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  • How Scattered Is Your Website Content? niche surfer Wave Issue 183

How Scattered Is Your Website Content? niche surfer Wave Issue 183

Free Topical Tool; Google Explains Reddit and Forums; Google Killing Indie Sites; No Login ChatGPT; Human Vs Gen AI; Yahoo News Creators; and Much More!

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Is your website content as scattered as the Legos spread all over the floor?

Wondering how much content your competitors have on specific topics?

I just released a free Topical Depth Analyzer tool to help you with that! 🔥 

It’s really simple to use:

  1. Enter a sitemap URL or list of URLs

  2. Enter the main topics to classify each URL into

  3. The tool will classify each URL and give you a total count of articles for each topic

How to use the results:

  • Combine it with your topical map to see where you already have content and where you don’t.

  • Reassess and recategorize the articles on your site.

  • Combine it with your traffic and search data to understand what topics search engines like your content for.

  • Compare your topical coverage with competitors to find your gaps and authority.

Everything is free for Topical Maps Unlocked students and niche surfer newsletter subscribers. If the usage gets crazy, I'll need to adjust that, but for now, I want to share with you for free!

See the quick demo here:

The biggest tip I can give you is to make sure the Main Topics or Categories you give it are unique.

Give it the Topics that you are targeting on your site. If you went the low-competition keyword strategy for many articles, you may even want to add an “Other” topic to capture all those random one-off articles.

If you’re unable to classify a URL as one topic or another, it’s highly unlikely that the tool will be able to do the same.


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In a heartfelt piece by Brandon Saltalamacchia, the founder of Retro Dodo, we're taken behind the scenes of the challenges small independent sites are facing due to recent Google algorithm updates. Brandon shares his journey from leaving a stable job in 2019 to create Retro Dodo, a site for retro gaming enthusiasts, only to face potential collapse after Google's changes drastically reduced their visibility and income.

Learn more about Brandon in his Creator interview with us previously.


Lily Ray posts about Reddit and Quora showing in the SERPs and Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, replied about why that is.

Barry Schwartz highlights some of Danny’s responses, but it comes down to him saying regular searchers actually enjoy and actively seek out such content…so Google’s decided to frequently feature forums.

Google’s Gary Illyes covers how processing and analyzing a page’s textual content, key content tags, attributes, images, and video allows Google to determine some signals that help decide whether or not a page should be indexed.

One of the interesting things mentioned here is duplicate clustering. It’s not new since we’ve always discussed duplicate content, but it’s something I haven’t seen them discuss much myself.

John Mueller’s advice for sites impacted by the helpful content update. He emphasizes the need for a comprehensive site re-evaluation, not just improvements over past versions, to meet current online standards and user expectations.

My Take: SO…he’s basically saying - improve your current content based on the SERPs now. “Be Reddit, Quora, Forbes, any other UGC / big site.” 😓 

But really, it’s what I tell all my clients now too. If search traffic is a channel of traffic you want, then you need to consider the SERPs. No matter how much you improve your content and site, you still need to compare it to what’s actually doing well in the SERPs.

SEO Ripples

  • In a twist within the r/SEO community, Barry Schwartz highlights the ongoing saga of Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, and his disappearing comments on Reddit's SEO channel. Despite Sullivan's attempts to clarify SEO misconceptions, his insights keep getting axed by moderators. "How do you like them apples?”

  • John Mueller reassures people that using shared IP addresses or servers, and CDNs is perfectly okay for SEO and Google rankings. Stressing it as "normal," he debunks myths about shared hosting negatively affecting SEO, even in cases where IPs are shared with spammy sites.

  • Microsoft Copilot (aka Bing Chat) referrer traffic is now visible in Google Analytics reports. Barry Schwartz also shares a regex to filter out all the AI traffic your reports.

  • Google shares four Google Search features for International Fact-Checking Day, aimed at helping users quickly verify online information. These tools, including About this image, About this page, Fact Check Tools, and the Fact Check Tools API.

  • Google's Gary Illyes shares his goal to make Googlebot crawl the web less to conserve bandwidth and increase efficiency. Barry Schwartz reports that Illyes aims for smarter caching and reduced data transfer without compromising on crawl quality. Despite perceptions, Google's crawl rates haven't decreased, but the focus has shifted to more deserving URLs. My Take: This is one of the main reasons why I’ve always advocated to only publish when an article is done. I’ve never believed in putting up blank pages or placeholder content because search engines will start getting the idea that your site has thin content…which ends up with less crawling.


Starting the week of July 1, 2024, you won't be able to access any Universal Analytics properties or the API (not even with read-only access), and all data will be deleted within that week. You can export your data before then. You can also learn more about migrating to GA4 on their support page.


OpenAI announced you can now use ChatGPT instantly, with no sign-up required.

My Take: Does that mean there are going to be more ChatGPT outages?? Great 😞 

OpenAI is also rolling out updates to the fine-tuning API and expanding the custom models program to give developers more control and flexibility. The updates also introduce assisted fine-tuning within the Custom Model program and a side-by-side comparison of the fine-tuned model responses with other model responses.

