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  • Alpacas Could Spit On You...BUT... - niche surfer Wave Issue 184

Alpacas Could Spit On You...BUT... - niche surfer Wave Issue 184

Creating Topical Maps; Fake Law Firms and Threats; Relaunching Websites; Google's Latest AI Updates; HARO Alternatives; Woo VS Woocommerce; and Much More!


The kids were really excited to go to a restaurant with alpacas, but when we got there, it was a different story for one of them.

They’ve been wanting to go for quite some time, so it was non-stop talking the whole car ride there.

Once there and coming face-to-face with the alpacas, my daughter suddenly got a little scared.

Why? She was worried the alpaca was going to spit on her 🥹 

I told her that unless she went up there and got close to them, she would never know. These alpacas are also used to having humans around, so unless they felt threatened, they’d be pretty docile.

And besides, if an alpaca does spit on her, it’s harmless. Just wipe it off. You’ve learned that that one alpaca likes to spit, so you’d be better prepared in the future.

They were later brought inside for their own lunch and everyone was able to go up there to pet and feed them (except for my daughter 😆 ).

Here are the cute alpacas chilling outside the restaurant.

Why do I bring this up?

We’ve all experienced it. Many things seem exciting when just talking and thinking about it, but once you actually get there, you’re faced with reality.

Bungee jumping? Skydiving? But they don’t need to be death-defying either - Shiny objects! 🌟 

I chase after shiny objects with the best of them, for better or worse. There’s always lots of excitement when I get an idea. I sit down to get started, full of energy.

But then the tasks start lining up. Tasks take longer to finish. I hit wall after wall. I spread Or things go smoothly, but I start losing interest in it.

Whatever it is, the same level of excitement just isn’t there anymore. The work and execution can be scary because you don’t really know if it’s going to be successful or not. When you’re brainstorming ideas, everything is a hit.

After Google’s latest updates, with the Core Update still going, everything is up in flux. Many opportunities in the niche site space evaporated. But many opportunities in other spaces have risen.

Some of the areas people are going heavy into (in no particular order):

  • Newsletters

  • Facebook ads

  • Pinterest

  • Reddit

  • Local SEO

  • YouTube

  • Google Discover

  • Medium

  • Directories

  • Amazon Influencer

  • Instagram, TikTok, other socials

Whatever excites you and makes sense in your head to go after, just do it. Go after it and make it work.

But if something isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to stop either.

You’ve learned that a certain approach doesn’t work or it just wasn’t for you. So stop and pivot to something else.

All the people out there saying they’ve been able to make this work or that work…that’s great. Look at those opportunities. But don’t be afraid to say “that’s not for me.”

Waiting around for Google to update their algo to what it was like before isn’t a good use of time.

Now’s the time to try different things.

Alpacas could spit on you - BUT that won’t happen until you take a step forward.

If they do spit on you, remember that it’s harmless.

Learn from it and take that next step forward.


I published an overview guide this week on creating topical maps. I discuss how these content plans are essential for site visibility and search engine rankings, but they’re also useful across all marketing channels.

I get into its importance and why you could have multiple topical maps for your site depending on its goals. I also share some of the successes of client sites who have ordered maps from us, including one who ordered 2 topical maps.

All of those clients followed the topical map and its internal linking strategies. And of course wrote great content. Some with AI-assistance, but never 100% AI-generated.

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios explains the process of website relaunching. He outlines a meticulous 13-step guide that ensures high-ranking sites maintain or even improve their SEO standings post-redesign, highlighting the importance of preserving pages that generate significant search traffic and possess substantial SEO value.

My Take: These steps and checklists can always feel overwhelming because there are so many little things to do. But luckily, these things aren’t hard. Just need to be organized and meticulous. Take a look at Woocommerce now reverting back to woocommerce.com from woo.com (story below).

Jason Koebler covers an SEO scam involving fake AI-generated lawyers who issue counterfeit legal threats to coerce website owners into linking to certain sites. This scheme uses non-existent law firms and AI-created images to simulate authenticity, aiming to manipulate search engine rankings through forced backlinks.

Look at this crack team 👇️ 

source: 404media.co

My Take: I’ve received a number of these in the past and still get them. Usually a copyright issue. A quick search will always quickly let you know if the lawyer is real. If the “law firm’s” website is the only place the images and names of the title appear on the interwebs, that’s a pretty clear sign it’s fake.

SEO Ripples


Roger Montti reports on WordPress's release of a new performance plugin featuring speculative loading technology to enhance website speeds. The plugin, supporting the Speculation Rules API, allows for pre-fetching and pre-rendering of webpage content, potentially achieving near-instant load times by preloading pages before user navigation.

Here’s the direct link to the WP plugin. It says the plugin does require Chrome 121+, so it’ll only work for a subset of users.

My Take: I haven’t tried it yet, but definitely very interesting if it works.


Lots of announcements with Google Cloud Next 2024. It’s clear they’re going hard into AI (who isn’t these days) and will be taking out many smaller startups. Maybe they’ll be nice and will just acquire those smaller companies.

Magic Editor, Photo Unblur, Magic Eraser and more enhanced AI editing features are coming to all Google Photos users — no subscription required.

Ron Amadeo talks about Google Vids that was announced at the Google Cloud Next conference. Unlike typical video editors, Vids is more like an advanced version of Google Slides, tailored for creating professional slideshows like training materials and product demos.

