I Launched a New Site - Wave Issue 159

We Have Lift Off; Google Updates Winners and Losers; Microsoft pubCenter Relaunch; Landing Page Tips; Blue Ocean Link Building; and Much More!


Been a minute since I launched a new site - but I did just that on Wednesday!

I was surprised at how quickly it got indexed - all 146 pages were “Submitted and Indexed” within 6 hours of publishing the site! 📈

Here are some of the site launch details:

  • Pre-Launch Landing Page: A ‘noindex’ page with the brand name and “Coming Soon” for 5 months during planning and content creation.

  • Topical Map: Has 1k+ topics with first 146 pages published on launch day.

  • Domain: Never been used according to Wayback Machine.

  • Launch Homepage: Customized homepage and not a blogroll.

  • Live Links: 5 social media accounts created and pointed to the site on launch day.

  • Links Incoming: Purchased 50 citational links from SEOButler on launch day, so they’re not live yet.

  • Posts vs Pages: All 146 are Page post types.

  • Google Search Console: Didn’t add the site to GSC until launch day.

  • Indexing: Used Rank Math's Instant Indexing and set up GSC API to submit all the URLs after all pages were published.

  • Content: A Human-AI-Human (H.A.H.!) process that we set up in-house. Human research, AI writing, and Human editing.

Here are the results after 2 days:

Not a bad start!

We’ll see how long this honeymoon phase lasts because Google is known to give some early love to test before pulling the rug out. But I have a good feeling about this site with the work and attention put into this.

What are the things that we focused on?

Topical Map - We created a detailed topical map that lays out all the content we’ll need to create. It makes everything easier for the writers and editors to look ahead and be able to better plan articles. It’s the same as those we create by the topical map service.

Site Structure and Internal Links - The topical map makes it easy for everyone to follow, create links, and stay organized.

Content Creation - We were finding and fine-tuning our content creation process throughout and still continue to. There are many types of content out there and they all need slight adjustments, but our general H.A.H. process goes like this:

  1. Human Research - We do our research to create a content brief based on the SERPs and topical relevance. The brief consists of an outline with writing instructions, data, and other relevant information for every section.

  2. AI Writing - The content brief is given to the AI to write. I created a fine-tuned OpenAI model for this. I wrote about this before, but I’m getting GPT-4 output from a base GPT-3.5 model that was fine-tuned.

  3. Human Editing - Humans edit the writing, including fact-checking in case the AI created new data and information that wasn’t in the brief.

The content creation is still very heavy with humans and the AI basically just takes all the research and writes it out.

Instead of a 6-8 hour per article process which includes a writer putting all their research together as an article, it’s now down to about 4-6 hours per article.

The articles were all published at once due to inspiration from a Charles Floate tweet talking about the method. I’ve never done that before, so I wanted to test it out.

After the initial bulk publish, we’re going to publish regularly as articles get finished. We’re going to go silo-by-silo too following the same writing and editing process.

That’s it for now. I’ll keep everyone updated on the progress!


Spencer Haws shared some thoughts on X/Twitter about Google’s updates and what it’s doing to blogging. It quickly became viral and he wrote it all up in this blog post. Here was his original Tweet:

SISTRIX's new post shares the clear winners and losers after the Google Core and Spam updates from October 2023.

Big Gainers: High-risers included youtube.com, wikipedia.org, and amazon.co.uk among others.

Heavy Losers: Lyrics and dictionary sites like wiktionary.org and urbandictionary.com saw significant drops.

Glenn Gabe offers clarity on topics that seem to confuse many site owners. Some of the highlights:

  • Google's Perspective: Broad core updates focus on site-level quality, not just individual pages. It's about the entire site's quality and relevance.

  • Understanding Impacts: Drops in ranking might not always indicate quality issues. It could be due to relevancy adjustments or shifts in search intent.

  • Beyond Content: While quality content is essential, user experience (UX) aspects, such as ads, site structure, and source credibility, also play roles.

  • Old vs. Quality: Just because content is old doesn't mean it's low-quality. Evaluate its value and relevance rather than its age.

  • Recovery: If impacted negatively, recovery usually occurs with the next broad core update. Significant improvements across various aspects of the site, over time, are essential.

Jason Barnard deep dives into Google's 2023 E-E-A-T Knowledge Graph update, notably highlighting its substantial impact on Person entities. He details how Google's emphasis on subtitles seeks to enhance E-E-A-T signals.

The "Killer Whale" update, named by Jason's team, saw a tripling of Person entities in Google's Knowledge Vault and a marked shift in how Google classifies roles, with "Writer" and "Author" gaining significant traction. Barnard also notes Google's decreasing reliance on Wikipedia for its data curation.

SEO Ripples


Danny Goodwin shares that Microsoft is giving its 15-year-old Google AdSense competitor, pubCenter, a fresh spin. Open exclusively to U.S. businesses, this revamped "pilot program" is positioned to aid small and mid-sized publishers in monetizing their sites using ads from Microsoft's network. With claims of higher engagement and revenue, it's definitely catching attention. US Publishers can sign up here.

