Welcome back to Niche Pursuits News, where Spencer and Jared share the most important and recent news in SEO, digital marketing, content creation, and website building. Grab something to drink and get comfortable—there’s lots to cover this week!
The first topic they cover is Google’s antitrust lawsuit. One of Google’s witnesses
on the stand and accidentally revealed that it pays Apple 36% of the revenue earned via search ad activity on Apple’s Safari browser.
Essentially, Google is paying billions of dollars to Apple to ensure that it’s the default browser on all of its products and it did not want this data to be revealed. What does this mean for other search engines? Does Google have a monopoly in the search engine market?
Watch the Full Episode
Or, maybe a better question is,? Does it need to go to these lengths to become the default browser? Is the quality of its search actually getting worse? And what is the science behind being the “default?”
The next news item up for discussion is Google’s announcement about.
Google is testing out three features: allowing users to follow topics that they’re interested in by adding a follow button, adding a perspective filter to allow users to get the best first-hand knowledge on a topic, and including information about content creators to highlight their expertise.
What other potentially controversial announcements has Google made with regard to new features? What’s the role of AI in all of this? Tune in to find out!
Jared and Spencer then talk about Danny Sullivan’s recent presentation at brightonSEO. The Google Search Liaison essentially told attendees tofor even more changes, tweaks, and improvements to Google’s search rankings.
To get a peek at his full presentation, head on over to Twitter, where he postedand see for yourself. But what were the overarching themes? Listen to the podcast to hear Jared and Spencer’s impressions.
When it comes to Shiny Object Shenanigans, Spencer goes first and talks about his adventures building a faceless YouTube channel.
He offers a, but the gist is that he started uploading videos and one video went viral in May and got 474k views. He started to earn money and was making plans for the future when his viral video got hit with a copyright notification and had to be taken down.
How have things gone since then? What’s in store for this side hustle? Listen and find out what Spencer’s doing now!
When it’s Jared’s turn, he gives an update on his Amazon Influencer Program side hustle which, if you’ve been tuning in over the last few weeks, has been particularly volatile. The good news is that earnings appear to be picking up, so stay tuned to see if he sees a full recovery.
He also talks about hisand the importance of having high-quality photos, particularly in view of all the changes in Google. His course, which offers useful tips for non-professionals, is celebrating its 1-year anniversary.
Don’t miss out on the chance to get it! Jared’s offering it for 50% off with the code “Niche Pursuits.”
When it comes to Weird Niche Sites, the co-hosts really capture the weirdness of the web. Spencer reveals his ‘90s-looking website,, which is essentially a list of hard drive prices and their different characteristics.
All of the links are Amazon affiliate links, and search engine traffic varies according to the source: 2600 organic searches per month according to Ahrefs, 20k according to SimilarWeb.
How is the website updated? How is it doing on mobile? How did it fare during the HCU? What are the key takeaways from this website?
When it’s Jared’s turn, he shows his love for cats with. It’s a repository of daily (and probably) manually updated cat news from all over the web. This DR4 site only ranks for 250 keywords. The main articles it’s ranking for are cat food reviews and, in general, the site isn’t doing especially well.
What do they think of the design? What is the site doing correctly (if anything)?
And that brings us to the end of another great podcast. We hope you feel informed of all the latest news in the SEO space and inspired to launch or continue your business projects and side hustles. See you next week!
Spencer: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of this week in niche pursuits news. And, uh, today we’re really excited to cover the news. And, uh, you may notice that Jared looks a little bit different today. Uh, he’s in a little bit new, uh, new, new spot. Got some new headphones. He’s ready to rock and roll though.
Jared: Yeah, we, uh, best plans laid in vain. Spencer, we tried to do this before I hit the road. Let’s just say here we are. I’m in a, I’m in a lovely mountain cabin, enjoying nature and talking about the latest news and SEO. What could be a better combination?
Spencer: What could be better, right? You know, going to a beautiful location, talking about SEO news.
And be able to record a podcast. So I am sure that everybody appreciates that, uh, all the listeners because, uh, we do got a lot of, uh, news items to cover. And so we’re going to dive into the latest Google changes, uh, other things that are going on in the news that hopefully, uh, is relevant and, and is useful to content creators out there.
Uh, But we’re going to squeeze in some time to cover our side hustles. A couple of things that we’re working on this side, uh, and then finally bringing it home with two weird niche sites and, uh, they’re both pretty good ones, uh, today we, of course, we’ve had a preview here and, uh, yeah, I think it’s a couple of sites that people are going to enjoy.
So stick around to the end for our weird niche sites, but first let’s jump into the news. The biggest news item is that while Google has been going through this antitrust lawsuit with the government and an attorney actually for Google was on the stand and let something slip that he was not supposed to, uh, and he actually shared the exact amount of revenue that Google is sharing with Apple to be the default search engine on Apple devices.
