Topical Relevance Test; SPEAR Intros; New Google Ranking Guide; Anchor Text Types; 60% of the Internet is Duplicate; and Much More!

Issue 2


I have my Black Friday shopping list and as I started to purchase, the money added up quickly!

Everything was a hundred here, a hundred there, a few hundred here, and so on...

After a few of those, you start wondering - Do I REALLY need this?

I know I've over-purchased credits and tools sometimes because I believe I'll use them. I often do use them, but there are times where I don't.

But one area that gives me the best deals is web hosting. With a little tech know-how or being a good Googler, you can manage your own VPS server for significantly less than the usual places.

I'll usually get servers for new sites. Of course you'll need to do your due diligence on these smaller companies, so there's a little background digging you need to do to see what's reputable.

I've started getting into programmatic SEO, so these VPS servers are really great for spinning up a site and letting it sit there. I don't have to worry about a few dollars a month per site. It'll be a few dollars for many sites.

For example, Racknerd's Black Friday deals includes a 4.5GB VPS server for $48.77 per year, just over $4 per month. Compare that to Vultr (my go-to for my larger, money sites) and its 1GB VPS servers starting at $5 per month, $60 per year.

I've put 10 small sites on a Racknerd 3GB VPS server that was ~$35 during BF last year. That's less than 30 cents per site per month. With Vultr, I used to be able to get 3-4 small sites on a 1GB High-Frequency VPS Server that's $6 a month, so that comes out to about $2 per site per month.

As the startup sites grow in size and traffic, I'll start moving them to servers with less sites per server or to a server on its own.

Racknerd also has shared hosting (like Siteground, WPX), but I'm not sure how good those are. I probably wouldn't use a smaller company when you're sharing IP addresses because you never know what other types of sites are on your IP. A big advantage to using a VPS server is you get your own IP address.

So for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, take a beat on those deals that you're on the fence on. Get those deals for products and services that you regularly use first.

Then take a look at how much you've spent and you may no longer be on the fence anymore. 😉


I've been really busy the last few weeks and the Niche Creator outreach to get new people hasn't been going as well, so I've decided to pause any new interviews until 2023.

BUT, I'll still share some of the popular interviews from the past. Many of you are new, so the interviews will be new to you!

For this week, here are some of the first Niche Creator interviews ever done:


At SMX Next, Hyung-Jin Kim, the VP of Search at Google, candidly shared some perspectives about the direction of Google’s algorithms and the critical focus on satisfying user intent.

  1. The relationship between webmasters, SEOs, and Google is one of a partnership

  2. E-A-T is pervasive throughout everything Google does, including every single query.

  3. Google’s algorithm updates generally share the same mission, but the technology behind them has improved

  4. First-hand experience plays a key role in good content, like in review content.

  5. The Search Quality team is focused on math and metrics, but they’re also highly empathetic

  6. Google algorithm updates aim to improve the overall quality of the web

  7. More visual search results are on the horizon

Remember the Panda algorithm? It's been updated and code-named Coati. It was revealed by HJ Kim in an interview with Barry Schwartz. Coati is not a "core update" itself though. Rather it's a part of the larger core update algorithm.

Google has a new centralized page for you to bookmark and come back to in the future when you have questions about Google updates and ranking systems. And yes, there's a difference between "ranking systems" versus "updates to those systems."

Going forward, they say they'll be more precise with their wording when differentiating systems from updates. They'll still have things like a "helpful content update" or a "product reviews update", but when possible they will explain those as updates to the respective systems, such as the "helpful content system" and the "product reviews system."

John Mueller wrote on Mastodon that he would go with a subdomain over a www when he thinks the content on the subdomain can live on its own off of the www.

He said "my way of thinking with regards to subdomains is that it depends on what you're trying to do. Is it content that's meant to be tightly connected to the main site? then put it on the main site. If you want the content to stand on its own, then a subdomain is a good match."

Later on in that thread, John added "To be clear, I think it will affect rankings of the new content, but ultimately it depends on what you want to achieve with it. Sometimes you want something separated out, sometimes you want to see something as a part of the main site. These are different situations, and the results will differ."

My Take: Subdomains should be considered as a separate entity and John Mueller says as much. No real reason or benefit to using a subdomain for content that you want to rank.

If you wanted to create sub-brand or sister brand for your main brand, I'd still use a different domain rather than a subdomain. It'll be easier for users to differentiate and remember.

Google is testing a new design, layout, and user experience for the people also ask box in the Google Search results. This interface has results side by side and stacked on top and then when you click on a result, it loads the answer in a shaded box.

That means Google can show a lot more PAAs, keeping users more on Google. But that also gives you more opportunities to get in there.


Intros are a microcosm of your entire article. While they might only make up 10% (or even less) of your article’s total word count, they may well account for 40% of your total read time, and for affiliate marketing SEO content, 40%+ of your conversions.

Jamie developed the SPEAR framework to help his writers curate high-converting intros without too much thought – to make it as natural as possible. It combines all the elements and emotions we aim to incite within the reader, and spurs action and helps us to lead them down the path to solving their needs.