My Take: The side-by-side is what’s most exciting for me because the QA testing process after a fine-tuned model is completed is always a pain. And if you don’t fine-tune, you can still use the same ‘Compare’ feature in the Playground to compare two non-fine-tuned models as well.

source: openai.com

BrightEdge breaks down the role of Perplexity AI in the search industry with it’s month-over-month growth of over 40%. The guide dives deep into how generative AI is reshaping search engines, offering users a unique, ad-free experience with AI-generated answers. It emphasizes the importance for digital marketers to adapt SEO strategies for visibility in AI-first search engines.

Trishla Ostwal at Adweek also reports on Perplexity announcing its plans to start selling ads. The platform will introduce native ads by influencing the related questions segment of their service, which represents 40% of user queries.

Barry Schwartz reports that Google is considering the introduction of fees for AI-enhanced search functionalities, notably the Search Generative Experience and AI overviews. This strategy aims to cover the high operational costs associated with delivering AI-powered search results and counteract the potential decrease in ad revenue.

My Take: They have to make money some how. Having Reddit and others pay-to-play isn’t sustainable unfortunately. Unless they have Reddit stock and can prop up RDDT, and then sell before the 180-day IPO lockup period ends 🤔 

AI Ripples

  • Stability AI released Stable Audio 2.0, their new AI-generated audio model. This model can produce full musical tracks up to three minutes long with intricate structures from simple text prompts. It introduces audio-to-audio generation, allowing for the transformation of uploaded samples into a variety of sounds. You can try it out for free too. It’s cool, but I like Suno.ai that I shared a couple of weeks ago, because it also does lyrics. Here’s The Blogging Blues by Suno.

  • Apple reveals ReALM (Reference Resolution As Language Modeling), an AI model to supercharge Siri with speed and smarts. ReALM is compact, visual model designed to operate efficiently on devices like smartphones and might be the backbone of the upcoming Siri 2.0.

  • Authority Hacker shares a comprehensive study showing the majority of U.S. citizens want stringent AI regulations. Through a survey of 2,000 Americans and an analysis across 195 countries, the article sheds light on public concern over AI's potential dangers, from privacy breaches to unethical use. My Take: Want to create articles that get links naturally? Do this. AH has created a good number of these data-rich surveys in the past.


Jeff Riddall discusses the transformation of SEO into optimized content marketing, highlighting the importance of content that showcases experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). He points out that content marketing isn't just about crafting content; it's about creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content across various formats to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Some of the interesting stats:

  • 97% of marketers surveyed by Semrush achieved success with their content marketing in 2023.

  • Short-form video content, like TikTok and Instagram Reels, is considered the No. 1 content marketing format with the highest ROI.

  • Articles containing at least one video tend to attract 70% more organic traffic than those without.

  • Interactive content generates 52.6% more engagement compared to static content.

  • Almost 80% of respondents in a recent Ahrefs poll have already adopted AI tools in their content marketing strategies.

  • Facebook is still the dominant social channel for content distribution, but video-centric channels like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are growing the fastest.

Ameet Khabra at Hop Skip Media presents compelling evidence on the superiority of human-written ad copy over AI-generated alternatives when it comes to engaging potential customers. Through testing, human copywriters showcased their unrivaled ability to connect with audiences - proving the invaluable human touch in understanding and appealing to the emotional and cultural nuances of the target market.

My Take: Unfortunately, there were no concrete examples of the ads that were run, so there are a lot of variables in play here. But I still generally agree that humans are needed in content creation for more effectiveness. It doesn’t mean humans have to write the content from scratch, but they need to edit it at the least.


Glenn Gabe takes us through Google Search Console's (GSC) inbound links report that can uncover when third-party URLs are being redirected, or "canonicalized," to your site - called “link inversion.”

He discusses the complex dynamics of these canonical URLs, highlighting how all signals, including PageRank, could shift to your site's benefit.

However, it's not all smooth sailing, as he warns of the potential for these canonical URLs to switch to another third-party URL, possibly impacting your site's search rankings and click-through rates.

source: gsqi.com


Ian from Twitter/X tracked 20k Mediavine and Raptive sites and saw that only 3,992 have remained steady or increased traffic between March 5th - 31st.

source: twitter.com


Jessica Bursztynsky at Fast Company reports on Yahoo News's move into the lifestyle content space with its new creators program, focusing on areas like fitness, DIY, and travel. By allowing selected creators to publish and monetize their work under Yahoo's umbrella, the initiative aims to enrich the platform's content offerings.

It seems like they’re already in beta with some creators, but you can join the waitlist for when they’re accepting new applicants.

My Take: Find out who these Creators are and do your outreach thing to get backlinks.

The Patchstack and Sucuri teams give a comprehensive analysis of WordPress security in 2023. Highlighting a 24% increase in new vulnerabilities and a significant rise in abandoned plugins, the report emphasizes the shift towards proactive security measures.

My Take: If you’re into security, it could be worth a browse. Good reminder to always keep your plugins and themes updated.

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