Okay. And so here’s just one article. It was covered all over the news. Um, but that number is 36%. So Google pays Apple 36 percent of the revenue earned via search. Uh, search ad activity on apple’s safari browser. So, uh, whatever people are searching for on their apple device and they’re using that, um, safari browser, 36 percent of the ad revenue gets paid to apple.
I mean, that’s an astronomical number. And it’s just this huge number that, uh, billions of dollars that Google is paying to make sure they are the default search engine on Apple devices.
Jared: 18 billion dollars. I believe it was referenced in the article in total, which, um, which means that if the 18 billion that they’re paying, that just means that Google is making over 50 billion just by map back of the napkin math, on ad revenue that they get and secure through this Apple relationship.
Spencer: It’s, it’s insane, right? Um, we should have had the, the most recent, you know, quarterly earnings so we can see what percentage of that, you know, it is. But obviously most of the, the largest piece of the Google pie is of course, their ad revenues, right? They have other projects that they’re working on, but they’re, they’re an advertising business.
And Apple is this huge, huge partner, um, that is, yeah, potentially pulling in 50 billion in ad revenue and Apple gets 30, you know, 36 percent of that. Uh, and so it’s, it’s just fascinating that this was revealed again, kind of accidentally and initially. Google had sort of filed an injunction for, uh, keeping this number quiet.
They did not want this to come out because they felt like this is a business practice, a competitive, uh, a number that’s of competitive nature that if other search engines or other, um, businesses knew the number, they would be able to negotiate with, with Apple. Possibly undercut or two different things, right?
And so they did not want this number to get out there. And well, now it has, and it’s created quite a firestorm. Uh, because boy, does that make it less likely that, um, that Google will continue to be that default. Search engine now that people really know how much money they’re paying to do that
Jared: Yeah, it’s considered to be extremely rare information.
That’s disclosed. You know, that’s what the article referenced It also referenced and if I could spencer just read this it in what was clearly an awkward moment John, uh, Schmitlein, Google’s main litigator, visibly cringed when Murphy said the number, which was supposed to remain confidential. Ha
Spencer: ha ha ha.
Visibly cringed, ouch.
Jared: Now, one thing that we should address is how this really does play into the larger antitrust role. I mean, Uh, I know that in the article it was referenced that the Microsoft CEO took the stand and claimed that the deal between Google and Apple means it’s virtually impossible for search engines like Bing to have any chance of grabbing a meaningful share of the search market.
And, you know, an analogy I used to describe this earlier is imagine going to buy a new car and you go to a car dealership, but in reality, the only car dealership, no matter which one you go to, sells, uh, say Ford cars, right? And if you want to buy like a, um, Like a Honda, the only way to get the Honda is to go through the back door, down the stairs, out the back alley, around the corner, you know, and that’s a bit what’s happening here.
It’s almost impossible for someone like Bing to get in for any other search engine, DuckDuckGo, all these other search engines with this kind of arrangement.
Spencer: Right. It’s, it’s extremely difficult. Right. Um, and of course, Apple’s such a huge, uh, brand name, uh, they, they power millions of, uh, devices. Um, I think it was, um, I can’t remember what article I was reading here, but it’s something like, um, you know, 68 percent of the, um, Android devices exist in the world.
68 percent of the devices that are used In the world are Android powered devices, and so Google is the default search engine and all of those devices and now they’re trying to get the apple devices as well. So it’s like, okay, on mobile, where else does somebody like a being or a duck to go to be the default search engine?
It’s like, is this monopoly? Well, it’s not looking so hot, right? If you’re on essentially every mobile device that exists in the world. And so this ties into, uh, and Very well with an article that Kevin Indig, uh, just wrote and it’s called default. And in fact, I think it is in this article that he talks about, uh, the mobile devices, how, uh, Google powers, you know, 68 percent of the mobile devices, right?
Android is kind of there. And, uh, this article talks a lot about, okay, how good is Google really? Uh, or do they need to be the default in order to capture market share? That’s kind of the argument that that Kevin puts forth here. And it’s really good because one of the studies that he references here is they had 250, uh, uh, Raiders come in here and rate recent queries.
From their browsing history, comparing Google versus being results. And so you can see at this, this chart here that, uh, Google was much better, uh, 28 percent of the time and, uh, being was much better, 18 percent of the time. And you can see in here, you know, being was slightly better in some cases. Google was slightly better in other cases.
