Can you believe we’re almost a week into 2024 already?!
As I sit down to write this week’s intro, reflecting on the first few days of January, it felt like I hadn't checked much off my list. Yet, I realized something powerful.
There’s a kind of magic in feeling like you’re on cruise control. You dive in and before you know it, the world around you disappears into the background, then you arrive at your destination, and it's five hours later!
And you know what - I love that feeling!
It's like catching the perfect wave. There’s a rush where every action feels effortless and every decision lands just right.
This week, even though it might have seemed like I was just cruising, I was actually laying down the foundation for the year ahead.
Like a surfer paddling out to catch the next set — each stroke, each duck dive are automatic — it feels like cruise control. But once you are past the breakers, you’re set up to catch the big waves of opportunity rolling in.
So in 2024, let's embrace those 'cruise control' sessions. They're not just idle moments; they're when we often do our best strategic thinking, creative brainstorming, and deep learning.
As we continue paddling into the new year, remember that every stroke counts. Each effort, no matter how small it seems, propels us forward. And with the right timing, the right wave might just take us on an exhilarating ride to our greatest achievements yet.
We can’t control how Google updates their algorithms. But we can control:
How we create content
How we market our sites, products, and services
How we treat customers
The type of user experience
If we want a short-term or long-term business
Spend less time worrying about what Google’s going to do next and spend more time executing on a great ‘product’.
Here's to finding our flow and making 2024 a year of impactful, joyful productivity. Let's not just ride the waves this year — let's make them, shape them, and define them.
It’s free, but gated for subscribers, so so all you need to do is put in the email address you get the newsletter on.
Barry Schwartz reports heightened volatility in Google Search rankings and discussions of an unannounced updated in the SEO community. Have to love the ups and downs in the middle of the holiday period.
Starting on February 22, 2024, you can no longer use Google Groups (at groups.google.com) to post content to Usenet groups, subscribe to Usenet groups, or view new Usenet content. You can continue to view and search for historical Usenet content posted before February 22, 2024 on Google Groups.
Barry Schwartz reports a notable decline in YouTube's presence in Google News, dropping from 9.7% to 1.5%. Will Flannigan of the Wall Street Journal highlighted this through a chart shared on X, sparking curiosity about the sudden decrease in visibility despite YouTube's usual robust performance in Google searches.
Marcus Tober and Semrush analyzed 16,298 English keywords to understand the correlation between specific factors and search engine rankings.
This study comes with a large infographic of the Top-20 factors with these as the top 3: Text relevance, URL’s organic traffic, Domain’s organic traffic.
Lazarina Stoy shares seven ways to apply sentiment analysis in digital marketing and SEO. She uses it in understanding customer sentiments, monitoring online reputation, and enhancing content strategy. There’s also a handy Google Sheets template that uses Google’s Natural Language API for sentiment analysis. You’ll need to enter in a Google Cloud API key in the Apps Script code.
SEO FOR 2024
Mark and Gael from Authority Hacker provide insights and practical advice for those looking to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape. The candid discussion highlights the significant challenges faced by website builders and digital marketers due to Google's unpredictable updates and the overall volatile nature of search results. Here are 5 key takeaways from the video:
SEO is More Volatile Than Ever: Google's updates have led to unpredictable search results, making it essential for site builders to adapt and find new strategies.
Quality and Credibility are Key: Focusing on high-quality, credible content can help websites stand out and perform better in search rankings.
Diversification is Crucial: Relying solely on Google for traffic is riskier than ever. Embracing other platforms and traffic sources can provide stability and growth.
Innovation in Content Creation: Developing unique and engaging content templates and focusing on user experience can significantly impact a site's performance.
Leverage Data for Decision Making: Utilizing quantitative and qualitative data for product reviews and content strategy is becoming increasingly important to stay competitive.
Chris Sachs highlights the need for enterprise SEOs to adapt to rapid changes, such as Google's Search Generative Experience and GenAI advancements. He presents 12 strategies to leverage growth, optimize user experience, and embrace Google's new algorithms, ensuring companies remain competitive in the evolving digital landscape.
Matt Diggity shares his SEO strategy for 2024 to handle the expected changes in Google's algorithms, including the rise of AI content and the increased importance of unique information, or Information Gain.
Matt stresses the significance of creating content that offers substantial value and original insights, while also discussing how AI can be leveraged for content creation without compromising quality. He also emphasizes the need for a solid backlinking strategy and the importance of increasing brand search volume.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Pitches.net - A simple site from Sacha Fournier. Simple site with a collection of good, controversial, and (really) bad PR pitches. Stay away from the bad and controversial 😉
Sedo.com Market Trends - If you’re in the domain game, Sedo publishes a monthly top 10 keywords list that’s always interesting to see the trends. This page shows 2022 and 2023 and you can see how keywords trend up and down (like ‘AI’).
Jack Prouse of Screaming Frog reveals his tried-and-tested AI prompts to enhance copywriting. He discusses crafting concise, engaging, and audience-specific content, offering specific suggestions to evaluate and refine copy, assess tone, order information, and insert calls to action. Some of his prompts that you can tweak for your use:
"How long would it take the average UK adult to read the following passage?"
"Is there any content in the below passage you would consider irrelevant, unnecessary, or not valuable?"
"Do you believe the following passage is ordered correctly in terms of the value of the information? If not, which sections would you re-order?"
"How would you describe the tone of voice of the following passage?"
Andy Crestodina shares a semantic SEO guide covering the evolution of SEO from keyword repetition to complex content enrichment with semantically related phrases. He breaks down a three-step process for building search-friendly content that surpasses basic keyword targeting. It emphasizes understanding user intent and delivering comprehensive content, leveraging tools and strategies for incorporating related phrases and measuring impact through case studies.
