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Winners and Losers of Google’s Helpful Content Update + 2 Weird Niche Sites


Welcome back to another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast, where Spencer and Jared analyze the latest news in SEO, digital marketing, and website building and offer their unique insight.

You won’t want to miss this episode, especially if you were affected by Google’s Helpful Content Update. 

As the update has officially wrapped up, this week Spencer and Jared dedicate a lot of time to talking about its massive impact on the industry. They share common insights and important takeaways from 4 SEO experts: Lily Ray, Glen Gabe, Barry Schwartz, and Marie Haynes.

Watch the Full Episode

According to the experts, this update, the 3rd and largest of its kind, looked at over-optimized content and the authenticity of reviews. It also potentially penalized websites with the blogroll on the homepage and sites using too many affiliate links with no context. 

User experience is another big topic, with Google appearing to penalize sites that are poorly-designed, sites with broken links and, perhaps most importantly, sites with aggressive ads and pop-ups.

They also speak about how data reporters have not picked up on the volatility of this update, how niche site owners have been extremely affected, and how UGC seems to have been rewarded as opposed to SEO content.

They discuss the importance of building a brand on multiple platforms, the importance of verifiable credentials, and the need for content from trusted sources that is truly helpful.

Jared and Spencer then talk about the possibility of recovering from the update and self-assessing your site using Google’s guidelines, and they offer sage advice to website owners who have been negatively impacted by this update. 

In the next portion of the podcast, they share and analyze real sites that have been positively affected by the update, talking about why they think that is and what they’re doing right. They specifically look at sites in the finance and travel spaces. They also take a closer look at a few sites that have lost traffic following the update, in the travel niche.

Don’t miss their conclusions about the update, their opinion on the future of the industry, and their advice on moving forward for site owners.

Although they dedicate the bulk of the podcast to talking about the update, they do speak briefly about their current side hustles in the Side Hustle Shenanigans portion of the podcast. 

Spencer speaks about his AI website challenge and how some of those creators are already seeing a little bit of traffic. He’ll also be hosting a second YouTube Live on Monday, October 2nd, along with an AI expert.

Jared briefly talks about his Amazon Influencer side hustle and his Weekend Growth YouTube channel.  

As for Weird Niche Sites, Spencer shares his: HowToPronounce, which is getting 1.4 million visitors per month, according to Ahrefs. It’s ranking for lots of keywords with significant traffic, although it looks like it was hit by recent Google updates.

Jared’s site, I Might Be Funny, is a good example of UGC (but not SEO), as it amalgamates and shares content originally published on social media. Although it has a DR of just 6, it ranks for 4k keywords according to Ahrefs, some of which have significant traffic, and gets around 5k organic visitors per month.

As always, talking about these weird niche sites allows Jared and Spencer to share some fantastic advice and inspiration when it comes to picking a niche and building websites.

Tune in again next week when they bring their expertise to talk about the latest news in SEO and beyond.


Spencer: ​Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of this week in niche pursuits news And today we’re going to do another update on well the helpful content update Uh google finished rolling out the helpful content update today actually just this morning And so it’s perfect timing for us to hop on a call and to chat about What are some of the findings that, you know, that we’ve seen?

Um, if you listened to last week’s podcast episode, of course, we dedicated most of the new segment again to the helpful content update, and it’s had such a huge impact on the industry that we feel like it’s worth doing another dedicated episode, essentially to the helpful content update. And so, uh, we’re going to jump into that.

We’re going to do a deep dive. And of course, I’ve got Jared with me to chat about it the whole time. 

Jared: Yeah, it’s gonna be fun to, I mean, last week we were very much like, Hey, this is just where we’re at in the middle of the update. Well, now it’s wrapped up and yes, things could change, I guess, going forward, but the likelihood has dropped quite a bit that things will change from the update now, and we can kind of put a moment in time here, put a flag in the ground and analyze a lot of what a lot of others have found about it.

Spencer: Exactly. Exactly. And so just to kind of, um, share what the plan for this episode is, as I mentioned, big bulk of it up front is what we’re going to be talking about. Uh, if we have time, we’re going to go ahead and jump into our side hustles. We’re going to share our weird, weird niche sites. We will squeeze those in.

We just, we don’t know how long that will be. So stick around to find out. Um, so let, let’s jump into it. Um, it’s on everybody’s mind. The helpful content update from Google took two weeks. to roll out. It finished just this morning. And of course, a lot of people in the industry have already been writing up their updates, things that they’ve been seeing.

And so Jared and I do want to point out that, you know, while we are very involved In this, you know, space, nobody can know for sure exactly what Google is doing and what changes to your site are going to have the biggest impact, right? And so we’re relying on a lot of others that are considered more SEO experts that do write about this and try to analyze a little bit more data.

They’ve looked at, you know, hundreds of sites, and I’m sure. You know, down the road, it’ll be many thousands of sites and there’ll be big studies. Um, but the amount of studies that they’ve been able to do is more than Jared and I together have been able to do. So we’ve got, you know, five or six experts that have written up, written up their summaries of what they’ve seen with the helpful content update.

And so, uh, we’ve got the likes of, uh, who do we got here? Lily Ray, uh, Glenn Gabe, um, Barry Schwartz, Marie Haines, and I think maybe that, those four, uh, or five. Yeah, and, uh, why don’t you tell us, Jared, um, how we got all these summaries? Because I think it’s kind of cool and, and that’s kind of what we’ll be reviewing here first.

Jared: Yeah, well, uh, we, uh, we eat our own dog food, I suppose. Um, uh, so what we did is we gathered the big write ups that each of them put together. Uh, the data they analyzed, the findings that they shared. We got summaries of that from, uh, ChatGPT, Cloud, these, the likes of these, and then we rolled all of the information up from all four or five of these summaries and then we got and pulled out the higher level.

Kind of, um, big findings that were consistent across all of the different people. So, um, what we’re trying to do is give you a repository, the listener, uh, if you don’t want to go out and read five articles, six articles, and try to parse through all the data and find commonalities. We’re trying to surface all that here in the next few 

Spencer: minutes.

Exactly. And again, take all of this with, I would say a grain of salt because nobody knows exactly right. Just if there’s something that we say or a summary that we provide here, a bullet point that came from Lily Ray or Barry Schwartz or, you know, or others doesn’t necessarily mean that if you change that one aspect, you’re going to.

Recover from this update. This again is just general findings what people have seen and we’re doing our best to summarize what we think Has happened during this google helpful content update And so as we already mentioned it started rolling out september 14th, and it finished september 28th Which is today when we’re recording this Uh, it is the third and largest of the helpful content updates Of course, lasted, uh, 14 days.

Um, and, uh, so content quality concerns. Uh, at least initially, a lot of the documentation that Google has provided, they’ve mentioned that they’re trying to target AI generated or programmatic content. Whether or not we’ve seen that has been very mixed bag in my experience. Some AI generated content is…

still doing quite well, and whereas others, you know, is not doing so well. Um, and so they’re trying to tackle a lack of insightful information. Um, you know, SEO’d content, kind of content that uses excessive topic variations, um, that is over, over SEO’d content is… Partially, maybe what this is, um, uh, targeting, right?