Um, so Google is better. But not like resoundingly better, right? I think Kevin sort of says, you know, they’re somewhat better, right? So they’re a little bit better. Um, and yet they command this huge, huge market share. And again, that comes. Back to well, Google’s done a lot of things to make sure that they are that default search engine default is
Jared: the key there.
I wanted to share a quick. I went and looked it up for this podcast Spencer. So, um, you know, we play off how we’re just in the moment a lot, but I actually did some research for this section right here because it reminded me. Of a ted talk and subsequent book by tech. I like to clap there for those who watch it on youtube.
It reminded me of the very famous ted talk that um, dan areola gave and it speaks to this idea It’s uh out of his book called predictably irrational. It’s this concept. He did a big study because he noticed Uh, and bear with me this story has merits He noticed that organ donation in different european countries was basically either sub 10 Or, uh, above 90%.
So extremely disparaging differences. And you want to understand why is it because different countries have different cultural beliefs, et cetera. And it turned out none of that was the reason. The reason was the form on the DMV. If the DMV had a box that said, check this box, if you’d like to be an organ donor, organ donations were under 10 percent because the default was to not be an organ donor.
And if instead the DMV had a box that said. Check this box if you don’t want to be an organ donor. The, uh, the organ donation rate was above 90 percent typically. And why? Because the default was to be an organ donor. Default is massively critical for the way we work as humans. And it speaks to Kevin’s point throughout this whole article, speaks again to the fact that Google has made themselves the default.
And they are reaping the rewards as a result of it.
Spencer: Big time. And, you know, it used to be all about controlling the, the PC, right? The, the desktop, uh, computer. And Microsoft did that very well with their Windows, right? Um, when you installed Windows, by default, you had their browser. You had, you know, now it’s the Edge browser, but before, you know, other browsers that they had.
And Bing was the default search engine when you installed Windows. And I think it still is the case. But, uh, a lot of people will switch that, but there’s a large percentage of people that never do switch that. And so, um, so being, I think that’s probably where most of their, uh, share of the market comes from is just people are too lazy to switch their default search engine on their desktop computer.
Now, of course, more and more people are searching on mobile and that’s just becoming. Bigger and bigger and bigger. And that’s where Microsoft has kind of been left behind is they aren’t the default on any of these devices. And so, yeah, this, this article that Kevin has speaks volumes to why Google continues to do well in terms of market share.
Uh, but one other sort of point that he made here is just. You know, there actually may be some decline in the user experience of Google. And Marissa, um, uh, he has some quotes here from Marissa Meyer here. Yeah, former key executive, uh, at Google, just saying that her search results just don’t seem to be as useful.
Uh, she sees more ads, more links that might as well be ads and more links to spammy web pages. And we’ve heard that through, throughout, you know, Google is continuing to add. Additional ads because they want higher ad revenue. They want their growth to continue at a 20 percent clip year over year. And so now we’ve got ads in sort of the organic results.
And so it almost feels like it’s at a tipping point of like, okay, is content getting better? Is it getting worse? There’s more ads, Google’s doing all these things. And a lot of people feel like the search experience isn’t getting better, but it is the default search engine. And so you’ve got this gorilla.
That feels like it’s getting worse, according to a lot of people. And so what is going to happen with this antitrust lawsuit, right? Um, we don’t know exactly, but will pieces of Google be broken out? Will this deal with Apple, you know, be deemed sort of, um, you know, breaking monopoly laws? I don’t know, but this is the latest.
This is what’s going on. I think it’s a super interesting story, uh, to continue to follow.
Jared: Logically speaking, what we know about the way default works, though, think about it, is, is just, of course, Google search is going to be getting worse, and it’s because they have no competition, and they’re, they’re a publicly traded company who is fiduciary, uh, responsible for spending their money as wisely as they need to, and returning as much profit to their shareholders as possible, and if they have no competition to make them Be better.
Why would they spend the money and the effort if they can continue to maintain status quo?
Spencer: All right, for our next story here, there is actually, uh, some new updates from Google. Some new things that they’re testing and trying out. Uh, they’re continuously trying to innovate and improve and, and tweak how search results go.
And so they just came out with this announcement just yesterday. Um, it’s called New Ways to Find Just What You Need. On search, and there’s actually three updates to this things that they’re testing out. Uh, so the first one here is, um, basically a way to follow topics that you’re interested in following.
And, and on my screen, I’m kind of sharing. Okay. If you are, um, interested in half marathon training, of course, you’re going to get your search results, but down within the results, there’s actually a follow button. basically you can indicate that you’re interested in the subject of half marathon training.
So you just click this, um, sort of following or follow button. And then when you do search results, it’ll either show things related to half marathon training, kind of at the top personalized for you, or when you’re in Google discover, you’re much more likely to get suggested articles related to. Half marathon training in this example.
