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Google Spam Update COMPLETE: Here’s the Winners and Losers

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Google Spam Update COMPLETE: Here’s the Winners and Losers

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Welcome back to another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast, where Spencer and Jared talk about the biggest news over the last week in Google, SEO, and AI. 

They also give an update on some of their side hustles and top it all off with some very weird and entertaining niche sites.

They kick off this week’s call by announcing big news: Google has just finished rolling out the spam update, although the core update will continue to be rolled out for another two weeks.

Watch the Full Episode

The spam update targeted three types of abuse: scaled content, expired domain, and site reputation (also known as parasite SEO), though the latter will technically be targeted in May. 

They share a tweet from Lily Ray, where she details the winners and losers from the update, and then Spencer looks at a handful of their data in Ahrefs. 

If you take a closer look at the “winners,” you can see examples of sites that are crushing it and do your own deep-dive analysis. They also look at sites that were absolutely crushed in the update, as we can learn from both. 

Listen to the full episode to see their analysis and which sites are doing well and poorly.

Moving along, the next news item is that Google is shaking things up a bit internally, replacing the Head of Search, among other roles. 

What do Spencer and Jared make of this? And what does the new head, Liz Reid, talk about primarily in her announcement? What does she see as the future of search? And what’s motivating these changes at Google? Tune in to hear what they think!

During the Side Hustle Shenanigans segment of the podcast, Spencer goes first and talks about his Amazon Influencer business. He reveals his current earnings and reports that his earnings have become almost entirely passive since he hasn’t really uploaded videos since December.

Jared just finished his call with the Niche Pursuits Community, where he talks in detail about his business and how he’s grown it. Spencer did a call the previous week where he shared all the details behind his Amazon Influencer business as well.

If you want to see those videos and enjoy many other aspects of the Community, you can join right here! 

When it’s Jared’s turn, he talks about deleting 18% of the subscribers to his Weekend Growth newsletter. He shares the process for culling the list and trying to re-engage with disinterested subscribers, and the resulting open rate after the process.

Spencer then shares his process for managing the people on his list who are disengaged. Which approach resonates the most with you? Check out the episode to hear how their strategies differ. 

When it’s time to talk about Weird Niche Sites, Spencer goes first with Ling’s Cars. From the psychedelic background to Ling’s bobbing head, the site definitely leans into its weirdness.

The owner also uses some unique real-life marketing strategies but doesn’t have a very strong SEO game. Most of its traffic is direct or comes from social media, reaching 84k visitors last month.

When it’s Jared’s turn, he shares the personal website, Tyler Vigen. The section that has gone viral is called Spurious Correlations, where he shows correlations between two completely random things, like Amazon’s stock price and the popularity of the name Stevie.

There’s a very entertaining AI component to this DR74 site, although it’s not ranking for a lot of keywords or getting much traffic, and the owner is not monetizing in any way.

And that brings us to the end of another episode of the Niche Pursuits News podcast, where Spencer and Jared break down the latest important news in the sector and seek to motivate listeners with their side hustles.

See you next Friday! 

transcription

Spencer: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. The Google spam update for March of 2024 has just finished. And today we’re going to talk about the winners and the losers of this updates. We’re going to show examples, some sites that have seen a huge spike in traffic and some sites that got hit a lot.

And we can probably attribute that to the spam update. Now, of course, we also have the Google core update that is continuing to roll out, and so we’re going to talk about some of the nuances there, and then we’ve got a couple of other big news items, including the fact that Google has just replaced the head of search with a new person, and so we’re going to dive into what all of that means, maybe how that might impact you and your website portfolio, but of course, I’ve got Jared to talk about with me.

Jared, how you doing today? 

Jared: Doing great. I mean, the news is big, but we’ve got some fun side hustle and weird niches to talk about 

Spencer: too. We do as well. So we’re going to try and get through this news, really dive deep on it, but we’re going to share some results, uh, for my Amazon influencer account and a side hustle you’re working on.

Uh, and then a couple of weird niche sites that definitely, I think people are going to want to stick around for. Um, As usual, I don’t look at what niche site you have until like, I pull it up on the screen, but I just happened to read one of the headlines and, uh, it made me chuckle. It’s odd. It’s 

Jared: it, it 

Spencer: fits weird, doesn’t it?

It fits weird. So if people want a good laugh, stick around for Jared’s weird niche site, because, uh, it’s a good one. I think we’re going to enjoy it quite a bit. Uh, and, uh, I’ll just tease that, that my site that I pulled up, just like maybe put your shades on your blinders on, like it, the site comes at you, you know, I haven’t even seen it yet.

I, 

Jared: I, this will be one of those I see for the 

Spencer: first time. Yeah. Just be ready for that. Um, okay. So let’s jump into the big, uh, story of the day. Um, Google has just finished rolling out. The spam update, uh, it just finished. And so let me share my screen here. Um, I’ve got so many screens. Here we go. 

Jared: You have winners and losers in other tabs, which I’m looking forward to seeing as well.

I, I do. 

Spencer: So, uh, the March, 2024 spam update is finished. And this was just, uh, yesterday that it completed, it took 15 days to complete. Um, however, as usual, Google likes to do a lot of things all at once, and the core update is still going on, and that’s going to take another two weeks, roughly, uh, to finish rolling out.

So there’s still as updates going on, but the spam update finished and that included, uh, Three things. Uh, the spam update included a scaled content abuse. This could be AI generated content, programmatic content, or even human assisted content. So it just, it targeted specifically though, this massive scaled content abuse.

Uh, expired domain abuse. And this is a really interesting one because a lot of people, uh, have used expired domains to get that authority from old websites and the wrong way to do it that probably Google was targeting is if you had a, uh, an expired domain on one topic, and then you completely shifted the topic and tried to rank keywords that were unrelated to the original topic.

Uh, website that that would probably be considered expired domain abuse. Uh, and then the third one was site reputation abuse and otherwise known as parasite SEO, and this is still, uh, this hasn’t happened yet. This is. Going to happen. They’re going to take action on it. Uh, May first week of May, if I recall correctly.

Uh, so even though the spam update is completed, they’re not actually going to enforce this third piece of it. This site reputation abuse until early May. Did I get all of that? 

