niche surfer - Wave Issue 131

Google's April Update; Blogger Earnings Survey 2023; Selective Link Priority; Content Strategies; China Rules; GA vs UA; and Much More!

FIRST …

About a week before the Google Reviews April Update, I shared this image on Twitter to show the GSC delay that’s usually an indicator of an update —

Google Search Console Delays

And here we are, in the middle of an update. I don’t usually worry about updates that much anymore because there are so many of them.

If you’re focusing on creating valuable content to your readers, you shouldn’t worry about updates either. You should worry more on the quality of the content.

Google has told us over the months and years of what they consider to be high quality content. For this current update, here’s their “how to write reviews” article. They tell us that best practices include:

  • Evaluating from a user’s perspective

  • Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable

  • Provide evidence and share quantitative measurements

  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks

  • Include linked to other useful resources and multiple sellers

  • and a number of other “suggestions”

So for those of you using ChatGPT or another AI and your tool doesn’t spit out that quality - then stop, rewrite, and edit.

If you’re using human writers and they don’t spit out that quality - then stop, rewrite, and edit.

And with the latest update on how to write high-quality reviews, those best practices are not just for products anymore. Those guidelines cover the traditional affiliate article for products and for services, destinations, games, movies, and other topics.

Quality articles take time to write, but they’re worth it.

I’ve noticed an uptick of AI-written articles as I look for content to share. I don’t share content that’s clearly written by AI and doesn’t provide any benefits to you, the reader. The AI content has no depth and doesn’t share any original insights.

You know they’re published for topical coverage and not necessarily to rank.

Why waste that time creating something that will never rank?

Spend a little time writing something of higher quality for the readers to stay on your site and want to read more. It’s the readers who you are trying to convert into $$$.

Remember, traffic doesn’t just come from Google. And with the explosion of ChatGPT in the last few months, organic traffic will continue to decrease. It’s important to build a brand that your current visitors will remember to come back to.

High-quality content for low-competition keywords is what will bring organic traffic.

High-quality content for high-competition keywords is what will keep those visitors on the site and bring brand awareness for repeat visits through direct, social media, or other non-organic channels.

You need a combination of both if you want to have a successful site for the long term.

With that in mind, let’s dive into this week’s goodies!

SPONSOR
Performance by Lasso

Track your affiliate commissions across multiple platforms in one place with Lasso’s new Performance tool.

It aggregates revenue data from affiliate platforms like Amazon, CJ, Impact, ShareASale, and more, so you can quickly see where your revenue is coming from. With all that data, you can:

  • Identify high-performing advertisers and products

  • Optimize content creation for affiliate sales and traffic

  • Spot trends and cater offers to your audience

If you sign up for Performance today, you’ll get up to $1,000 of revenue tracked for free.

After that, it’s just $19 for up to $5,000 in tracked revenue per month, and $3/$1,000 tracked after that during the early adopter phase. That’s up to 80% cheaper than comparable products.

If you want to take your affiliate marketing business to the next level with advanced analytics built just for you, then sign up for Performance today!

My Take: I’ve tried to use other similar tools in the past, but nothing was able to automatically integrate with Amazon Associates - so this is huge. It’s free up to $1,000 of tracked revenue, so put up a site with less affiliate revenues and it costs you nothing to try Performance.

INCOME REPORTS

Income School’s annual survey of how much bloggers are earning. Some interesting stats from the survey:

  • Average of survey respondents - 60,500 pageviews/month earning $2,226.52.

  • Bloggers are earning an average of $36.80 per thousand page views in 2023.

  • Bloggers who have between 100 and 500 blog posts on their website are earning the most, averaging $41.59 per thousand page views, while those with fewer than 10 blog posts can't expect to earn much.

  • Those who sell digital products earn 3.9 times as much as those who only use ads.

  • Project 24 Members earn significantly more than non-members, with an 89% higher income per thousand page views and 91% higher income per blog post written.

