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  • Google Declares They're Good, Not Evil - Wave Issue 156

Google Declares They're Good, Not Evil - Wave Issue 156

Google Core and Spam Updates; Role of Niche Sites; Google Says They Don't Manipulate SERPs for Money; Refresh Content With AI; Meta Releases AI Tools; and Much More!


“Change is the only constant in life.”

- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

With what’s been going on in the world of AI and Google Updates, these words couldn’t be any more accurate.

Google October Core and Spam Updates 2023

Google Won’t Stop Their Updates

Imagine owning a boat rental service - let’s say in the Maldives. The crystal blue ocean waters are calm, and the sun is always shining. But then one day, the weather unexpectedly shift. Frequent storms occur and people are hesitant to set sail.

Do you abandon ship? No.

You adapt.

Maybe you start offering guided tours with experienced sailors. You could offer sturdier boats for the rougher seas. Or maybe there are underwater diving excursions you can offer up instead.

Now, let’s take a look at a successful niche site with the green river flowing continuously from organic traffic. But then one day, Google updates its algo - again and again. Each time, the river is drying up due to the Google dam.

Do you panic? No.

You adapt.

It’s time for a deep dive. Understand the algorithm changes. Adapt your SEO and content strategies. Look for other rivers to tap into for more traffic and green.

Successful businesses are those that recognize the environment has changed and they change with it. They don’t wait around for the weather patterns to shift back to the golden days, nor do they hope that the dam disappears.

Audience needs don’t change.

One thing that changes at a glacial pace is your audience. Whether they’re users or customers, their needs change very slowly.

While Google algorithms change every few months days, your audience’s core desires, questions, concerns, and curiosities don’t change overnight.

Let your audience be your North Star.

Tourists will always love the Maldives. Site visitors will always seek out knowledge and insights. Always strive to understand what they want and find your way to them.

Yes, it’s easier said than done. But success starts with a deeper understanding of the landscapes. Without that, you’re stagnant or blindly following someone else, which won’t work because their situation isn’t your situation.

Diving into the Niche Surfer newsletter each week is a great start. Unlike quickie 5-minute newsletters, I want to give you a broader picture of the SEO and niche site landscapes.

If you want long-term success, you can’t have tunnel vision.

- me

So grab your surfboards and let’s ride these ever-changing waves together 🏄️ 🌊 


Anne Yeys highlights the role of niche sites as information curators, piecing together scattered knowledge and presenting it coherently to users. While the monetary benefit of running niche sites is undeniable, Anne emphasizes their genuine value in aiding internet users by presenting organized and accurate content.

She touches on the challenges posed by AI-driven content and the recent Google update, stressing the need for high-quality curated information.

My Take: It’s a good read for those of us who do create niche and authority sites. We’re providing something that the experts may not always be able to do. Great response to John Mueller on Twitter …

source: yeys.com


Google released two separate updates one day apart - Spam Update on Oct. 4th and Core Update on Oct. 5th. The last core update ended on Sept. 7, 2023.

Wired recently published an op-ed article suggesting Google manipulates search queries for better monetization, swapping user queries with those that earn more. For example, a search for “children’s clothing” could be silently changed to “NIKOLAI-brand kidswear” without the user's consent.

In response, Danny Sullivan, Google Search Liaison, refuted the claims. He emphasized that organic search results aren't influenced by Google's ad systems. He further clarified the differences between keyword matching for organic search results and for ad displays. Additionally, Ginny Marvin, Google's Ads Liaison, reinforced that ad systems do not affect organic search outcomes.

The Wired article has since been taken down, but you can still find it on the Wayback Machine.

Google has introduced a new feature called "ask your own" under the well-known "People also ask" section. This addition seemingly transforms the user's search experience into a chat-like interaction, presumably within the Search Generative Experience (SGE), offering answers tailored to the user's unique queries.

SEO Ripples


KeyTrends introduces the concept of "Data-Driven AI" in the content generation world. It’s an interesting and insightful read that may help you if you’re using AI in your content workflow.

The article discusses the strengths and limitations of AI in content creation. While the speed and cost-effectiveness of tools like ChatGPT are commendable, they sometimes fall short in areas like storytelling, voice, and tone compared to human writers.

They emphasize the importance of authentic and verifiable references, which reduce the chances of AI-generated "hallucinations" or misinformation.

Claire Taylor discusses how AI can refresh old blog content. She shares how with AI, you can efficiently identify outdated data, analyze reader sentiments, and even track where user engagement takes a dip. However, Claire emphasizes that while AI offers valuable insights, it's the human touch that still truly crafts the narrative.