Jared: Right. Oh man. I mean, I feel like we could just end the podcast now call today. Yeah. Yeah. A lot going on here as a reminder, like Google swears, uh, continues to double down on the fact they try not to.

Uh, launch updates at the same time. Uh, but pretty much that’s all they do now. So it’s very difficult and we’ll try, but it’s very difficult to see through what the spam update affected that is clear and obviously different than what the core eight. Core update, which is currently rolling out, is also affecting.

So it’s very difficult. And then there’s many facets to the spam update this time because they updated their spam policies with all the things you just went through. 

Spencer: Right. And a big piece of that policies that we talked about last week was that, uh, even though some sites. right away with the spam update.

They did update their policies, so they started taking manual actions. And so we talked about a ton of sites that are actually getting de indexed that had been de indexed, um, manually, right. Instead of algorithmically. And, uh, you pointed out previous. Uh, to us hitting record that some of those sites and we can mention Jackie Chow by name because he’s been public with this, that a lot of his sites were de indexed.

He got those manual actions, uh, but just, I believe either today or yesterday, he shared that he’s been getting some of those re indexed. He, he submitted a reconsideration request, uh, and at least. I don’t know how many of his sites were re indexed. I know it wasn’t all of them, but at least one or two have come back.

So that that’s just kind of an interesting footnote, uh, to all of this happening right 

Jared: now. And again, even this article you have up on screen towards the bottom says that the manual actions were not related to the spam update, but they happened. On day one of the spam update and the wording that was provided to those people whose sites were de indexed was AI spam or spam of some sort.

So, I do think it was related, you know, I’m not sure that matters whether it was or wasn’t related. Yeah, I think it’s 

Spencer: kind of semantics, right? It didn’t, uh, it wasn’t algorithmically done by the spam update, but the spam update changed their policies. And so they manually took action. That that’s how I see it.

And we 

Jared: discussed it a lot last week, like, why does Google need to manually de index anything if they’ve improved their spam, uh, filtering and. Right. Filter to deal with that. So, um, I, I, it’s very weird because a lot, there’s been a lot of sites that have been hit and impacted by the last two weeks of updates and, but a lot of them would not be able to check the box of using scaled content abuse.

A lot of them are not built on an expired domain period. Let alone an irrelevant expired domain. So it still feels like we’re seeing effects of the core update happening simultaneously next to some of the more, I guess, uh, punitive results from what would be a spam update on a website, right? 

Spencer: Yes, exactly.

And, uh, I have to give a shout out to, uh, Lily Ray, uh, because she actually shared a couple of screenshots of winners and losers. It so far with these updates. And so I’m going to share this because I thought it would be really interesting to go through and look at specific examples of sites that have seen a big traffic increase or a big traffic decrease just over the last couple of weeks while this spam update and the core update have been going on.

And so you should be able to see. Um, this first screenshot, uh, this first image is the absolute winners in terms of traffic. So think about traffic size. So we’re going to see a lot of really large websites. So even though percentage wise, maybe the traffic didn’t change a lot, the, the amount of traffic, right?

If Amazon gets another million visitors a day, it’s like a blip, right? Um, compared to other sites, it’s like. You know, monumental. Um, so that’s what this is, is showing, uh, you know, in the green, you can see, for example, amazon. com, uh, maybe I won’t read these, but the second image, uh, is interesting because it does show the percentage change, right?

Uh, so sites like three, uh, free MP3 dot tube, it percentage change, 999 percent increase, like it’s just through the roof. Right. Thousand percent increase. Uh, and then the other side of this, we got azanimals. com down 78%. So it took a huge, huge hit. Um, and so these couple of screenshots, uh, she shared this, uh, two days ago.

So I wanted to see. What the current state of some of these were, uh, and so I went through and if it’s okay with you, Jared, um, I just thought I’d go through and share some of these, uh, websites, how they look currently in a trips. 

Jared: Yeah. I see some sites on there that I recognize and know very well. I’m curious to see what some of these look like in a refs.

Spencer: Yeah. Uh, so, um, you know, I tried to pull up some sites that I thought might just be your more typical content. Websites. And then I mixed in a few others. Uh, so dogster. com, you know, down 248%, um, or up 248%. Yes. Um, so here we go and it appears to be accurate. I mean, look at this graph. Um, it definitely appears that when the March core update, the spam update started, they, they are getting.

A huge windfall of traffic. And so I have not personally analyzed why. Um, but if somebody wanted to go see, okay, what’s the type of site that’s doing really well, uh, in this update, right. They could come over here to a dog stir. They could take a look and see maybe what they’re doing, do some deep dive analysis.

So I think that this is just a, you know, a great example. Okay. Uh, a second example, because I’ve got so many. Uh, here is a free mp3. tube. Um, I didn’t pull up the website, right? Cause I assume it’s just a bunch of MP3 type stuff. Um, it’s very volatile, very new, but yeah, I mean it, it, uh, you’re right. You’re right.

It does look like it wasn’t getting it really any traffic until about a year ago, maybe three months ago. Yeah. I mean, I’m back to November 20, 23, I think. Okay. Oh, you’re right. That is only like four months. There you go. Um, and so super new. So again, that’s a site that maybe people can analyze. It’s volatile, but going from like nothing to a couple of hundred thousand organic visitors a month.

Yeah. Hey, something’s going on there. Um, okay. The next one that just, I mean, it sounded Uh, very much like a content website. Um, and maybe I’ll pull this one up, but, uh, for, for vehicle accessories. com definitely has seen this big spike, but now has started to decline. So will this last? I’m not sure. I’m not sure.

Right. Because we only see, uh, the daily traffic. Um, if I share, uh, the website, um, it looks like it’s an actual shop where you can buy the accessories, uh, for your truck. Um, but for whatever reason, it’s doing well, either in the spam or the core, uh, update. 

Jared: So classic e com store in this case. 

Spencer: Yes, exactly. Um, another one that, uh, Lily Ray shared here was that, uh, vocabulary.

com is seeing a big increase, which is kind of surprising to me. When you think about SGE, you think about, um, the ability to get definitions quite readily in Google. Um, but they’re seeing a massive increase in traffic. 

Jared: And dictionary related sites took a huge hit last year. So they might be regaining some of those, uh, that visibility.

