niche surfer - Wave Issue 136
Customer Shoes; Fixing Indexing Issues; Industry Report 2023; Entity Optimization; Content Design; Enhanced Bylines; and Much More!
We All Need To …
put ourselves in our customers’ shoes
Whether you're running a content site, an affiliate site, a SaaS, an eCommerce site, dropshipping site, or any other online business, one mantra should echo across your team - see the website like your customers do.
When working with my team on topical maps for clients, you can often find me talking with my team about what our clients’ customers want and need.
We already know what our client wants - increased earnings.
All sites serve two customers - Search engine crawlers and Humans.
They both share a common goal - to find meaningful, relevant, and valuable content.
Search engine bots want to crawl and index the most valuable content, to understand the structure and relevance of your site before giving you a ranking in the SERPs. Your website serves them technically.
On the other hand, humans are looking for informative and engaging content that answers their burning questions, entertains them, or helps them make tough decisions. Your website serves them emotionally.
The challenge we face as website owners and marketers is to keep the balance between the tech needs of the bots and the emotional needs of our human visitors.
We often get caught up in impressing the bots and forget about the actual users, who, let's face it, are the ones we're really here for. They’re the ones providing us the $$$.
The golden ticket to boosting earnings and seeing those dollar signs is in figuring out "the why" behind how your customers. This helps us provide what they need and at the same time, find ways to make some money out of it.
Don't sweat the type of content you're publishing - informational, affiliate, AI-generated, lead gen, or whatever else.
What really matters is whether it's hitting the mark with your customers. Quality and relevance beat quantity, every single time.
At the end of the day, it's all about your customers and how well you're serving them. So how do we do that?
Putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes.
How 6 months fly by! In this month’s case study post, I get into how I resolved some indexing issues for the site by tapping directly into the Google Indexing API.
Dim’s been doing all the hard work with publishing content and there’s a pretty Google Search Console chart with nice, steady growth of search impressions and clicks.
Plus, don’t forget that LowFruits’ 20% Off Discount Ends on Monday, May 22nd!
Head over to the LowFruits site and use this code: LFMAY2023
Lots of interesting insights and predictions from Empire Flippers after reviewing 1,493 business deals over the last five years. They say it’s clear that the post-pandemic M&A market of 2022 and beyond has shifted into a very different landscape from 2020 and 2021.
Some of the notable takeaways:
The conditions of 2020-2021, characterized by a surge in online business growth, are unlikely to return without world-changing events and highly liquid aggregators competing.
Sellers who insist on listing at 2021 valuation levels may face a misalignment in the market, leading to longer sale times or deals not going through.
Display advertising-focused content sites experienced significant growth in acquisition interest, while Amazon Associates sites saw a decline in profitability and buyer interest.
Predictions for 2023 include a less competitive market for non-institutional buyers and mini aggregators to acquire eCommerce businesses, while display advertising is expected to continue dominating monetization within content sites.
Content sites are expected to experience an upward trajectory and potentially lead to more 7-figure exits. Generative AI tools make content production easier and less expensive.
Adam Riemer discusses how Google is helping affiliates:
Google's algorithm update rewards "hidden gems" - lesser-known sites that provide helpful and actionable content.
Leverage personal experiences through videos and social media to engage your audience.
Become an authoritative destination by building a trusted website or app that offers solutions.
Timothy Warren discusses optimizing for entities to improve your content’s performance in search engines. If you haven’t looked into entities much, this is a good primer for it.
Entities are uniquely identifiable objects or things with names, types, attributes, and relationships.
Claire Brain discusses what keyword difficulty means for SEO, how the score is measured and tips for using it to get better results. She covers how keyword difficulty is calculated on Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, and Sistrix.
Karolina Bugała-Valim at Onely covers why you should regularly monitor the "Alternate page with proper canonical tag" status to ensure effective crawling and indexing of your website's URLs, including:
You don’t want alternate pages wasting your crawl budget.
Ensure proper internal linking to indexable and canonical pages, while removing excessive internal links to non-canonical pages.
Source: Search Engine Roundtable
John Mueller shuts down SEO shortcuts on Mastodon - "Every now and then, a site doing stupid short-cuts like this will end up getting SEO traffic from search. Most won't. It's a gamble, like…stealing a neighbor’s fruits at night and selling them.”
How to set up A/B Testing using Microsoft Clarity and GA4 to improve your website's performance and drive more conversions with better A/B testing.
Google Chrome will now detect URL typos and suggest websites based on the corrections. Is it the end of typosquatting?
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Niche Website Builders will be launching the Make Lemonade Marketplace next week as 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!
Because of those low broker fees, it’s pushed me to list a site myself! The process was pretty easy, and I’m sure it’ll get easier
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 a quick estimate.
They launched a brand new AI-powered domain name finding tool. Brandsnap.ai generates genuine and catchy domain names for your brand. It also checks for trademark and social media handle availability for your new website
Dan Taylor at Salt Agency goes in-depth on how he thinks Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) will affect content strategies moving forward.