Um, they’re looking at things like the originality in the reviews that people have actually done. Do they have true, first hand experience, or does it appear to be rehashed information that you can get somewhere else? Right? Um, okay, here’s one that is kind of interesting, um, I think it was maybe Marie Haines, but I could be wrong.

But she basically said that sites displaying the latest articles on the homepage or, um, sharing a lot of affiliate links without context appear to be the ones that have been targeted. Um, do you know what she means by that? I mean, I have a hunch, but… The blog role 

Jared: as a homepage is specifically mentioned by multiple people.

Yeah. So like brands don’t have blog roles as homepages, you know, like if you’re an e com business, your homepage isn’t a blog role, basically. I, I mean, I’m not trying to be too short about it, but that’s kind of the underlying aspect of it. Right. 

Spencer: And then also, um, the affiliate links without, you know, context, right?

Like just throwing it in your content, maybe just throwing affiliate links with it, but without kind of explaining what this is all about, and you’ll see 

Jared: affiliate links come up a couple of times. In the next few minutes, so that’s one mention, but yeah, there’s a bunch of different, I don’t want to say theories because most of what this is, is data, but there’s a bunch of data that says, Hey, look, that’s, um, affiliate kind of heavy affiliate articles, uh, tend to lead to, uh, a lower helpful content score.

Spencer: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And another point that kind of ties that in that I’ve seen a lot of affiliate sites doing is, um, taking this, this spray and pray approach, um, to try and rank for multiple topics. And what they mean by that is like a broad range of topics. So you might have a whole category for travel, another category for tech, another category for, you know, finance, right?

Like really broad. Like topics that don’t have like a cohesive, right. 

Jared: I mean, I think even to some degree, and we should talk more about this, but even to some degree, like topics that might make sense for you, but semantically don’t make sense to Google. So maybe you’re a DIY site and you’re writing about like.

Homecrafting and power tools and like yeah, it’s all DIY, but semantically speaking. They don’t really have anything in common 

Spencer: Mm hmm, right. It’s maybe not the same person right that’s sitting down to do some crochet crafting Then they’re picking up their drill and you know changing You know, hanging the pictures on the wall.

I guess I could all, you know, they could all be, uh, maybe crafting, but it’s probably a different person. But yes, yes, exactly. I think, I think you made, made the point well there. Um, and then again, an overemphasis on affiliate links, right? Meaning. In your content, like, you’ve got all these callout buttons, and it’s all about, Hey, click this, every paragraph, you know, click this, click this.

Too many affiliate links, um, perhaps, you know, or at least an overemphasis on those affiliate links appear to be, um, some of the content quality concerns that this update, uh, has been targeting. Okay, and then, um, User experience, uh, issues, right? This is a big 

Jared: one. So listen up. I mean, we haven’t had user experience getting waved in our faces.

I feel like since like core web vitals a couple of years ago. And then before that it was interstitials. So we’ve had this kind of like, Hey, this is going to be serious guys. And then it never turned out to be serious. Yeah. It seems like this time no one was saying it’s going to be serious. And then all of a sudden it did turn out to be serious.

Spencer: Right, exactly. You want to jump into this one a little 

Jared: bit? Sure, yeah, so this next topic really centers around user experience, and that’s like everything from, um, just the page experience to the page speed, the navigation, etc. Interestingly enough, Google had updated their documentation about UX and UI back in April.

So, um, I think Marie Haines pointed that out. Uh, so, hey, like, they actually kind of did tell us, we just didn’t really necessarily pay as much attention to it, because it hasn’t been something that has been… A big deal so far, like good UX is good for the reader and good for the user, but we haven’t seen strong correlations to rankings from it, but it does seem like the helpful content update specifically targeted poor website design, like design that makes you not trust the site, you know, where you go and you’re like, Ooh, I just feel a little like this is maybe spammy or maybe not being kept up, uh, broken buttons, missing links, bad layouts.

And then the big one that’s gotten brought up by pretty much everybody is Aggressive ads seems to be a trigger for a low helpful content score. So whether it’s excessive ads. Autoplaying videos, um, pop ups, like, you know, four, five, six. And we certainly see it now in our weird niches sometimes, like five, six ads at once going on.

So, that is all part of the UX banner that seems to definitely be a factor for this update. 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly. So if I, so I’ve got this right. Uh, if you have a website that has a poor, uh, web design, or maybe just a very templated one, like out of the box design, or that doesn’t look great, um… You’ve got a site that really focuses a lot on affiliate links in every article, and you have a ton of display ads, right?

And your content is kind of over SEOed, like, those are some big, uh, red flags, potentially, at least so far, and then there’s, there’s more to go. Um, you know, specifically on the UX issues, like, this has been huge for me. Um, you know, right after I did a big redesign for niche pursuits, um, it’s been about a year, but, uh, my traffic started to increase shortly.

I mean, it was already starting to increase, but that helped even more particularly with mobile. And so I am a. Big proponent of like, just go out and get a custom web design done, right? It might cost a little bit of money, but it does add a lot of trust and can improve a lot of these user experience issues that people are talking about.

Jared: And I mean, you brought it up last week. This is super corollary. Uh, Yeah, not causal. This is super corollary. Uh, I’m not even saying there is a correlation, but I’m just saying it out loud to talk about it. I hope somebody will do a deep dive. That’s what I’m actually saying. But you noticed like 700 comments in the Mediavine Facebook group last week about sites getting hit.

And you thought, well, why is that? These are generally expert content creators. Well, yes, but there are also often times people that publish content with a lot of ads on it. And certainly we know Mediavine has those video ads. And they’re always, you know, emailing us about the newest sticky pop up, sidebar, this, that thing.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. I have Mediavine. I love Mediavine. I put my ads probably at medium or high. They have like a setting you can do. So I’m not like… abstaining myself from this, but just hate a lot. We definitely know a lot of people on like the media vine front and the raptive front got hit and we know that ads had a role in the helpful kind of update.

So just kind of put 

Spencer: that out there. Yeah, no, that is interesting to think about. Um, something always to consider, right? Play around with your ad layouts. See if, see if that helps make changes. So, okay. But that’s not all. Yeah, we got a few more to go 

Jared: here. Go get yourself another cup of coffee. We’re just getting started.

Trust me, you should see this agenda. Spencer, this is… I just want to comment. This is the most prepared we have ever been for a podcast. 

Spencer: We just need to start using ChatGPT more often. We should. This is amazing. 

Jared: I mean, normally it’s like a page of notes and, you know, we only get through half. A couple 

Spencer: bullet points and it’s like half thought out.

Here’s a website we should check out. Yeah, but we’re just getting started here. We’re just getting started and actually, um, certainly stick around cause we’re going to pull up some examples of sites that were winners, uh, and some sites that were losers. So, kind of tease you for that. You know, that, that, that’s coming here shortly.

We’ve got a list. But we want to again, go, uh, complete this overview. So, uh, 0. 5 here, I guess we’re on key changes and observations, right? Um, an improved system for categorizing content. Now, are we saying that Google has an improved system for categorizing content? Is that what we’re getting at here? Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and I don’t know how they know that. Do they know that, you know, or are we talking about, um, like types of content, maybe, maybe, right. Like user generated content versus, um, other types of long form articles. Um, I, I don’t know exactly what that means, uh, but, uh, a decrease in visibility of low quality content, certainly, uh, as, as we’ve talked about, okay, an emphasis on content for human readers, um, they, they’ve been trying to say that, and they did update their documentation to clarify that, hey, uh, this Originally it said, um, content written by humans for humans.