So it’s just an interesting way for Google kind of to get more data on you, but you to specifically tailor and personalize your, um, discover feed for what you’re interested in following. So I think it’s kind of a interesting update. Yeah, I mean,
Jared: across the board, it is interesting because in, in theory, you’re, you’re almost making your experience more like Google Discover, like you said, like it’s tailored results.
I’m a little thrown off, though. Don’t they already have this information on me? Don’t they already know these things about me? Do they need me to tell them I’m interested in half marathons, given that they Have so much access to what I do. I mean, my goodness, even have access to my email and my browsing history and whatnot.
So it feels a little awkward that they’re asking for this, but I suppose it could make for some interesting Google discover updates
Spencer: for us. Yeah, you know, you would think you were right. I mean, they already do have a discover feed. So clearly they kind of know your interests and they are filling out a Google, you know, discover based on like your search history, I guess.
But they want to know more specifically what you’re interested in. And, and honestly, you have been able to add your own. Interests in the past. I never knew this. I had pulled, I pulled up my phone recently and within the settings or within Google Discover, it’s somewhere I’d have to refresh my memory. You can go in and you can specify your own interests already on Google Discover.
But I’m guessing like me, not a lot of people filled that out. Uh, and so they’re maybe making it easier for people to just click a button, right? You see, Oh, half marathon training. Yep. I want to follow that. Uh, and making it a lot easier for people to fill up that those interests, which I do think is super, um, kind of cool for us as content creators, because I certainly want to get more traffic from Google discover.
And if people are, uh, if, if Google is investing more in Google discover and getting more people to input their interest and what they want to follow, like maybe I’ll get more traffic from Google discover.
Jared: Google Discover has obviously been the darling child for the last couple months in terms of a lot of new people getting Discover Traffic and seeing the benefits of it.
In theory, it is almost the anti search, where instead of going to Google and looking for results according to what you need, you’re being presented that in a kind of captivating environment. So, sign me up. I
Spencer: agree. Yeah, exactly. And you know, when I think about this, you ask your question, why do they need this information?
I, you would think they would have better information, right? Like when we go to YouTube, for example, YouTube, the homepage does a great job, right? Like maybe we go to YouTube to search something, but often we land on the homepage and go, Oh, I forgot what I wanted to search because I see 20 really interesting videos.
I’m going to click those. I’m going to watch those because YouTube knows the kind of videos that I want to watch. Right. And, um, I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I, I’m starting to create more YouTube videos and I’m trying to think, okay, what’s going to get recommended to people. So it shows up on that homepage or, you know, it’s a browse sort of feature that people click and watch and maybe make this video go viral.
Um, I don’t always do that quite as much when I’m writing content. Um, even though some of my articles might get picked up by Google discover, I still know that it’s so hit and miss that it’s really hard to create a viral piece of written content because the, the discover engine isn’t quite as good as the YouTube recommend.
Dation engine for videos, in my opinion, just yet. Um, I would love it if Google really dials us in and makes this recommended Dation engine that much better.
Jared: So, and one more thought to share it. I’ve been thinking on this last day or two. Um, remember when Google was like, Hey, you know, those FAQs you’re already putting in articles.
Why don’t you mark them up with FAQ schema so that we can serve them in different places. And we all did that. And then a couple of years later, they said, thank you very much. Now that our machine learning understands all of it and doesn’t need that information anymore, you can stop doing it. I wonder if they’re using this follow button to further tweak their algorithm to almost, um, baseline what they think they know about us with actual data.
And then in a few years, they’re like, thank you. Our machine, our machine learning has learned everything it needs to know. We’re good now.
Spencer: Maybe so. One thing is for sure. They are gathering data on all its users, right? Yep. So I agree. That’s a really good point. Um, but there were two other things and they’re really short, like just a couple of paragraphs here, um, that actually could be kind of big things, things that they’re, they’re testing out, right?
One is even more firsthand knowledge in search and kind of buried in this paragraph here, it says, um, okay, um. We added new ways to find and explore diverse perspectives on search, uh, in the coming weeks, we’ll bring the perspectives filter to desktop search. They’re already doing a mobile. Um, so you can choose exclusively to see content from people, uh, and forums and other communities, et cetera.
And it says, and starting today, we’ll show new information on search results that highlights information about the individual creator, like their social handle. Follower count or the popularity of their content. So it’s easier to find content from creators you care about. So this is really interesting because it appears that, um, they’re pulling in the author information.
And they’re going to be displaying that, right? They’re trying to sort of put more weight behind the like, you need to be an expertise on this content. We’re showing it and perhaps if more people follow that after they see it on Google, like maybe you’ll be a more trusted author and your content will do better.
