niche surfer - Wave Issue 152

Entities and Topics and Keywords, Oh My! Get GPT-4 Content at 3.5 Turbo Prices; August Update is Over; LowFruits Case Study Update; and Much More!


Ever since OpenAI came out with the ability to fine-tune GPT-3.5 Turbo, I've been deep in the trenches, fine-tuning models for specific use-cases - especially with content.

Why? Because having a consistent voice and quality is essential.

This means you can hire a range of writers (or AI writers 😅 ) and have your fine-tuned model edit it. Or hire general VAs to follow a specific process to create content with your model.

The best part? I’m getting GPT-4 performance at GPT-3.5 Turbo prices with the model. Huge money saver!

It’s taken a long time to get there and lots of trial and error, and - well - fine-tuning. If you’re looking to do the same, here are my top 3 things to focus on:

  1. Prompt Engineering: Creating good prompts is important to set a good foundation.

  2. Bigger Dataset: The minimum is 10 examples in a dataset, but in my tests, that barely moves any needle. Do at least 50-60 examples.

  3. Quality Check: Make sure you’ve gone through each of your training examples for quality.

Was all that time spent worth it? Absolutely, yes! I envision big time and money savings from training, editing, tools, etc.

Budget-wise, it’s GPT-3.5 that’s being trained, so the costs were minimal. I spent less than $20 in training costs with OpenAI’s API. The biggest investment - my time in building datasets.

Many tutorials will tell you to use AI to generate the datasets, but don’t use them as-is. I agree it’ll help you get a complete dataset faster, but you’ll still want to review each row of data to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Then the next thing was playing around with temperatures and penalties when trying out your new fine-tuned model. It took a considerable amount of trial and error because the fine-tuned model wasn’t perfect straight out-of-the-box.

Just as the ChatGPT-4 web app and the GPT-4 API give different results for the same prompts, so too will your fine-tuned model require some adjustments.

If you’re technically inclined and like playing around with these things, it’ll be worth every second you spend on it!


Dim and I shared our next update on our case study site. With the overwhelming response to try and recover the site, that’s what we’re doing.

We share the game plan, which includes deleting our second silo and de-optimizing a piece of content with a 94 Surfer SEO score.

Since the latest August Core Update just ended, we may need to wait until the next one until we see a response to changes (if any).


While the August 2023 Update started on August 23rd, there was a silent update on August 18th that saw a 50% drop in indented search results. It’s an interesting read to see the things they saw.

Entities and Topics and Keywords, Oh My!

Paul DeMott demystifies the complex web in modern SEO. Remember the good old days when stuffing a page with keywords was enough? Here are some of the key topics:

  • Entities vs Keywords: An entity is the foundational concept in content, while keywords are specific search terms tied to user intent.

  • Topic Importance: Topics are overarching themes that include various entities, providing a broad structure for your content strategy.

  • Topical Maps: Use these to visualize clusters of related topics, sub-topics, and keywords, making your site a go-to resource.

  • The Cluster-Centric Approach: Focus on clusters of dense, related content to establish topical authority.

  • On-Page Optimizations: Google's use of entities allows your pages to rank for keywords that aren't explicitly mentioned, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive content.

Great primer for the Topical Maps Unlocked course if I do say so myself. Learning how to create topical maps and organize your site and content doesn’t have to be difficult.

Note: If you got the ‘Wizard of Oz’ reference, congratulations! You’re more cultured than those who don’t! And remember, it’s ‘cultured’ - not ‘old’.

Lidia Infante's guide on Wix dives deep into the concept of SEO gap analysis to help you outperform your competition. Lidia suggests segmenting your gap analysis into three key areas: Content, Technical SEO, and Backlinks.

By doing this, you can pinpoint your weakest SEO pillar and focus on strategies to beef it up. The guide also offers a plethora of metrics and tips for benchmarking your performance across these three pillars.

SEO Ripples

  • Bing is testing new interfaces for related searches. Some of these new interfaces are boxed at the top right, potentially capturing immediate attention.

  • Bing is testing the removal of full URLs from search result snippets. Google has also conducted similar tests in the past but has not permanently implemented the change.

  • Site names on Google Search now available for all languages. Site names are supported for domains (for example, and subdomains (for example, but not for subdirectories (for example,

  • Google's recent blog post sheds light on how they've evolved Search over the past 25 years (who else remembers v1 😅 ). It’s a good look to see how things have changed and how things can change in the future with CEO Sundar Pichal’s reflection.


Marie Haynes dives into the murky waters of Google's "helpful content system" and its implications for SEO. She explores whether removing or adding a "noindex" tag to low-value content might help websites recover from a suppression in search rankings. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Google's "helpful content system" lacks clear guidelines on how to recover from a suppression in search rankings.

