niche surfer - Wave 128
ChatGPT App Store; HTML Sitemaps; Semantic Search; 301 Aged Domains; Keyword Cannibalization; and Much More!
If this week’s newsletter looks a little different, that’s because it’s received a design refresh!
I’ve moved the newsletter over to beehiiv for more flexibility in design! In a couple of weeks, it could look even more different as I learn more about beehiiv too.
There will be more things like a referral program too. I’m figuring out the rewards and swag to give out. But of course it’ll include Topical Maps Unlocked!
One thing I’m waiting on from beehiiv is to migrate over my past issues from Curated.co. It’s my own (our) library of SEO and niche site resources to search through whenever I have a question about something.
After having sent out a niche surfer every week for nearly 2.5 years, there is now a treasure trove of curated content. I often find myself going to newsletter.nichesurfer.com and searching for anything.
The niche surfer library is better than Google because I’ve personally vetted the articles and guides for my own education.
I’ll head over there and put in “content brief” to see all the past resources that I’ve curated. And because these are all ones that I’ve read, I know they’re good pretty good.
personal library of amazing SEO and niche site resources
There’s also a poll feature (1st one at the bottom!). Maybe I’ll thow in a gif or two once in a while. Would that get more subscribers? Ok fine, I included one at the end of this issue…
Anyways, let’s get into it and see what you think about this change in format!
This is a potato.
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10 Strategic SEO Insights & Tactical Advice For 2023 And Beyond
Greg Jarboe covers a number of strategies to focus on moving forward in SEO with a focus on user intent, creating high-quality content and prioritizing E-E-A-T. All while following The Marine Corps Framework of a 70% success rate as the benchmark.
What is Semantic Search?
Have you been wondering what this “semantic” thing is? Luis Serrano shares a good overview of semantic search and how it differs from keyword search. It explains how text embeddings and similarity are used to build a semantic search model and how nearest neighbor algorithms can be used to optimize the process.
Got all that? Jargon aside, he gives some easy-to-understand examples to show the differences of keyword search and semantic search.
Not enough? Joe Hall also shared his SEO 101: Semantic SEO post. This is more generalized and not as specific as Luis Serrano’s.
When and How to Use HTML Sitemaps for SEO and UX
Learn instances where using visual, HTML sitemaps make sense than simply relying on your website's navigational structure or XML sitemaps.
The difference between HTML and XML sitemaps is that HTML sitemaps are usually visible to website visitors while XML sitemaps are not and are meant primarily for search engines.
HTML sitemaps can provide a quick overview of the website, better link equity, and improved usability, while XML sitemaps can ensure faster indexing and are machine-readable.
Google’s John Mueller believes that websites should have a clear navigational structure instead of relying on HTML sitemaps. So make sure your internal links are on-point.
How to Get a Google Knowledge Panel
You know those boxes on the side of Google Search that are made for well-known brands, people, and other really important things? It looks like this:
Yep, I’m still more known as an actor rather than the niche surfing topical mapping guy I am now 😅
There’s no way to guarantee yourself one, but this Market Muse article covers things you can do to increase your chances of getting a Google Knowledge Panel yourself.
Spy on Your Competitors
Chris Haines at Ahrefs covers how to spy on what your competitors are doing and analyze their online presence. Use that information to gorw your own traffic, rankings, and earnings. He goes through how to:
Identify your organic competitors
Spy on competitor’s organic keywords
Spy on competitor’s organic traffic and rankings
Spy on competitor’s website and page value
Spy on competitor’s Google ads
Spy on competitor’s authors
Spy on competitor’s links
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Great Tools for Content Creators
Here are some of the deals out there that I found interesting and a few fun ones:
Nifty - This is my favorite project management platform and been using it for the last couple of years with my team and clients. Its closest competitor is ClickUp with all its features. My favorite feature are the chats that I can turn into a Google Meet or Zoom by clicking on a button.
Sticker Mule - A popular custom product service that has a few one-time deals on Appsumo. Each one is only $9 and free shipping to most countries - Custom T-Shirt and Custom Magnets (50 of them). The t-shirt deal ends in 3 days.