I don’t know, that’s some projection, but it is interesting that, uh, they’re going to be showing that author information within search results. It says starting today. I so many
Jared: ways. This almost feels like it’s connected in so many other things. It almost feels like it’s connected to write like the helpful content update the experience getting added to the E.
A. T. Um, you know, it just it feels like this is another extension of that. The fact that Google is looking for trusted kind of authors and trying to gauge their, um, their success, not just as an author in Google’s world, but also in other user generated content sites, other social media sites. And I mean, it’s interesting because, you know, we talk about authorship and we talk about, um, how to make sure that, uh, that you have authorship in Google’s eyes and the importance.
I think last week we talked about being. In the Google knowledge panel or having authors that are in the knowledge panel, like it’s all connected to the directions we’ve seen Google going
Spencer: so far. Yeah, absolutely. So keep your eye on that for sure. The other thing that they shared as well is something called notes.
It’s a new experiment, experiment in search labs. And I just signed up usually in your mobile app. You can click the search labs icon, a little beaker icon, and you can start participating in that. Um, so I’m seeing it on my mobile device. Um, but basically what it is, and they shared an example of this. Um, I’m gonna try and share my screen here is that within search results directly on the serbs page.
There is now an icon for notes and you can add a note that other people will see. Um, and boy, I, this won’t get abused. Right, Jared? Um, surely nobody would sort of spam, you know, comments or notes or, you know, do something, you know, you go to your competitors websites and leave a nasty note. I don’t know what people would do with this, but boy, it feels dangerous.
Just the entire internet can now comment on the SERPs.
Jared: I mean, have they ever looked at YouTube comments? I mean, they own YouTube. My goodness. What is this going to turn into?
Spencer: Well, I watched their video, uh, where they released this and they didn’t say anything, but where is another place, Jared, where people post links to something and then tons of people comment on that thing and, and share.
Uh, you know, their thoughts on that subject, uh, there’s, there’s a really big website
Jared: off our favorite. Speaking of darling childs, the darling child of 2023, read it,
Spencer: read it. Exactly. That’s what comes to mind. It’s like, ah, I wonder if Google is trying to replicate some of that Reddit success. So they don’t have to send as much traffic to read it.
They can just say, Hey, look at all these notes and these comments, um, that are on these articles. And they didn’t say that, but again, that’s me just thinking like, Uh, there’s been a lot of sort of backlash back and forth with Reddit. Is this a way to like, kind of replicate some of the use cases for Reddit directly on Google?
Um, I don’t know, but it’s an interesting update. It’s just an experiment. So it’s not public for everyone. It’s only people that, you know, try this out. But, um, you can’t post any links. I did see that. That’s one of the rules. So you can’t put a note and say, I go to my website instead. I guess you could say that, but you can’t post a live link, uh, or anything like that on notes.
So something to keep your eye on. We’ll see how long this lasts. Uh, will it last more than, um, the testing phase? I don’t know. I don’t know. Seems dangerous.
Jared: Spencer, it’s worth asking. I’ve seen some chatter about this, but it’s worth asking you here. Um, you know, we spent so many episodes talking about Google’s heavy investment in AI and yet all of their releases, if you will, I’m talking about updates.
From like helpful content update to these three releases, like all these recent updates have almost been an anti AI play. I mean, would you agree? And do you think that that’s interesting to say the
Spencer: least? That is an interesting thought. I hadn’t considered that, um, recently because boy, if we, if you look at all, we talked about the beginning half of the year, it was all AI, Google updates all the time, right?
And now you’re right. We’ve got. Humans leaving notes, we’ve got, uh, personal human, uh, authors, right? Who do you want to follow? Which person, not AI. So just the idea of
Jared: users generated, user generated content is the exact opposite of AI generated, right? Like this entire last couple of months. Uh, and I know I’m using these three updates that we’re talking about right now as a, as a springboard for the topic, but these last couple of months have all been anti SGE
I agree. That’s kind of what it looks like. Uh, and you know, maybe, maybe that’s a good thing for us as, as bloggers and content creators, right? We don’t want everybody just getting AI content. They want to read our content.
Jared: And we’re just, we’re just being dramatic, who knows. But I’d rather have these types of things in search where we’re actually kind of connecting to authors, we’re connecting to content, we’re commenting, uh, and, and treating content a bit more like we treat Reddit. I like all that much more than I like the direction that AI was taking us, which is we’re useless.
Spencer: Uh, interesting thought. We’ll let, uh, commenters on this episode, you know, dive in and we can argue that point. Uh, but it kind of feels like that. That’s an interesting connection, uh, for sure. So related to all these new updates, uh, Danny Sullivan was just at Brighton SEO. Um. At a conference and he gave a presentation and throughout the week, uh, people were kind of sharing slides and sharing tweets and different things that he said.
