niche surfer - Wave Issue 139

Google Did What?; Keyword Cannibalization; Optimize for Perspectives; Newsletter Empire; Selecting Domains; and Much More!


Another week of experts left and right telling us the 'best practices' for SEO, the future of SEO with AI and search changes like Google SGE, YouTube is the future, blah blah blah.

Hey, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have a newsletter 😂

And I do it myself. I give my thoughts every week right here in this newsletter.

Now, don't get me wrong, all that stuff is super important - assuming these people are sharing their actual experiences and not just theory.

But sometimes, there's just nothing better than getting your hands a little dirty and testing stuff out for yourself.

Explore, Learn, and Test Things Yourself.

Diving headfirst into a process gives you insights that no one else can give you. You get to tweak and change strategies to suit your sites and businesses.

After all, every business is its own unique beast, and what works for one might not be the best fit for another.

The magic really happens when we start exploring, learning, and testing things on our own terms - that's when we find the stuff that clicks with our sites, brands, and audiences.

I recently helped out a friend who had been trying to revive his site for months. It kept getting hit by Google Update after Update.

His content was great. E-E-A-T was solid. The backlinks were good, and he disavowed any potentially bad links for good measure. But nothing was working.

A few weeks ago, I gave him 3 suggestions and he tried them out. Wouldn’t you know it? The site started to go on an uptrend that week.

They weren’t any typical suggestions, but they were things I had tested in the past. He could’ve easily ignored all 3 because they weren’t changes that people would suggest. But he tried them, and it’s worked so far.

Same thing happened when I suggested on Twitter not to delay certain scripts in Ezoic’s Leap settings because delaying the scripts actually slowed down sites. It goes against traditional thinking because you’re technically loading more things.

But many Ezoic users tried it and many people’s site speeds improved quickly.

If I didn’t try things those changes myself, I never would have known.

So, this week, I'm encouraging you to embrace that hands-on, do-it-yourself spirit. After all, the most exciting paths are often the ones we forge ourselves. Here’s a simple way to start:

  • Spin up a brand new site just for testing.

  • Install the same themes and plugins you’re currently using, to minimize variables.

  • Create tests and make changes there to see how search engines react. I have multiple sites for different tests.

  • If you have a successful test, implement it across all your money sites.

One of the best things I’ve done is to have the same tech stack of WordPress themes (GeneratePress) and plugins.

That way, when I discover a winning strategy, I can easily roll it out across my entire portfolio.

Let's get out there and make some waves! Remember…

Always be Testing.


If you’re in the newsletter game or want to get into it, Richard Patey is at the top and someone to learn from. This is an interview with the beehiiv newsletter platform, which is what I use too now.

Richard also announced the selling of two newsletters and a website to Wisdom Media this week, so he’s still super active. He’s not just using one past newsletter as his experience. He’s constantly building and selling, and most importantly, testing and sharing his results.

Wait … Google Has What?

Did you know Google has it’s own “blog” to compete with content sites - Google Arts & Culture.

I came across this while curating for this week’s newsletter and was surprised I hadn’t come across this before. They have all kinds of articles, content, and even games, like puzzles and coloring books.

If you’re trying to rank for “superstition examples,” sorry to say, but Google’s “18 Superstitions from Around the World” articles is Number 1.

Great wall of china facts” - sorry again, Google’s “10 Things to Know about the Great Wall of China” is Number 1.

Why did van gogh cut off his ear” - you guessed it, Google is Number 1 (after the featured snippets).

The best thing I take away from this site is to see how Google has created its articles. How do they set up their pages technically and creatively?

Because I do have to say - I’m impressed with what they’ve done.

I wonder if it’s a site that Google uses to test various things with. The March 2023 Core Update and April 2023 Reviews Update weren’t too kind to the site.


Olaf Kopp has an extensive E-E-A-T guide that does a nice job of covering almost anything you’d want to know. he shared a great infographic on his Twitter this week on the possible influencing on-page and off-page factors on EEAT.

If you're into SEO, niche sites, digital marketing, or online businesses, you need to know about keyword cannibalization.

