- niche surfer
- ISSUE 109
SEO And Link Building Stats Galore; $350K Monster Case Study; WordPress SEO; DIY SEO; 15K Sites Hacked; And Much More!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here! Have you been creating your shopping list of toys to get?
It's a great time to renew annual tools. Although many tools do say it's only for new customers, you can always try to sign up with a different email address (don't tell me you only have one email address).
Some tools will let you keep the price and others will revert to the regular price for renewals. But when the expiration is coming, that's when another round of BF deals show up and you can get their deal prices.
I've started to add some of the better products and services for content creators like us to the Black Friday Deals Page on Niche Surfer. There are deals I haven't added on there yet because the product/service hasn't announced the deals yet, so I'll be sharing them in a few days.
I will also send out a special BF issue mid-week, so be on the look out for that.
I'll be doing a BF deal myself for topical maps, but since it's not a tool or course, it's hard to a huge discount. But I'll still be doing one!
25% Off Expansion Packs and 10% Off Starter and Authority Package orders.
The discounts are valid from Nov. 25th to 30th, but if you reply to this email and ask nicely, I'll give you the deal now. It'll also help me to make sure your topical maps aren't delayed due to too many orders being done.
Lots of good stuff this week, so on with the show...
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Justin Charnell is one of the top people out there sharing his programmatic SEO journey on YouTube, Twitter, and his blog. He shares lots of great tips, especially when it comes to issues that he runs into and how to overcome them.
Plus, lots of quotable material in here, including how he has "filled a digital graveyard with expired domains."
In June of 2022, Mordy Oberstein first spotted a new SERP feature being tested called Google Explore. That’s where a feed of content shows up after a user scrolls through several pages in the mobile
So, if you publish a lot of article content, videos, etc., then be on the lookout for Google Explore in the mobile SERPs. You can trigger it by scrolling several pages on mobile. Sometimes it triggers after just one or two scrolls, but other times it requires four to five scrolls. Again, it’s a fascinating SERP feature that is flying under the radar right now. So scroll away and see what you find.
My take: It's also a good way to look at how Google treats the original search query and the semantic topics surround it.
Andrew Hardgrove shares a wide-ranging overview of programmatic SEO. If you're not sure what it is and how useful it can be, this is a good start.
It doesn't get into the details of actual steps of how to do programmatic SEO though, so it's not for you're just looking for the tech stack to get sites up and running.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Shawna Newman shares a nice comparison of two competing products - Niche Site Metrics and NicheFinder.io. Both products shares thousands of niche sites for you to do competitive research.
My take: Niche Site Metrics is by far the better option because of the size of its database of over 63k sites. When I'm doing niche and/or competitor research, I want the largest database possible.
NF's founder says he has a better quality database of over 10k domains because he removes the sites that he doesn't think people want, like a localized Denver site. Brandon Saltalamacchia might have issue with that comment as he builds a localized Bath, UK site haha.
NF's founder also says that he's working on a topical map tool. Sorry, but if it were that easy to just add a topical map tool, there'd be one now. But best of luck and I'll be the first one to sign up if it can produce real topical maps.
NSM gives you all the data that he finds and that's what I want when I'm doing my own research. I know what will and won't help me, so I don't need someone else filtering data for me.
What if Ahrefs and Semrush only gave you 100 out of 1000 keywords in a keyword search because they thought you didn't need the other 900 keywords?
Do yourself a favor and get Niche Site Metrics if you're considering one or the other.
Joshua Hardwick talks about buying links, his experiences on process and costs, and how to build links safely. it's a good overview of link building through buying guest posts and niche edits.
Authority Hacker anonymously surveyed 755 professional link builders on how they build links, what works best for them, and what it really takes to make link building work. Some of the key takeaways:
74.3% of link builders pay for links.
89.1% of link builders say nofollow links have an impact on rankings
The average cost of a paid link is $83.
In-house SEOs pay 75% more for links than niche site owners.
Experienced Link Builders Can Build 3.57X As Many Links As Beginners
Link builders using social media build 22% more links than those who don’t.
It takes an average of 3.1 months to see the impact of a link on search ranking.
Guest posting is, by far, the most popular link building tactic. This is somewhat contradictory to the point that the same people said creating content or linkable assets is the most effective link building tactic.
Lots of great, interesting information in here.
This is an older post on the Builder Society forum that was recently shared by Zak Kann on Twitter (his Niche Creator Q&A).
The author calls it The SEO Kitchen Sink Method and is a guide on how to audit every aspect of your site to see why you may have suddenly lost traffic.
Chris Long with Go Fish Digital shares his advanced on-page optimizations for Moz's Whiteboard Friday. He covers various topics that goes beyond the basics:
Historical Competitor Changes
This is a good article from Mike Ginley talking about DIY SEO and different ways you can do it yourself with free tools vs paid tools.
