niche surfer - Wave Issue 146

Topical Map Love; Googlebot Advanced Insights; Readability Scores; Mastering HARO; XML Sitemaps; Suing AI For Billions; ChatGPT Quality Declines; and Much More!


A little boasting today…

Wondering how HOT Topical Maps Unlocked is?

The below bar chart is what I just received from Internet Marketing Gold (IMG) and what they send to course creators.

Topical Maps Unlocked is the 3rd most watched course behind two courses from Kyle Roof (also one of IMG’s founders). Not too bad of an SEO to be second to.

TMU was available on IMG starting the beginning of June, so it also wasn’t the full three months of Q2 (April, May, and June) either. Who knows, maybe with two more months, it could have clinched the top spot!

With the happy news, I’m also going to offer a discount for 1 week only! More on that below.

People have been loving it. I regularly get messages from people there. For those on IMG, I’ve also been giving them access to the Private Community on TMU.

It’s great to see the growth and popularity of it. The students that are in TMU have been great and I want to continue providing more value to them.

I’ve started on a new section of the course that’s going to focus on Local SEO – a hot topic many students have been wanting to explore.

I have an internal experiment I’ve been planning for with topical maps, human writers, and AI writers that I’ll be sharing with TMU students.

I’m also contemplating sharing internal tools that I’ve developed. Figuring out how to do this is tricky, as these tools require server resources and aren't as simple to distribute as the Chrome extension tool. Speaking of which…

One of the cool things I didn’t even know about the Chrome extension tool is it works up to 100 results if you have Google loading up 100 at one time!

It was actually a student who figured it out - talk about a huge time saver!

The TMU Private Community has also been really great with a lot of smart people in there!

If you’re not a part of the TMU family yet, there are 2 official ways to join us and get all the benefits:

1.) Purchase directly at with a discount:

$50 discount Coupon Code: Q2WIN50

2.) Sign up for the IMG monthly subscription at

If you don’t know what IMG is, it’s like Netflix for SEOs because it offers a bunch of courses for a monthly subscription. You’re basically renting courses month-to-month while the course is up on their platform.

Here's to continuous learning, growth, and reaching new heights together!

Back to our regularly scheduled surfing…


SEO pro Barry Adams discusses how to optimize Googlebot's crawling efficiency on your site, particularly for news publishers, Barry has some fascinating insights, including how to stop LLMs from crawling your site if you wanted. Other interesting things:

  • Google crawls URLs seen as more important more frequently - those with numerous backlinks and frequently updated content.

  • Ensure articles are SEO-optimized upon first publication as Google may not re-crawl to register changes immediately.

  • The robots.txt file can control not just crawling but ranking in specific Google verticals.

  • Google's crawl rate temporarily increases when significant site changes are detected.

  • Avoid internal links with URL parameters to save on crawl effort. Also, avoid deleting older articles as they showcase your topical authority.

SEO Ripples


A study by Originality.AI on readability scores and Google rankings. Their research found that:

  • Top-ranking pages on Google demonstrate similar readability levels.

  • Readability systems like FORCAST, Gunning-Fog, Flesch Reading Ease, and Dale-Chall offer more accurate predictions of top-ranked content, while systems like SMOG, Coleman-Liau, Flesch-Kincaid Grade, and Automated Readability should be avoided.

  • There is no significant correlation between readability and Google rank, but top-ranked pages have tightly clustered readability scores.

  • Most online content is tailored to a 12th-grade reading level.

My Take: One interesting to me is the 12th-grade reading level conclusion. I would still say that you consider your target reader and write for them. It would be helpful to know what the keywords and industries they tested content from. That would provide better insights.

FATJOE's latest guide covers why and how agencies should outsource video and design services. It's not just about meeting increasing client demand - outsourcing these services can add value to your agency's offerings and deliver improved results.

Even though this is geared to SEOs and Agencies, understanding what a good outsourcing strategy should include is important: finding reliable vendors, setting clear deliverables, and maintaining brand consistency.

The creative brief outlined in the guide is something you will want to do yourself whenever making videos. Plus there’s a good Dollar Shave Club video ad that was the first one they made in 2012.

Content Ripples


Publishers, led by Barry Diller, are aiming for a whopping payout from AI companies that trained models on their data. The idea is that if AI relies on publishers' input, they should have a larger share of the pie.

The key issue is the amount of money publishers should receive if AI models rely on their content. Some predict it could reach into the billions! 😮 

Tech companies counter that they've yet to work out a solid business model for AI, and there aren't any profits to share just yet. Some publishers are not waiting and have already started striking deals with AI companies, like the Associated Press and OpenAI (no financial details have been announced).

Tech giants Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI have teamed up to launch the Frontier Model Forum, a group focused on the responsible and safe development of advanced AI models.

Core objectives include AI safety research, identifying best practices, knowledge-sharing about trust and safety risks, and developing applications for global challenges like climate change and early cancer detection.

The Forum defines frontier models as large-scale machine-learning models that outdo the most advanced existing models in capability and task variety.

