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  • Paddle In to Catch Waves - niche surfer Wave Issue 176

Paddle In to Catch Waves - niche surfer Wave Issue 176

Reddit Domination of SERPs; Google and Users Want Same Things; Yandex is Sold $5.2B; OpenAI's Dancing Kangaroo; Create Addictive Content; $97,819 on Digital PR; and Much More!

TALE OF TWO SIDES …

There are two sides to every story. Every coin has two faces.

Every idea has its pros and cons. Every person has their champions and critics. And every book, film, TV show, product, service, and company will have its lovers and haters.

But the true measure of success is not from speculation - it’s from real-world testing.

We can’t predict outcomes with certainty until we put our work out there and receive feedback, whether it’s from clients, users, readers, or even Google’s algorithms.

And sometimes, when you take that leap, the results can be surprising.

Let’s take the topic of Pages vs Posts when creating content on WordPress sites. Most people have strong opinions for one or the other.

Initially, I leaned heavily towards Posts, the popular choice for article creation. I could also stuff URLs with keywords. But after dealing with Category/Tag, topical map, and internal link management, I switched to trying out Pages for a new site.

This shift simplified my workflow dramatically, making content organization more intuitive and internal linking a breeze. Pages were a small change, but the impact on my productivity and site structure was immediate.

Google didn’t seem to mind and so I haven’t looked back - well, except for continued testing and older sites.

Here’s a new site that’s all Pages and no Posts started almost 4 months ago. Organic traffic is double that if you count Bing and other search engine traffic.

One more quick example comes from the productized Topical Maps service that I have. Topical maps were traditionally offered as a one-off product based on one seed keyword.

But then something weird happened in the last few weeks. We had two different clients approach who wanted to sign on for monthly deals because they had a large website. They were pitching a monthly engagement to me! 

We don’t do content creation (yet), so a monthly model initially seemed out of reach. But now, I’m rethinking it because there’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR) with these clients and it can be replicated with the right clients.

Stay open to hearing both sides of the story. Be flexible because we are all swimming in a sea of opportunities.

Don’t tie yourself down to a single idea or process. Listen to the feedback.

Each wave from the endless ocean of possibilities is inviting you to ride it. You just have to paddle in and see where it takes you.

SEO

Glen Allsopp dives into the mechanics of how and why certain forums, especially Reddit, dominate search results, impacting the quality and diversity of information available to users. Through research covering 10,000 keyphrases, the findings reveal the dominance of Reddit, highlighting a potential spam issue and the lack of diversity in search results that could mislead consumers. Key takeaways include:

  • Google's 'Discussions and forums' feature appeared in 77% of the analyzed product review searches.

  • Reddit dominates this feature, showing up in 97.5% of searches where the feature is present.

  • The study found 766 individual forums across these searches, with a significant concentration of appearances by Reddit.

  • A concerning finding was that 51% of Reddit's top-ranking threads had spam as a top comment.

  • Despite the vast number of forums, the diversity in search results is lacking, with Reddit and Quora massively overshadowing others.

Reddit also contacts Search Engine Land to say that Glen’s report is “flawed and misleading.” Reddit says “The examples that are shared appear cherry-picked. Google is sending more product review traffic because we have good and legitimate product reviews. What is not true is that Reddit posts are getting spammed as a result of this and that we are locking threads as a way to deal with spam.” Reddit shared a “good” example to SEL that ended up being spam too 🤦 

Danny Goodwin, the SEL journalist who covered the report, Reddit’s response, and Glen’s response on that, also tried his to find examples himself - “I easily found examples of this. While I don’t have time to look through all 14,263 examples discussed in this study, it was harder to find examples of a Reddit thread that didn’t have spam than one [that] did.”

My Take: No real take to be had here because the results speak for themselves 😉 

Barry Schwartz discusses Google's Danny Sullivan's message: what's best for your website's users is what Google wants. Sullivan clarifies that creating content your audience genuinely desires aligns with Google's aims, urging creators to prioritize user satisfaction over trying to decode Google's algorithms. This approach not only benefits user experience but also SEO, as Google continues to refine its search to favor content that truly resonates with readers.

SEO Ripples

  • Gary Illyes from the Google Search team, kicks off the "How Search Works" series on YouTube, offering an in-depth look at the nuts and bolts of Google Search. The series will cover crawling, indexing, and serving search results.

  • Danny Sullivan on Google SEO clarified that not all websites assuming they have helpful content issues actually do. He pointed out that some sites experiencing decreased traffic may be due to competitors ranking better rather than due to their own unhelpful content.

  • Danny Sullivan clarifies that Google's classifier is in constant operation, evaluating content's helpfulness, and underscores that recovery for affected sites demands demonstrating a long-term commitment to quality content, rather than expecting immediate improvements.

  • The Yandex search engine is sold for $5.2 billion, with a ‘mandatory discount’ of at least 50 percent imposed by the Russian Government Because Yandex N.V. is a Dutch company.

  • Barry Schwartz explores how SEOs utilize link data from Google Search Console, sharing insights from John Mueller's inquiry. From tracking link growth to identifying spammy links, the article covers a range of techniques and tools SEOs employ to leverage link data for optimizing their sites.

  • Danny Sullivan stated that EEAT isn't a ranking factor nor influences other ranking factors. He emphasizes that the presence of expert content on a site doesn't directly boost rankings. Instead, Google rewards content that resonates with and satisfies readers, underlining the value of quality, people-first content over mere expertise claims.

  • Thanks to a new machine learning algorithm, Google blocked 45% more fake reviews and significantly increased the removal of fraudulent business profiles and videos.

AI

OpenAI introduces Sora, an advanced AI model capable of generating highly realistic and imaginative minute-long videos from textual prompts. They share a number of vivid examples ranging from urban landscapes to whimsical animations.