Semrush shares 28 steps that will make your WordPress SEO on point. Many of these you've probably heard here and there, but this is a good list to use as a checklist. Some of the key ones that I want to highlight:
Install and Configure a WordPress SEO Plugin (Rank Math is my favorite)
Noindex Unimportant Pages
Plan the Architecture of Your Site (Topical maps help immensely)
Nest Your Pages into Subfolders
Enable Breadcrumbs (Rank Math makes it easy)
Write SEO-Friendly URLs
Craft Unique Meta Descriptions (Some gurus say they don't do this. I say do it for better CTR)
Mark Up Your Pages with Schema (Rank Math also makes this easy)
This guide uses Yoast for many of its examples, but I prefer Rank Math. It's just personal preference and what some are used to / find easier to use.
What do you get when you spend over $350k in 3 months on a new website?
Adam Smith at Niche Website Builders breaks down their monster case study numbers 3 months since the site launched. Here's where the money has gone so far since August 2022:
Primary Domain - $3,500
Content - $322,000
Digital PR - $11,994
Additional Domains - $15,000
They're using their own services, so they're doing a case study on their themselves. Really interesting case study to consider when you think about content velocity and how fast a site is built.
SearchPilot tested for the organic traffic impact if they removed the word 'Airport' from page titles of destination-related pages.
Old: Cheap Flights to London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
New: Cheap Flights to London Heathrow (LHR)
68.8% of the Twitter voters in their poll said there'd be a negative impact. The result is a little complicated and can be considered as no impact to a positive impact. That's because of Google overwriting and then not overwriting the page title tags that were used in the pages.
Si Quan Ong at Ahrefs shares interesting SEO stats they've collected from a variety of sources. Here are some of the top stats:
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
0.63% of Google searchers click on results from the second page.
12.29% of search queries have featured snippets in their search results.
SEO drives 1,000%+ more traffic than organic social media.
60% of marketers say that inbound (SEO, blog content, etc.) is their highest quality source of leads.
58.99% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones.
There are more searches on mobile than on desktop.
The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 27.6%.
The top three Google search results get 54.4% of all clicks.
While this isn't about building a niche site, many of the steps will tie into building a niche site:
Find your niche
Define your Target
Conduct Competitor Research
Launch your Website
Those are 4 of the steps in building a digital marketing agency. If I didn't say that, you'd probably be thinking they were steps for building a niche site.
Many people who build sites and share their journey online will inevitably get people reaching out to you for help. That can turn into building a mini-agency as additional side income if you're so inclined. Others will build an audience and sell courses and affiliate products.
I basically do everything (except courses) as I create topical maps and also share products that I believe in through affiliate links. They all help to justify the time that's spent on creating a free newsletter the past couple of years.
Google Search Central Blog shares the introduction of several features to make it easier for Search Console users to show their products across Google. Recently, Search Console launched a Merchant Listings report to help merchants add Product structured data.
Eligible online store owners that have implemented product markup will see a new section called Shopping tab listings. The change is gradually rolling out over the next few weeks, so you might not see any changes for now.
My take:I'm seeing the tab on my own sites in GSC where I've added Product structured data. Not sure what I'll do with it, but it's there.
Hackers are conducting a massive black hat search engine optimization (SEO) campaign by compromising almost 15,000 websites to redirect visitors to fake Q&A discussion forums.
The attacks were first spotted by Sucuri, who says that each compromised site contains approximately 20,000 files used as part of the search engine spam campaign, with most of the sites being WordPress.
Sucuri couldn't identify how the threat actors breached the websites used for redirections. However, it likely happens by exploiting a vulnerable plugin or brute-forcing the WordPress admin password.
Some of the things that I do to help prevent hacking through plugin vulnerabilities or brute-force login:
Keep your WordPress, plugins, and themes updated. You can enable automatic updates.
Change the Login URL from /wp-login.php to something else. I use a simple plugin - WPS Login.
Unless you need it, I block IPs that attempt to access /xmlrpc.php. I use the Wordfence plugin for this.
Enable rate limiting for how many times an IP can access my sites in certain amounts of times. Helps prevent brute-force bots.
Barry Schwartz wrote about another potential Google algorithm update last weekend and how recent volatility signals were higher on weekends than weekdays. For example, we had reports of an update last weekend, on November 4th and 5th, the weekend before that on October 28th/29th, the spam update kind of surged on a Friday/Saturday with Octber 21st and 22nd, but the one before that was on a Thursday, October 13th.
My take: These unannounced updates are frequent and it's even been suggested by John Mueller and Danny Sullivan in the past that updates may just be continuous. Regular algo tweaks were always part of the game, so it's not surprising to see SERP changes when not announced.
And remember, as Google works on adding more SERP features to help them generate more income, it's going to hurt organic traffic. One way to combat that is to generate more content to help cover the loss of traffic from other content. So...Always Be Publishing!
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Have a great week taking your niche sites to another level!