Now it just emphasizes written for humans. Um, okay. Um, okay, and then data providers notice significant ranking changes despite low volatility. Um, so. What’s, what’s interesting, I think that what this point is, is that I read a couple of the summaries, is that like, tools like SEMrush, RankRanger, you know, others that kind of give this weather forecast, the Mozcast, like it’s, it’s been low throughout the helpful content update, and yet there’s this huge uproar of, hey, my rankings have changed, like crazy, so it’s, it’s just interesting that, um, those data providers have not picked up on this, Crazy volatility that has been going on.

Well, I 

Jared: think it’s certainly disparaging, disproportionately affected the niche site community, if you will. Um, and I, by the way, a lot of the part here that talks about, uh, content for human readers, that would be, if you’re seeing a lot of UGC stuff, that would be where this summary addresses that. Um, we’ll certainly get into more UGC conversations, um, in the podcast, but…

As a whole, you know, it’s worth mentioning, like, when they talk about emphasis on content for human readers, what they’re kind of saying behind all that is, hey, you probably saw a massive spike in Reddit, Quora, and then other forums. Places, threads, places where people can add their own opinions, not have to be the owner of the domain to publish comments on it, right?

Like this kind of user generated content, UGC. Can I publish thoughts on this domain without it being something that I have a login to? Like an ownership of that domain. 

Spencer: Yeah, and it is kind of interesting because, you know, when you participate in those forums or when people add answers to Quora or to Reddit, they’re not thinking about search engines.

They’re just thinking about, I’m going to answer this question. Uh, and so in a lot of, a lot of cases, that probably is great content versus, right, the overly SEOed, you know, sort of rehashed information. So… Not 

Jared: SEO content, by and large, when you’re answering on a Reddit 

Spencer: forum. No. Not at all. Exactly. And so, uh, it really kind of shifts the mindset, right?

And their Google is forcing us to do that. Um, okay. So, uh, branding and trust is the next big point here. Uh, lack of significant online presence. Now, I’m going to touch on this with some of the winners and losers, uh, in the future. And what I’ve noticed, right, is that if you don’t have other properties, like you’re, um, not on YouTube, you don’t have active social media accounts, uh, maybe if you have a podcast, that helps, right?

Like there’s… All these other things you could be doing if you had a true brand, um, that you wouldn’t be doing if you just owned a niche site, perhaps, and trying to rank in Google. And so People, you know, these, these people that gave the summary here have noticed that sites that were hit didn’t have a lot of this significant online presence, uh, or branding.

Um, and then content authorship, importance of verifiable credentials and expertise. We talked about that for a long time. Uh, demand for truly helpful content from. Trusted sources. Um, yeah, there’s, there’s a ton to unpack here. I do want to talk a little bit more, um, showing some real examples. We could do a whole 

Jared: podcast on just that section right there.

Yeah, and we have. The brand and trust we have actually. Good 

Spencer: point. Yeah. Um, okay. Uh, recovery and recommendations. So what do people recommend that, you know, to do to recover from this? Well, um, Unfortunately, recovery is generally going to be slow and may require significant long term changes. So, it may require you to shift your entire strategy of your website and just really think hard about, Okay, why am I producing this content?

How am I producing it? Do I need to build my brand further? You know, initially I just wanted this to be a side project that I published some SEO articles, but maybe now I need to create a YouTube channel and actually get on camera and have a podcast and, you know, take pictures that are original and truly hire experts and bring them in.

So it could, yeah, um, require a whole self assessment of what you’re doing, which is kind of this next point, is that, uh, Now, did Google have a, provide a list of questions for self assessment? They do, yes. Okay, well, we should probably… See if I can find that while we’re talking here. Yeah, that would be good to, you know, pull that up and share with where that’s it, that is.

But, you know, so Google’s got a list of these guidelines you can do to look at your site. I think it probably is similar to what I said, but probably, um, more, more on point. Um, okay, Google, uh, guidelines by Google, avoiding random call, content. Alterations, um, make sure to have content reviewed by experts, becoming known in your niche, leveraging world world experience, integrating user engagement features like forums and YouTube, uh, the importance of being authentic and offering truly helpful content.

Okay, um, did I give you enough time to find that? 

Jared: I believe I have found it, yes. So, self assess your content. Here it is, Spencer. Let me see. You want me to just put it in our little doc here? Sure. You can bring it up actually. 

Spencer: Yeah. Yeah. I’ll pop that up and you know, we 

Jared: are prepared here over overly prepared.

We have so much going on. Um, yeah. So it’s basically alluding to how to, um, create helpful. It’s under the, um, the section of creating helpful, reliable people, first content, and we’ve, we’ve read this podcast. I don’t remember where we’re doing enough of these now that I can’t remember, but it was a while back, but.

I’ll just kind of go through a few of the questions, but there’s about 10 of them that you can ask yourself. Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis? Does it provide substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic? Does it provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?

Uh, and it goes on and on and on. I don’t know how many you want to go through here, Spencer, but there’s, um, there’s also a section on expertise questions, um, which is really, I think, something that is, uh, is interesting to go through. Um, does the content have easily verified factual errors? Is the content written or reviewed by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?

Demonstrably being the keyword there. Is someone, if someone researched the site producing the content, would they come away with an impression that it is well trusted or widely recognized? There’s a lot, a lot of questions you can try to ask yourself here, which, um, which probably does roll over nicely into some of the sites we’ll look at and, um, and how to look at your website from the new lens of this helpful content update.

Spencer: And, and I find this one interesting evidence of the expertise involved background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a sites about page, right? And I know we’ve talked about that a lot, but again, uh, you hit on it. When we look at some of these examples, um, I think we’re going to see some things here that, uh, you know, you, you can see which sites clearly appear to be experts in the niche.

And again, 

Jared: it’s worth saying this, I have this like. pasted to make sure I say it this week. And I’ll say it now, I might even say it again. So when it comes to this helpful content update, I really want to encourage everyone that there are two sides of the coin and it’s okay to acknowledge both sides of the coin.

A world can exist where you lost rankings and the sites that now outrank you do not follow these guidelines. Yet the other side of the coin is you can still learn a lot from what we’re going through and still improve your content and make it better. Both can exist. Google can get it wrong and be ranking sites that aren’t doing these things ahead of you.

But it doesn’t mean that. That means the update is garbage. You don’t need to pay attention to it and forget all the stuff that they’re recommending or that, you know, people are seeing. You can still improve your content, make your website better, even in a world where their algorithm doesn’t always get it right, you know?

Spencer: Yeah, I think you nailed it. That’s some great advice. Just kind of as, to wrap up sort of this overview of this update is just… Um, you know, realize that Google is ever evolving. And so just because your site is at a certain spot today doesn’t mean it will be the same in a month from now. Um, Google is going to turn that dial, but they do have, um, general guidelines that I think if you do your best to follow these, like, The best sites should eventually rise to the top.