And the overall sort of message or the most common thing said is that, uh, buckle up, Google is going to make major search ranking changes in the very near future, right? As, as though they haven’t, uh, over the last couple of months already, uh, Danny is saying that. Get ready. We’re, we’re going to make more changes.
We’re going to continue to, I guess, improve and tweak, uh, things as we go. And, um, so here’s an article on se, um, round table, searching round table with, you know, basically just quotes a lot of these tweets of everybody saying buckle up, uh, and sort of a discussion here. And Danny sort of responds, uh, basically maybe saying that maybe I shouldn’t have said, uh, buckle up.
Um, He would have said instead that Google says many ranking improvements coming, but most don’t need to buckle up is maybe what he would have said if he had written it down instead of off the cuff like he did at the conference.
Jared: Well, first off, man, Brighton, it was in San Diego, my backyard, and, uh, I caught wind of it too late, and, uh, I could have gone down and asked Danny to be on the podcast in person.
Hard to resist a charming fellow like me in person, you know? Uh,
Spencer: I, I, I, I tease. Exactly, I saw your lovely face, and your smile, uh, we could have got him on the show, I think. Missed opportunity, missed opportunity. I
Jared: know. We could have talked about this right here, because I think you’re right, like, Uh, he’s backtracked, uh, and maybe it was taken out of context.
Heaven knows journalists are, uh, you know, always taking things out of context to some degree. Um, I do find it funny that he had to backtrack on his comment on the search engine. Uh, journalist platform that he founded. That’s an interesting, um, ironic twist, but anyways,
Spencer: uh, that, uh, that is indeed,
Jared: he’s like, Hey guys.
Oh, by the way, I started this. I didn’t actually mean that. Can you, Oh shoot. I’m getting in trouble with the play anyways. Okay. Um, yeah, I think you’re right. I think, uh, he’s kind of tipping the hand a bit in terms of like, perhaps, I don’t know, am I reading too far into it into saying a lot of what’s happened the last couple of months has.
Need some unwinding and some tweaking maybe.
Spencer: And what, uh, he, what’s interesting is to a follow up to this just today, just in the last hour, um, Danny on Twitter, uh, shared his entire slide deck, uh, from the presentation. Uh, that got, you know, that sort of got all these tweets so people can go over to Twitter.
I’m, you know, sharing it here on the screen. But, uh, he shared, yeah, his entire Google slide presentation. Um, I, I, I looked it over. I didn’t have a lot of time because it just came out an hour ago. Um, but, uh, basically. A couple of things. One is, um, Google does their best to get things right, but they know that sometimes they get things wrong.
And so he basically said, yes, we’ve seen examples. The SEO community has pointed out examples of sites that are doing well, and maybe they shouldn’t. And we’re still looking at that. We’re still trying to improve, right? And I think one they’ve mentioned recently is like Parasite SEO. Why are these sites doing so well?
And so we can expect maybe a tweak, uh, there, but then the other sort of overarching theme of Danny’s presentation of his slides is basically, I think this one, uh, don’t do things for Google, um, do things for humans. Like that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Like if you’re trying to create content for search engines, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re trying to do it for. What your audience says, then you’re doing it right. That’s kind of the gist of his presentation. So it’s not a lot of like meat, uh, per se, nothing. Probably you can, you know, take home and apply to your website right away. But, um, but that’s kind of the gist of his slides, but you can, everybody can go look at those on Twitter and see for themselves what they, what they think.
Jared: Hey, another week in the news, another plus one for Danny and transparency. So, you know, good, good on him.
Spencer: Hey, that’s right. So I think that’s two weeks in a row. We’ve had good things to say about Danny. So, um, you know, maybe the third time’s the charm and he’ll, he’ll take notice and come on and join us on the podcast.
That’d be great. We’re just
Jared: going to will this into happening by talking about it so much.
Spencer: Yeah. Yeah. One of us, one of us actually may need to just reach out to him at some point to make that happen. I have not. It’s like been on my, you know, I should do that list, uh, but it’s not, not quite happened yet.
So, all right. Well, I think we made it through the news. A lot of news, um, that, that’s happened. Google is continuing to, you know, evolve and change. Hopefully get better. Uh, we’ll see, time will tell. Uh, but let’s go ahead and move on to our, uh, shiny object shenanigans. Now, again, for new listeners, this is something Jared and I are working on side projects, things that we’re either doing just for fun, uh, or try to make a little bit of money, things we’re experimenting with that are maybe not.
Our, uh, main business. Uh, and we use this podcast to kind of report on those for fun and to maybe provide some inspiration or humor, uh, to those listening in as sometimes we fail, which is, um, maybe what my first one is going to be here.