Adriana Stein of Moz discusses creating scalable content structures to boost organic traffic, clicks, keyword rankings, and conversions. She emphasizes the importance of a well-organized website, detailing strategies for website structure, keyword research, and content categorization to optimize for search engines.
Irina Maltseva shares SEO strategies for when you've exhausted high-intent keywords. She emphasizes a shift from conversion to relationship-building content, enhancing existing BOFU pages, exploring MOFU and TOFU long-tail keywords, leveraging related keywords to link educational and sales content, actively listening to customers for content ideas, exploring emerging topics, and improving visibility on top industry listicles.
Kristi Hines covers John Mueller talking about the use of AI-generated images versus stock photos in web content. In his insights, Mueller distinguishes the necessity of real photos for specific products while noting that AI or stock images suffice for general content enhancement. He emphasizes the importance of image authenticity and quality, urging creators to consider the impact on user experience and trust. Authored by Kristi Hines, the article underscores the evolving landscape of visual content in digital marketing.
OpenAI’s GPT Store Launches Next Week
I got the email below that the GPT Store is launching next week! No other information about the ability to sell or monetize it, so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s going to work out.
Microsoft released the Copilot App for Android and iOS, which essentially mirrors the Bing App's chat feature. The Copilot App skips straight to chat, sidelining the usual search function. This move follows Bing Chat's rebranding to Copilot, aiming to cater to user preferences for immediate chat access.
Plugin support will also be coming soon enough according to Mikhail Parakhin of Microsoft.
James Brockbank debates relevancy versus volume and authority in digital PR strategies. He suggests that relevancy should be paramount in digital PR, affecting not just SEO outcomes but overall brand positioning and audience engagement. Key takeaways include:
The evolving nature of Digital PR: The industry's shift from volume and authority to relevancy as the key indicator of success.
Understanding relevancy: Relevancy is subjective and varies significantly across industries and campaigns; it's about connecting stories to the brand meaningfully.
Importance of relevancy in SEO and brand awareness: Relevant links and content significantly boost SEO and brand visibility, engaging the right audience more effectively.
Balancing relevancy, authority, and scale: While relevancy is critical, there are strategic moments when authority or scale might take precedence.
Relevancy as a strategy driver: Goals and context should guide the relevancy of your PR activities, with a focus on strategic alignment rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
First Page Sage dives into the pros and cons of eight key demand generation channels, essential for any marketer looking to strategize effectively to generate that money.
The focus is on understanding each channel's cost, time to yield results, learning curve, return on investment, and funnel location. Some of the key takeaways:
Thought Leadership SEO has a high ROI of 748% but requires 4-6 months to show results.
Webinars and Email are effective for engaging interest, with medium learning curves and substantial ROIs.
LinkedIn, both Organic and Advertising, offers different benefits in discovery and interest stages, balancing ease of use with moderate cost.
PPC/SEM provides quick results but at a lower ROI, while Account Based Marketing (ABM) covers all funnel stages but requires significant investment and understanding.
Rob Glover explores the emerging trends in content marketing for the coming year. Key insights include using AI in content creation, a rise in personalization as AI's new superpower, and shifts in search behavior towards social media platforms. He emphasizes the ongoing demand for video content, the strategic role of employee ambassadors, and a return to content marketing basics.
Yanna-Torry Aspraki shares essential insights for email marketers to improve inbox deliverability. As the digital landscape evolves and more people focusing on newsletters, making sure emails you send land in the inboxes. Here are some of the key takeaways:
Regularly check SPF + DKIM: These are essential for authenticating your emails and protecting against phishing and spam. Regular checks help maintain email integrity.
Set up DMARC: This is increasingly important with upcoming changes from Gmail and Yahoo. It helps dictate how inboxes handle emails that fail authentication checks and is key to avoiding being blocked by major email service providers.
Run a reactivation campaign: Engage inactive subscribers with tailored messages to remind them of your value.
Clean your lists: Remove unengaged subscribers to boost deliverability. This includes adhering to new requirements from Gmail and Yahoo, which emphasize the importance of list hygiene.
Monitor key metrics:Understand the effectiveness of your email strategies by tracking open rates, click-through rates, and other relevant data.
Chrome has started their restriction of third-party cookies by default, affecting 1% of users from January 4th, 2024, as a test before expanding to all users by Q3 2024.
The Google Developers site offers guidance on how to adapt to the deprecation of third-party cookies. It also highlights the phased approach to restricting third-party cookies, and offers resources for reporting issues or requesting additional migration time.
Dan Taylor highlights the robust recovery of the travel industry post-pandemic, with a 38% increase in global travel. He focuses on the adoption of AI in travel services, like Expedia's ChatGPT-powered planner, and new consumer trends including budget-friendly "dupes" destinations and "set-jetting."
He discusses the role of SEO in navigating these evolving landscapes, emphasizing the need for businesses to adapt their strategies to remain competitive.
SALT.agency analyzes the rising monthly search volumes for holiday destinations from 2021 to 2023, providing a predictive glance into the most popular countries for travel in the upcoming year. It’s an interesting list of destinations, including Egypt, Philippines, Morocco, Tunisia, and Vatican City. It’s an interesting range of traveler interests and the dynamic nature of travel trends.
Roger Montti highlights a high-rated vulnerability in the OMGF | GDPR/DSGVO Compliant WordPress plugin used for Google Fonts optimization. It's concerning due to its allowance for unauthenticated attackers to delete directories and upload malicious Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) scripts, posing significant risks to users' sites.
REFER AND GET REWARDS
Get free stuff for referring friends and family to niche surfer!
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
You currently have 0 referrals, only 3 away from receiving Twitter Shout-out.
LIKE NICHE SURFER?
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!