Um, it could be, you know, a tumultuous time period. So patience is probably, uh, required, uh, in order to go through all this. Okay, so again, just to summarize, I do want to give a hat tip to Lily Ray, Glenn Gabe, uh, Barry Schwartz, and Marie Haines. So please, you know, research the articles that they’ve written, um, because we basically just shared all the findings that they…

You know, we didn’t come up with these findings that we’re sharing here, uh, today on the podcast. It really came from those four people, uh, and so go ahead and check out their content. If you want a little bit more depth on, you know, what they’re saying individually and some of their findings. 

Jared: Agreed. Yeah, we’ll, um, we’ll try to get those links for you in the show notes.

And, um, uh, you know, like you said, they’re the ones who really have done all the research here. A lot of this stuff is stuff we’re seeing. But it’s always great when there’s quantifiable data behind a lot of it like they 

Spencer: presented. Yeah, exactly. So, let’s jump into a couple of example sites. Sites that actually won, um, and some that lost here.

And, uh, you know, the very first one is, um, somebody that we had on the podcast, uh, not too long ago. And, uh, Ominously so. Yeah, uh, Sammy Ellard King, if I recall correctly, uh, you know, he was on the podcast and he was willing to share a screenshot of some of his traffic. So I’m going to pull that up, but Jared, I’m going to let you, um, kind of share what he, you know, has talked about his site a little bit and, uh, anything else you want to share there?


Jared: I kind of made his podcast episode the theme of my email to, um, the Weekend Growth newsletter subscribers this week. Really? Because ominously, so we did a podcast on his website, upthegainz. co. uk. It’s a financial website. And it came out a month or two ago, but ironically what it was really about is about building something more than just a niche site, but a brand, a whole brand that has five or six channels that feed into it.

And he walks through all the reasons for it. He has a 2010, 20 year marketing background. Um, and he explains all the reasons for it. I won’t hijack the podcast. Suffice to say, I think you should probably go listen to it. Um, but, uh, while I was rambling on and on, but while you, while, while I was rambling.

You saw he had, I think, about a 50 percent increase from the helpful content update and this is not your DR 80 financial site that’s been around for 10 years. Sammy’s really clear this has only been around for a couple of years, a year and a half, I think he said. He’s, um, very far behind in domain authority and backlinks and a number of articles and maybe a lot of the…

Let’s say more traditional measurements. We would use pre H pre helpful content update to evaluate where a site can rank But he saw a clear bump from it. Yeah, 

Spencer: I mean you can see this key to him I’m just looking at you know, if you look at this graph, right? You can see the lows here previously and now I mean, I don’t know what percent gain this is, but it’s got to be 20 percent or more maybe more than that.

Well, it says 

Jared: right there in the green that he’s up. Oh, is he comparing? It’s month over month. Oh, that’s month over month. That’s last 30 days to previous 30 days. There you go. And really that doesn’t, cause really the helpful content update was two weeks, right? So you’re probably higher than that because he’s got pre helpful content update, which the gains you see before that are from the core update in August, he was saying.

Spencer: So he’s doing really well. And I did just pull up his site, um, a little bit ago, right? And a couple of the things that I just noticed. Right off that you, you mentioned, right? Like it’s got pictures of him, like he is front and center. He’s not afraid. to be on the website. Okay? Um, so that is one thing. He’s got a podcast.

Right? He’s got an email list. Um, how many, how many niche sites were hit that did not have an email list? Hmm. I wonder if there’s some sort of correlation there. It’s like, do you capture emails on your website? If no, Penalized site, right? I don’t know. That’s probably not the way it goes. But I have to imagine those that are actually collecting emails are ones that are real brands, 

Jared: right?

Well, and certainly to that degree, a lot of conversation has come around traffic sources. And if you’re a site that gets 99 percent of its traffic from Google and doesn’t get traffic from anywhere else, You don’t look as much like a business. And again, a lot of this we’ll see in looking at what outranks stuff now.

You’re seeing e commerce businesses and brands that have moved up in the SERPs and niche sites or, in other words, not as diversified traffic sources. We’re being journalistic here. Um, dropping and stuff. So yeah, to some degree have an email list and send traffic to your website from it and that’s not a source from organic search traffic, right?

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, getting that branded traffic, that direct traffic, that’s got to be a signal. I mean, look, it’s pursuits. 

Jared: com, which went up and clearly isn’t a niche site, but still, I mean, Spencer email what three times a week and then YouTube and the podcast and like you’re sending traffic to niche pursuits.

com from a whole host of different places, not just 

Spencer: Google. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, that has to help. Um, and so just, I mean, very quickly looking at his site, right? He’s not afraid to show himself. He’s putting himself out there with a podcast. He’s got a shop where he actually sells his own products.

Um, you know, he’s got, of course, calculators. A lot of people do that. Um, but a lot of those things, he’s got a custom theme, right? It’s a, it’s a great looking website. This isn’t something that he just, you know, got from downloaded free on WordPress and no blog 

Jared: roll on the homepage there. Um, yeah, seems like a non intrusive number of ads when you dig into it, you know, um, 

Spencer: he’s got all the social accounts that I imagine if I click through.

He’s probably active, right? I know on Twitter he is, right? He’s 

Jared: very active on 

Spencer: LinkedIn. I know. And right. So you have to think is not only, um, Google smart enough now to where like, In the old days, you would create all these social profiles, and then you’d never do anything. Well, now they know, oh, he’s, I can actually see he posts two or three times a day, or, you know, however, once a week, uh, whatever it is.

He’s actually real living, like, you have to imagine that a lot of that comes into play. And so, he’s, he’s just built a real brand, and clearly, that has, that has helped. I mean, you see the huge gains, 50 percent in 30 days, wow. 

Jared: In many ways, uh, he definitely upped the gains on his traffic, but I’m sure 

Spencer: I like it.

I’ll be here all day Up the gains. So, uh good. Did I hijack that conversation? Was there anything else? I mean you wrote a whole email on it and then I sort of shared my thoughts too, 

Jared: but No, that’s fine. I’m just still so impressed with my pun, I can’t even think straight anymore. Up the 

Spencer: gains, baby. You got it.

That one was handed to you on a silver platter. You shouldn’t be I 

Jared: did not plan that one. I know it was begging to be said. I actually didn’t 

Spencer: plan it. It just occurred to me. I didn’t notice it. You got it first. You know, I should have stolen that. 

Jared: No, I think we, uh, I think it’s great. And, uh, you know, we didn’t noodle through a lot of his content, but I think you’d find the same as you drill through.

And, um, you know, by the way, I’ll just point it out. This is a conversation that I’ve seen a bunch. Look at that button in the top right of his menu shop. Now we don’t need to spend a lot of time, but I’ve seen a lot of people ask, Hey, should I add an e com component to my niche site? I don’t know, by the way, but it’s compelling to think about because we saw businesses like e com and SAS and these kinds of businesses rise in the rankings.

I have an example I’ll share a little bit later. I don’t know if adding a shop makes you now all of a sudden a business in Google’s eyes, but interestingly enough, that’s a question that has been asked. And there it is. I, I just noticed it. Mm 

Spencer: hmm. Yep. Got the shop and I’m just scrolling through one of his articles, right?