Jared: Are we going to, um, so are we going to talk about, uh, your failure or my failure today?
Spencer: Oh man. Well, I’m going to start with mine and then you can share, you know, whatever you want, but, uh, I, um, I’ve shared this in the past, the past that I started a faceless. YouTube channel. Uh, I started it basically in, uh, February. Yeah, February. And, um, it did not go as planned. Right. And so I’m going to just give, like, kind of a post mortem, but there’s more to the story.
Um, so I did a long, uh, Twitter thread. So maybe I’ll, I’ll share that. Um, Just if people want to follow along with that, but basically I did a big tweet. It’s been 286 days since I launched my channel, February 1st, we started, you know, uh, in the first month we had 27, 000 views with 11 videos after two months, the channel had 238, 000 views, 940 subscribers.
And we felt like we were off to the races, right? Then things got even more interesting. Um, after that we kept uploading and one of our videos just exploded. Um, in may one video got 747, 000 views. Uh, and now the lifetime views of that video is like almost 1. 5 million views. So it’s just. It’s done really, really well.
And I know months ago, back in May, um, I was sharing some of the income, right? We started doing $50 a day, $75 a day, a couple of days, like over a hundred dollars a day. Um, and so during May we made $1,900, and that was on a channel that was only, you know, February, March, April, may. Less than four months old, um, almost 2, 000 for the single month.
And, um, so we’re, our minds just going wild. We’re thinking, okay, we duplicate, replicate this successful video two times, three times, four times, all of a sudden we’re at six, seven, 8, 000 a month, and we got ourselves a nice little business here. I’m, I’m, I’m liking this. Faceless YouTube channel idea. Okay. Uh, but then things, um, didn’t go as planned.
Uh, our viral video got a copyright claim on it in June, I think. And, um, we appealed it. We tried to jump through all the hoops that YouTube offers. Um, but they, they didn’t accept our claim. And so what ended up happening is. They demonetize that single video. Um, so all our other videos are monetized, can still earn money, but that video cannot have any ads on it, uh, even though it’s still getting views.
So again, it’s continued to get views. Um, and, and do well the video, but we got crushed. We essentially went from, you know, 50 to almost a hundred dollars a day to next to nothing. Uh, and so that’s where we’re, that’s where I’m at today. We’ve can, we published like something like 50 videos. None of the others really took off.
Some are getting a thousand, maybe even 10, 000 views. But nothing anywhere near, um, you know, even a hundred thousand views, right? I think a couple have gotten like 25, 000 views. Uh, and so just to like show how bad it really is, like if, if people can see this graph that I’m showing here, you can see the last few months, it’s almost flatlined, um, And our earnings on the channel is like two dollars and 80 cents over the last 30 days.
It’s just abysmal. Um, it, uh, and, uh, let’s see, I think it was 68, 000, uh, views. Where is that something? Yeah. 68, 000 views. Um, in the last 30 days on the channel, but 67, 000 of those came from that one video that we can’t, can’t monetize. Right. So I’ve got a channel here making a, a nice 2 and 50 cents per month now.
Uh, and so what, what would any, Okay. rational person do that is in this situation that just got crushed by having a faceless YouTube channel? Well, I started a second faceless YouTube channel. I decided to double down on the thing that isn’t quite working. And so I do have a second channel. It’s been up for a few months.
Uh, it’s not monetized yet. Um, But it’s getting some views, nothing near what this first channel was doing, but I’m trying again and we’ll see how that plays out the second time.
Jared: Okay. So you’ve, um, you’ve invested 7, 500, you made about 2000. So I’ve never fun to lose 5, 000 per se on a project, but I mean, it’s not, it’s not a crazy loss.
You started a new one. What’s different about the second one, or did you change anything about how you’re doing the second faceless YouTube channel from, from this one?
Spencer: Yeah, the thing that is different is we’re trying, it’s a slightly different niche, and so hopefully it has less chance of getting hit with a copyright claim.
Um, and so we are using, um, shorter clips. We still are using clips. Um, I won’t go into all the details, but we’re using different kinds of clips and they’re shorter and because of that, hopefully the content is seen as more original, right? It’s from a lot of different sources instead of just one, uh, basically.
And so that’s, that’s really the main difference. Different niche, hopefully, uh, smaller likelihood of, of getting hit with a copyright claim. Uh, and so, so we’ll see.
Jared: Well, we’re all rooting for you. I’ll tell you that much. I mean, it’s exciting. I know when you were sharing those numbers back in May, like it was really exciting, um, this is less exciting, but we’re all rooting for you because.