  • The average hourly wage for bloggers is over $98 per hour, based on the dollars earned per post over five years.

SEO

Google released the Google April 2023 Reviews Update on April 12, 2023 at noon EST (9 AM PDT). This update leans heavily on signals of experience.

Google’s April 2023 Review Update is accompanied by a new Google Search Central documentation that offers direction to the kind of content that Google’s Reviews System Algorithm may be looking for.

Google’s post on how to write high-quality reviews was also updated to include more than just products. It now includes services, destinations, games, movies or other topics.

April 2023’s office hours is out as audio-only on YouTube or read the transcript (which may be quicker). Some of the questions covered this month include:

  • When I search for something included in my sitemap it’s not showing an indexed post, why?

  • I have a site that is flagged in Google. How do I find out why it doesn't appear in SERPS?

  • If I delete several old indexed HTML landing pages, should I redirect 404s to the homepage?

  • How to increase indexing speed on Google Search Console?

  • My website is not appearing in Google Search. What should I do?

  • Why is Wifi and Wi-Fi not considered the same by Google?

  • Can my site be deleted from SERP for one certain keyword?

  • My site's description shows spam not from my site, why?

Google's Selective Link Priority impacts SEO by determining which anchor text signals to pass through links on a page that target the same URL.

While it may not make a huge difference in one's SEO strategy, optimizing for Selective Link Priority by being aware of it and carefully selecting anchor text for internal links can make a difference in winning SEO.

My Take: This is definitely an important one to take a look at as it’s about internal links and anchor text, and how they’re applied on your site. What most people don’t know about internal links is that it’s not just about creating a link. There’s a lot more to it and it helped my sites when I first learned about this years ago.

Here are a few more Google SEO resources this week:

TOOLS AND RESOURCES

Here are some cool tools I found recently:

From Matt Zimmerman (Master Prompt Engineer) is the best AI writer I’ve tried so far. Matt used to create and share many prompts/templates for Frase, taking the output to another level, before coming out with ZimmWriter. And yes, I like it better than KoalaWriter.

ZimmWriter on Mac via Wineskin

It uses your own OpenAI API key and gives you the option of davinci-003, gpt-3.5-turbo, and gpt-4. With Bulk Writer, you can create up to 1000 articles at once (as long as OpenAI’s API isn’t overloaded). I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s an option.

It’s a Windows app, but until he releases the native Mac app, it can also be run on a Mac by using Wineskin (free) or Parallels (paid). I use Wineskin and it works well. I followed these simple instructions someone in the community made.

They have a Lifetime deal and a Monthly subscription that’s less than $10. Watch the videos on the sales pages. Try it for a month and then see if you want to get the Lifetime deal before it becomes subscription-only.

I’m currently figuring out a process for a new site using ZimmWriter, Frase, and human editors to speed up the writing process. A big plus with Zimm is the ability to write based on data I’ve added in specific H2 sections. That helps prevent the GPT API from making up facts.

WriteMage is for fellow Mac users to use ChatGPT from a Spotlight Search-like interface that gives you access to gpt-4 and gpt-3.5 anywhere on your Mac.

You can also create and save prompts, as well as all your past chats. This saves me from having to open a browser for ChatGPT and do all the copy and paste.

I can just highlight the text in any Mac app, press Option+Space Bar, enter in a prompt and press Enter. I then get the response in the Spotlight Search bar. You can use it in emails, on web pages, in Word, etc.

It wasn’t released too long ago, so you can get in early during the 30% off launch deal.

CONTENT

Ron Lieback discusses the content trends this year to optimize website content for engagement and ROI. He covers:

  1. The Rise Of AI-Driven Content

  2. Video Shorts Are Becoming Dominant

  3. Influencer Marketing Is Evolving

  4. Podcasting Remains Strong

  5. There’s Greater Demand For Personal Experience

  6. Content Marketers Require Data More Than Ever

  7. Page Experience And Value Remain Integral

Cady Cohen discusses the importance of having a content strategy for businesses to achieve their KPIs and boost their success. She provides six content strategy examples, including blog optimization, comparison pages, long-form content, interactive content, and schema markup.