It it’s well done. It’s got original graphics and, um, well formed and added. Right. So it’s, it’s good looking content, you know, clearly, I mean, it’s, it would take a long time to reproduce this article just with all the graphics and formatting. Right. Like it’s not, you can’t just hire chat GPT and hit publish.

Right. Um, it doesn’t, it doesn’t quite work that way. So, all right, good. Great example. Uh, on that one. So we’ve got a lot more and I’m just trying to think of which ones we want to hit here. Um, let’s maybe hit on maybe one or two other winners. Um, you know, uh, I have to give a hat tip to Mike over at nichetwins.

com. He’s active on Twitter. He, um, he did a bunch of research and then I messaged him and he shared a few sites privately, privately with me in the travel space, right? These are sites that he’s competing with or been following. Um, and so, uh, there’s a couple here. That were winners. Uh, one is, let me, uh, figure out how to share my screen again.


Jared: it’s okay. I struggle with it every single 

Spencer: just takes a couple seconds. Right. Um, and. Okay, so they they appear to continue be doing well in search. They were not hit with the helpful content update But what is interesting is that it’s very clear and you can notice this from the home page Is that it’s very clear that they are taking original photos.

I mean they are in the photos Of these, you know, exotic locations. What, um, what, 

Jared: just for people listening, what URL is this? I can’t see. 

Spencer: Oh, uh, we three, the number travel. com. We three travel. com is what this is. And, um, so that, that’s the first thing to note is that they are clearly taking original photos, you know, and if you go to their, yeah, if you go to their about page, you know, they’ve got, um, well, that’s a bad example, but it’s got a couple of original photos there, um, where, anyways, every page you go to, yeah, there’s like original photos of them.

In the photo, which, um, again, this is just a side note, but I also talked to somebody else in the travel space that has taken thousands of original photos. They actually went to the place and took pictures, but their site is getting hit really hard. But they’re not in most of their photos. Now, again, that’s all just conjecture, right?

But maybe to prove to a search engine that you were really there, like, maybe be in the photo. Um, and, uh, So yeah, you can go through their site. It’s not like it’s the best looking website in the world. It looks great. Right. But they hit on a lot of those things. They’re active on social media. So if I go to any of their, you know, social media places, right, she’s got 22, 000 followers, 900 posts, um, on Instagram saying they’re collecting emails, uh, and they’re, they’re doing really well.

They built a real brand and they have a podcast as well. I don’t necessarily see that they have a YouTube channel, but they’ve got a lot going on more than just. Their SEO articles, right? And this 

Jared: falls in, we have a podcast coming out soon. I just did the interview yesterday. So, I’ll tease that. It’s just coming out soon.

Maybe, I don’t know our schedule, a couple weeks. And, um, we did get into discussing a little bit about expertise when it’s outside of provable expertise. In other words, like if I’m a doctor and I’m at Healthline, I can prove that I have a PhD or that I’m a doctor and I practice at this place and all that.

But, Travel’s one of those spaces that falls into expertise that you can have. Because you’ve actually been to the location. Because you’ve been there 20 times. Because you’ve gone to 50 tours on that. And you, but you have to find a way to prove that to Google. Like they don’t know that if you don’t substantiate that.

So I like your point. We don’t know if being in the photo proves that. Is quote unquote proof to Google, but there’s a whole variety of ways you need to go about proving your expertise, especially if you’re in a niche that can’t be proven with like a paper trail. But Google has put in their quality rate of guidelines that that is a form of expertise.

So they are looking for that. 

Spencer: Mm hmm. Yeah. So, um, yeah, that’s an example site that people can check out that was not hit, you know, uh, from the Google helpful content update. Uh, now another site in the travel space here is. Let’s see here, if I’m gonna say this right, the Nat, uh… Can you go with that 

Jared: one?

Yeah. The Navigatio. 

Spencer: The Navigatio. The Navigatio. Dot com. Let’s go with that. Right? Yeah. And this is a travel site, you know, dedicated to Japan. Right? The people that, um, they, they visit, you know, Japan. And, uh, same thing. You can tell that they’ve got original photos that they, you know, have taken. They’ve really been there.

Um, right? They’re in their own photos. Um, and you can read about. Anyways, you can, you can go through their site and see all that they’ve done, but they have, uh, similar, they also have, if I’m not mistaken, um, okay, maybe they don’t have, uh, I was going to say they also have a podcast, but I don’t think that they do, but you can clearly tell that they have actually visited these places, they’ve been there, um, they, they really do have an expertise.

So that’s just another example. The navigatio. com. Yeah, and 

Jared: you know, Spencer, it’s interesting because when you, it, it, And I encourage everyone to do this, like if you can get a list or whatever, like, or if you do your own research and kind of segment winner, loser, winner, loser, like just right here, we just looked at three sites in a row that are winning and, um, it’s like, you can just clearly tell, like when you look at them three back to back, like their websites have a design.

I don’t, I don’t know if this one is a custom theme. But whatever it is, like customer, not like they just look good. You know, they just look good. And probably if we had them up on mobile, they’d probably look good there. And let’s be honest, a lot of niche sites are victim of design. Does it matter as much put that time towards content, get more content out.

Build backlinks and again, not saying that’s bad in itself, but when we look at the three sites in a row that have won, they’re just three of them, but boy, they all look good, you know? 

Spencer: Yeah. And maybe I’ll give another short 30 second, another site here that also saw a bump is, um, a new England wanderlust.

com, right? Again, a great looking site, great looking theme. They, I will point out that I think most of these actually had media vine, um, ads on them. 

Jared: I was going to point out, most of them have the video ad. They just, it’s. Yeah, totally loaded in the sidebar and and and you know, but they they have the video so don’t go run off Take pulling videos off your site your video ads.

Just take all this information in it’s not all gonna be indicative But they’re all 

Spencer: factors, right? Yep, you know again. She’s taking original photos. She’s there standing in all of her pictures Right. You know, she’s, she’s been there. Um, so she has an expertise when it comes to Maine or New England. Um, whatever the site may be.

Uh, okay. Do we want to jump into some losers? Yes, we do. Some sites. I think we do. Yeah, I think we do too. And if I had AHRFs, um, you know, pulled up, I, you know, we could actually see the dip on some of these. But, uh, here is a site. That again, according to Mike from Niche Twins, um, this is newenglandwithlove.

com. This is a site that is losing in the Google Helpful Content Update. And, uh, Mike says he’s been tracking this, uh, for a while, and it’s losing rankings fast. Um, they tend to take shortcuts on a lot of their articles. They’re, um, just copying generic photos, um, from other websites. Um, or not even photos from the places that they’re talking about.

Is what Mike has noticed. Right? Um, yeah, they, and they went a bit too big on sort of generic content. Um, just wide, wide amount of content that they’re covering. Look at that 

Jared: navigational menu. Imagine that on a mobile device. 

Spencer: Yeah. Good point. You know, I wonder if pulling this up, like, it probably would look terrible on mobile.

I’m gonna try 

Jared: to pull it up while we’re talking here. Not that I can necessarily show it on the screen, but let me just see if I’m right about that or not. 