That they gave up last year and I did see on the um, the gains Picture or image that you posted there were a bunch of them. I think dictionary. com was also in the winners group 

Spencer: Yeah, I believe that it was. Um, I think this one was actually the next one. Um, merriam webster There you go was posted as a loser, which you can see that it is Declining right here at the very end, but 

Jared: that’s coming off a bunch of games that they’ve got but it’s coming 

Spencer: months Yeah Year.

Yeah. Look at that. So it’s actually done pretty well. So, um, maybe it’s a lot, a lot lost, a lot of traffic, uh, overall, but percentage wise, it’s very small. If that makes sense, right. It’s, you know, a peak of about 75 million and now it’s down to 72 million. So it’s lost 3 million organic visitors a month, potentially, but it’s a very, very much a, just a small blip on scale.

I’d be happy to have, uh, some of that traffic myself. Wouldn’t we all right now. Now, one of these that I was, let me see if I can pull up. Yeah. Let’s go back to Lily Ray’s image here. Uh, over here, Reddit, reddit. com. It showed an absolute change of down. 70, uh, I don’t know if this percent, what, what exactly, um, the unit of measurement is, so I was like, Oh, let’s pull up Reddit just finally, you know, sort of verify is Reddit finally getting hammered.

Well, it does not appear that that’s the case. Uh, it, it shows that in fact. They’re getting an uptick. Hey, it’s increasing a little bit more, you know, it’d probably be easier on some of these. Yep. You know, um, it’s definitely getting an increase in traffic here over the last couple of weeks. So, 

Jared: yeah, I, I saw a different chart where they went down a little bit and then a week later, we’re, we’re rising again.

Spencer: Yeah. So, um, no big change for Reddit. Google still loves Reddit. How about Forbes? Um, Forbes, I’m not seeing a big change. They’re still doing really well, uh, in Google. Um, and then supposedly Wikipedia was a big, um, loser, but that is. Not the case. Uh, Wikipedia is still doing Okay. Well, maybe, maybe I lied.

There is a, uh, you know. Yeah. But that was back while ago. They were trending down. That was a while ago. You’re right, you’re right. That was turn of the year. Yeah. So here the last couple of weeks they’ve been pretty flat, pretty steady. Um, okay. Now there are a couple that I would say are more in the wheelhouse of just straight content sites.

A dash Z dash animals. Boy, oh boy, they have just fallen off a cliff. Um, so this would be one that would be worth analyzing, uh, to figure, I mean, lost 1. 2 million organic visitors in traffic. Um, and probably more than that, right over the last couple of weeks, um, I’m on their 

Jared: website and then the top article on the homepage, the latest article, uh, not saying this is indicative of the whole site, but Spencer, tell me what you have with all you’ve learned in the last six months or so of HCU and all this number most recent article is 25 plants that start with F.

Is that right? That’s right. I mean, again, this is on an animal 

Spencer: website. That’s right. Uh, so it might be a little bit broad, right? Some of their topics. Um, and so, yeah, this would be one that would be worth sort of analyzing, like Jared just did. Pulled out, you know, are there some strategies or things they’ve done?

Maybe wasn’t the best idea ten states 

Jared: with terrible march weather and when to visit instead 

Spencer: Where are you seeing all these i’m on the scroll down the home page Oh, there you go. Ten states with terrible march weather the nine most common languages spoken in belgium 

Jared: Watch this massive landslide, obviously has a lot to do with animals, move faster than water.

Spencer: Interesting. So yeah, they, you know, they should probably get rid of the animal content. Um, I wonder if that’s some of the huge, huge gains, uh, that they’ve, they’ve had. Too much time on this, but 

Jared: I was going to say we could probably just sit here all day and do this. And I wasn’t intending to do that for the record.

Spencer says, sorry if I’m hijacking, but I just couldn’t help it. I had it pulled up when I saw that chart of the massive hit it took. I mean, if you guys are listening and not watching, it took, what’d you say? 55 percent or something like a huge dive. And so I just couldn’t help but pull up the homepage and I feel like.

There’s problems that already scream at me from just looking at it for 10 seconds at the homepage. 

Spencer: Yeah. So, um, I was, uh, you know, kind of looking at some of the, um, keywords that maybe have changed, right? Recently, and seeing if there’s any patterns there. But that might be something that people can dive in their animals that start with Y.

Does it snow in Texas? Does it snow in Texas? Well, they lost that. They lost that, you know, 

Jared: this is a challenge because I’m not saying this is why it is. I’d want to look at it more, but oftentimes when you go too broad, you don’t just give up that traffic. You end up hurting the whole site sometimes. So again, not saying that’s what’s happening, but not sure Bermuda grass and Texas weather and Belgian languages has a lot to do with what they really established themselves under.

Spencer: So maybe I’ll just share two final sites and then we’ll move on from this. Just to show some other losers that are showing up right now, uh, the gamer. com does appear to have taken a big hit here, uh, in traffic, right? Almost down about a million visitors a month, something like that. Um, so that’s one that.

Again, these are high authority, you know, high DR websites that are getting hit with, uh, what appears to be a combination of either the spam update or the core update. We don’t know exactly which one. Uh, and then another one sticking with the grammar theme, vocabulary, uh, uh, grammarist. com is down quite a bit, uh, as well.

They’re down probably almost to zero. 50 percent of traffic here just over the last week or so, a couple of weeks since the March core update. So again, high DR site that’s getting hit might be worth looking at trying to recognize some patterns. This is what I would do if my site had been hit. Um, I would look at all these sites and kind of figure out, are there any recognizable patterns, um, things that we might be able to do to improve.

So, so there you have it. There’s some big winners. And some big losers. Uh, the spam update is just finished. And, uh, so keep your eye out on your site. The core update is still happening. Uh, and of course we’ll be sharing more, uh, next week as well, as it relates to all of this, uh, but that I would say is the biggest news.

Well, depends on which circles you run in, I guess, Jared, uh, the, probably the wall street journal, uh, homepage article would be that Google. Has changed who the head of searches, uh, they, they just announced that, uh, they’ve replaced, um, the former head of search. Yes. 

Jared: Several actual, uh, actually several, uh, people got shuffled around and changed places.

Not just one. 