Insourcing vs. outsourcing: The pros and cons for content creation
Learn how insourcing vs. outsourcing content differ. Julia McCoy compares the pros and cons so you can choose the right route for you. It all boils down to whether they insource or outsource that strategy, including planning, ideating, writing/creating, publishing, and promoting.
I mentioned in past weeks that I’ve hired an internal content team for specific projects and it’s definitely a lot more investment (time and money) upfront to train people, but I do believe it’ll save time and money in the long run.
Plus, the perfectionist I am, I also like to have more control over the content and process. I’m not tied to number of word counts or number of revisions. I get unlimited for both now.
Is ChatGPT your secret weapon for SEO content editing?
Tom Demers shares a number of ways that ChatGPT can help you with editing content, including:
Rewriting for search intent
Applying best practices to your intros
Optimizing for featured snippets
Beefing up E-E-A-T
Convert post to HTML and add internal links
Lots of great tips that I wouldn’t have thought of for using ChatGPT. But that begs the question - “how much is too much ChatGPT?” I find it easier to just do things rather than mess with the back and forth of ChatGPT.
How To Detect & Fix Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on a website compete for the same target keywords, leading to confusion for search engines and negative impact on rankings.
Olga Zarr covers how to detect keyword cannibalization, how Google determines which article is for a search query, and how to fix cannibalization.
OpenAI Releases ChatGPT Plugins
One of the biggest complaints about ChatGPT and AI in general is the inaccuracy of data. Well, now with ChatGPT’s Plugins, you won’t need to worry as much.
OpenAI recently launched ChatGPT Plugins that taps into other API’s and databases. Some of the ones available right now are:
Zapier - interact with Zapier and the apps there
OpenTable - search for and book dining experiences
Shop & Klarna Shopping - Compare prices and go shopping
Kayak & Expedia - Plan and search flights, car rentals, and travel experiences.
Wolfram|Alpha - Access computation, math, curated knowledge & real-time data.
The Wolfram plugin is my favorite so far because of the databases you can tap into and the ability to create charts and graphs with it in ChatGPT. Using Wolfram can be a bit tricky because you’ll need to write prompts/queries that Wolfram understands or it’ll default to ChatGPT’s database.
The good thing is you’re able to see how ChatGPT sent its request to Wolfram and whether or not Wolfram understood the request. Getting closer to real-time data use!
And yes, if you haven’t realized it, it’s the launch of an OpenAI ChatGPT App Store. I’m sure they’ll release information soon enough. In the meantime, brush up on their API documentation.
OpenAI Outage and Leaked Payment
ChatGPT was taken offline on Monday due to a bug in the Redis client open-source library, redis-py, which allowed some users to see payment-related information of 1.2% of ChatGPT Plus subscribers.
During a 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. window Pacific time, another active ChatGPT Plus user’s first and last name, email address, payment address, the last four digits (only) of a credit card number, and credit card expiration date might have been visible. It’s possible that this also could have occurred prior to March 20, although we have not confirmed any instances of this.
Google Bard: Everything You Need To Know
Roger Montti from SEJ shares a good overview of Google Bard to help you understand what it’s all about. It’s a good overview so you’re not trying to piecemeal everything together yourself.
Bard sure knows about the niche surfer newsletter:
Bing’s CEO Says Google Bard is Behind Bing Chat
Mikhail Parakhin, the current CEO of Bing at Microsoft and former CTO at Yandex said that Google Bard is "pretty far behind" compared to Bing Chat. "We learned to never underestimate Google," he added.
If you don’t have access to both, here’s a video comparing Bard vs Bing.
Google Says Bard Won't Link To Sources Too Often
If you’ve been playing around with Bard, you may notice that there Bard doesn’t provide citations like Bing Chat does. So there’s no way of telling where the information comes from.
To me, Bard is like that know-it-all friend who always has an answer for everything, but doesn’t offer you proof. When pressed, they’ll tell you to “Google it” for citations.
Get Backlink Authority Fast with Aged Domains
Adam Smith from Niche Website Builders recently went on the How the F*ck SEO Podcast discussing aged domains. It’s a great listen if you’re thinking about getting aged domains.