Kyle Wiggers also discusses Google's launch of Imagen 2, an upgrade to its AI video generation tool. Primarily for corporate users, Imagen 2 offers the ability to create short, four-second videos from text prompts. This new feature aims to serve marketers and creatives, providing a low-resolution but innovative tool for generating dynamic content like GIFs for advertising.

ChatGPT Plus and API users now have access to GPT-4 Turbo, boasting enhanced capabilities in writing, math, logic, and coding, with a more current knowledge base. OpenAI said it aims for more direct and conversational responses with this upgrade.

OpenAI’s Developers Twitter account shared a couple examples where the API are already in use with apps generating websites from images.

AI Ripples

  • Google Cloud Next ‘24 showcased how companies, governments, researchers and startups are already using Google Cloud AI solutions to enhance their work. Lots of big companies and use cases. Get some ideas about how to improve and streamline your own businesses here.

  • Sam Altman and Jony Ive have an ambitious venture into AI devices. The pair is seeking up to $1 billion to develop a groundbreaking AI product that may redefine our interaction with technology, moving beyond the traditional smartphone paradigm.

  • Microsoft proposed the US Department of Defense use OpenAI's DALL-E for military training image creation. This initiative highlights the potential of generative AI in enhancing battle management systems, despite OpenAI's distancing from direct military applications.

  • Sagar Naresh reports on OpenAI scrapping over a million hours of YouTube videos. But it’s ok because it involved Google's cooperation. And apparently Google “could not do anything since Google also resorted to the same practice to train its own AI model.”

  • Google released Code Assist, a major update and rebrand of its previous Duet AI, launched at Google's Cloud Next conference. This AI code completion tool is now a strong competitor to GitHub’s Copilot Enterprise, boasting a unique 1 million-token context window for more accurate and extensive code suggestions, supporting a range of code repositories, and offering enhanced customization options.


Lots of people moving into Local SEO these days. Kate Starr has a nice overview guide to help you through optimizing your local SEO strategy. Discover how to identify keywords that target your specific geographic area, enhance visibility, and drive more organic traffic to your site. This essential read provides practical steps and tools to help you attract more customers effectively. She does use Semrush, but you can use the same concepts with other tools.


Cyrus Shepard shared a few alternatives to HARO, now that it’s officially become Connectively by Cision.Shepard highlights new platforms like Cision, SearchEye, SourceBottle, and JustReachOut. These tools offer various paid and free options for connecting with journalists and securing valuable media links.


Received an email from Medium.com that says beginning May 1, 2024, stories with AI-generated writing (disclosed or not) are not allowed to be paywalled as part of the Partner Program. Here’s a snippet of their email:

source: Medium email

Their AI policies do have a section on AI-assisted writing and AI-images. It doesn’t seem like they explicitly say anything about those being behind a paywall, but do say that you need to disclose they’re AI-assisted or AI-generated images.

Rob Glover explores practical AI applications in the marketing industry. Rather than showcasing overly complex strategies, he presents real-world examples from marketing professionals who use AI to enhance everyday tasks. Some of the key uses include:

  • AI can efficiently pull insights from past campaigns to inform future strategies.

  • Competitive analysis is streamlined using AI, allowing marketers to quickly gather and compare competitor data.

  • AI aids in generating internal management assets like project briefs, saving time and effort.

  • Repurposing long-form content for social media becomes less time-consuming with AI.

  • AI tools assist in customizing email and SMS marketing campaigns, enhancing personalization and engagement.


Matt Diggity showcases a case study that focuses on truly understanding and serving the target audience's needs. The case details how his team increased a client's traffic by 3773% through some key tactics:

  • Prioritizing user-first content can dramatically boost SEO performance.

  • Utilizing AI to analyze and align content with search intent is crucial.

  • Google's Indexing API can expedite content indexing.

  • Effective calls-to-action convert traffic into meaningful engagement.

  • Publishing in-depth white papers can attract valuable organic backlinks.

WooCommerce announced it is switching its Woo.com domain back to WooCommerce.com on April 9, 2024. This reversal aims to improve SEO visibility that was lost when they originally switched to Woo.com in October 2023. They explain the decision was driven by feedback and analysis, ensuring WooCommerce's continued brand strength in its community.

My Take: I always wondered why they switched to just ‘Woo’ to begin with. Unless they were planning to expand outside of ecommerce, I don’t think it made sense. It made me think about Coca-Cola, which is its full brand name. They’re most commonly just called Coke. They do have the domain coke.com, but it redirects to the longer coca-cola.com - which also has a hyphen! Craziness!


Gael Breton from Authority Hacker interviews Lily Ray and they get deep into the March 2024 Google Updates. They cover a wide range of topics from EEAT's relevancy to the dominance of sites like Reddit and Quora in search results. She offers up HCU insights and everything she’s seeing with SEO trends and strategies.

Mark Davoli explores Google's Core Web Vitals, those metrics for SEO introduced in 2021 that measure real-world page performance. Updated in March 2024, these include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Interaction to Next Paint (INP), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Great gif here about why CLS will affect your site. Not wanting to order, but then a late-loading ad or content pushes the Order button to where your mouse was to cancel:

source: amsive.com


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