There’s a good description of a content strategy approach for Google I/O presentation query: “good bike for a 5 mile commute with hills.”
That one query led him to suggest creating a Commuter Bike Hub, featuring bikes with various use cases outlined as features, e.g. ideal for short commutes, reliable, and can handle hills with ease. Products would have comments from previous customers who have used the product, validating the vendor claims and helping create a confident purchasing experience.
Marianna Mankle at Siege Media discusses four steps to execute content design successfully include conducting audience and keyword research, evaluating search intent, mapping out content, and creating engaging design assets.
My Take: Good information here because many people use the default WordPress design when it comes to presenting content. Especially now with the prevalence of pSEO and AI-generated content, people are looking for and using one-click options. Don’t do that - make your content better for users and you’ll be rewarded with more traffic.
Source: Siege Media
Amanda Natividad at SparkToro discusses how content goals should be tied to broader marketing and business goals. She also covers six key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge content quality:
Off-platform shares: Tracking engagement and shares beyond the platform.
Quality of discussions: Engaging in thoughtful conversations and fostering relationships.
Adoptions and copycats: If others in the industry adopt or copy your content, it shows influence.
Two or more stakeholder goals met: Meeting multiple marketing or business stakeholder goals with content.
New programs inspired: Content inspiring the creation of new programs or events.
Being economical: Making the most out of content by using it for multiple marketing functions.
The New York Times will replace traditional datelines with "enhanced bylines" that provide more information on how journalists conducted their reporting. The aim is to modernize and make journalism more transparent, plain-spoken, and trustworthy.
The enhanced bylines will emphasize the presence of reporters on the ground, boosting the credibility of the news (aka E-E-A-T).
Europe is taking a significant step towards implementing the EU AI Act, which aims to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically targets models like ChatGPT.
The act follows a risk-based approach, categorizing AI applications into four different levels of risk: unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk, and minimal or no risk. Unacceptable risk applications are banned by default.
Developers of "foundation models" like ChatGPT will need to adhere to safety checks, data governance measures, and copyright compliance.
It’s going to be interesting to see how things evolve with regulations and how/if they affect the quality of AI generated outputs.
Google has given the green light to plans for using generative AI, fueled by large language models (LLMs), to automate advertising and ad-supported consumer services, according to internal documents.
They are planning to use PaLM 2-powered tools to allow advertisers to generate their own media assets and to suggest videos for YouTube creators to make. Google has also been testing PaLM 2 for YouTube youth content for things like titles, and descriptions. For creators, the company has been using the technology to experiment with the idea of providing five video ideas based on topics that appear relevant.
Copilot prompts you with interactive buttons as needed, allowing you to clarify your question. The video shows the interactive search with examples for “help me buy headphones,” trip planning, health diets, and learning how to ski.
The next iteration of Perplexity has arrived: Copilot, your interactive AI search companion. 🚀🤖 Perplexity Copilot guides your search experience with interactive inputs, leading you to a rich, personalized answer, powered by GPT-4. Try it for free at https://t.co/ut3wdOwUEd https://t.co/AGrgBELOAE
— Perplexity AI (@perplexity_ai)
May 18, 2023
Dayna Lucio from Amsive Digital discusses how brands can adapt their search strategies for an AI-driven environment and effectively answer user questions.
She covers that to position themselves effectively, brands should answer user questions on their websites and prioritize providing information through specific pages, FAQ pages, and blog posts. By understanding what users are asking through tools like "People Also Ask" and Google Autocomplete, brands can optimize their content strategy.
OpenAI released an official ChatGPT app for iOS-only. You’ll need to have iOS 16.1 at least (I had to update my phone). The ChatGPT app is free to use, syncs your history across devices, enables voice input, and ChatGPT Plus subscribers get GPT-4’s capabilities. Get it in the app store.
Expanding into other revenue streams and selling products becoming one of the streams? Mateusz Makosiewicz offers up various ways to promote your products, including:
Partnering up with influencers
Leveraging affiliate marketing
Get featured in directories, rankings, and reviews
Pitching yourself as a podcast guest
Introducing a referral program
Lots of great nuggets here in this Niche Pursuits interview with Shane Dutka - one of the best I’ve heard in a while. He has a successful history of building and selling websites, including an e-commerce site, affiliate sites, and lead gen sites.
He currently works as the VP of SEO for a company called Three Ships, overseeing their owned and operated assets in the affiliate business, which generates over 100-200 million in revenue.
You’ll want to pause the videos at times and go look at some of his past sites on archive.org, see the current status of the sites, and look at the past competitors that he mentions to get into the research mindset of what he saw that drove him to success.
And ever wondered what a SubID is when creating those affiliate links? Shane covers what they’re for and how to use them.
Gmail getting into the blue checkmark game for verified companies, so you know that it’s a legitimate source and not a scammer.
Ahrefs goes around the BrightonSEO conference asking people if SEO conferences are worth it and what they get out of it.
WordPress 6.2.1 update causing some sites to break because of the removal of shortcodes from block templates.
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