Have you been seeing lower quality responses from ChatGPT-4? Recent research suggests it might not be living up to its hype. A joint team from Stanford and UC Berkeley has discovered an alarming drop in response quality, with the prime number identification accuracy plummeting from 97.6% to a mere 2.4% in just three months.

AI Ripples


In the latest Niche Pursuits podcast, Chris Panteli from Linkifi shares his masterclass on how to make the most out of the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) platform for link building. Here are some key things he mentioned:

  • Responding to HARO queries: Be timely and make sure you're an expert in the query topic.

  • Vetting reporters: Focus on relevant queries from reputable domains to maximize your success.

  • Follow-ups: Engage with journalists to ensure your link is included in the final piece.

  • Timing: Respond quickly but efficiently to stand out.

  • Use of AI: Automate research and pitch generation for better results.

My Take: I paid for a 10-link package with Chris and Linkifi and was pleased with the results. I do wish they didn’t count all the syndicated links, but I do understand why they do it too. In the end, I still ended up with around 17 links in total and all the DRs were relevant and DR 72-95. I wrote about the results in this past issue.


Erin Rodrigue shares a guide on marketing for novices and seasoned pros. She discusses the variety of channels, tactics, and formats that can work for any business, regardless of budget.

My Take: This is a good example of a pillar post that you can use for your topic clusters / silos. It’s not super long and contains many “Further Reading” links.

WooCommerce stores can now sell directly on TikTok. The two have partnered to create a program allowing US-based merchants to market to TikTok users via TikTok Shops. The feature is currently in beta, but it promises a massive audience of over 150 million, 61% of which engage in ecommerce.

Some very interesting insights here on TikTok in general too:

  • 1 in 4 TikTok users use the platform for product research or purchases.

  • The opportunity is seen as a boon for diverse brands, especially in fashion, beauty, wellness, tech, and culinary trends.

  • 95% of TikTok users agree that finance-related topics are very important to them.

  • 92% of TikTok users said they take action after watching a TikTok.

  • 81% of TikTok users who made a Back to School purchase said the platform played a role in purchases/gifts bought.

  • 44% of Gen X TikTok users say the platform helps them discover new things.


Alex Cooper from WP Eagle went to the Search Birmingham SEO event hosted by Charles Floate and interviewed 11 of the top SEOs there for tips. Some of the tips include:

  • Chris Panteli emphasizes tracking unlinked mentions from HARO, as 40% of these can be converted into backlinks.

  • Charles Floate suggests reverse link building, obtaining links from non-direct competitors already ranking for your keywords.

  • Nick Jordan debunks traditional SEO notions, suggesting Google prioritizes user experience metrics over backlinks.

  • Jamie I.F. shares a strategy of using guest posts to enhance the E-E-A-T of authors by posting about winning fictional awards, as Google doesn't verify these.

  • Kyle Roof recommends a "niche edit" approach, where instead of buying external backlinks, you identify powerful pages on your own site and create internal links to important pages.

  • Jason Mills suggests including a quick verdict at the top of affiliate posts to improve conversions, highlighting one to three top products or the best for particular use cases.


Interesting experiment by Oliver Mason, who played around with cloaking their website content from human users for a month. Cloaking isn’t recommended since it’s goal is to manipulate search rankings and mislead users. Here are some key takeaways from it:

  • While traffic to their site declined gradually over the test period, it didn't drop sharply, suggesting that their method didn't trip any automatic cloaking detection system Google might have.

  • The experiment revealed the potential significance of user interaction signals in Google's algorithm. Despite his initial belief, the gradual traffic decline suggested that user satisfaction metrics could indeed be impacting their rankings.

  • Interestingly, the site's traffic saw an unexpected surge, likely due to a Core Update, before it plummeted again, reinforcing the importance of user interaction signals.

  • He also advises against ignoring the 'bot experience' while designing your site, contrary to the common phrase "Build for users, not for bots."


Hubspot has a study on email signatures that’s interesting and not something that I’d normally go through because I don’t personally much though into it. But it appears others do: Around 44.4% of users update their signatures 2-4 times a year, while about a third only do it every few years.

Here’s what I’ve been using:

Yoyao Hsueh
topical maps:
seo newsletter: 

Yep, that’s it. Looks like it’s time to update it. Hubspot has another article with examples to jumpstart ideas.


Source: TechCrunch

Twitter has made a bold move and rebranded its official handle to @x. Twitter's other official handles have also undergone changes, dropping 'Twitter' from their names and replacing it with 'X'.

There could be legal troubles ahead, as Twitter's new 'X' branding potentially infringes on trademarks owned by Microsoft and Meta. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and if there will be any trademark lawsuits!

My Take: This is a big branding exercise that’s going to be reviewed in all the major universities and business/marketing courses, not to mention all the marketing journals, magazines, newsletters, etc. The sudden change without consideration for things like infringements. And it just feels weird to say “Check out his X” or “I’m going to X about it.”


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


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