niche surfer - Wave Issue 129

Core Update Done; Analyzing Drops in Traffic in GSC; 'Best' Titles; Decentralize Operations; ChatGPT Pausing?; Bard Plagiarizing and Calling Fake News; and Much More!


Hey niche surfers - I need your help.

As you may have noticed, the world of AI is evolving at a lightning-fast pace, and it's having a major impact on the way we approach SEO, content creation, and more.

That's why I've been incorporating a lot of resources and news related to ChatGPT, Bing Chat, Google Bard, and other AI technologies each week.

However, with so much content related to AI, our beloved newsletter has grown quite a bit. I’m still trying to keep only the relevant ones in here, but because generative AI is so related to SEO and content, it’s hard to get away from it.

That's why I want to hear from you - would you want a separate newsletter solely focused on AI? Or should I continue to include all AI-related content here in niche surfer?

There are pros and cons to each approach, so I'm eager to hear your feedback. Your opinions matter and will help me shape the direction of niche surfer moving forward.

Should I separate out AI from niche surfer?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

I’d also like to introduce niche surfer’s referral program down below! There are some great rewards to get, including the TMU course!

Thank you for being a part of the community, and let's keep surfing those income waves! 🌊

Happy April Fools’ Day too! I may have one link below that’s not exactly real…


That’s a slide from the course that shows the power of topical maps and building topical authority on a fresh domain.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced professional, Topical Maps Unlocked is the A to Z online course you need to create effective topical maps to establish topical authority and increase your search engine rankings.

With Topical Maps Unlocked, you'll learn the latest techniques to boost your SEO and drive traffic to your website.

After this course, you’ll have the perfect site structure, better rankings, more profits but probably best of all: Mental clarity.

Jon Dykstra, Fatstacks

I completed the course and honestly, it was one of the best courses I’ve taken so far in this space. It was thorough, practical, yet very succinct.

Keith Mint, Minted Empire


The Google March 2023 Broad Core update finished rolling out yesterday morning at about 10:30 am ET. It took 13 days to roll out, kicking off on March 15th at 10:30 am ET and completing on March 28th at 10:30 am ET.

Lily Ray and her team collected a list of over 7,000 winning and losing domains in terms of their Sistrix Visibility Index scores using the U.S. index. The visibility change was calculated between March 15, 2023, and March 28, 2023.

Many interesting winners and losers in different categories: reference materials, e-commerce sites, travel, school review, product review, health, and entertainment.

Bruce Clay offers four tips to improve your website so it won't just survive a Google core update – but maybe even thrive.

  • Make the content better

  • Silo the site

  • Manage internal links

  • Get an SEO audit

Silos and internal links are both covered extensively in the Topical Maps Unlocked course!

Google is officially rolling out some new features designed to help searchers better and more easily verify information within the search results. Google is:

  • Rolling out the About this result globally.

  • Launching Perspectives carousel for top stories.

  • Launching About this author.

  • Making it easier to access the About this page feature.

Lots of great info in the podcast here with Jacky Chou and James De Lacey. Koray gets rather technical and is well-known for that, so if you like to dig in, this is a great listen.

If you have seen them, Jacky and James both did Niche Creator Q&A’s - Check out Jacky’s interview and James’ interview.

Any website which regularly invests in timely content can reach engaged audiences and drive quality traffic with a solid Google News SEO strategy.

Jes Scholz covers branding, technical, and content essentials for Google News visibility and rankings.

TOOLS AND RESOURCES - Free ChatGPT Chrome Extension to integrate ChatGPT to Google Search, automate web monitoring tasks, and generate text with AI, from email replies to tweets and SEO articles.

Shawna tries out Ezoic’s Humix video platform on two of her sites to see if it’s worth it or not. In the end, it didn’t look like she earned much at $0.05 and $0.30 on sites of ~1300 and ~3300 visitors a month.


Complete all 11 tasks (and three bonus tasks) in this checklist, in any order. To optimize your content for target keywords, make your page Google-friendly, and improve user engagement.

Cody Beckius at Siege Media shares his 9-step process of creating content outlines for their writers. He covers finding the right target keyword, figuring out the format, evaluating the SERP, securing authority through data, and more.

Grab a full cup of coffee or tea before reading this epic guide on growing newsletters!

He discusses using blogging/SEO, social media, earned media, paid ads, paid search, influencer marketing, and audience-based growth/referral strategies.

Learn how to create social media content faster by looking at five ways AI-generated captions will change the game for social media managers.


An open letter signed by hundreds of prominent artificial intelligence experts, tech entrepreneurs, and scientists calls for a pause on the development and testing of AI technologies more powerful than OpenAI’s language model GPT-4 so that the risks it may pose can be properly studied.

“We call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 (including the currently-being-trained GPT-5),” states the letter.

ChatGPT has been temporarily blocked in Italy amid concerns that the artificial intelligence tool violated the country's policies on data collection. OpenAI has been given 20 days to respond to the agency's concerns, or the company could face a fine of either $21 million or 4% of its annual revenue.

Could you imagine if the U.S. Congress voted to ban ChatGPT? Oh wait…

Bard was asked a question about which of two competing CPU processors was faster. The answer Bard gave was taken directly from a Tom's Hardware article, but Bard didn't mention the article and instead implied that Google itself had done the benchmarking.

When the author questioned Bard about the source of the testing, it said that the test results came from Tom's Hardware and, when asked if it had committed plagiarism, Bard said that "yes, what I did was a form of plagiarism."

When the author pointed out that Tom's Hardware had posted a screenshot of Bard admitting to plagiarism and apologizing for it, it said that "the screenshot you are referring to is a fake. It was created by someone who wanted to damage my reputation."