Spencer: There you go. So we’ve got, um, yeah, Google promotes Liz Reed to the head of search. Um, and then I’m probably not going to get the name right, but people can read this year. Uh, Chino. Beckett Kachari. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, as re replacing Pandu Nayak is the lead of search quality and ranking. Kathy Edwards is moving to the long term bets, uh, team.

So there is, there’s quite a bit of shakeup, right? There’s at least a few people here that, um, are getting directly involved with search, um, and search quality. Do you read anything into this Jared? 

Jared: I mean, I’m really speculating, but I am here in the news. I’ll read one thing, perhaps. I mean, read Liz read has, has had a good track record with Google.

Um, uh, and, and so I’ll read one line out of this search engine land article and, uh, tell me if I’m overstepping probably a bit, probably reading into a bit too much, but let’s read into it. Rejoined Google in 2003. So over 20 years ago, right? She’s credited as one of the earliest pioneers of Google maps and local search and helped Google redefine modern day map making with AI.

So we know that SGE hasn’t gone anywhere yet out of beta, right? It certainly was supposed to be out of beta at the end of 2023. We’ve heard the CEO Google talk about how that is the future. They’re all in on it. And now someone gets promoted who seems to have a background in revolutionizing other parts of Google with AI.

Spencer: Very interesting. Uh, astute observation. No, that’s very good. This search engine round table, um, this article I’m pulling up now, it’s generally the same, the reason I pull it up because it gave the entire quote from LinkedIn, I mean, I could just go over to LinkedIn and she posted on LinkedIn. I guess maybe I will.

Um, she posted on LinkedIn and, and people can read this entire thing, but she does specifically mention, uh, SGE. Let’s see if I can find this. Um, okay. She’s talking about improving search earlier this month. We updated our spam policies and ranking systems to improve quality significantly. So, uh, she mentions the spam update there.

Um, and. We’re helping people search in entirely new ways, whether that’s searching what they see with lens or what they scribble with circle to search and we’re piloting AI powered overviews with search generative experience, SGE. In fact, people have already issued billions of queries with SGE since we introduced it.

As a feature in Search Labs last year, we’ve had incredibly positive feedback on the combination of quick answers and the ability to dive deeper on the web with SGE. We’re able to serve a wider range of information needs and answer new types of questions, including more complex questions like comparisons or longer queries.

More coming soon! 

Jared: I wasn’t that off base with my conjecture. Look at how much time she dedicated. I hadn’t seen this. 

Spencer: Yeah. Uh, you, you hit the nail on the head. I think, um, you know, if you look at this, it’s, you know, if I were to highlight the amount of time that she spent talking about AI and SGE, right.

You know, it, I don’t know exactly, but yeah, almost 50 percent of her announcement of like this massive role of, Hey, I’m now the head of search. What does she talk about? A. I. S. G. E. The future of search. So she certainly sees that as the future of search. Um, so maybe that’s why she was brought in, right?

Because she has this huge background. Maybe they made a shakeup because there has been a lot of noise being made about the quality of search. A lot of. People both publicly and privately as SEOs have been complaining that search quality is going down year after year. And part of it maybe is PR of like, okay, we need to replace the, the head of, uh, somebody at search and, uh, Liz.

Read has a great background in not only Google, but in AI. And that ties into the messaging overall that I think Google is trying to promote here. 

Jared: I mean, they’ve been, there’ve been quite, there’s been quite a bit of noise around even, um, Sundar Pinchai’s job. Uh, and, and so perhaps to, you know, this could be a move to, like you said, kind of help alleviate some of the pressure on him and show change specifically to a board and to shareholders as it relates to, you know, a lot of, uh, areas of Google that haven’t gone, um, to plan so far in the 

Spencer: last year, you know, it’s, it’s all speculation, but anytime a major corporation changes, was it at least three people there, um, that were involved in search and leading search the.

Product of Google. I mean, maybe their ads product is really where they make their money, but search is really their product. Um, I would say 

Jared: vehicle and the ads of the product. So yeah, hand in 

Spencer: hand. Exactly. And, um, so anytimes that happens, you know, there’s a lot that’s been going on behind the scenes. A lot of discussions in the boardroom, in, you know, private meetings with the CEO, um, to make a big shakeup like this.

Uh, it will be interesting to see if there’s any follow up journalism from the New York Times and Wall Street Journals of the world to see why was this change made? Um, but we can only speculate and my sort of boots on the ground analysis is that, you know, there’s, there’s been a lot of, uh, heat that Google has been taking about the quality of search.

And it’s certainly getting louder and louder from website creators and bloggers because their very livelihoods have been taken away because of potentially the poor quality of search. Um, other websites that are ranking when the creators themselves, you know, are no longer ranking. So I’ll get off my soapbox and, uh, Leave it at that, pure speculation.

Jared: Yeah, I mean, but that’s what we’re supposed to do here, right? I mean, you know, it’s a little bit, this is our soapbox, Spencer. 

Spencer: It is indeed, it is indeed. Um, so, uh, we, we have, um, other news items potentially, but I don’t know that they’re really, Uh, big or earth shattering. So maybe we will just move on to our side hustles and our weird niche sites.

Jared: Um, I feel like, um, you know, when they’re like, uh, CNN’s covering like a crisis, it’s like day three of the blah, blah, blah. I feel like we’re on like week three of the Google core update. Right. We’re going to continue covering this stuff until it’s likely end in another. Two ish weeks or a little less. And then obviously we’ll deal with some of the, the fallout and the, the, the actual winners and losers.

So we’re going to be talking about this for a couple more weeks to come, but new information comes out every week. And, and it, it just, it, like you said, it filled the whole news, uh, segment this week was, was basically all stuff around Google and it’s, it’s updates that are happening right now. 

Spencer: Yeah, yep, absolutely.

So just, uh, you know, maybe on a lighter mood here, I thought I’d jump in and share a project that I’ve been working on and talking about on the podcast now for over a year. And, you know, Jared, it’s actually worth a shout out that it’s officially been One year since we started this news, uh, podcast. I don’t have a cool mug like you, but, uh, I 

Jared: wouldn’t call this cool mug.

Spencer: Um, you know, it was March of 2023 when we started doing this every week and we have not missed a week. Uh, so that’s, you know, at least. 52 episodes, I guess, uh, that, that we’ve done covering the news. And we’ve been talking about our side projects and weird niche sites the entire time. And one of the very first things that maybe the very first thing that I talked about 

Jared: was before you move on, can I tell the funniest story of the last year?

