niche surfer - Wave Issue 138

Authenticity; Brand Entity for SEO; Lots of SGE Looks; Content Mapping; Ethical AI Considerations; More Bing Chat Turns; and Much More!


Authenticity has been on my mind this week. Well…more like weeks, plural.

I love branding, marketing, and the strategy that comes with them…but only if I’m not doing the selling.

I’ve never been a salesman and rarely ever make a hard sale. When I launched the presale for Topical Maps Unlocked (TMU) back at the end of December, I only mentioned it in two newsletters, and the second one was with only 15 hours left, so it was more like half of a newsletter.

If I had followed my marketing and branding brain, I would’ve had at least 2-3 weeks of lead time, lots of marketing collateral, engaged with promotional partners, and more. But that’s not me either.

ME ended up being 1.5 newsletters and a few tweets. That led to 50 presale students though! I thought it was really good for someone who’s not out there doing YouTube videos, podcasts, buying up ad space, or a big name in general!

When the course officially launched in early February, I again didn’t do a big marketing campaign. I did have a series of tweets with a countdown but no daily emails.

Even with my topical map service launch in Sept. 2022, my marketing efforts were minimal - a launch discount, a small Black Friday discount, and a newsletter sponsorship swap for service.

The results of those efforts were peanuts compared to word of mouth. From word of mouth, the team and I have been non-stop with topical maps for the last 6+ months.

When it comes to the push vs pull marketing approach, I’m very much in the easy-going, pull-don’t-push camp. I subtly encourage audiences to take a step forward rather than pushing them towards a product or service.

I want to create a connection with people, become part of their routine, and be reliable with sharing enlightening and helpful information with them.

Do you like the relentless emails and sales pitches for this course, that product, and this service? I know I don’t.

The secret sauce is in consistency:

  • Consistency in providing quality and value

  • Consistency in being present

To me, those are the most important things with it comes to brand authenticity. It’s not about how many times you’re emailing or selling your brand, product, and services.

I've always believed in a more organic growth path, one that fosters a sense of community and respect for long-term growth.

The data supports the hard sell approach in the short run, but they often come with issues after the money is in the sellers’ hands - disappearing acts, quality issues, not getting what was advertised, bait and switch, etc.

The pull approach won’t lead to immediate sales, but it will build trust, engagement, and top-of-mind awareness.

It’s not about the money for me. I don’t even ask for newsletter sponsors. If someone comes to me, great, but otherwise, I’m not out actively seeking sponsors (although I should be).

As you continue to build your brands, sites, products, and services - consider how you're presenting them.

Are they here for a short time, looking for the quick buck, or are they looking to build a long-term relationship?


FATJOE covers how topical authority plays a crucial role in determining your website's credibility and trustworthiness on a specific subject. When search engines view you as an authoritative source, it can lead to higher search rankings, increased traffic, and improved customer trust.

There’s a familiar mind map in there from that I wasn’t expecting!

Krisi Hines from Search Engine Journal shares her experiences with Google SGE for different search queries that bring up different SERP features. It’s a good look at seeing what happens with SGE and the SERPs when there are FAQs, PAAs, images, videos, local packs, sitelinks, and more.

Jes Scholz discusses why a strong and well-known brand entity is essential for organic visibility. She shares her 5 steps to build your brand into an entity:

  1. Secure CMO sponsorship

  2. Craft a clear and concise brand entity bio

  3. Corroborate topical relatedness

  4. Implement structured data markup

  5. Establish related entities

Google is now rolling out more than one featured snippet, often two or three, on desktop. But it’s not the perspectives that was announced at Google I/O.

Here is an example Barry Schwartz triggered with a search query on [core web vitals details] on desktop:

SEO Ripples


Danny Richman shares a free Google Sheet and script that suggests new content topics based on articles that performed well for you in the past.

JC Chouinard shows how to use Selenium and Python for web scraping and automation. He shares plenty of code and examples to follow along with.


Julia McCoy shares how content mapping helps create personalized content for each stage of the buyer's journey. Content mapping helps identify the purpose of each content piece and increases its effectiveness.

To create a content map, research your audience, map out buying stages, plan content types and topics, and document everything for easy reference.

Andrew Shotland shares how businesses can improve their visibility in local searches and attract more customers by optimizing local landing pages and leveraging their potential.

He covers what Google wants from location pages and sites. Even if you’re not a local business, I do see many people publicly getting into the local travel niche now with sites for the cities and areas where they live. I think there are a number of things to be taken away from this article when it comes to locations.