The Information published a report with allegations from a former Google AI researcher that the company used a rival’s responses (ChatGPT, ShareGPT) to train its own chatbot. Google denies that Bard uses that data (would they actually admit they did?).

New Bing and Edge aim to create a web copilot experience with search, chat, answers, and creation capabilities, boasting over 100M daily active users.

Bing is focused on driving more traffic and revenue to publishers through new features and evolving advertising methods in collaboration with the industry.

Bing is exploring additional capabilities for publishers, including an expanded hover experience and sharing ad revenue with Microsoft Start partners.

Found on Twitter and DataChazGPT’s account, here’s the confidence level vs how much knowledge someone has about ChatGPT through the lens of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

He suggests most users are still on the left side of the curve. I tend to agree.

You can block OpenAI's ChatGPT bot from crawling, indexing and using your content and data from your website if you want. Add this to your robots.txt file and it will block the ChatGPT plugins specifically:

User-agent: ChatGPT-User
Disallow: /

Google gave an overview of what generative AI features are coming to Workspace apps two weeks ago and is now beginning public testing in Gmail and Docs.

In recent weeks, publishing executives have begun examining the extent to which their content has been used to “train” AI tools such as ChatGPT, how they should be compensated and what their legal options are.

Reddit has had talks with Microsoft about the use of its content in AI training, people familiar with the discussions said.

My Take: These are very interesting times for publishers as we all try and figure out how to monetize our sites. Brave Browser is one of the first platforms I can think of where users can reward content creators with their BAT coin. How do you think publishers can be compensated?

Midjourney has stopped free trials of its software. CEO David Holz said it’s “because of massive amounts of people making throwaway accounts to get free images.”

The recently released Version 5 of Midjourney significantly improved the quality of images depicting people. Recent viral images created using Midjourney, including images of Donald Trump being arrested and the pope wearing a stylish jacket, which some mistook for real photographs.

But don't worry if you have a travel site...BuzzFeed says "the guides were an experiment to help test new ways for people to contribute content."

The articles are “written with the help of Buzzy the Robot (aka our Creative AI Assistant) but powered by human ideas,” BuzzFeed says on Buzzy’s profile.


Toxic backlinks are a major concern for websites, as they can negatively impact search rankings and result in penalties from search engines like Google if they are left to pile up. To keep the quality links as effective as possible, you need weed out the bad ones.


This Semrush article is all about URLs. This is a good guide if you’re unclear on different aspects of URLs.

They also have another article on UTM Tracking Codes that is also related.

Daniel Waisberg shares the main reasons behind a drop in Google Search traffic. Learn how to analyze patterns of a drop in traffic to your website using Search Console Performance report and Google Trends to investigate overall trends in your industry.

Worries about Google Analytics 4? Here’s a free Course on Semrush - GA4 for SEO - with Jeff Sauer. The course is designed for those looking to better understand GA4 and improve strategies for growth.

If you’re an AppSumo user, they have some free masterclasses from well-known influencers on a variety of topics. Some require an AppSumo Plus membership, but there are many others that don’t. Check out the full list or some of the Plus ones below:

The Hoth looks at two of the most prominent tools used to measure the authority and quality of websites: Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) and Ahrefs’ Domain Rating (DR).

Although both of these tools provide insights into the overall performance of a website, but remember that they’re not directly related to Google in any way. It’s just Moz and Ahrefs trying to create a metric that can be used to simulate Google’s PageRank and how they determine the value of sites for ranking purposes.


Will adding “The Best” into the page title increase click-through rate and organic traffic?

In this case - Yes! There was a 10% increase in organic traffic.

Dom Wells shares his thoughts on why Onfolio decided to go with a decentralization model to run the various businesses in their portfolio. Once you get to a point where you have larger assets, would you run it like Onfolio decided to do:

  • One CEO per business

  • Setting up unique finance and operational accounts

  • Setting up a unique Slack workspace for every business.


The rise in generative AI tools like ChatGPT has created a hot market for "prompt engineers" who train AI chatbots to improve their responses.

The gigs pay up to $335,000 a year and don't always require a tech degree.

One job posting for Anthropic, an artificial intelligence safety and research company, says the role involves building "a library of high quality prompts or prompt chains to accomplish a variety of tasks, with an easy guide to help users search for the one that meets their needs," and building "a set of tutorials and interactive tools that teach the art of prompt engineering to our customers."

As many of us look to diversify our revenue streams, e-commerce is one of the main go-to’s. Over 4.5 million active Shopify businesses sell everything from pet food to fitness apparel and coffee beans online.

Shane Barker dives into the top trends and predictions for the e-commerce industry and how to drive long-term success for your e-commerce business.


WordPress 6.2, the first major release of 2023, is now available with a focus on improving the editing experience, navigation menus, and more. More changes to the site editor and a potential replacement for page builders.

FYI…For major updates this, I don't update important sites until there's the next update (x.x.1), because that's when any bigger bugs from these major releases are fixed. So I'll update my WP versions when 6.2.1 is out.

Shared by OliverK in the niche surfer Discord, hackers are actively exploiting a critical vulnerability in a widely used WordPress plugin that gives them the ability to take complete control of millions of sites, researchers said.

The vulnerability has been patched, so if you’re running Elementor Pro, go update your plugin now.


If you’re enjoying niche surfer, I’d love it if you would share it with your friends! I’ve put together some rewards as well:

  • 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

  • Refer 150: Get a 1 hour SEO 1-1 Coaching session with Yoyao


Find me and others in the Niche Surfer Discord community.

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!

And if you don’t forget to drag the email over to the Primary tab in Gmail so you don’t miss out on the email each week! It also helps signal to Google that niche surfer isn’t spam!


I’ve followed Richard Patey’s newsletters for quite some time now as a great resource for staying up to date with acquiring and investing in digital assets.

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