We didn’t go there ahead of time. You have no idea what I’m about to say. I don’t. 

Spencer: I’m 

Jared: worried. We almost missed an episode. I’m driving to a And you might remember watching this episode, for those of you who’ve watched all the news podcasts, and seen me at a very awkward location. I’m driving off the grid.

To a family trip and Spencer messages me as I’m driving the family, the family up the, uh, up the 395 to the mountains and says, and I don’t really say what happened, but basically the recording that we did for that week didn’t work and you’re, you’re like, well, you’re gone and I don’t really want to do it by myself.

So forget the whole thing. Yep. And I 

Spencer: was like, 

Jared: well, I got an hour before it starts snowing. Once we arrive at the cabin, what do you think? We crank it out again. And we did part two. And, um, we almost missed a week. And that was my, that, I think that’s the funniest story. My connection wasn’t great, but you know what?

We, we, we stuck to it. We did, we did one every week for the 

Spencer: whole year. We did. Um, I will just say that I, after doing that episode, I went out and bought a new router. I was having technical problems on my end, which. Is what caused us to lose the episode the first time. And you were out of town having, you know, but we did it.

That was a, that was a rough week, but we have been consistent. And, uh, so here’s to another year of news episodes. Um, but so on with the show, all of that to say, I’ve been talking about the Amazon influencer program for a year now on these episodes. And, uh, I thought I’d give another update. Um, I am still.

At about 1, 600 in earnings over the last 30 days. Uh, the last couple of days I am seeing a small uptick. Uh, my videos are now making about 70 ish dollars a day, which if you do the math, right, that’s a little over 2000 for the month. So it’s, it’s a little bit better than the 1600 a month. Um, so hopefully, you know, I’m, I’m hopeful that the end of March and, and April with spring coming in, a lot of those products will start picking up that perhaps we’re outdoor products that people weren’t buying before.

Um, it, it is just really fascinating to see that. Even though I haven’t been publishing any videos now, really since gosh, early December, um, at least regularly, uh, I’m, I’m still able to earn this amount of money and, um, it’s, it’s become much more passive at this point where it, this is the first really full year I’ve done this.

And so I don’t know how long a video will stay up where people can watch it. Uh, where I’ll get clicks from it and earn commissions. I have no idea. I mean, is it going to stay up there for two years, three years? Is it going to all die next month? I really don’t know, but that’s what I’m doing here is, is just sharing, uh, what I’ve been working on.

So Amazon influencer still working, still earning from all that work that I did last year. And as a, um, sort of announcement or just to remind people, uh, Jared, just about an hour and a half ago, we finished recording a call with the niche pursuits community where you were the guest on. And you talked about your Amazon influencer account, your journey, your process.

Everything. And, uh, that was a members only call for the Niche Pursuits community. Um, but of course we recorded that, we’re uploading that tonight. Uh, so tomorrow people can see that in the Niche Pursuits community, uh, members area. So if people do wanna join the Niche Pursuits community, they can just go to community niche pursuits.com.

Pretty easy community. naturepreserves. com or Google it. It’ll show up. Uh, you can, uh, go there, join the community. You’ll get access to the call that I did a week ago about my Amazon influencer account. I showed my backend, my earnings, my process for hiring people to do videos. You’ll see Jared’s video.

And, uh, I will simply say that we have a stellar guest list scheduled for the coming weeks to talk about Google discover. You know, all the issues facing publishers online and a lot of other good things coming. So, uh, if people want to join that and interact with the community on discord, get in a private mastermind group, we’re getting all of that set up over at the community.

So that’s my, um, update on my side project. Uh, Jared, what are you working on these days? 

Jared: Well, uh, influencer is also doing very well for me. I didn’t talk about it. I will give an update in a future podcast episode with a little bit more detail, but it’s also going well for me. And just to circle back on that, like, I think one of the big things you and I talked about last year consistently is that we really had no idea that how passive this was going to turn out to be like.

We didn’t even know if the videos we upload in the summer would even still be there in the winter. Right. Or vice versa. But you’re seeing evidence. I’m seeing evidence. Like it truly is. Like I’m seeing videos that I published the first week I was on the program earning income right now. And, um, and so, you know, How long we, we don’t know, we’re still throwing our hands up, but I’m nine months in you’re over a year in, and we’re still seeing the effects that this could really actually be a pretty passive project for people.

So, you know, encouraging. 

Spencer: Absolutely. I think it is encouraging. So I love it. Well, 

Jared: um, we’re talking today about actually, uh, uh, having less followers on a certain account of mine, not more. Now this doesn’t fall out of the bucket of failing, at least not in my opinion, although I’ve shared a few of those of late.

Okay. Um, uh, Oh, one quick update though. Uh, uh, I did publish a YouTube video last week on this day. It, uh, one week in it’s my best performing video and my earnings have gone up quite a bit on YouTube. Nice, but I still haven’t made a hundred bucks 

Spencer: yet. Hmm. Okay. 

Jared: Well, I’m earning more than 3 and 50 cents a week now.

I think I made about 70 in the last seven days based on the views of this video doing well, but it’s still, you know, don’t quit your day job. Anyways, I digress, but, uh, we were talking about how bad that account is monetizing at this point, but what I want to talk about today is actually something that I wonder if a lot of people.

Um, in the past week we deleted roughly 20 percent of our email subscribers to the weekend growth newsletter. 

Spencer: That’s a bold move. 

Jared: So I’ve been, uh, Caitlin and I, uh, and my, my company tool and creative, but really for almost 15 years, Caitlin and I have been, Managing large accounts in email marketing. And it’s a very pretty standard best practice that you need to be routinely culling your list.

But I found a lot of people that are in our space don’t necessarily, I’m not blanket statement with this, but a lot of people don’t, don’t. Pay attention to calling their list. I just thought to kind of outline the process I went through. Uh, your reaction, Spencer is pretty common with the people I talk to, like, what the heck are you doing?

And I’m like, what, what do you mean you’re not doing this? But I, I forget. So I thought I’d walk everybody through the process we went through. Um, basically we’ve had the weekend growth newsletter for about a year now, actually just over a year now, it was get, it was to about 5, 000 emails. And, uh, it’s grown over the year.

