niche surfer Says Bye Bye to 2023 - Wave Issue 169

Mini-Topical Map; Google and AI Relationship; SEO for AI Search Engines; Midjourney, NYT, and OpenAI Lawyers Party; and Much More!

Lastly …

It’ll be 2024 in less than 48 hours. Some of you might even be reading this in 2024.

This year has flown by (as every year does now that I’m another year older). Lots of people are doing their 2023 recaps and here’s my version of a recap:

  • There’s been good and bad

  • Exceeded some goals

  • Came up short on some goals

Yep. 😁 

The Bottom Turn Sets You Up for Successful Moves

Ok…for 2024, I’ll add a little more color with two of things that are top-of-mind when it comes to plans for the new year:

  • Add more lessons to Topical Maps Unlocked

  • To SaaS or Not to SaaS

I have a list of lessons to add to TMU and it’s been difficult for two main reasons:

  1. Time - Finding the time due to the service side growth.

  2. Piracy - so dejecting every time someone downloads copies of it.

But I do plan to dedicate time in the first couple months of 2024 to updating TMU and creating new lessons.

With the SaaS, it’s a question of whether I want to turn internal content tools into a SaaS. It all ties in together with topical maps and building topical authority.

It’s be an exciting opportunity, but also scary at the same time thinking about what it requires. I had a startup some years ago, so I know the time and energy that’s needed.

Plus, I’d want to have a partner to run the tech side before deciding to go SaaS. No, ChatGPT doesn’t count 😅 

Alright, that’s it for me for a 2023 look back and 2024 plans.

This week’s content below is lighter than usual because there wasn’t much new content put out over holidays.

But I did make my own content with a mini-topical map in the next section, so be sure to check that out.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all you surfers!

Let’s all catch those waves and lambos!

I know, right?!? Midjourney v6 is so good!


Here’s a little gift to you to help you choose New Year’s Resolutions for a great 2024.

It’s a mini-topical map for the seed keyword: new year’s resolutions.

There are 163 unique topics to write content for. I only gave a few for each main topic and subtopic as a sample.

There are definitely many more topics that could be created, into the 1000s, so this is a fraction of a complete topical map for that central topic.

I also expanded the health and fitness resolutions main topic silo with more subtopics and keywords to show you the depth (four levels) that you can go to (and we go to for Topical Map clients).

Topical Map - Mind Map Component

There is a spreadsheet and matching mind map that make up a topical map delivery. The mind map is for those who are more visual and the spreadsheet is perfect to use as your content management sheet.

To understand what to write, every topic can be an article. In the spreadsheet, you can look at the Subtopic 4 column as the list of articles. Get the topical map files here:

The 3 types of mind map files all the same content, but the Mindnode file is for the Mindnode Mac-only app and OPML is a universal format that can be imported to the Xmind that’s PC and Mac. It’s easier to manipulate the mind map with those apps than the pdf. Both have free versions of the apps.

If you want another example, here’s a topical map on spiral stairs. There’s also more explanation on how to read the map.

And if you want to learn how to create your own topical maps, check out the Topical Maps Unlocked course!


Mark Williams-Cook looks into Google's evolving stance toward AI-generated content and its broader implications on SEO and web quality. It covers a significant shift from outright dismissal of AI content to a nuanced focus on content quality, irrespective of its origin. Key takeaways include:

  • Google's Adaptation: Initially branding all AI-generated content as spam, Google now prioritizes the quality of content over the method of creation.

  • Quality Detection: Despite advancements, Google struggles to differentiate between good and great content effectively, relying heavily on user interaction data for quality assessment.

  • Content and Spam Trends: AI-generated content is flooding the internet, challenging Google's indexing and ranking processes, and evolving spamming techniques.

  • Impact on SEO and Businesses: Businesses are navigating this new terrain, with many leveraging the leniency in Google's approach for AI content strategies.

  • Future Implications: The continuous evolution of AI and its impact on search engines like Google hints at an ongoing arms race between content quality assessment and content generation technologies.

