• digital surfer
  • Posts
  • My Local SEO + Internal Link Tests - digital surfer wave 190

My Local SEO + Internal Link Tests - digital surfer wave 190

Local SEO Tests; Google AI Overviews (Of Course); Scarlett Johansson VS OpenAI Sky; State of SEO Jobs; Google Ads Pushing Organic Down; and Much More!

FIRST …

Internal links have a big impact on SEO (still).

I created two new Local SEO test sites in preparing content for Topical Maps Unlocked 2.0.

After all the recent and ongoing updates, I need to keep testing what is and isn’t working.

Here’s the base foundation:

  • A Top 3 US City

  • Healthcare Industry

  • 20 Pages: 17 Service and 3 Location

  • No Google Business Profile (GBP), Citations, or Foundational Links

  • Content is High-Quality - H.A.H. Method (Humain-AI-Human)

  • Domains: PMD (Partial Match Domain)

  • Site Design and Structure: Both are set up the same way

    • Followed TMU’s Main Topics and Subtopics structuring

    • Used hard URLs (subdirectory format)

    • GeneratePress Theme

    • Pages are designed as-if it was a real client site

The differences between the two sites:

  • Site A: Follows internal link strategy from TMU. Link juice flows up and down silos, but also across if on the same top level.

  • Site B: No internal links, besides the navigation menu.

  • Content is slightly rewritten for the 2 sites, but the structure and keywords are all similar.

Here are the results after 12 days (Site A) and 10 days (Site B) of being live:

  • Indexed Pages

    • Site A: All pages 🚀 

    • Site B: 1 page (homepage) 😲 

  • Search Impressions

    • Site A: Good start 🚀 

    • Site B: 0 😲 

removed ‘site:’ queries for accuracy

I’m surprised, but also not surprised by the lack of indexed pages and search impressions for Site B with no internal links.

I honestly didn’t think there’d be only 1 indexed page. It’s been a looong time since I’ve had essentially no indexed pages.

But here’s the thing. If I had chosen a low-competition any-town, USA, I bet many of the pages would be indexed. Even if it was still just the homepage indexed, I would definitely have more than 0 search impressions.

That’s the reason I chose a Top 3 US City. I didn’t want the low-competition to be a factor.

I chose a specific healthcare profession because there’s a demand for it. No roofing or landscaping services needed in this concrete jungle.

Early Key Takeaways and Expectations:

  1. Internal links matter a lot.

  2. Good on-page SEO can help you get start getting noticed in competitive cities and industries.

  3. I don’t expect to get any traffic results because of the competitiveness. Off-page with GBP and links would need to be focused on to rank anywhere that would get clicks with the sites.

Next Steps:

  1. Site A: Continue building out the content with internal links. Only about 25% of the services and locations pages have been created.

  2. Site B: Continue building out the content with no internal links.

  3. Sites A and B: Publish blog content and internal link testing.

  4. More Sites: I have more domains in the same city and other cities to do more tests with.

  5. Off-page: I don’t know if I have the bandwidth to do much of anything here. A GBP isn’t likely because of the video verifications that are common for this city.

    1. 🤝 Partner? If you have local / rank and rent experience and great at off-page, happy to discuss a partnership. You would do the off-page, I’d do all the on-page/content stuff. Reply back with what you’ve worked on and let’s talk!

End of May Sale on Topical Maps - Up to $400 Off!

Did You Know: Our topical maps can also be used for omnichannel marketing. What platform you use to share information doesn’t matter, because the topics and relationships are the same.

Pinterest boards to create? Email sequences? Social media calendar planning? Online course curriculum? Planning chapters for your ebooks?

A topical map is your blueprint for all of them!

Ends May 31st at 11:59pm EST

SEO

Start off with a screenshot of the top technology news on Google News. If you want some helpful Google AI Overviews, head down to the bottom for a little collection 😅 

source: news.google.com → technology

Everyone’s getting in on reporting the crap that Google AI Overviews is throwing out there. Ina Fried at Axios highlights several errors, from health advice to historical data.

The Verge editor-in-chief, Nilay Patel also interviews Google’s CEO with many great, direct questions. But Sundar Pichai answers with many non-answers. Not worth the listen if you’re really hoping for anything helpful or meaningful out of it.