It's a common problem when multiple pages on a website target the same or similar keywords, causing them to compete against each other in search rankings.

FATJOE discusses why keyword cannibalization matters and how to identify, fix, and prevent it from happening on your site.

My Take: Keyword cannibalization is a must-know topic if you’re building websites. If you’re using AI or automation that doesn’t take into account SERP similarity to generate “topical maps," cannibalization is what you need to watch out for before writing a single piece of content.

Question and answers this week with Google’s SEO team. If you don’t want to listen, you can read the Transcript. Some of the questions covered:

  • Why does structured data show errors on Google but not

  • What is the difference between an XML sitemap and HTML? I have an error message in Search Console.

  • Are numbers in the URL bad for SEO? Are they a bad idea to include in the URL?

  • Why is my website URL blocked?

  • Can an SEO company get a Google approved badge? (There’s no Google SEO Certification…)

  • Does "main content" mean that the video has to be the absolute first element on the page?

John Mueller, has shared valuable insights into the difference between generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Here are the key takeaways:

  • Domain choice matters for targeting the right audience.

  • Google says .ai domains are now gTLDs in the eyes of its algorithms rather than geo-specific to Anguilla.

  • User perception of a domain significantly impacts click-through rates.

  • ccTLDs (e.g., .nl, .fr, .de) are beneficial for targeting specific countries.

  • gTLDs or relevant ccTLDs are preferable for global markets or targeting different countries.

  • Avoid selecting TLDs associated with spam to protect your site's reputation.

SEO Ripples

  • Most SEOs are not impressed with the new Google Search Generative Experience (SGE). In a Twitter poll by Lily Ray 37% said SGE was not an improvement and 51% said SGE was “Meh.”

TOOLS AND RESOURCES is a site I came across when the creator responded to my introduction last week about push vs. pull marketing and shared some great ideas with me. His site researches and shares many niches that you can create affiliate sites in.

Make Lemonade Marketplace and Concierge Service Launches

The Make Lemonade Agency (prev. Niche Website Builders) has launched their marketplace for buyers and sellers of content and affiliate sites. Their commission fee is only 7% (lower than any others I can think of). Flippa’s success fee is 10% and they don’t do anything for you.

For buyers, they also launched a Website Investing Concierge service. They will guide you through the process of purchasing a website that’s listed on any marketplace or privately. They’ll help you with due diligence, assisting on calls, and even negotiation for 5-7% of the business value.

Automate repetitive tasks on websites or desktop applications. You can set it up to log into websites and perform clicks, enter text, etc. For almost anything that you do regularly, you can probably automate with Robomotion.

This is a bit more technical, but it can save a good amount of time. I’ve purchased this myself and have 60 days to learn it before the refund period expires.

Brings AI into WordPress to help you with blog posts, detailed pages, structured lists, and comprehensive tables. s. It’s currently free for up to 20 requests. After that, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.


Google's recent launch of Perspectives has shifted the focus of content creation towards user-centric approaches, favoring fresh and original viewpoints tailored for individuals rather than simply optimized content.

Dan Taylor offers up a number of suggestions to optimize for Perspectives:

  • Incorporate unique viewpoints

  • Focus on value and purpose

  • Leverage user and third-party reviews

  • Add perspectives to travel content

  • Enhance ecommerce content with user perspectives

Lana Rafaela shares her perspective on how AI content will impact SEO. She emphasizes that AI is becoming commonplace, and it's important to stay ahead of the game:

  • Embrace AI

  • Know AI Limitations

  • Create Unique Content

  • Avoid Conversational AI Queries

  • Differentiate

Michael Stelzner discusses how they conceive and launch podcasts in just 9 weeks. Discover their methods of investing time, effort, and attention to detail in choosing podcast guests.

He also covers how podcast episodes are distributed on various platforms and how key quotes and insights are shared on social media to promote the episodes.

Dave Davies explores how to use Google entities and GPT-4 to create article outlines. There’s Python and Google Colab instructions for web scraping and some Google NLP. It’s a technical how-to article, but worth a look if you’re comfortable with some coding.


