prices.
Whether you want to call it a recession or not, the effects of inflation and the current economics worldwide have impacted everyone, large and small.
What can you do about it?
Keep your eye out for what’s changing. Stay up to date on the latest news on social media and newsletters (like Niche Surfer!). Consider if you think it’s a short-term or long-term change, and adjust your strategies if needed. As long as you stick to their best practices, you'll be fine in most cases.
Google is not the only source of traffic. Start utilizing other channels to drive traffic. Have you started an email list? Those dormant or non-existent social media accounts?
Remember, treat your sites as a business. Businesses generate revenue and have costs to run. Same as any niche site.
Above all, keep publishing great content because that’s what your “customers” expect when they visit your site. They want to be educated and informed. Great content will always win out in the end.
Danny Sullivan from Google provided some advice and took some feedback on a specific example of when an original piece of research from a website was being outranked by a site copying its information.
He basically suggests the site ask the copycat to link and credit the original source. Another suggestion was to add content to let it be known the calculation is unique to the site.
Google added these three examples for the type of product review page types. Google added "you could create a product review page as:"
An expert staff member of a merchant that guides shoppers between competing products.
A blogger that provides independent opinions of products.
An editorial staff member at a news or other publishing site.
Google renamed its "Webmaster Guidelines" to "Google Search Essentials" and gave the content a refresh. They reorganized the categories into 3 core parts:
Technical requirements: What Google needs from a web page to show it in Google Search.
Spam policies: The behaviors and tactics that can lead to lower ranking or being completely omitted from Google Search results.
Key best practices: The main things that can help improve how your site appears in Google Search results.
Be sure to read up on them to understand the basics of best practices to get your site ranking and accessible.
Google announced a new page design that will add website attribution to search results and ads, including a new “Sponsored” ad label. That includes site names and favicons in the SERPs.
These changes will also be coming to desktop eventually, so it's good to check out what you site icons look like. Do they stand out enough?
The image shows the Niche Surfer icon and what it looks like in mobile search results. Is this the start of sites featuring bright, neon site icons to stand out in the SERPs?
I do have to say that despite what they say about updating "Sponsored" to be featured more prominently, I think it's doing the opposite. It's on a different line now and not inline with the URL. When scrolling, one word on a line is easily missed, while "ad" being inline with the URL is not. That's just me though.
A semantic SEO strategy can help you to carve out a competitive advantage. As search engines adapt to provide the best results to conversation queries, your web content should adapt too.
Claire Brain at Moz outlines some of the successful strategies I’ve used across different types of sites along with some insights into the results they have achieved.
Topical maps are all about making sure your sites are fully covering topics, their subtopics and related topics, and how they all link to each.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
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Whether you want to call it topic clusters or hub & spoke, you'll need to create pillar pages (or category hub pages). Follow these six steps to create pillar pages to improve your SEO and increase website traffic, with pillar page examples.
Jared interviews Casey Markee on the Niche Pursuits podcast. Casey is a key speaker, author, and SEO expert specializing in the food and lifestyle niche. It's a great podcast with lots of good tips in there if you're in the food or lifestyle niche.
Do you want to know how to increase traffic to your website with images? What about making your website more accessible for screen readers with alt text for an image?
Google hosts John and Lizzi chat about optimizing for image search. They cover everything from naming your image file, how often Googlebot crawls images, increasing visibility of your page through image search, to improving alt text and image accessibility.
They also start off the conversation with using AI-generated images for sites, which John says "exciting..."
Do you want to learn exactly how to build backlinks to increase your Google backlinks? Don't want to buy links? Matt Diggity discusses 9 Free techniques to build links:
Broken Link Building
Keyword cannibalization is a common theme when it comes to creating sites without a content plan or strategy. That's because the niche site owners are just finding keywords and writing, without considering whether it's too similar to another article's intent.
Yevheniia Khromova at SERanking covers what to know about keyword cannibalization issues and how to cure them. This is where a topical map will help you because it clearly lays out all the topics you need to cover, so you don't overlap.
Good discussion about keyword and topical research from the SEO Fight Club guys. They cover a lot of ground here about how they target for keywords and rank pages, but also cover relevancy to what's already going on with single pages and sites.
The keyword research talks begin around the 25:30 mark, so skip ahead if the link above doesn't bring you there.
It’s been 12 months since Dim started a BBQ website called Barbehow. He ended up with:
$353.30 earnings per month
20,3333 average pageviews a month in the last 3 months.
Not bad at all! He's been sharing his strategy and progress for the last year, so do go back and see how he got there.
Gael is joined by one of our most successful students to date, Kevin Espiritu, founder of epicgardening.com. From appearances on Good Morning America to being the face of a national advertising campaign with Timberland, Kevin shares his fluff-free methodology behind growing his 7 figure empire.
Good interview to listen to as he created an authority site that then led to an ecommerce empire that just received a $17.5m investment.
SplitSignal tests: Changing <h1> headings to match (exactly) the most popular search query for the pages tested on a travel site.
From their Twitter poll, 59.6% guessed that the organic clicks would increase. In the end, they were right and there was a 12% increase in organic clicks.
WordPress 6.1 arriving in November is packed with performance upgrades some of which are said to be massive improvements. Many of the changes are cache-related and should help with speed performance.
Google will start allowing a subset of customers to pay for cloud services with digital currencies early next year. By lining up a broad deal with Coinbase, Google might pick up an edge against Amazon and Microsoft by letting clients pay with Bitcoin or other digital coins.
In other news, Google said they're going to start accepting crypto to index your webpages! (not really)
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Have a great week taking your niche sites to another level!