Roger Montti reports on a study where researchers found effective strategies to optimize websites for AI search engines, boosting visibility by up to 115%. They tested nine methods, with these as the top performers:

  • Cite Sources: Including citations from reliable sources in the website content.

  • Quotation Addition: Adding credible quotes from high-quality sources to the content.

  • Statistics Addition: Incorporating relevant statistics into the website content.

Benu Aggarwal discusses SEO strategies and trends for the upcoming year. She advocates for a quality-first approach, utilizing AI to enhance user experience rather than relying on low-value, AI-generated content. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Embrace Visual and SERP Optimization

  • Invest in Quality Content

  • Boost Engagement and Experience

  • Personalize User Experience

  • Adopt a Multichannel Strategy

Google tests lots of things every day, but this is one that continues to highlight the importance of images.

SEO Ripples


Georgi Todorov breaks down three methods:

  1. Keyword Difficulty

  2. Weak Spots

  3. AllInTitle.

Each provides unique insights into keyword viability, from calculating difficulty scores to analyzing SERPs for low-DA sites and using title tag competition. Todorov offers advice for niche and high-authority sites alike, suggesting tools and strategies for better SEO content planning.

Jessica Meher dives into the crucial role of landing pages in lead generation. She covers crafting targeted, conversion-optimized pages distinct from main website content.

She serves up a comprehensive guide on optimizing landing pages to capture visitor information through various elements like lead generation forms, compelling visuals, clear calls-to-action, and why to never use your homepage as a landing page.


Matthias Bastian highlights Midjourney's new stance on copyright infringement with its v6 update. While the AI can generate strikingly similar images to copyrighted ones, users are responsible for any legal repercussions from misuse.

This comes after updates to the Terms of Service emphasize the serious financial and legal consequences of intentional infringement. There are many examples where Midjourney v6 was used to recreate movies characters.

The New York Times is suing OpenAI and Microsoft for allegedly using its content to train AI without permission. The lawsuit seeks to hold the tech giants accountable for purportedly infringing copyright and damaging The Times' business, demanding the destruction of AI models trained with Times’ content and billions in damages.

My Take: See the lawsuit PDF and the examples they provide. See some of their prompts and the examples without prompts


Matt Diggity gets into the rarely discussed mental health challenges that entrepreneurs face. He discusses the stresses, worries, and mental hurdles that come with running your own venture.

From the pressure of financial instability to dealing with imposter syndrome and the quest for stress management techniques, he shares personal experiences and solutions that have helped in their entrepreneurial journey. Some of the takeaways:

  • Entrepreneurship can lead to a wide array of mental health issues, including stress, burnout, and depression.

  • Regular mental health practices are crucial, with a focus on therapy, meditation, and even psychedelics under proper guidance.

  • Physical health and wellness practices, like exercise and massage, are important for managing stress and improving mental health.

  • Adopting a mindset of resilience and flexibility is key to navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

  • Continuous learning and personal growth are essential for overcoming the mental challenges of running a business.

My Take: This isn’t something that many people talk about publicly and it’s refreshing to see the openness and vulnerability. In a space where we’re all our own bosses, it’s an important topic to keep top of mind.

Chris and Emilia Gardner are back with a revamped podcast. They discuss the all-too-familiar feeling of starting over in business and share personal anecdotes, making the conversation relatable and candid.

Chris also discusses and offers up insights as a niche site owner considering the leap into starting an SEO agency.

Nathan Gotch draws from his experience to explain why 99% of SEO businesses don't reach the $1 million mark annually. He discusses common errors like acting like a big agency when starting, the inefficiency of focusing too much on new leads, the pitfalls of outsourcing too early, the misconception of needing extensive experience from the start, and the dangers of superhero syndrome. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Niche down to stand out and attract specific clients.

  • Leverage the personal touch and expertise of small business beginnings.

  • Balance new client acquisition with exceptional service and retention.

  • Build in-house systems and expertise before considering outsourcing.

  • Refocus efforts from social media presence to delivering tangible results and gaining referrals.


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.

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