We’ve all heard the stories of how AI chatbot ChatGPT is replacing high-paid knowledge workers in fields like copywriting and marketing. They’re now going into fields where AI can’t replace them (…yet).

We also all know that AI still falls short in terms of personal voice, style, and accuracy; but many companies prioritize cost-cutting over quality. Some of the high-profile quality stumbles by companies prioritizing costs:

  • When the technology news site CNET used artificial intelligence to write articles, the results were riddled with errors and resulted in lengthy corrections.

  • A lawyer who relied on ChatGPT for a legal brief cited numerous fictitious cases.

  • The National Eating Disorders Association laid off people staffing its helpline and replaced them with a chatbot. But they suspended the chatbot after it doled out insensitive and harmful advice.

Washington Post has a paywall, so press STOP when you see the text has loaded and before the paywall gate pops up, if you want to read this.

AI Ripples


Patrick Stox at Ahrefs tested the permanence of 301 redirects. In theory, Google's Gary Illyes stated that after one year, redirect signals consolidate permanently to the new location.

Patrick decided to test this claim by removing the redirects on several blog posts. He ended up seeing there wasn't a significant drop in traffic to the posts. One even experienced increased traffic, while two remained relatively flat.

Source: Ahrefs


Seeing lower open rate numbers for your newsletter? An issue with Gmail is redirecting newsletters to spam, affecting open rates, MailChimp confirms.

Did niche surfer end up in your Gmail spam? Reply back and let me know!

But first, click that “Not Spam” button


I’ve been using ChatGPT to help create little tools for my team and myself to use that are allowing us to be more efficient. It’s been well-worth any money spent on ChatGPT’s Premium plan and/or API costs.

Luca Tagliaferro covers how you can do it too. He goes through the steps of creating a Chrome extension with the help of ChatGPT.

One tip I have is to use GPT-4 if you have access to it. GPT-3.5 led to more bugs and fewer fixes. Plus, if you have a lot of code and multiple files, GPT-4’s memory is larger.

Vahan Petrosyan covers how to avoid common configuration mistakes in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to ensure you get accurate and reliable data collection. Key mistakes and tips:

  • Not setting the data retention period

  • Dealing with high cardinality dimensions

  • Linking to BigQuery

  • Setting up custom audiences

  • Avoiding auto migration from Universal Analytics

  • Excluding unwanted referrals

  • Choosing the right reporting identity


Want to grow fast? Conch House, a product review website, was widely talked about in the last year for beating Google Updates with their “helpful content.” They reached 6 million monthly traffic in just a month and generated $19,000 per day in revenue with 0% original content.

The website made around $800,000 in just two months, with a 95% profit margin. The website covered a wide range of niches and keywords, posting around 4,000 to 6,000 pages per day.

The owners used an automated tool to copy content from Amazon and structure it on their website. Yet Google’s Algo couldn’t catch them. Google eventually took manual action on the site and de-indexed it due to the copied content (and lots of sharing by the community).

The owners of Conch House revealed themselves one year later in a Facebook group and agreed to an interview to discuss their strategies. It’s a very interesting conversation.

There are a number of “Day 1” blog posts on Empire Flippers from creators who are building content and affiliate sites. Not sure how often these will be updated, but here are the ones that were published:

  • Building A Niche Animal Site From $0 to $500,000

  • Building A Niche Travel Site From $0 to $350,000

  • Building A Kids’ Toys Niche Site From $0 to $120,000

  • Building A Finance/Banking Site From $0 to $100,000

  • Building An Audio Production Niche Site from $0 to $40,000

  • Building A Healthy Food Niche Site From $0 to $10,000


Dom Wells shares how Onfolio Holdings is leveraging AI to transform their portfolio of online businesses. This is a great inside look at the value they see AI can bring.

It’s jogged some ideas in my head, as well as added extra support to things I’ve been thinking about myself.

He discusses their plans to develop internal AI tools, launch new AI tools, and acquire existing AI tools to expand their offerings.


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


My partner-in-crime in the LowFruits Case Study - Dim Nikov - started a newsletter! He’s going to be sharing a lot of great info, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on this.


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