Ross Hudgens analyzes data from 43 diverse clients to find an increase in impressions, clickthrough rates, and overall traffic since the deployment of AI Overviews. This counters earlier predictions and suggests a growing number of searches post-update.

They saw a positive impact across different industries, including SaaS, fintech, and B2C e-commerce. They experienced positive traffic and CTR improvements, though the degree varied.

Lily Ray and Silvia Gituto provide their analysis on the Google March 2024 Core and Spam Updates. They share the winners and losers across different sectors, but also the specific changes made to Google's ranking algorithms, and the impact on various websites. There’s also coverage on affiliate sites because Wirecutter has continued to drop.

And yes, no significant recoveries seen from any sites that were hit by HCU. Just lots of ugly charts like this one:

source: amsive.com

Lily Ray also has a post on Moz discussing the March Updates. It’s more of the same, but she does add this quote from Google:

"Our agreement with Reddit absolutely did not include ranking its content higher on Search."

- Google (source)

Well, duh. Would you really expect them to lay that out in black and white?

SEO Ripples

  • I shared Glenn Gabe’s post last week on how to remove content from AI Overviews, but apparently it doesn’t work immediately. Glenn said his content showed up again in AI Overviews. John Mueller said he checked with the team and it should work “over time.” So don’t worry if it’s not working for you, just wait.

  • If you want to get rid of AI Overviews (and miss out on upping your meme game), The Verge has a few hacks and extensions to turn off AI Overviews.

  • Google has confirmed that no algorithmic actions have been taken yet against sites for reputation abuse. When these measures are introduced, they will target only specific content, not entire websites. This detail is important for those who use sponsored content, since it means only the violating pages will be affected.

  • Bing experienced a significant outage this week , affecting not only its search functionality but also several major partners like DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, and ChatGPT Search due to downed APIs. The ripple effects extend to Microsoft's Copilot and its advertising platforms, causing widespread disruptions.

  • Google can now index .epub file types. Most commonly used for ebooks, the biggest benefit is it’s ability to adapt to different screen sizes, devices, and orientations.

  • John Mueller of Google hints at potential adjustments to the helpful content signals, which could allow new pages to rank more freely. Roger Montti points out that while the shift from site-wide to page-level criteria is designed to enhance ranking opportunities, deeply ingrained site-wide signals may still hinder the performance of deserving content. Basically, don’t hold your breath.

AI

Scarlett Johansson has taken legal steps against OpenAI, expressing shock and anger that the AI's new voice feature, "Sky," closely resembles her own despite her refusal to collaborate. OpenAI has since halted the use of Sky's voice and is seeking to address Johansson's concerns with transparency.

Washington Post clarifies the time and details of the casting and selection process for the voice actor, saying that there wasn’t intentional steps taken to imitate Scarlett Johansson.

My Take: I still have “Sky” and usable on my ChatGPT app. Maybe it’s because I haven’t updated the app in the last few days? I have to say, I didn’t even think of Scarlett Johansson when hearing the voice for the first time. Only when I saw this news.

AI Ripples

  • While the focus is on Google AI Overviews stealing content, Heather Kelly reports on Meta AI summarizing news without users having to leave its apps - sparking another major impact on the news industry. By synthesizing and slightly altering news content, the tool offers quick news insights but skirts the line on content originality and source acknowledgment.

  • OpenAI has partnered with News Corp, to access publications like The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Times, and other large ones. This collaboration aims to infuse OpenAI’s platforms with premium News Corp content.

  • Think it might be cool to work at OpenAI? Kelsey Piper dives into controversial practices at OpenAI regarding its exit procedures for employees. They allegedly used threatening clauses to withhold vested equity from departing staff unless they agreed to restrictive non-disclosure terms. CEO Sam Altman claims such aggressive policies were unknown to him and assures they won't continue.

  • The team at Anthropic details their recent study showcasing the "Golden Gate Bridge" feature, where it makes Claude fixate on this bridge and San Francisco, regardless of the relevance to the query posed. This starts to open the potential avenues for enhancing model safety.

MARKETING

Roger Montti explores AI in Google's new search ads, which are now seamlessly integrated within AI-assisted search contexts, offering a more interactive and direct shopping experience. He describes a future where visual and dynamic search ads not only suggest products but guide consumers through a more immersive decision-making process.

Roger Montti also covers how Google AI Overviews will showcase interactive shopping ads, moving organic search results even further out of mind.