  • Content that's mostly a rehash of existing information is likely considered "unhelpful."

  • Improving "medium quality" content to meet Google's standards requires significant resources and expertise.

  • Marie suggests either removing or "noindexing" low-value content or making existing useful content more prominent on each page.

  • The "helpful content system" is still new and evolving, but proactively improving your content now is advisable.

Jarek Rozanski dives into content optimization strategies. From SEO keyword integration to understanding the role of web analytics, this guide covers a range of strategies like using web analytics, keyword strategies, ensuring quality and quality, and respecting user privacy.


ChatGPT for Smaller Teams and Businesses

I haven’t seen OpenAI announce a new version of ChatGPT for small teams and businesses, but I did get the email below from them.

I was rejected for ChatGPT Enterprise since I don’t have a team of hundreds to thousands. I’m a small potato, so was rejected 😥 

But the good news is their mention of a plan for ChatGPT for smaller teams and businesses!

AI Ripples

  • Anthropic’s Claude AI chatbot gets a paid plan for heavy users. Claude Pro costs $20 per month in the US or £18 per month in the UK. The 8-hour reset timeframe and its ~100 messages doesn’t seem as friendly as ChatGPT Pro. It’s actually based on characters/length of messages, but I didn’t see any concrete numbers. Read more about the limits here.

  • Google said it will mandate that political advertisements on its platforms disclose when images and audio have been altered or created using tools such as artificial intelligence (AI).

  • Acclaimed journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson says Musk has a master plan to create A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-style artificial general intelligence - combining Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and xAI.


The Backlink Blacklist from Matthew Woodward and his team has been updated. When you add domains and URLs, you can check it against their blacklist made up of sites that are known guest post farms, PBN’s, sold via cold outreach, have “write for us” pages or have failed any one of our internal quality control checks.


Jason Tabeling uses ChatGPT Advanced Data Analysis to analyze Google Ads reports, create graphs, and even carry out predictive analytics, all within the chat interface to level up his PPC game.

No more wrestling with Excel or complex coding—ChatGPT aims to make data processing and visualization a breeze. It’s great for PPC marketers looking to quickly analyze and visualize campaign data.

Want to learn more about PPC?

Marilyn Wilkinson shares a fresh guide on PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing. For those of you who are still uncertain about incorporating PPC into your digital strategy, this guide breaks down all the nuts and bolts. It's not just for search engines like Google; PPC works across social media, YouTube, and even Amazon.

Why should you care about PPC? For one, it's way faster than SEO in getting you results. Plus, it allows hyper-specific targeting, from demographics to user behavior. Best of all, you get rich analytics to fine-tune your campaigns and a higher degree of budget control.


On the latest Indexsy episode, Jacky Chou and James DeLacy talk with Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR - diving deep into topics from "parasite SEO" to community building in the digital space. Some of the topics discussed:

  • Parasite SEO is more complicated than you think, but there are ways to work around saturated topics.

  • Becoming a business expert, not just an SEO guru, is crucial for success.

  • Community is vital for learning and growing in the digital marketing field.

  • Advanced techniques like AGI (Artificial Generative Intelligence) are becoming more important in the SEO landscape.

Dixon Jones takes a deeper look into entities. Unlike keywords, entities are records in a database that Google uses to understand and categorize the world. Think of it as Google’s “mental model” of interconnected things and concepts.

He talks about how entities play a crucial role in Google's Knowledge Graph and are particularly useful in distinguishing ideas, not just ranking pages. So, optimizing for entities could be the hack you need for a more targeted and future-proof search strategy.


Rand Fishkin and SparkToro teamed up with Datos to spill the tea on how ChatGPT is really doing these days. The hype might've had you thinking ChatGPT is on a one-way ticket to the moon, but the data tells a different story. Key highlights:

  • Visits to OpenAI have declined by 29% since May 2023, cooling off some red-hot expectations.

  • Programming assistance accounts for a significant 30% of ChatGPT usage, remaining a strong use-case (that’s me! 🖐️ )

  • Educational use isn't enough to explain the decline in traffic, debunking one of the prevailing theories.

  • Multiple use-cases like content creation, sales, and marketing also find a place but aren't the dominating factors.

  • The word "SEO" appeared in 2.39% of all ChatGPT prompt sessions, showing its relevance in digital marketing.


If you missed the Google Cloud Next ‘23 Opening Keynote, Marie Haynes made great notes to recap it. She also showed how she created an app based on her site’s content.

The keynote video shows a lot of cool things and can jump start that brain of yours for some innovative ideas.


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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