Spencer: Right. And, um, yeah, when you go to, um, their about page, there are a couple pictures of the author. 

Jared: It’s not a great mobile experience, but it’s not awful.

Yeah. Okay. You know, but it’s not great. 

Spencer: But, uh, again, I’m, I’m kind of relying on Mike’s expertise where, you know, he’s basically gone through the site and saying, hey, they are, they’re taking tons of shortcuts on articles. They’re using a lot of generic photos. Uh, and so that’s probably why they have been it hit.

Um, okay. And then one more here to share that also got hit is. Uh, treasuredfamilytravels. com, okay? 

Jared: Now there we see a much more antiquated site design. Mm hmm. Not bad, by the way. I’m not saying it’s terrible, but it’s just not, uh, what’s the right word, you know? Doesn’t hit you the same way the other ones we, that, that we looked at were.

Spencer: Yeah, and, uh, I was gonna try and see if I could pull them up on AAHrefs real quick to see if, um, Yeah, I’ll share this, this tab. You can just see that, uh, Treasured Family Travels, you can see it’s taken this massive nosedive in the last couple of weeks, right? Uh, in Ahrefs, and Ahrefs is usually a week or so behind, and so I imagine this is going to look a lot worse if you were to look at this, uh, in a week or so.

Um, and so they definitely are getting hit. They’re losing rankings on, um, a lot of things. And, um, so if we go back to, to this, um, you know, where’s their about page? Maybe it’s in the footer. I don’t even see an about page. I’ve got probably some generic privacy policies and disclosures, right? Yeah. Upper left 

Jared: there.

Spencer: Go up to the upper left. Oh, was there… Oh, there you go. Depends on… There it is. Okay, so there is an about… Oh, well, there you go. There is an about page with Christine. 

Jared: Yep. Yep. 

Spencer: Okay. Well, you know… Hey. She’s… Looks like she’s got some original photos with… You know, they visited Mickey once over here. Um… And 

Jared: again, it’s, it’s proof.

Like, this is great. Because look, they have a shop as well. Remember I pointed out, like, oh, shop. There you go. She’s got a shop up there, right? Right. I, and I think maybe this underscores a lot of what you need to understand about this update and what Google going forward probably is. You might not like what I’m about to say, but like, um, do we, you mentioned it already, Spencer, like, Starting the social account and checking that box is not enough anymore.

Having an about page with a picture of you sitting in Mickey’s lap is not enough. Um, uh, having, uh, whatever a good design, like you got to tie everything together and then still add something that Google goes. Oh, okay, good. I like that. I need that. That’s different. That’s unique. That’s like, you know, I don’t want to be over summarized.

We keep saying that, like, you know, but you can see that there’s like 10, 20 different things that are going into it. And we’ve already seen in our five, six examples, like there’s nothing totally causal about this. There isn’t, you have a video ad, you’re done. You have, so it’s very nuanced. You got to really get out your investigatory glasses to look at this.

Spencer: Yeah, exactly. And it would take a deep dive to really analyze the entire site and, um, yeah, figure out what they could change or what they could do better and ask themselves those sort of Google helpful content update questions and, and be honest about them. I mean, 

Jared: if you could, and maybe you do this on your own, but like Spencer kind Sammy’s individual article and he was like, I can just tell that a lot of time and a lot of effort went into that.

And from afar, can you do that with your content? I know on a side of mine that went down that I do feel is good content, but if you were to go scan that right now, live on the screen, you wouldn’t have that reaction to it. You wouldn’t necessarily say. Oh, Jared, did you just pop that thing in the chat, GBT, and I’d say, no, I didn’t.

It was actually written by someone who knows what they’re talking about. But you wouldn’t look at it and go like, oh, yeah, I can tell without a shadow of a doubt that there’s a lot of effort that was put into that, right? Like, and that’s kind of the difference there in analyzing it. Like, I’m not saying that what I have on that site is bad, because it’s not bad.

It’s actually very accurate. It’s actually written by somebody who knows what the heck they’re talking about. But you wouldn’t look at it and say, it’s 

Spencer: amazing. Yep, exactly. So, whew, that’s a lot. We’ve covered a lot here. We’re 45 minutes in now? Yeah, um, 

Jared: and we have So much for going shorter on these suckers, 

Spencer: huh?

Exactly. I mean, we’ve got more sites we could look at, but maybe we’ll, maybe we’ll wrap it there for examples of sites. Um, 

Jared: not final thoughts. I’m sure this will continue to come up, but like, maybe Wrapping up today’s episode on, on the helpful content update. Well, I mean, what do you think?

Spencer: Well, just take a step back and realize that there are winners. There are losers. Google hasn’t crushed this business model. You can still blog. You can still do well with content websites. And for me, I’ve been in this industry for a long time. I went through Google Panda and Google Penguin. And so I know that patience is very important.

So I would just advise being patient, take a step back, and realize that if you truly want to win in this business, and you can, that it’s just going to take time, and you might need to reanalyze some of the things, uh, that you’re doing. Second 

Jared: and last question from the audience. Um, I’m in host mode. Uh, we, we taught, we looked at a lot of sites that were winning and sites that were losing, but what we didn’t do is look at the SERPs and how they’ve changed dramatically with UGC content rising so high.

Reddit, Quora, niche forums, all that. And a lot of them are bad, like if you go look, like they’re forum posts from 10 years ago. Um, I have an example that I, I wanted to share, I’ll set the stage with this example really quickly. I didn’t run this one by you. It is in the agenda, but the agenda is like 21 pages long.

Um, I, I went and looked, uh, to prepare for this, for that site I was talking about. Not bad content, but dropped, I think, 20 percent or so. Lost some number one rankings. For one of the number one rankings I had, I dropped to number seven. It’s a versus keyword. Um, I used to rank number one, now I’m seven. The new SERP landscape looks like this.

Um, number one is an e commerce business that sells products. And they wrote a, what is… X article didn’t even address why, you know, it’s an X versus Y post. Didn’t even address why they now rank for what is X an informational article. It is 179 words. Number two ranking is a PAA box. Number three is a niche site buying guide about how to buy about the best X.

Product again, doesn’t address why. Number four is a YouTube carousel. Number five is a niche forum. Number six is a niche forum. Number seven is me. So SERPs are a mess. I cannot imagine that’s providing a good experience. I did say, I had to put my, you know, like, Hey, okay, what can I improve? Let me go put on my hat and look at that one niche site.

That’s now ranking number three for the buying guide, their homepage. Didn’t look at the article, but their homepage, the above the fold is a massive image. Just like Sammy of the person behind the brand explaining. Next to the headshot, why they’re an authoritative voice on this, the ads, they have no ads above the fold.

They do have ads. They do have the typical, they are media fund. They have the typical footer ad and the typical sidebar, um, uh, ad and the typical, um, uh, video ad we’re seeing, but nothing above the fold on any of their articles. And they have a ton of breadth about the topic. They’ve covered hundreds of articles around this somewhat niche down topic.

So again, The SERPs, in this case, where I dropped from number one, number seven, are a mess, but I still was able to learn something from the one niche site that’s ranking number three, and I was able to get a lot, honestly. 