My Take: If you’re in ecommerce or thinking about it, the Google Marketing Live Keynote is a good watch. My main takeaway is that you’ll want your product images and videos as high-quality and clean as you can, along with best practices for media SEO. Make it easy for the AI systems to understand your media.

CONTENT

Leigh McKenzie shares 22 dynamic content marketing examples to improve your own strategies. Each example is carefully chosen to illustrate innovative ways to engage audiences, from viral videos to high-impact case studies, providing readers with actionable advice to replicate these successes in their own campaigns. This is packed with valuable insights and tips to inspire and elevate your content marketing game.

Andy Crestodina contrasts AI effective creation of basic, informational content with its inability to craft genuine thought leadership. He emphasizes that while AI is invaluable for generating what he terms "commodity content," it falls short in areas requiring emotional depth, personal experiences, and strong viewpoints—key elements of impactful thought leadership.

My Take: This is a good read if you do want to be considered a thought leader and more public-facing. I’ve often tried not to share too much ‘opinion’, but this has made me want to be more opinionated 😉

CASE STUDY

Nick LeRoy examines the significant 37% drop in SEO job listings in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous year. Despite concerns about the stability of SEO careers, he offers a nuanced perspective, the demand for SEO professionals is evolving rather than diminishing. He presents an insightful breakdown using data from over 80,000 job listings, explaining the changing dynamics in hiring for different levels of SEO expertise and the impact of AI technology on the industry. Some of the highlights:

  • Mid-level SEO roles are experiencing the most significant decline, with a 6% drop in listings.

  • There is a slight increase in hiring for senior-level (+3%) and intern/entry-level positions (+1%).

  • Top non-US countries hiring SEOs: Germany, the United Kingdom, India, France, and Philippines.

  • Top 5 US states publishing job listings: New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida.

source: seojobs.com

The Pew Research Center reveals the alarming rate at which online content becomes inaccessible. The report provides an overview of the phenomenon of digital decay, noting that a significant portion of webpages disappears within a short period. There’s a prevalence of broken links on both government and news websites, and even the referenced links in Wikipedia articles show similar decay. Some of the highlights:

  • 38% of webpages from 2013 are now inaccessible.

  • 21% of government webpages and 23% of news webpages have broken links.

  • 54% of Wikipedia reference sections contain broken links.

  • Social media platforms are not immune. Sites like Twitter show that nearly 20% of tweets become invisible within months due to account changes or deletions.

My Take: Broken link service business anyone? 🚨 

Tom Capper explores how the prevalence of SERP features in 2024. He highlights significant shifts such as the increased presence of videos on mobile platforms and the rise of carousels and images, also primarily on smartphones. The 'Share of Voice' metric also provides fresh insights, revealing that features like the Knowledge Graph are gaining prominence. Tom hints at possible future changes, suggesting a move towards interactive features such as chat interfaces.

source: moz.com

CONTENT CREATORS

The Authority Hacker guys, Mark and Gael, take a look at the current challenges online business owners are facing. They discuss the necessity of adapting business models to stay relevant, emphasizing the shift from SEO-focused strategies to more dynamic, platform-diverse strategies.

My Take: Lots of info here that might be able to spark some ideas for you and your businesses.

Eric Hochberger, CEO of Mediavine, discusses the severe impact of Google's search updates and AI Overviews. He says they are threatening the viability of smaller publishers. Despite the purported goal of these updates to improve the web's quality, they've resulted in significant traffic losses for these publishers, favoring user-generated content and keeping users within Google's ecosystem.

He emphasizes the importance of collective action within the industry to address these challenges and support diverse, independent content creators. 👇️ 

My Take: That’s what the Web Publishers Association (WPA) is all about!

GOOGLE AI OVERVIEWS x X/TWITTER

There are so many out there. These are just a few of the fun ones that I saw.

REFER AND GET REWARDS

Get free stuff for referring friends and family to digital surfer!

  • 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

You currently have 0 referrals, only 3 away from receiving Twitter Shout-out.

What Did You Think of This Week's Wave?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

LIKE DIGITAL SURFER?

Find me and others in the Digital Surfer Discord community.

I’d also love to know what you think and if you have any ideas for the newsletter. Reply or email me at [email protected].

I’d also appreciate it if you shared it with fellow digital surfers. Have a great week taking your SEO and digital marketing to another level!

Join the conversation

or to participate.