She also talks about how to create a content strategy framework based on audience research, brand identity, competitors' analysis, and market analysis.

AI

The Cyberspace Administration of China drafted rules to manage how companies develop generative AI products like ChatGPT after Alibaba and Baidu started rolling out their ChatGPT-style products. Measures lay out the ground rules, including the type of content these products are allowed to generate.

For example, the content generated by AI needs to reflect the core values of socialism and should not subvert state power, according to the draft rules.

My Take: Having lived in China for 7 years and dealt with censorship recommendations first-hand in the entertainment industry, this is far from surprising. All aspects of the web and communication are monitored to prevent the spread of false information.

AI and Machine Learning feel overwhelming and lost in how they’re changing things?

Ruth Everett has a good article covering examples of how they work in the real world and SEO. Learning about what’s been done can help you as you look to expand your sites and online businesses. She shares seven real world examples and eight examples directly applied to SEO.

Other hot AI news:

EDUCATION

Andy Crestodina compares GA4 and UA, ultimately to show why GA4 is better than Universal Analytics. He covers these topics:

  • What is tracked?

  • How are reports managed?

  • Data Retention

  • Events and Conversions

JC Chouinard shows how to use Python to query the Wikidata API that allows you to query the data behind that is used to build content across the MediaWiki organization (wikitravel, wikipedia, wikispecies, etc.). This can be very useful for those getting into pSEO.

CASE STUDY

Bill Widmer analyzes seven different affiliate sites and discusses what makes them successful. He covers these sites: The Barbecue Lab, Bank My Cell, Simply Insurance, Hobotech, Scotty Kilmer, Wirecutter, and RTINGS.com

Originality’s latest update has resulted in it recognizing AI more accurately. In this post, they compare the accuracy of Originality to other AI detection tools including Open AI’s classifier, GPTZero, Writer.AI and CopyLeaks.

In my own tests, it’s definitely gotten much better. You’ll want to test out your own process with AI content though because some people have said the new algo hasn’t changed for their content. It’s all about what LLM you use, how you use it, and the content process you go through, so you’ll want to give it a try yourself.

Events

These are some upcoming events:

MARKETING

18 marketers share unconventional marketing ideas they’ve seen or executed. Lots of fun ones here to try out when building your brand. Some of the creative ideas include:

  • Create friction

  • Disqualify your audience

  • Trendjack… tastefully

  • Create content in unconventional formats

  • “Steal” traffic from big sites

  • Do the opposite of what everyone’s doing

  • Stop focusing so much on data

NEWS

The former salesperson at Ezoic, Tyler Mancuso, pleaded guilty to the charge of wire fraud and now faces up to 20 years in prison. What’d he do?

He rerouted a $9 million Google Adsense payment in December 2022 to his own bank account. Yep, he just logged in and changed the bank account on Ezoic’s Adsense account. Simple as that.

Here is a good Twitter thread by Sacha Fournier summarizing it. If you want to read the original Business Insider article behind the paywall, open an Incognito window and put in the URL. Then stop the page loading as soon as you see the content so the paywall pop-up doesn’t have time to load.

My Take: How he thought he’d never get caught is beyond me, but it wasn’t his first time being involved in some schemes. It apparently runs in the family too.

A deeper look into the Twitter algorithm and the engagement formula for the different types of engagement and their weights. But this shows that “the code doesn’t tell us the types of things we want to know.”

For example, the scores given to tweets from Blue subscribers get multiplied by 2x–4x in the ranking formula. But it would be completely incorrect to interpret this as a 2x–4x increase in reach. Scores in the ranking formula aren’t interpretable and only Twitter knows the real impact.

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