niche surfer - Wave Issue 135
Google SGE is Here; ChatGPT Web Browsing and Plugins; New TLDs; Fractional COOs; ChatGPT to Update Content; SEO by Balenciaga; Questions as H2s; and Much More!
What a week, huh?
Search Generative Experience (SGE) is the top headline for all of us from Google I/O.
How will SGE affect SEO and niche sites?
It’s anyone’s guess. There are many predictions going around, but in reality, no one knows how things will play out.
If you’ve ever watched any movies that travel to the future (Back to the Future!) and show what the future looks like, those are all guesses by the writers and film production team.
There are many predictions based on the demos, but until people get their hands on the Generative AI experience in Search and the general population starts using it, they’re all guesses.
You can check out the Google SGE Overview PDF to learn more about it. There is a lot of great information in there, but also some interesting things in there.
I give my thoughts near the end of the newsletter to not take up too much space here, but here’s one example:
“When appropriate, SGE will show an AI-powered snapshot to help people quickly get an overview” - So don’t prevent the AI crawlers from scraping your site or your content won’t be used there and no chance for a potential link. If you want to prevent AI scraping, you’d better get your non-Google traffic in a good place first.
Anne Moss (her Niche Creator Q&A) discusses how hiring a fractional COO was a key element in scaling her business and sites. It’s a great read for those who have multiple sites and/or businesses and wants to scale.
My Take: It’s something I’ve been considering as well, instead of managing everything and everyone myself. Hiring VAs and delegating to them is great, but at some point, you also need someone with loads of experience who can really take things on themselves. That requires a background in overcoming all kinds of obstacles that come from running businesses and teams.
Jon Dykstra, Fat Stacks, talks to SEO Taylor Kimball about niche site SEO, topical authority, and so much more. This is Jon’s inaugural interview of a series he has planned. Lots of great nuggets in here from two really knowledgeable guys.
Google I/O and Lots of Updates
There were many new AI-focused features announced and demoed during the live 2-hour keynote. Here are the key highlights:
Search Generative Experience (SGE) - This is the big one that’s going to change the way you Google. Featured “snippets” are now large overviews that are AI-powered and users can get more insights from AI directly on Google without having to click on any links. You can join the Search Labs waitlist to try it out for yourself.
Perspectives on Search - In the coming weeks, when you search for something that might benefit from the experiences of others, you may see a Perspectives filter appear at the top of search results. This update joins a news-related Perspectives feature we recently launched under Top Stories.
About This Image - To fight misinformation with images, Google will start showing when the image and similar images were first indexed, where it may have first appeared, and where it’s been seen online (like on news, social, or fact checking sites). Google’s AI-generated images will also have a markup to give you context. They say this markup will be available for creators and publishers too, so they can label the images in Google Search.
Here’s Google’s list of the 100 things that were announced at I/O, including Pixel folding phones, Gmail, Docs, Workspace, and more.
Unconfirmed Update? - Barry Schwartz has been seeing signs of a potential ranking update through visibility and volatility tools, and through the grapevine. I mentioned last week that I’ve been seeing large delays ever since the April Update ended and this has been the longest period of these big delays, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a more significant update.
QUICK SEO BITES:
CNBC is getting into the game too with an article on how publishers worry Google’s new A.I. search could hurt traffic to websites due to Google’s drive for zero-click searches. Oh, and a Google spokesperson said that the company didn’t have plans to share about compensating publishers for training data.
Core Web Vitals will be replacing First Input Delay (FID) with Interaction to Next Paint (INP) in March 2024. INP will be the new responsiveness metric.
Google’s noticed that the “hreflang x-default” value is possibly underused, so they wrote a short post about how you can use “x-default” to set a default language and country page to redirect users to if you don’t have a specific region. SEO Fight Club guys start off their latest episode about how x-default could help index pages Google might otherwise miss.
Google’s related topics filter is rolling out to desktop after months of testing on mobile since December.
Bing Chat AI model improvements will help improve Bing Search core ranking algorithms, but the changes are not synchronized. Bing core search updates will happen more frequently because AI models take months to train. That will lead to maybe three updates a year for the AI models.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Get a 20% discount on PAYG and Yearly subscriptions with this code: LFMAY2023
Discount starts on Monday, May 15th and ends on Monday, May 22nd.
These discounts don’t come around too often, so if you have some keyword
Niche Website Builders will soon be launching the Make Lemonade Marketplace, a place to buy and sell online businesses.
They have a super-low brokerage cost at 7% or lower and with the launch, sellers get a 50% discount on those fees until May 31st. That’s 3.5% of fees!
The Make Lemonade website isn’t up yet, but you can submit your site to be listed when they launch very soon.
If you’re wondering how much your site or online business can be sold for, check out the Empire Flippers valuation tool for an estimate.
My First Chrome Extension
I’m releasing an internal Chrome extension that my team and I use when creating topical maps. It saves us hours every day and will help students too.
It’s going to be only for Topical Maps Unlocked students, so be sure to join in on the topical mapping fun.
I paid $5 to register as a Chrome Web Store developer.
I have a surprise for the topical maps students! 🎁
It's a handy, simple Chrome extension that's going to save them soooo much time when working with keywords and clusters.
— Yoyao (Niche Surfer) (@yoyaoh)
May 12, 2023
Matt G. Southern discusses how ad revenue for YouTube has been decreasing for three consecutive quarters and is experimenting with blocking ad blockers to push people to sign up for the ad-free Premium service.
Many people dread updating content (me included) because of all the work that goes into updating old content. It can sometimes be easier to create new content, rather than editing and updating.