He discusses evaluating domains and whether they’re worth it or not. Then once you find one, how to redirect it properly. There’s a great slidedeck on LinkedIn that encapsulates how to 301 aged domains for maximum effect.
How to Write Link Building Email Templates To Get Replies
Jeremy Chatelaine shares best practices and examples for writing effective link building outreach emails, with the goal of getting more replies and securing new, high-quality links.
Spend time building your list for the best results
Find individual contact details rather than catch-all addresses
Personalize the email to each recipient to stand out in a busy inbox
Add social proof to your emails to build trust
Always provide value for the recipient
Test your call-to-actions to improve reply rates
Use cold outreach software to automate the process
Track your metrics to judge success
BRANDING + MARKETING
How to Earn Brand Authority at Any Budget
Amanda Milligan from Wix discusses how it’s crucial to build brand authority for search engine optimization and attracting potential customers.
Brand authority is closely related and a part of topical authority. It’s a crucial component of search engine optimization and is important to build in order to rank well and gain high-quality site traffic.
Building authority also helps potential customers feel more comfortable with interacting and transacting with your brand
Regardless of budget size - Brands of all sizes can improve their authority by utilizing industry directories, customer testimonials, digital PR, co-marketing, and content marketing.
What Services Do Digital Marketing Agencies Offer?
In this Semrush article, Kate Churkina aims to help readers understand what digital marketing agencies do (or claim they do) and go learn those skills.
Am I expecting you to go out and hire a digital marketing agency? Nope.
But if you’re worried about AI or even if you’re not worried about competition from AI, it’s important to understand what digital marketing is all about - generating traffic and revenue, including SEO, content marketing, PPC advertising, email marketing, market research, video production, PR, social media marketing, marketing strategy, and web design & development.
Looking to drive traffic that doesn’t rely on Google? Thinking about expanding your revenue streams? Brush up on these skills to help grow your sites.
Target Audience Analysis In The Digital Age: Why It’s So Important
Knowing your target audience is crucial for niche sites, websites, and e-commerce because it allows you to better understand your customers and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.
Dan Politz at Credo shares the key steps to analyzing your target audience. If you’re looking to sell anything or create content for your fans, you’ll want to make sure you put in teh work.
Identify Your Ideal Customer
Create Buyer Personas
Conduct Market Research
Analyze Your Competitors
Refine Your Messaging
Use Targeted Marketing Channels
Empire Flippers vs. Motion Invest vs. Investors Club
Oleg Galeev shares his experience of trying to sell his affiliate site on Investors.Club, then Motion Invest, and finally on Empire Flippers, where he was able to finally get the sale.
Selling your site can be a long and arduous process, or it can be quick and easy. I’ve sold sites on Flippa, Empire Flippers, and privately with Escrow.com to hold the funds.
For future site sales, I’ll most likely go with Empire Flippers myself. It’s a smooth and professional process. They also have a website valuation calculator so you can estimate how much your site might be worth.
17 Inspiring Product Page Examples (+ Best Practices for Yours)
Getting ready to expand into digital products? Check out these product page examples to learn best practices.
Rachel Handley shares product pages from Amazon, Apple, Gymshark and more for review and inspiration. See how Amazon pages use every little bit of white space to maximize sales, while Apple uses all that white space to maximize sales. Very different designs.
Amazon shuts down DPReview.com after 25 years
As part of Amazon’s annual planning process for 2023, camera review site DPReview.com will close on April 10th. The site will still be up, but won’t be updated any long and will only be in read-only mode.
Take a look at the site and the way they try to monetize camera review pages - is there any wonder why it wasn’t sustainable? Here’s a Fujifilm X-H2 review.
My take is that Amazon is going to look for a sale. This announcement essentially lets potential suitors know that it’s on the block. DPReview is still a valuable asset and the eventual buyer can follow Mushfiq’s Easy Wins strategies to significantly increase revenues.
LIKE NICHE SURFER?
Find me and others in the Niche Surfer Discord community.
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!
And now, for the poll -
What do you think of this new design and format?
SURFING WITH OTHERS
I’ve followed Richard Patey’s newsletter for quite some time now as a great resource for staying up to date with digital assets.
And the promised gif - here’s how I feel after sending out a freshly designed newsletter -