Sora is currently only made available to a select group of individuals, including red teamers for safety assessments and various creative professionals for feedback.

Not to be beaten, Google introduced VideoPoet, an innovative large language model designed for zero-shot video generation. VideoPoet converts text or images into high-quality, detailed videos with options for editing, stylization, and even generating matching audio without textual guidance.

By default, VideoPoet outputs 2-second videos. But the model is also capable of long video generation by predicting 1 second of video output given an input of a 1-second video clip. This process can be repeated indefinitely to produce a video of any duration.

OpenAI reveals an exciting update for ChatGPT users: memory capabilities. ChatGPT can now remember details from your conversations, no more need to repeat information. You're in full control, with the ability to manage what's remembered or forgotten, and even turn off the feature completely. This rollout is starting with a small group of users, with plans to expand soon.

Google announced they’re releasing Gemini 1.5 Pro for early testing via AI Studio and Vertex AI - with a 1 million token context window 💥 

For comparison, Claude 2.1 is 200k tokens and GPT-4 Turbo is 128k.

AI Ripples

CONTENT

Sarah Sal shares her proven strategies for creating content that not only captures but sustains audience attention in today's fast-paced digital world. She outlines actionable insights on crafting content that resonates deeply with readers, leading them effortlessly toward conversion. Some of the key takeaways include:

  • Pick a fight: Challenge prevailing norms with data-backed assertions to capture interest.

  • Be unique: Stand out with distinctive topics that grab attention.

  • Use analogies: Simplify complex ideas with relatable comparisons.

  • Embrace storytelling: Engage readers emotionally by weaving narratives into your content.

  • Be specific: Make your message tangible and easier to grasp by being concrete in your descriptions.

TOOLS AND RESOURCES

OneTake AI - Record yourself and OneTake will use AI to convert it into ready-to-share presentations in one click. There are reviews about early glitches, but the idea is awesome.

SEO Generator - Create 1000+ SEO landing pages in just a few clicks with the SEO Generator WordPress plugin. Even though it’s featured as a “[service] for [location]” page generator, I don’t see why you can’t generate a whole bunch of other ones that have patterns.

LINK BUILDING

In a candid YouTube video, Matt Diggity shares a costly journey into the world of Digital PR, spending $97,819 on 7 agencies to master the art of earning top-notch links for free.

Through trials, errors, and a hefty investment, he unveils the effectiveness of digital PR, distinguishing between fruitful strategies and outright scams. Lots of insights on crafting viral stories, choosing the right agency, and leveraging digital PR for unbeatable SEO outcomes.

My Take: This is one of the rarer videos that talks about the realities of digital PR and how not all campaigns will drive the links that you think they do. When it comes to media and PR (and almost any other industry), much of it is who you know. The better relationships that someone has, the better the outcomes. It takes time to build up relationships and the experience to know what will and will not work.

Content Ripples

MARKETING

The Backlinko Team dives into leveraging SEO tactics on TikTok to enhance visibility both on the platform and on Google. The guide emphasizes the importance of keyword usage, content quality, and user interactions in ranking within TikTok's search results and even making it onto Google's SERPs.

Nicola Agius reports on a costly error by Meta causing ad campaigns to overspend by thousands, leaving advertisers scrambling for refunds. Though full refunds aren't promised, Agius outlines steps to improve your chances, including reporting to Meta reps and support with specific messaging.

EDUCATION

Padrig Jones dives into the Bing search engine's journey, highlighting its AI advancements and SEO strategies. He covers Bing's evolution from its 2009 launch, detailing partnerships, AI integration, and its market position against giants like Google.

He also shares practical SEO tips for improving visibility on Bing, emphasizing the importance of leveraging its unique features and AI capabilities for digital marketing success.

My Take: If your site’s not doing well on Google, look to other search engines, because they can also help you drive some traffic. It’s not just social media that can get you some additional viewers.

CASE STUDY

Mark and Gael from Authority Hacker take us on a deep dive into how certain websites have beat all of the recent Google Updates. These sites in various niches share common strategies that contribute to their success. Key takeaways from their analysis include:

  • Expertise and authenticity are critical for gaining Google's favor.

  • High-quality, user-focused content outperforms traditional SEO tactics.

  • Diversification in monetization strategies enhances site resilience.

  • Engaging with the community through comments or social media can boost site credibility.

  • Site design and usability are increasingly important for ranking well.

My Take: What they talk about is ‘building a brand.’ Presenting your site as a business, because well…it is a business. Get them to your site and then make them stay - and come back.

Kristina Azarenko conducted a daring 2-month “do not try this at home” type of experiment by disabling crawling on her main website to discern Google's response. Despite initial stability, various unexpected outcomes ensued, including shifted search results, increased indexed pages, and affected video and image searches.

One of the interesting results is that when Google has prior information about a website, there's a level of trust, and the website does not immediately vanish from Google's first page upon disabling crawling.

Tom Capper discusses the day-to-day fluctuations in Google organic rankings, separate from major algorithm updates. Data from a quiet two-week period revealed surprising insights about the stability of search rankings.

  • Around 70% of position 1 results had the same URL every day for 14 days, while only about 1% of position 10 results did.

  • Most fluctuating positions housed 4 or more URLs, indicating a high level of variability in the rankings.

  • Google's frequent algorithm updates and tests, along with constant site changes, contribute to ranking fluctuations.

BUSINESS IDEAS

Y Combinator has updated their requests list with 20 ideas and categories that they’d like to see from startups applying to their startup accelerator. Some of the ideas shared:

  • New Space Companies

  • Climate Tech

  • Commercial Open Source Companies

  • Spatial Computing

  • Stablecoin FInance

My Take: Why share this here? Because it’s a great place to start looking for trends.

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