Here's the SPEAR framework:

  • S – Search / User Intent

  • P – Pain Points

  • E – Expertise

  • A – Audience

  • R – Rapport

Building topically relevant content is vital for both the user experience of the page, and getting SEO traffic. If your content is topically relevant, users will find answers causing them to shop, subscribe, link to you, and share your page or brand with others. The trick is knowing what is and what is not topically relevant.

Adam Riemer shares a topical relevance test he created for his team and two examples of where it's used. The test includes:

  1. Dissect each part of the title tag into the core themes.

  2. Look at each header and section of the page and make sure they all reflect each topic, not just one or two of them.

  3. Read each paragraph and check to make sure all sections from the title are accounted for.

  4. Read a random section to a stranger and ask what the topic of the post is.

An FAQ page answers frequently asked questions on your website. Many businesses have them to help users understand their products and services. There are 25 examples here to get ideas from.

Your FAQ page may also include questions and answers about operating hours, return policies, payment options, or shipping information. Or how to solve common problems with your product or service.

What if you have a content site? A FAQs page may not really work, but one way to it could is to create FAQs for products and/or brands in the niche you're in. They can act as a hub page to your other informational content.

At the least, you can include FAQs at the end of your posts. Add them using FAQ Schema too with a plugin like Rank Math (62% Off Pro Subscription with BFCM Deal until the 30th).


What is anchor text? How to make it useful for Google and for users? Onely covers some of the best practices for optimizing anchor text and the different types:

  1. Exact-Match Anchor

  2. Partial-Match Anchor

  3. Naked Link

  4. Generic Anchor

  5. Branded Anchor

  6. Image Anchor

HARO link building has taken the SEO industry by storm over the last few years. But today, actually getting results is hard work. HARO is oversaturated, and results are not guaranteed.

Jenny Abouobaia writes about link building through HARO and other similar platforms like Terkel and Help a B2B Writer.


Your email list is one of your business’s most important marketing assets. Rather than fleeting traffic from temporary social media posts or paid ads, these are people who have engaged with you and you have direct access to.

After the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Google Updates, email lists have become even more important and viable. Don't miss out on building a brand and generating return visitors.

Bill Widmer shares eight tactics to grow email lists:

  1. Put your opt-ins in all the right places

  2. Attract high-quality website traffic

  3. Create content upgrades

  4. Host giveaways

  5. Use exit-intent pop-ups

  6. Never spam your list

  7. Utilize a drip feed

  8. Segment your list

John McAlpin has a good article here on a variety of things to do to secure your WordPress site. I don't do everything here, but I do have a number of these things set up to prevent potential issues.

Some of the things he suggests to do:

  1. Add a CDN-level firewall

  2. Change your login page URL regularly

  3. Add a JavaScript challenge to your login page

  4. Limit login attempts

  5. Secure all passwords and enable two-factor authentication

  6. Remove XML-RPC.php

  7. Remove WP and plugin versions

  8. Disable comments


In July and August of 2022, SparkToro solicited (via Twitter, our email newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram) voluntary sharing of Google Analytics data from the web marketing community.

Over 1,000 participants shared their websites’ traffic (through GA’s oAuth function) with them. They then acquired metrics from four providers of traffic estimate data—SEMRush, Datos, SimilarWeb, and Ahrefs—and compared these against Google Analytics’ reported numbers.

Surprise, surprise (or maybe not) - none of the tools had traffic estimates that were accurate enough to include in SparkToro. In terms of over/under-estimations:

  • Ahrefs is almost always underestimating (which makes sense – they’re only measuring organic search traffic, not all traffic)… until you get to the <5K GA Users/month bucket, where they’re almost always overestimating.

  • Datos and SimilarWeb are fairly balanced between over and under-estimates

  • SEMRush is much more often over than under


In this post, Steve Allen gathered a big list of the different types of bloggers and blogs to you can get some ideas of the blog you want to start.

There are 13 different types of bloggers, including:

  1. Food Bloggers

  2. Travel Bloggers

  3. Business and Marketing Bloggers

  4. Fashion Bloggers

  5. Health and Fitness Bloggers

And 8 different types of blogs, including:

  1. Niche and Authority Blogs

  2. Personal Blogs

  3. Business and Corporate Blogs

  4. Professional Blogs and Personal Brands

  5. User Generated Blogs


And you think you have a duplicate content problem on your site? Gary Illyes from Google tweeted a slide at the Google Search Central Live in Singapore the other day that said -

"60% of the internet is duplicate."

Not much else in context from Barry Schwartz in the article as the slide was a tweet. Barry also wonders how Google defines "duplicate"? Is that 100% exact matches of the content, HTML, near matches, similar topics, etc?

My Take: I can't imagine it's exact match content, but rather just similar rewritten content. I'm not too surprised either with the amount of AI-writers and paraphrasers out there now. And with Black Friday discounts on AI/paraphraser tools and domain discounts, there will be a barrage of new sites going up in the next few weeks haha.



Have questions about building niche sites? Find me and others in the Niche Surfer Discord group.

I’d also love to know what you think and if you have any ideas for the newsletter. Reply or email me at [email protected].

I’d also appreciate it if you shared it with fellow niche surfers.

Have a great week taking your niche sites to another level!

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