Steve Allen gives lots of ways to use ChatGPT to help you be more efficient and save you time, while also potentially making it better than if you did it manually. Just be sure to manually check any facts because some of the tips are about adding things like book recommendations and expert opinions and quotes.
Are you wondering how to leverage AI for SEO and what will that mean for you as an SEO professional? Matt Diggity discusses what you should do to compete with other AI wannabes, including:
Topical Authority (Topical Maps anyone?)
Pivot & Prepare
Witness as the crème de la crème of SEO professionals, including Matt 'Do-All-The-Things' Diggity, Brian 'Backlinko' Dean, the rhythm of Lily Ray, the strategies of Ryan Stewart, and many more, are brought to life by groundbreaking AI.
If you are a ChatGPT Plus user, enjoy early access to experimental new features. These features are accessible via a new beta panel in your settings, which is rolling out to all Plus users over the course of the next week:
Web browsing: Try a new version of ChatGPT that knows when and how to browse the internet to answer questions about recent topics and events.
Plugins: Try a new version of ChatGPT that knows when and how to use 70+ third-party plugins that you enable.
QUICK AI BITES:
Google Bard is now open to everyone, no more waitlist! Head over to bard.google.com and try out Bard if you haven’t yet.
Jenny Abouobaia discusses hiring a link building agency and the key things to look for, including:
Great communication and transparency
Adaptable and holding themselves accountable
Realistic timelines and goals
Continuous progress updates and tracking
Defined methods and tools
My Take: These should apply to any agency, freelancers, and in-house team you work with, not just for a link building agency!
Andy Crestodina shares 10 best practices and lessons learned from 180k subscribers through LinkedIn newsletters. He discusses how LinkedIn newsletters offer a faster growth opportunity compared to email newsletters alone, but it is still a long-term strategy that requires ongoing effort and content marketing principles.
Best practices for starting a LinkedIn newsletter include choosing between a personal page or company page newsletter, using a descriptive name, writing a specific newsletter description, setting the frequency, making the first edition high-quality, adding engaging visuals, linking back to the original article on your website, and promoting the newsletter internally.
SearchPilot ran a split test on product pages where they rephrased all the H2s into questions, while also including the product name.
Control Version: Summary of Features
Variant Version: What are the features of [Product Name]?
70% of their Twitter followers said it’d have a positive impact…….and they were right! It led to a ~12% increase in organic traffic after 20 days.
Saw this on Tony Hill’s Twitter where he shares a Byword.ai case study that walks you through how Byword’s AI content writing and a content plan were implemented.
My Take: I love that the strategy incorporates a lot of “brain work” and wasn’t just about relying on keyword or AI tools. They understood who their customers were to come up with a plan for keyword research and a content plan.
James Brockbank shares how eCommerce brands are giving away thousands every month in affiliate commissions as a result of discount code sites ranking for ['brand' + discount code] queries on the SERPs.
If you have your own products or services and have an affiliate program, launching a 'discount codes' page on your own domain can help reduce affiliate payouts while retaining sales. As a bonus, brands with their own 'discount codes' page tend to rank well in search results.
Google Registry launches 8 new top-level domains: .dad, .phd, .prof, .esq, .foo, .zip, .mov and .nexus. Check out the article for some examples of sites already using these domains.
MY SGE THOUGHTS
My thoughts are in bold after each snippet from the SGE document:
“For product searches, SGE will generate a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider and a range of product options. SGE also provides product descriptions that include relevant, up-to-date reviews, ratings, prices and product images.” - Affiliate sites and product reviews will take a hit.
“Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page.” - But you better be ready to pay up because SGE will be taking up valuable real estate and there might be fewer ads at higher prices.
“While SGE also applies LLMs, it has been purposefully trained to carry out tasks specific to Search, including identifying high-quality web results that corroborate the information presented in the output. These models are used in tandem with our core ranking systems to deliver helpful and reliable results.” - You’d better not stop our crawlers or you won’t rank. Oh, and if SGE says a horse has 9 eyes…it has 9 eyes because another site also said it.
With SGE, “we built a customized integration of generative AI in Search that is rooted in our core Search ranking and quality systems…[especially with YMYL topics]” - How we give our answers and citations is what we expect YMYL sites to do.
“There are some topics for which SGE is designed to not generate a response” like with “information gaps…explicit or dangerous topics…self-harm queries…” - But that doesn’t mean Google will rank your content on those topics just because SGE won’t respond.
“We have found that giving the models leeway to create fluid, human-sounding responses results in a higher likelihood of inaccuracies…” - Expect more robotic-sounding text from it, but the information will potentially be more accurate.
“It’s possible for the output of SGE to appear to be in contradiction with other information in [search] results. For example, people might see a featured snippet result that highlights the perspective of a single source, while SGE represents a synthesized perspective corroborated in a range of results.” - Lovely…
REFER NICHE SURFER AND GET REWARDS
If you’re enjoying niche surfer, I’d love it if you would share it with your friends! I’ve put together some rewards as well:
Refer 3: Get a Twitter Shout-out
Refer 5: Get featured in an issue
Refer 10: Get One Ask Me Anything Question
Refer 50: Get 50% Off the Topical Maps Unlocked Course
Refer 100: Get a Free copy of Topical Maps Unlocked
Refer 150: Get a 1 hour SEO 1-1 Coaching session with Yoyao
SURF WITH OTHERS
I’ve followed Richard Patey’s newsletters for quite some time now as a great resource for staying up to date with acquiring and investing in digital assets.
LIKE NICHE SURFER?
What Did You Think of This Week's Wave?
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!