Roger Montti from SEJ updates us on the latest release of Google Chrome Lighthouse – version 11.2.0. This release brings notable changes to how performance scores are calculated and displayed. The performance category's interface got a fun revamp, humorously dubbed the “explodey gauge” by the developers. Lighthouse 11.2.0 will debut in Chrome Dev Tools in Chrome 120, set for release on December 5, 2023, but PageSpeed Insights will have the changes sooner, likely by October's end.

source: Search Engine Journal


The Semrush Team offers readers a deep dive into creating an effective landing page. An impactful landing page isn't just an entry point but a tool to meet user needs and boost conversions. The team shares a mix of tips coupled with real-world examples to inspire and guide:

  • Write an Impactful Headline: The headline is your first impression. Make it value-centric and clear.

  • Make Your Copy Easy to Scan: Online readers skim more than they read. Prioritize readability, and remember to optimize for mobile users.

  • Focus on Benefits Over Features: Connect with your audience by explaining how your product improves their lives, rather than just listing features.

  • Include Social Proof: Incorporate reviews, testimonials, customer logos, and awards to build trust.

  • Write Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTAs): A CTA guides your users. Make it clear, specific, and emotive.

My Take: This is a good for for anyone creating sites. Landing pages aren’t just for SaaS or large companies. Treat your site as an online business (because it is) and create at least one landing page for the homepage.

Google unveiled three fresh tools to verify images and sources online:

  • "About this image" feature, now global for English users, provides history, usage, and metadata insights for pictures

  • "Fact Check Explorer" speeds up image verification for journalists

  • "Search Generative Experience" offers AI-created descriptions for lesser-known sources

Source: Google Blog


Tom Jeffery gets into the interesting topic of using AI in SEO with clients and stakeholders. He highlights the importance of transparency, accountability, and education in using AI for SEO.

With 90% of digital marketers having used AI and nearly 40% of stakeholders having reservations about it, it's clear that bridging this trust gap is essential. Some of the highlights:

  • Transparency is critical; 31% of SEOs inform their clients when they use AI.

  • Accountability in billing is crucial, especially when AI tools can save an hour or more daily.

  • 24% of SEOs using AI aren’t familiar with how Large Language Models (LLMs) operate.

  • Adopting a comprehensive AI ethical framework helps in setting clear expectations with clients.

AI Ripples

  • Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI have jointly appointed Chris Meserole as the first Executive Director of the Frontier Model Forum. With a $10 million boost for a new AI Safety Fund, the aim is to ensure safe and responsible AI development.

  • Google seems to be bolding text within the Google Search Generative Experience AI answer snapshot when that text matches part or all of the query. Google does this with the normal search result snippets and now seems to be doing it here, in the new Google SGE.


Kevin Rowe dives into the concept of the "Blue Ocean Strategy" to suggest a shift in link building approaches. Instead of the competitive waters of typical link building, Kevin recommends focusing on less saturated, innovative tactics. Some of the key highlights:

  • Blue Ocean Strategy: A business approach developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne that focuses on uncharted market territories. In SEO, it means adopting fresh, less competitive link building methods.

  • Innovative Content Creation: Move beyond the typical and create unique, helpful content that addresses market gaps.

  • Untapped Platforms: Venture beyond traditional techniques like guest blogging and explore unsaturated methods such as niche forums or emerging social platforms.

  • Building Relationships: Emphasize building genuine relationships over transactional link practices.

  • Diversification: Don't rely on a singular approach; diversify link building tactics to tap into multiple opportunities.

Catherrine Garcia dives deep into the essentials of constructing an effective internal linking scheme. Internal links act as the glue binding your website's content, paving a path for both search engines and visitors.

Catherrine emphasizes the importance of internal linking not just for SEO but also for the overall user experience. From understanding different types of internal links (contextual, navigational, footer, breadcrumb, and anchor text links) to the benefits they offer, she covers it all.

For businesses aiming to boost site authority and improve user navigation, a well-thought-out internal linking strategy is crucial.


Nicola Agius reports on Elon Musk's announcement of two new tiers for X Premium subscriptions. One tier will be a cheaper option but still display ads, while the pricier version will block all ads.

This change could impact advertisers on X, especially with the declining ad revenue since Musk's takeover. Musk's aim? Combat bots with minimal subscription fees. Interesting times ahead for X users and marketers!


Ryan Jones from SEOTesting provides a thorough dive into the realm of schema markup. By ensuring precise interpretation, schema not only enhances user experience but also boosts your site's click-through rate and search rankings. Key topics covered:

  • What is Schema? It's structured data that provides explicit details about your content to search engines.

  • Why Schema? Richer, more informative search results (rich snippets) improve user experience and potentially impact search rankings.

  • The Rise of Voice Search: Schema plays an essential role in optimizing content for voice search, especially with over 1 Billion voice searches performed monthly.

  • The Basics: Understand the history of schema, its creation by major search engines, and its primary formats: JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa.

  • Benefits: Enhanced search results, increased click-through rates, and improved local SEO are just some advantages of using schema markup.


Charles Floate starts off a new series on his YouTube channel, SEO Report Card, where he does live audits. This first one is Mike Donovan’s travel blog.

My Take: Charles covers a lot of things that I tell others too. Many good tips here, not just for the site, but also for how to audit your own sites.

Patrick Stox conducted a bold SEO experiment: he deleted content from two posts to gauge its impact on rankings. Surprisingly, despite a dip, the pages still ranked decently.

While he cautions against such drastic actions, it suggests that links or cached content might play a role in preserving rankings.


Jay Peters of The Verge shares that while Reddit initially dismissed claims about forcing user logins to view content, it's not denying potential plans to block search crawlers. This means Reddit content might vanish from Google search results.

Hmm…will be interesting to see what happens!


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