Um, and, uh, I wanted to see the health of the list because over time, as you grow your newsletter, typically. Your open rates will start to decline a bit, and this can all, you know, the engagement, the open rate, this can all affect your deliverability. So we basically went at it with the criteria of looking at leads who had been in the system for at least three months, but had not opened an email in the last 60 days.

And your criteria might be more on clicks. But for me, I usually put all the information in emails. I don’t get a ton of clicks anyways. It’s all about the open rate for me. So I looked at somebody who hadn’t opened an email in the last 60 days. I publish at least once a week. So that’s at least. At least what is that?

Eight emails, probably nine emails. They haven’t opened in a row, 944 people. So about 20 percent of the list qualified for this. Um, we sent two emails to try to reengage them basically saying, Hey, come back or else we’re kicking you off the list, you know, but in a little bit nicer of a way. 63 people re engaged, so 7 percent of that group.

And so, um, like earlier in the week, we deleted 881 people from our email list for a total of 18 percent gone. Now, what are the results? Well, the open rate on last week’s email, the, the, the, the, the mass email I sent out, the broad email I sent out was 37. 8%. Open rate on this week’s email, 51. 2%. 

Spencer: Wow. Wow. 

Jared: So again, um, you know, not exactly side hustle, uh, uh, uh, you know, success, but, uh, I found as I shared that this weekend, a lot of people looked at me in disbelief.

I was like, you know, that could be a cool topic to share with people. As you’re growing, maybe you’re still in the early days of growing your email newsletter list. Maybe you’re heavy in on it. But, um, I would say that calling a list of people, I mean, these are people who haven’t opened an email in two months.

They’ve been on my list for quite a while and they were given two opportunities that basically said, Hey, uh, you know, maybe you got busy or whatever, but you know, just click this button to stay on our list and you can keep just getting our emails. And, and, and they didn’t even do that. So, you know, these are people who unengaged by all intents and purposes.

Spencer: Yeah, it’s interesting. And, um, you know, I, I think you’re probably doing it, uh, the right way. I mean, that’s in terms of industry knowledge, right? This is a pretty much standard practice to go through. And if people aren’t engaged, uh, with your emails. It makes sense not to just have this bloated list. If less and less people are opening up your emails, right?

That can trigger certain things with Google or other ESPs, right? That, um, hey, this guy’s sending spam because nobody interacts with his emails. So it does make sense. You want to make sure that you have a healthy list. Now, I do things slightly different, and it’s not that bad. Better, probably. It’s okay.

I’m all ears. But I have what I call an active email list. So people that have opened in the last 90 days is what, and ConvertKit kind of does this for you. Yep. Right? And then I have my inactive list that I just, I can’t get myself to delete. I just, I hold on to them and every once in a while I email everybody, you know, on that list and you know, I get a few people that open and they make it back over to the active list, but this comes at a cost to me because now it costs my monthly bill is this much higher because I have all these really inactive subscribers that.

Just because I can’t give them up. I’m paying extra money. And that’s 

Jared: actually what triggered this is I hadn’t done it yet. And Caitlin was like, Hey, we’re coming up on 5, 000 subs and that’s going to trigger us into a. A new level of convert kit that I think was almost double what we’re paying not the end of the world But when you start you’re like I gotta pay double what I’m paying right now to keep a bunch of dead weight on my list Let’s give a chance.

But if I don’t want to pay for people who don’t want to even listen to me for sure 

Spencer: Exactly. Exactly. So, you know take take it for what it is people listening, you know, I just I have a hard time deleting, and so I’m paying money. You’re a nicer guy than me, Spencer. Well, I don’t know. You can say that. I’m more ruthless.

I wouldn’t say that. Ruthless. You’re ruthless. Uh, just delete. Um, anyways, very cool. I mean, to go from a 37 percent open rate to a 51 percent open rate, like, that’s, that’s amazing. 

Jared: I, I, yeah, I, I don’t think this is, uh, a, Massively important. I think it’s more important. The more dead weight you’re carrying. I think it’s more like, I think generally speaking, uh, by, by large media standards, by the type of data that say a Google would look at or email providers, like a 37.

8%, a 51. 2%. Those are both very engaged lists, no matter which way you look at it. Large companies, they send out emails and they can get 2 percent open rates and be okay with that, you know, when they’re a group on or something like that. Um, and so, you know, I don’t think there’s a lot of problems, but I have gotten a couple of emails in the last couple of weeks for the first time saying, Hey Jared, like your emails never used to end up in the promotions tab and now they are your, you know, it’s just little indicators you can pay attention to.

This isn’t a course on that. It’s a lot of in depth stuff, uh, on that. I don’t, I don’t even know half of it, but you know, in general, 

Spencer: just list health. Yep. Very important. Absolutely. So, well, very good. We, uh, teased a couple of weird niche sites earlier in the episode and it’s time to get to those. Uh, so. I, um, I have mine again, warning, you know, ahead of time, be ready.

You know, I don’t want to blind anyone with what’s coming out. I tried, I tried to warn you, um, this, this, uh, I will just make a blanket statement that I think for about the next year. Uh, all of these suggestions for weird niche sites have come from the audience. I put out a tweet and a Facebook message, and I got about 50 weird niche sites that I can be sharing, um, going forward.

And so, uh, uh, I just looked at this again. So the weird niche site that I will be sharing is LingzCars. com. And here it is in all of its glory. 

Jared: And when you say all, you mean all. 

Spencer: All of it. I mean, you got the psychedelic wallpaper in the background. You’ve got, uh, Ling, I guess his head is sort of bobbling.

And anyways, if you don’t see it, it’s, uh, I mean, it, it, it kind of hearkens like, Hey, this was built in like the nineties, uh, but you can also tell it’s a modern site because there was a lot of interesting things going on. Um, but what, I mean, the, the, the thing that makes it weird obviously is the way it looks.

I mean, it just, it looks. Hideous, uh, for lack of a better, uh, term, but it’s just a car leasing website. You can see which cars are available to lease. Um, but this site truly leans into being like this crazy website. So right here on the homepage, the first thing they say is the UK’s craziest. Car leasing website.