We all know how ChatGPT can help you write content, but what about research? Researching is one of the most important aspects of content and these are some good tips with using ChatGPT.

Rachel Dennis shares how it can help summarize complex information, create lists of ideas, find gaps and weaknesses in your outlines, generate additional research questions, create demographic and persona profiles, analyze stats, and generate content in the tone of reputable sources.


Jordon from Shopify shares a number of ways on how to use ChatGPT for SEO purposes. He shares examples of how to use it for keyword research, FAQs, content strategy, blog templates, content creation, meta titles and descriptions, backlink outreach email templates, schema markup, and regular expressions (Regex) to use in Google Search Console or Google Analytics.

Hugo Molinaro discusses ethical considerations and disclosure practices content marketers should adopt when utilizing AI. It highlights the importance of addressing concerns such as fairness, bias, data privacy, and transparency.

Legal requirements for the disclosure and ownership of AI use for content marketing vary from one location to another. For example, the U.S. Copyright Office says that content created using AI tools cannot be copyrighted.

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission guidelines require businesses to disclose any material that is not reasonably expected by the audience— such as using AI if it could influence the audience’s perception. Um…isn’t that any marketing and advertising copy?

There are also examples of Netflix, Spotify, and Grammarly disclosure of how they’re using AI to help customers for personalization and usage.

Bing Chat has increased from 20 to 30 chat turns in a single conversation, along with an increase to 300 total chat turns per day. Visuals in travel.

Bing Image Creator now works not just in creative mode, as it launched in within Bing Chat, but now works in all chat modes, including Precise and Balanced modes.

Bing Chat will also now show and generate more visual results for your travel queries. These visuals also contain links directly to Bing Travel results.

AI Ripples


Andy Chadwick from KeywordInsights discusses the important of anchor text and how to optimize it for SEO. He shares real-world examples from BBC News and Wikipedia.

He also takes a look at the Random Surfer Model that the Google PageRank algorithm follows for ranking pages based on the probability that a person following links at random might end up on a particular page.

Factors that affect it include font size and color, link position, position in a list, number of words, actual words used, type of links, surrounding context, topical clusters, and link destination.


YouTube emerges as the most profitable platform for creators, outshining Instagram and TikTok, according to a recent survey. Lots of interesting stats here.

  • On YouTube, 6% of creators earned more than $10,001 per month – compared to 3% of Instagram creators and 2% of TikTok creators.

  • 50% of YouTube creators earn more than $500 per month vs. Instagram (40%) and TikTok (36%).

  • On average, YouTube creators achieve a remarkable 50% engagement rate, surpassing TikTok's 3% and Instagram's 2%.

The longer video format on YouTube enables creators to provide in-depth product insights, making it especially beneficial for brands offering complex products that require detailed tutorials.

Here’s another recent article on understanding the latest on YouTube’s Algorithm if you’re ready to go down the YouTube path.

YouTube is also discontinuing Stories as of June 26, 2023, focusing instead on Shorts and Community posts, which drive more engagement.


The latest episode of the "Search Off the Record" podcast features a discussion by Google's Search Relations team on the potential impact of Web3 on SEO.

They talk about how SEOs face challenges due to Web3's unconventional domains and limited crawlability.

Potential Web3 applications include dApps, blockchain-based domains, and enhanced digital identity and privacy.

As Web3 evolves, SEO professionals and website owners may need to adapt their strategies to ensure optimal discoverability.

For those who know Google BigQuery, Daniel Waisberg shares what data is available in BigQuery after you successfully set up a bulk data export. Learn about the table schema, SQL tips, and best practices when querying the data.


Interesting A/B testing here with the United States and Australian markets. The results were mixed due to different results in the two markets.

The US market saw a 13% increase in traffic, while the Australian market had a slight decrease of -3.3%.

Glen Allsopp discusses how six football (aka soccer) sites under GRV Media have achieved record-breaking traffic numbers in May, even after the season is over.

He talks about how GRV Media has recently expanded their team of football writers, indicating their confidence in the future potential of these sites. These sites emphasize constant content publishing and use enticing headlines to drive clicks.

They expect to sustain traffic levels during the offseason through Twitter and transfer rumors. Something to take away for your seasonal sites?


Anthony Moore at Ezoic discusses how Project Magi represents a shift in user behavior and the advertising landscape, emphasizing personalization, AI-powered results, and improved user experience.

He says advertisers will benefit with more effective targeting, reaching users who are genuinely interested in their products or services.

Content creators and publishers will benefit with expanded tools to track the performance of their content, receive feedback from users, and connect with other creators in their niche.


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


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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