Olesia Filipenko notes that only 20% of people who come across an online news story read beyond the headline, which places immense importance on getting that headline right. Drawing from bestselling books and marketing content, Olesia offers eight essential questions writers should ask themselves to ensure their headlines not only grab attention but also deliver on their promise. A few of the highlights:

  • Promise a Benefit: Effective headlines clearly state the value or benefit the reader will gain.

  • Be Specific: Using numbers or percentages in titles can make content more appealing.

  • Identify the Target Audience: Personalize the title to resonate with your specific audience.

  • Evoke Curiosity: Use metaphors, contradictions, or alliteration to capture attention.

Content Ripples


Meta shows off their tools to help you be more creative, expressive, and productive:

  • AI Stickers: Spice up your chats with AI-generated stickers across platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. Just type your mood, and voilà! Your personalized sticker is ready.

  • Image Editing Tools: Coming to Instagram soon, use AI to revamp your photos with fun descriptions like "watercolor" or even change the background scene. And don't fret; the platform ensures AI-generated content is identifiable.

  • Meta AI Assistant: Need some instant info or a quick image generation? This assistant across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram has got you covered. And it's soon making its debut on Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and Quest 3.

  • AI Characters with Star Power: Chat with AI personalities embodied by celebs like Snoop Dogg and Tom Brady. Each AI, available on messaging apps, brings its unique flair!

  • AI for Everyone: With AI Studio, both techies and non-techies can create AIs. Plus, businesses and creators can have AIs that resonate with their brand or personality.

Perplexity has a labs area where you can try out Llama 2’s models. Try out the chats at: labs.perplexity.ai.

AI Ripples


Jenny Abouobaia shares a comprehensive guide over on Semrush about the rising popularity of HARO for link building. She dives deep, offering actionable insights on how to use HARO to your advantage. A couple highlights she gets into:

  • Crafting the Perfect Pitch: It's an art; from subject lines to body content, get it right and stand out.

  • HARO Alternatives: Platforms like Qwoted and Featured can further boost your link-building game.

Don't just take our word for it; check out Jenny's in-depth guide for a deeper dive and to get ahead in your link-building strategies!


Ann Smarty discusses the dilemma many entrepreneurs face when deciding how to brand themselves and their businesses. Ann explores whether it's more advantageous to use one's personal name as a brand, or to create a distinct business identity.

Marketing Ripples


Barry Adams provides a detailed look into why immediate post-publishing edits might not reflect in Google's index promptly. The primary takeaway? Get your SEO right before hitting that 'publish' button, as modifications after might not influence timely visibility on Google's search results. Main takeaways:

  • Google operates on a potentially tiered crawling system: Realtime, Regular, and Legacy.

  • Once an article is crawled initially, edits may not get indexed until hours or even days later.

  • Due to Google's preference for newer content in "Top Stories", older articles might lose prominence.

  • To potentially speed up re-crawling, send Google signals like updating timestamps, modifying headlines, and URL submission in Google Search Console.

  • If all fails, changing the article's URL can ensure immediate re-indexing by Google.

JC Chouinard shares a good list of the most interesting Google patents to start reading first for SEO professionals:

  • Google Concepts Definitions

  • Google Crawling Patents

  • Google Rendering Patents

  • Google Information Retrieval Patents

  • Google Document Processing Patents

  • Google Scoring and Ranking Patent

  • Google SERP Features and Presentation Patents

  • Google Indexing Patents

  • Google Image Patents

  • Google Query Processing Patents

  • Google Patents Related to De-Duplication


In his in-depth analysis of 250,000 English-language search results, Glen Allsopp seeks to determine if large media companies have an edge over independent webmasters when it comes to landing that coveted first-place ranking on Google.

The findings? Large media brands (or "digital goliaths" as Glen dubs them) owned a whopping 86.1% of the content-focused sites that ranked first. Independent site owners, despite being more in number, only grabbed 13.9% of top spots. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Offline Brands Owning Content Sites: Brands not typically associated with online blogs, like Sanpellegrino, own significant content websites.

  • Service & Software Over Independent: Service and software providers clinched more #1 spots than independent site owners.

  • Governments in the Mix: Government-related websites achieved 3,257 top rankings, spanning from health to tourism.

  • Reliance on Search Traffic: Both media brands and independent sites source roughly 67% of their traffic from organic search.

  • Multiple Authors Trend: 77 out of the top 100 independent sites showcased content from various authors.

Matt Diggity shares how his team at The Search Initiative managed to skyrocket their client’s organic traffic by 88% in less than a year, even surpassing Amazon for pivotal keywords. The client? An online adult store looking to dominate commercial intent keywords.

Matt unpacks their strategic approach, including a blend of category page & UX enhancements, astute content optimization, and an AI-driven blogger outreach for backlink acquisition.


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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