And they just, they really lean into this weirdness into this loudness of design, if you will. Um, and, uh, try to remember where I got, uh, the pictures, but, uh, they, they do some interesting, um, maybe it’s under fun stuff. Here we go. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Under the fun stuff, they’ve got Ling’s nuclear missile truck, and this appears to be.

An actual thing. Uh, they have this giant missile on a truck that says Ling’s cars and they park it, it looks like on the side of the highway, they have a few pictures here. So they do these interesting marketing, um, things, uh, and that kind of. Goes right along with their website. Hey, we’re loud. We’re brash.

We’re UK’s craziest car lease website. Um, come get your used car here. Um, but, uh, it anyways, we could poke around the website a lot. Um, it doesn’t get a lot of organic traffic. It doesn’t look like their SEO game is really, you know, top notch. However, uh, according to similar web, they actually do get quite a bit of traffic.

A lot of it’s direct and social, and it shows that last month, at least, they got 84, 000 visitors, uh, to their website, which, It is quite a bit. Some of it I think is suspect traffic. I mean, 23 percent of it’s coming from Russia, right? And if they’re a UK website, maybe all the Russian traffic, um, isn’t that valuable same with the U S I don’t know.

I mean, they just want their local traffic, which fortunately still is 15 percent of that traffic. So, um, but we could go through here and, uh, you know, click on. Karaoke Madness. I didn’t click on that one. I’m right 

Jared: now on the, uh, key information tab and the dragon’s den. And apparently, Ling was, uh, wrote a chapter in a BBC book on, uh, Is that right?

A Lesson in Sales and Marketing. Ling Valentine and Lingscars. com. Wow. And you can download the chapter of the book. Or you can buy the book on Amazon and she has an excerpt from it. Uh, so I mean, uh, it, I’ll just read this quote. I didn’t, you know, I live, I live inside my website says Ling. It is everything to me.

I really wanted the most thought provoking, useful and entertaining car website in the UK being from China. Freedom of speech is important to me. So I went out of my way to tell the truth to customers out the waffle. Uh, you know, I employed the same device that John and I used when I was in Finland, instant web chat.

I made it a rule from day one that customers could talk to me live on the website, and this is an extremely popular feature. Interesting. Um, and, you know, I could go on, but clearly, uh, there’s a bit of motive behind this crazy website that we’re looking at. 

Spencer: Yeah, and I went ahead and closed it, uh, it was having trouble loading or something it looked like, so, uh, That’s a feature.

I went ahead and closed that, but I mean, that’s one marketing strategy, right? Is to just go all in on the craziness of your website, the crazy design or a angle that you might bring to a traditional business. 

Jared: Okay. I have some things I can share here. Uh, again, I didn’t study this, but, uh, this is what it’s saying here.

Uh, Richard obtained some information about the function of the website and discovered that Ling takes commission from the car dealers. I’ve got to say, congratulations. He said the profit is quite low, but the turnover is fantastic. Um, discerning that in 2006, she was making a monthly gross profit of 10, 000 pounds per month.

Ling explained a little uncertainty, a little uncertainly, my net profit in 2005 is 70, 000 pounds. I left it in the business in 2006. I use 25, 000 for marketing. It goes on to talk about how much she makes. So it actually talks about how much she makes with this business model here as being kind of a broker.

And, and, and, you know, we talk a lot about monetization on the, on this website, sorry, on this podcast, but you know, it’s actually, uh, goes into detail enough that I should have maybe reviewed it before reading it, but yeah. So there’s a profit at one point of the site. 

Spencer: Well, there you go. So people can go over to a links, cars.

com and check out, uh, all the about information and figure out, yeah. Uh, how much profit it’s making that sort of thing. But, uh, thank you to whoever shared that with me. Uh, super interesting, crazy looking website, but still appears to be a profitable, uh, business. 

Jared: Um, I have to say that was a weird one.

Mine’s weird, but for different reasons, I 

Spencer: guess. Yeah, definitely different reasons. 

Jared: Definitely a different reason. Um, so I’ve known about this site for a long time. As a matter of fact, it’s a fun party trick. If you’re running the circles I run in, which is. Um, I’m, as, as many of you might know by now, I majored in college in what basically amounts to like statistics, regressional analysis, this sort of thing.

And so my website today is an ode to that. It’s, uh, Tyler, vegan. com, T Y L E R V I G E N. com. And really it’s a personal website. So if you’re wondering, yeah, that’s, that’s the guy’s name. Um, and, um, The part that’s caught fire, the part that’s gone viral, the part that’s super successful on this website is the second one down and it’s what he calls, um, spurious correlations.

And, uh, if you go over to this, it’s almost a website in of itself. It says spurious correlations and its tagline is correlation is not causation and what he has done is embodied that by finding random and I mean random correlations between two things that clearly have nothing to do with each other but correlate perfectly on a trend graph.

Yep. 

Spencer: As we can see the example on screen right now. 

Jared: So you’re looking at it and I put, I gave you some of my favorite Spencer that will pull up, but the one on the screen right now is popularity. The first name, Stevie correlates directly with amazon. com stock price. And we can see that one’s plotted in black, uh, color one’s plotted in red color and they perfectly correlate with each other in terms of the last 10 years, about 20 years, actually.

Spencer: That is so fascinating. Right. So as soon as, uh, right, as soon as people stop naming their child, Stevie, you know, to sell your Amazon stuff. Exactly. 

Jared: So if you start seeing, cause clearly it’s causal, not corollary, I’m being sarcastic, clearly that when people stop naming their kids, Stevie, Amazon price, stock price is going to start going down again.

Spencer: I’m going to let you share some others, and then I’m going to ask questions 

Jared: later. Just try to keep up with some of the ones as I go here. I’m going to be pulling up as I go. Some of my favorite ones from the past year or so. Per capita consumption of margarine directly correlates with the divorce rate in Maine.

You’ll be pleased to know that the divorce rate and the per capita consumption of margarine has been on the steady decline the past decade 

Spencer: or so. Wow, good for Maine, you know. Both the the health of their bodies and of the relationship exactly and 

Jared: sticking with that theme Spencer The next one I have for you is milk consumption correlates directly with a divorce rate in Colorado 

Spencer: That is also very interesting 

Jared: also on a downward trajectory So divorce rates in Colorado are dropping clearly because they’re just not drinking as much milk 

Spencer: So many questions come from this, right?