Spencer: Yeah. No, that’s good. I think if you take a positive attitude and just try to learn something…

There’s always something that we can tweak in our own business and maybe make it a little bit better. And so I think that’s the right approach is just learning where you can and, um, and hoping, hoping that Google maybe tweaks something a little bit to help bring some of those articles back. 

Jared: Last week we predicted that the niche, uh, niche pursuits forum, the newly established forum for the, uh, That would be outranking nichepursuits.

com. Has that happened yet? 

Spencer: Well, maybe, maybe for some keywords. But I, but I haven’t checked. It actually is getting some, uh, some traffic. Um, I don’t know if I’ll have time. Oh, it’s 

Jared: fine. You don’t need to pull it up. I was just joking. Because forums are ranking. And we kind of predicted that last week. That and your bard conversations as well, by the way.

Spencer: Did you see that? Uh, yes, I did see something about that, that yeah, Google’s actually indexing bard 

Jared: conversations. They’re indexing private bard conversations, so, uh, Scary. Yeah, that’s not good. Anyways, um, yeah, I think we’ve covered it for the day, and I agree. From ourselves, we could have talked about it. I feel like we’re just scraping the surface, 

Spencer: but Yeah.

And, and we may come back and do another, you know, episode, um, on it, or we’ll have somebody on the podcast talking for an hour about the helpful content update. We’ll see, uh, where it goes. So, um, since we took up most of the time here, uh, we. I don’t want to leave people hanging. If they’ve been waiting around for our side hustle updates and, um, the weird niche sites, we’re going to do it like lightning round.

Okay. So we’ll just try to take like a minute each here, maybe. Um, so side hustles, mine, mine is super short. I actually don’t have anything to report on my side hustles, but like the side project of niche pursuits is this. Uh, this challenge, this build an artificial intelligence, uh, challenge, which again, you kind of chuckled at like the transition is terrible.

Um, I know after talking about the helpful content update, but here we are, this is what people wanted to do is build a website from scratch and, um, use AI to, to. You know, create that content. It’s been, uh, September 20th is when it launched. It’s only been around about a week. I will just say that today, two different people shared screenshots.

They’re already getting traffic now. It’s not very much, but a couple of clicks in Google search console are showing up. So I’m like, I’m just applauding that I’m super pumped, uh, about that. So, uh, people can follow along on the forums in the community. You know, community. nichepursuits. com. Um, I did a YouTube live last Friday, kind of kicking it off and that went well.

Uh, and I will announce that, uh, I am doing another YouTube live on Monday. Uh, 10 AM Pacific standard time. So people want to, uh, watch another YouTube live. I’m bringing on an expert to talk about AI content and some of their strategies. Uh, and so that should be a good one for people following along, or even if you’re just in different strategies, uh, listening for that.

So that’s coming Monday. Uh, but that’s my very quick update of, of what’s happening. Well, uh, 

Jared: for me quickly, it’s a good week to be quick because I didn’t do much either. Um, man, uh, Amazon influencer. I think I just hit a bit of a wall. Uh, it’s a little deflating that the numbers are down so much. Uh, I’m committed to it, so it’s okay.

Like, like you said, patience is necessary. And we’ve spoken about that at length with. Just like with websites with the Amazon influencer program. So I think I got like 16 videos done Okay uploaded and stuff. So Still very low earnings. I’m guessing you would report if they were changed for you, but still very low earnings A lot of hope holding out that as we enter Q4 and Amazon announced some sort of prime day thing, like prime deal days or in October.

So we’ll see. We’ll have to see how that comes out. Um, uh, uh, and then one fun thing I, uh, unceremoniously, I hardly even noticed, but I crossed a thousand subscribers on the Weekend Growth YouTube channel. Ah, 

Spencer: congrats Jared. That’s awesome. 

Jared: So, um, published a, uh, a video two weeks ago, I have another one in the queue that I just need to get around to releasing.

Um, but, uh, yeah, that’s a nice little shot in the arm. I’m still way behind on watch hours, so if you’re asking, no, I can’t, I don’t really qualify for YouTube ads yet. I have a long ways to go. Um, so yeah, if you ever, if you want to throw me a bone, just go pull up my YouTube channel and go walk away and eat dinner or something.

Um, I’m kidding. That’s against the service. Don’t do that. Um, but yeah, it’s okay. It’s still, uh, still a ways away there, but yeah, that’s just kind of a nice little milestone. And again, those little milestones help, help you stay motivated to continue to produce content. Cause man, YouTube content’s hard to produce.


Spencer: It is indeed. It is indeed. So, very good. Great update. Nice, you know, you’ve hit your mark, so that’s, that’s good. Alright, let’s do our two weird niche sites here, uh, very quick. And, you know, maybe it’s good that we’re not gonna spend a lot of time on mine, at least, because it’s not what I would call super weird or, you know, super great.

It is a successful site. Um, it is getting, according to Ahrefs, uh, 1. 2 million, uh, visitors a month. Okay. Uh, and so this site is how to pronounce. How to pronounce dot com. So, uh, it’s what it sounds like. It, you pop in a word here, you can do a search, right? Um, what’s, what’s a word? Uh, Cloud. 

Jared: Claude. Okay. The one I keep getting in trouble for pronouncing wrong on a podcast.

Spencer: Well, I don’t know if people will be able to hear it. Will it say it? Anyways, you pop in a word and it pronounces it for you, supposedly. I think I pushed the wrong button or something. Uh, because I’m not hearing it. But, uh, anyways, they are ranking for all sorts of keywords related to this. Right? Ahrefs. Uh, you can see their traffic.

It looks like they did get hit with the Helpful Content Update. Um, or at least their traffic is down over the last two months. It looks like it, they probably got hit by the Core Update and then again with the Helpful Content, uh, Update. But still. Over a million visitors a month from Google. Um, Yeah, if we look at some of their top keywords, I have a hunch that I know what it will be.

Um, how you, how do you pronounce, how to pronounce names, and a whole variety of that, right? I imagine there’s, yeah, how to pronounce certain words that actually get a significant amount of traffic. That’s interesting. Uh, 

Jared: How do you rank for that? Because it, they don’t, I don’t think they have an individual page for each of those.

It looks like it’s all… Uh, you know, that’s so interesting, like how do they rank for how to pronounce Orlando City, here I’m looking, and, but they don’t have a specific page for it, do they? Yeah, they, 

Spencer: the… Oh, they do! No, they do! Oh, they 

Jared: do. Howtopronounce. com slash Orlando City. Okay. Interesting. 

Spencer: Yeah, let’s look at that, um…

Yeah, oh, look 

Jared: at that, it’s kind of like a 

Spencer: dictionary site, but they’re… So they probably pulled up, you know, site, oh, I… Orlando, is it Dash City? Uh, Dash City, yeah. Yeah, okay, I didn’t have a dash there. Okay, um, they probably created individual pages for like the, uh, higher traffic type keywords, right? All programmatic, you know, for sure.

Like, nobody’s going in here. Creating this page and it’s just like, I mean, this is like 90 percent ads. It’s crazy. Yeah. Like 

Jared: I say, it’s, it’s a, it’s a pretty poor user experience. 

Spencer: I was sharing the wrong tab again. Here we go. Now you’re seeing 90 percent ads on your screen. 

