Copycat Bloggers; AI Content Success; Free Programmatic SEO Course; Websites on Different Budgets; and Much More!
A couple of weeks ago I shared a small sample of a full topical map that I delivered to an agency. Alex retweeted my tweet on the sample, thus the screenshot.
One of the comments in Alex's retweet caught my attention because the person was saying that it seemed to be the "normal keyword research" for his sites and not some secret technology.
And that commenter is definitely right. Topical maps are not magic. I replied that it's pretty much 4 steps:
Search for all the keywords related to your seed topic
Do keyword clustering to avoid cannibalization and duplicate content
Structure the topics hierarchically
Prep site structure, internal linking and anchor text strategy
I'm making it sound 'easy', but it's actually not that easy. It's not just using a keyword tool and exporting the results.
There's a lot of semantic searching and linking that's needed. Then the structure and hierarchy based on the niche. Some are easier than others.
There's also a reason why you don't really see full topical map samples out there. As far as I know, my sample is the largest one out there.
Agencies will have their own designs and ways they present it to clients, but it's not magic.
It's a huge time saver is what it is. Depending on your topic, topical maps can take 10-100+ hours.
If others were to share samples publicly like I did, they'd start seeing copycats. I've already seen at least one other service change their deliverable to my format.
I may have ordered one from them and when they were taking longer than expected, they said they switched the formatting recently and when it was delivered, it seemed a lot like mine :)
They didn't go deep into topics though and barely scratched the surface, so not really usable.
Hey, they were trolling on Twitter and said how their topical maps were superior to mine. I had to check it out. But I can assure you it's not even in the same ballpark - even as they emulated my deliverable formats.
Their topical map ended up with 95 topics. When I did my own version of the topical map previously, I had 200+ in just one subtopic, one of the 95. If I were to only write articles for those 95 topics, the site would have very little chance of ranking.
All I can say is, be careful who you go with and do your own research. If you don't know what topical maps are and how they help, there are plenty of resources out there to help create your own.
But whether you pay for one or DIY a topical map, it will help you immensely. You've basically done your keyword research for months and months, maybe years of your site. And you don't need to worry about how internal linking should be done, because it's all pre-planned too.
Jasper Pieterse also created a YouTube review of the topical map that he received. Check out his thoughts here.
Through the SERP, you can see the search intent. Google search shows you the best results for a search, and therefore you can understand the goal of a person searching by looking at the SERP.
Samuel Schmitt and thruuu give a nice table:
Informational - Blog post, news/top stories, featured snippet, people also ask, knowledge graph, images and videos
Navigational - Brand display several times, site links on the first result
Commercial - Local pack, ads, blog and video (type review or listicle)
Commercial - Ecommerce websites, ads, shopping results
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Niche Site Metrics now has a front-end searchable database in addition to their existing Airtable spreadsheets. They both offer the same data on over 63k niche sites.
I've been using it a lot myself recently as I'm working on new sites for case studies. Much easier to find current competitors with NSM.
And if you're looking for keyword ideas, use it to find the low-DA and newer sites that have a high amount of organic traffic to them. That's the money filter.
Definitely check out Niche Site Metrics if you do any competitor research. It's a one-time price now, but will be changing to a monthly subscription model soon, so don't miss out on paying for it once.
Creating urgency is a key rule in ad copy, but old methods can cost you clicks. Sidra Condron from SpyFu shares how to build urgency in ways that help your ads convert.
When you write for conversions, the right phrasing makes all the difference in getting the reader to take action. But knowing exactly what makes them call, click, buy, visit or read can be one of the hardest parts of writing.
Key takeaways from it:
Exclamation points can be conversion killers.
Time wins over Short-Supply in Building Urgency.
Short-term phrases dominate.
Vagueness takes the crown.
Mike King shares in-depth insights into AI-generated content and how they can impact your site's visibility and traffic. Google's updates have been more and more geared towards targeting AI-gen spam sites with false positives and false negatives.
He shares 6 key things to do if you do want to use AI content:
Fine-tune the model that generates copy
Generate copy in short bursts
Focus on utility content
Put everything through an editorial layer
Apply a layer of optimization
Sean Si shares his top link building email mistakes and why they could be affecting your outreach campaigns:
You’re Not Using a Professional Email Address
You’re Not Disclosing Your Affiliations
You’re Not Addressing Webmasters by their First Name
You’re Not Using a Creative Subject Line
Good study from Moz to see what link metrics have the biggest impact on organic traffic. They look at 3 link metrics and which one correlates the closest:
Number of unique linking domains
Topical link profile relevance
Need more evidence that topical authority is a major factor? You got it here.
Good article from Semrush on the importance of internal links with steps for an internal linking strategy:
Identify Your Site’s Pillar Pages
Create Topic Clusters Using Internal Links
Choose the Right Anchor Text
Identify Your Site’s Authority Pages
Support Your New Pages
They also get into auditing your site and finding internal linking issues. It discusses how to do it with Semrush, but you can do the same things without Semrush .
Allison Seboldt has a Free course on Programmatic SEO that gives you an overview of what it is. She covers a number of topics:
Structuring and optimizing programmatic pages
Automating content creation
Programmatic SEO has become a hotter and hotter topic these days with Ian Nuttall being one of the experts on Twitter. It's nothing new by any means and there's the manual version of it that Mike Donovan coined as "brand swapping."
Whether you're starting with $0, $1k, $10k or even $100k, working out how to invest that money into your site can be a daunting task. Mark and Gael at Authority Hacker discuss how they'd start a site on different budget levels:
Rtings.com is one of the best affiliate sites that I've been following for over a couple of years now. This Ahrefs look at the site is a good overview of how they've been able to grow their site:
Building a scalable website structure
Using programmatic SEO strategically
Stitching it all together with proper internal linking
Running a successful YouTube channel
There's a lot of debate on building sites in public vs stealth mode. We see one of the biggest reasons why you don't build in public until you have an authoritative site.
Income School shared one of their sites too early and now they have copycats up the ***. What doesn't make it any easier is their low-competition keyword approach.
In the cooking niche, there are many high-DA sites out there that can just use their sitemap as a keyword list to go after. Those sites have the topical and domain authority to quickly outrank a new site.
Look at those who are building out in public. They already have authoritative sites and basically challenging people to outrank them. Don't fall into that trap and build in public when you have a young site.
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Have a great week taking your niche sites to another level!