Like, is milk consumption dropping in all states? Uh, is the divorce rate dropping in all states? Right? I mean, we 

Jared: are not a relationship advice podcast, but I think we’ve drawn clear lines between if you’re having marital problems, cutting margarine and milk out of the diet are clearly going to save your marriage.

Spencer: And I love below it. It has an AI explanation. So it’s clearly AI has written this with an image that. You know, he says 

Jared: that he added this recently. He prompts an AI explanation of the correlation and then an AI image to go along with it so you can share it. 

Spencer: The image itself cracks me up. It’s like she’s happily not drinking milk by pouring it on the table and they’re clearly in a happy marriage.

Hey, I, you know, did this great job of tying these two together. You 

Jared: can clearly see that they’re in love because she’s pouring milk on the table. He’s very 

Spencer: happy about it. And so is she. I’m giving this up for you, honey. Yeah. 

Jared: Oh yeah. It’s good. I got two more for you that are good. The next one is, um, bachelor’s degrees in engineering correlates directly with energy generation in Cambodia.

So, engineering bachelor degrees are on the rise since 2012, and so is electricity generation in Cambodia. Obviously. Okay. Directly correlated and causal. Directly correlated. And then my last one, and by the way, there are hundreds here, and this is a good one. This has a nice sharp graph, a nice sharp uptick.

Uh, and I think you’ll, uh, you’ll like this, uh, this AI graphic. But, um, uh, air pollution in Sioux City, Iowa correlates directly with climate change. Tesla’s sharp increase in stock price. 

Spencer: And just to clarify, Tesla does not do any car production in Sioux city, Iowa. No, no. 

Jared: And Tesla obviously would have an inverse effect on air pollution, given that they’re electric cars.

Spencer: You would hope so. Yeah. 

Jared: I love the AI explanation. The smog in Sioux City created a higher demand for electric cars leading to a spike in interest and purchase of Tesla vehicles. As more people sought environmentally friendly transportation options, Tesla’s stock price soared, proving that even pollution is a way of inadvertently promoting clean energy.

Spencer: There you go. Uh, this is, this is so good. Uh, and there’s an AI academic paper even, uh, that, uh, I, I don’t know. There you go. It’s got a whole paper, um, that is sort of academically laid out for this entire correlation. He has a 

Jared: whole section of the website dedicated to that. I think it’s called, uh, Spurious Scholar if I remember correctly.

Wow. Wow. And so, yeah, so, um, I mean, uh, a quick jump back to the website, maybe talking about some of the details on it. Uh, it’s, it’s a personal website that’s gone on to become a DR 74. So, I mean, that’s pretty amazing. For a, um, for a personal website. And one that, you know, is clearly built on that, it only ranks for 2, 800 keywords, uh, for an estimated organic traffic of 8, 200.

So it’s not doing much in the, um, it’s not doing much with that DR 70 plus. Uh, yep. 

Spencer: Still very interesting. I mean, it’s clearly attracted a lot of links, uh, got a high DR and I mean, it’s. Obviously it’s a lot of fun to look at all these things. Uh, but it, from what I can tell, it doesn’t look like it’s really making any money from the website.

I’m glad 

Jared: you brought that up. Go over to his, uh, the homepage and scroll down to the bottom. And he’s very clear about it. He says, and I quote, I don’t show ads. I don’t track page views. I don’t load external scripts or use a copyright. I don’t have anything for sale. I’m not for hire and you can’t buy me coffee.

Thanks. So there you go. Just got to head back to the homepage there. You’re on the spurious correlations. He’s got to go back to Tyler’s and then down there at the bottom, down at the bottom. So right there, Tyler stands for no monetization. 

Spencer: Clearly. Well, there you go. He must be doing all right in his other ventures.

Yeah. Yeah. 

Jared: Cause I was thinking, I mean, maybe a consulting play. Um, you know, uh, certainly he’s not getting a ton of traffic, so ads maybe not, but there’s a couple of different things you could kind of go with there. But 

Spencer: yeah, so that’s interesting. Not really trying to make money from this project. Just having a lot of fun.

I’m sure he just gets a lot of just enjoyment out of publishing these Spurious correlations, there’s some 

Jared: really good ones if you want to really go back over it, you know It’s just you could sit there for an hour and look at all the funny ones Some are better than others, but some are really 

Spencer: funny And is this a weird niche site that you found yourself just because you’re you know Yeah, 

Jared: I was on a, uh, well, Spencer, you know, it’s wintertime here, so I, I can still go for a run and I was on a run and something, sorry, low blow.

I was on a run and something sparked my memory about this site. And I literally pulled out my phone while running and made myself a voice memo to, to pull this in and put it on the agenda for the next podcast. So I would make sure not to forget this site. Cause I’ve known about this site for a while, but, um, yeah, no one’s sending me, Year long repositories of weird niches, so I’m still out there in the wild trying to find my own 

Spencer: you got to do the hustle work yourself Yeah, well you you found a good one.

You know, I I do find that Every once in a while something triggers and I do remember a weird niche site like you just did I I’m sure there’s still four or five somewhere in the recesses of my brain that Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in here over the next year All the other suggestions, I’ll tease one 

Jared: for next week.

Uh, I was watching a little bit of standup comedy and a standup comedian referenced. A weird bitch. Nice. So, next week we’re going to be going through that one. We’ll see if anybody recognizes it from the, uh, stand up comedy routine. Ooh. 

Spencer: All right. Good. 

Jared: A little tease. for next week. That’s very good. We’re next in the podcast episode, but not for next week.

I think 

Spencer: that’s the first time we’ve done that. That’s right. And that works perfectly into, if you want to catch next week’s episode, be sure to subscribe. Uh, you got to hit that subscribe button. Um, you know, we’re here on the YouTube channel. Uh, it’s a new channel. Podcast channel for the niche pursuits podcast.

So if you haven’t subscribed yet, do that. And of course, if you’re listening anywhere else, Apple, iTunes, Spotify, wherever you are, thank you so much for listening, sticking around for the podcast. Uh, but that’s it for today’s news episode. We covered the spam update, the changes happening over at Google, our side projects, and of course the weird niche sites.

Thank you everybody so much for listening. Jared, thank you so much for helping out here today. 

Jared: Good to see you. We’ll see you all next week.



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