Jared: Yeah, there it is. Yeah. Look at, I mean, should we count the number of ads?

I can’t even get it to load on my screen. 

Spencer: Yeah, it’s, it’s just ads everywhere. Right. And, um, they’ve got a few. Um, examples in a sentence, trending news. They’ve got a few widgets that are clearly all programmatic. I had to close the site because 

Jared: it was, I think, interrupting my video feed here for the 

Spencer: podcast.

It was overtaking with so many ads. Um, so that’s my weird niche site. Again, maybe we’ll just keep it short. But it is kind of cool to see what you can do with a combination of programmatic, Um, and just a, you know, a very targeted niche, right? Just a very specific thing. How do you pronounce… X word like that’s it.

That’s their whole site. 

Jared: Those who have listened a week in week out to our weird niche segment. We’ll probably know the next five minutes of what we would talk about with this site anyways. So 

Spencer: we’ll 

Jared: just skip it. We’d have the same ideas that we shared with some of these other kind of similar sites, but yeah, good find.

I think it’s a good find. Yeah, thank you. Um, might use this to better practice for some of the guests we have on the podcast because you might not know this, uh, as a listener, uh, I’m guessing Spencer might have the same trepidation, but the hardest moment of the podcast, the hour long podcast is that first 10 seconds when you have to say their name and when it’s a difficult name, you don’t want to say it wrong.

Mm hmm. Mm hmm. It’s quite the pressure there. The rest of it is sailing, but 

Spencer: that’s right. Okay. So, uh, what site do you got for us, Jared? 

Jared: All right. Um, let’s see. That’s not it. That’s the helpful content update. My site that I wanted to share with you, I wanted to find a site this week that kind of went down this whole UGC theme.

And, uh, I did not find a, you and I tend to go these directions. I tend to find these quirky sites that are getting hundreds of page views a month, and you find these sites are getting hundreds of thousands of millions of page views a month. But, uh, following that vein, this is a UGC type site and it’s called, I might be funny.

com. Um, and, uh, it, to my knowledge is entirely, basically articles that are collections of users, stuff that was posted on social media. Um, and so we see 20 of the funniest tweets from women this week. Uh, 20 of the funniest tweets from parents this week. Um, uh, we see 20 of the funniest tweets from women this week, a second time on the homepage, and it’s different content.

So, not really the best, um, from an SEO standpoint, but, uh, does rank. Uh, for a variety of things and is pretty much all user generated content. It’s, it’s only a DR6, but it does rank for over 4, 000 keywords in Ahrefs and some of them are fairly good keywords. Honestly, every article is pretty much just 20 screenshots of different things that were found on Twitter or Instagram or the like.

Spencer: Yeah, so I’ve got the keywords pulled up here on AHRFs, right? They, they rank for things like funniest tweets from parents this week, embarrassing stories, most embarrassing moments, relatable tweets, etc. Such a, such a weird, off the beaten path 

Jared: niche. I mean, there is an about page. I mean, there’s a real person behind this.

So it’s, it’s not like, uh, um, you know, it does have a face to it, and it just seems to be someone who… Kind of gathers stuff together. By the way, she she comments. I agree. It’s very weird. She pours her milk in before the cereal I mean, that’s all why would she do that? That’s what I mean. I mean, she said you can leave now I’m she’s backward.

Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know how that even works. I mean, how do you get the ratio right and stuff? But anyways, I digress. 

Spencer: Yeah, we’re on the same page about that. Clearly don’t even know another way Um, yeah. So, uh, the overview. Okay, maybe you said this, but I wasn’t. Um, how much traffic is it getting? So if I pull up AHRFs.

Okay, so they’re getting, you know, 5, 000 or so organic visitors a month. And it looks like they’re still smooth sailing with the helpful content update. At least nothing showed up 

Jared: yet. Nothing yet. Yeah. And I mean, again, like when you talk about a site from a ease of creation standpoint, I mean, this flies in the face.

In some ways of what the helpful content asks us to do, helpful kind of update seems to want us to do, which is, you know, really unique content. I mean, all this is is aggregating, but maybe that is helpful. Like if you want to laugh, maybe this is great. You get all 20 of the funniest tweets in one spot, but think about it from a workflow standpoint, go back to the SEO hat we tend to put on.

Like this is something a VA could put together for you. Mhm. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. I, I really like this example of a site. Not, not that it’s like the greatest site in the world, but just that it reminds me that there are so many niches or angles that are off the beaten path that you could go after. Um, you know, we often look, I mean, we just reviewed a bunch of travel sites, you know, it’s very common or the finance site that Sammy has, uh, or the pet space, right?

There’s these like, call it a dozen. Mhm. Probably niches, right? That 80 percent of the people go into, but then there’s hundreds, if not thousands of these little nuanced angles you could go into that a lot of them still get a lot of traffic. They’re just, you got to think differently. Um, and this does a good job, you know, funny tweets or funny things for parents, whatever it is, that’s all, you know, stuff shared on social media.

That’s just a, um, a, um, combination of all these tweets, all this user generated content. We talk a 

Jared: lot, to kind of wrap up this thought here, but to give people some inspiration, like we talk a lot about backlink building and how to build natural backlinks by creating unique content, unique stats, unique things.

And one of the best ways to do that is just create, take two data sets that have already been published and then draw conclusions when you bring the two of them together. Now that’s, that’s unique data because those two data sets have never contrasted before. And man, so many, like, yeah, you want to start a hiking site, probably a lot of hiking sites out there.

Probably a lot of competition. You want to start a travel site. But how many, you know, travel hiking sites are there and, you know, so to your point, like just inspiration from this, there’s definitely inspiration there to give you some ideas on what your project can be and, and being successful with it.

Spencer: Yeah, creativity can go a long way. If you find, um, yeah, just a unique angle that a lot of people aren’t doing, like you can wiggle your way in and have yourself a nice little niche site. So, uh, so great find. I like it. Um, boy. We covered it all, uh, certainly 95 percent of the podcast was on the helpful content update.

So I hope everybody enjoyed that. But we did get our side hustles and our weird niche sites in as well. I feel like I need to take 

Jared: a break now. Yeah, I’m going to go on a walk or something. Maybe go out and hang out yard for a little while. Get some sun. That was, yeah, I definitely, that was the most I’ve ever prepared for a new segment.

So hopefully we did the topic justice. I think it was a topic that definitely warranted. This level of attention from us and kind of adapting and adjusting the typical schedule. We’ll probably be back to the normal schedule next week, but this one felt warranted this week. 

Spencer: Yeah. And uh, if you enjoyed all that information, if you’re still here on the pad podcast, give it a thumbs up on YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast, leave a review.

We’d really appreciate that. Uh, any feedback that helps us know that we’re doing a good job is appreciated. So with that, if you want to follow along with niche pursuits, you can join the newsletter. At niche pursuits. com slash newsletter, where I will be sharing updates on this recent AI content challenge.

And of course, everything else that I’ve been up to. And, uh, you can also stay tuned for our weekly podcast with Jared as our host. It brings in a new guest each week. So we look forward to, um, seeing you on the next podcast. Thanks a lot for listening. Have a great weekend.

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