I know this is a topic a lot of us talk about and, you know, kind of would love to see a, a successful case study
Spencer: from it. Yeah. Yeah. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens for sure. So I will keep everyone posted. That’s one thing I will do is I won’t go hide under a rock. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Uh, not afraid to share that. Um, but Jared, I want to hear about what’s happening with you. What’s your side hustle you want to share? Yeah. Yeah.
Jared: Well, I was teasing the failure. I mean, I’ve been joking the last couple months about hey, is this amazon influencer program a failure, but that has been Kicking off and doing much better the last week So those of you who are you know into my updates or spencer’s updates on the influencer program q4 seems to have started Um, so i’m getting earnings Uh, between 100 and 200 a day now, so that’s great to hear, but, um, and, and, uh, next week or the week after I plan on kind of sharing a lot more about the type of content I’m producing and which content is working, but let’s give that another week or two to, um, kind of age and we’ll see where we go.
Um, Hey, I teased it a bit last week, but this week marks the one year anniversary from my original side hustle, which is. Which is the, the, the website photography made easy course. I published that a year ago, so happy birthday to the course. It’s one year
Spencer: old. Hey, Hey, congrats. That’s awesome.
Jared: So, um, yeah, I mean, it’s almost interesting that we made this course a year ago because at this time last year, Producing, um, kind of high quality.
Custom images on your own was a nice to have and with different Google updates this year, and then kind of the helpful content update, I think in a lot of people’s minds, producing custom images that are high quality have moved from like a nice to have to somewhere around a need to have or potentially need to have depending on your niche.
So, yeah, the course, you know, four hours long, it does a great job. We go through 13 different, um, live examples on video. It’s with a smartphone, it’s with A-D-S-L-R, shows you how to edit your phone, shows you how to edit with free software. Um, and, uh, yeah. So, hey, um, as my voice goes, uh, hey, let’s do a, um, let’s do
Jared: a birthday celebration, if you will.
So we’re gonna do 50% off to the niche pursuits audience, and if you wanna grab it. For under 75, just use the code niche pursuits at, um, let’s see, what’s the URL there? Weekendgrowth. com slash photo dash
Spencer: course. Very good. Yeah. Thank you for offering that to the niche pursuits audience. Um, it’s a great course.
I I’ve gone through it. I’ve watched the videos that you created. It does a good job, um, for people that are. Like not professional photographers, right? You can use, I think, like you said, you can use your, your phone for, for most of this stuff, but it gives some great basic tips for setting up some lighting or setting up positioning or backdrops.
Um, and just how you can take some great looking photos within your own home. You can do it yourself. Um. And it does turn out professional. You give a lot of great examples of sort of before and after things that you can do. So great course. Yeah, go ahead and grab it for 50 percent off. If you want to be able to take great looking photos for your website, um, weekend growth dot com slash photo dash course.
Use code, uh, niche pursuits. Yeah. Thanks for doing that. Jared.
Jared: Yeah, sure thing. And, um, you know, Weekend growth has grown into a lot else right the newsletter and the youtube channel and you know It’s kind of been a little little now that we start doing these side hustles. I’ve been able to report on it But when I started that a year ago, we weren’t doing this side hustle.
We weren’t even doing the news podcast so it kind of flew under the radar for a lot of a lot of the year, but But, um, yeah, it’s exciting to see it come full circle and be a
Spencer: year old. And so, yeah, that is cool. Yeah. One year old. Wow. Time flies. Cause I remember when this came out, it does not seem like that long ago.
So, um, that’s awesome. Very good. So we’ll continue to follow your weekend growth, your original side hustle. Uh, see how that continues to grow. Um, if we’re ready, we’ll jump into our weird niche sites.
Jared: Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do it before. Um, uh, before we, we run out of time, we were doing pretty well though.
I will say there’s a lot of news items. We just had to lead off, leave off this week and that’s becoming the growing trend. I, you know, it wasn’t the case when we first started doing this, but gotta leave room for weird niches. That’s the, that’s the stuff.
Spencer: Everybody’s right. I love the farmer. So. Yeah, that’s that’s the anchor item right here is the weird niche sites right that that brings us home Right here.
So let’s do it. Um, I I have one That is looks like it came from the 90s Right. Uh, it looks like it was a website that, um, the same guy that designed the Craigslist website, you know, also was hired to do, uh, this website. Um, it is disc prices.com, right? Like hard disc prices, you know, external hard drives, that sort of thing.
Um, and it. I mean, it looks like a spreadsheet. If you can’t see the screen, but just imagine a Google spreadsheet with some very basic formatting, right? Just a bold header that has six columns for one for price, price per terabyte, capacity, warranty, technology, et cetera. Uh, and then the name and in the name column is basically a URL that you can click on and you can go buy it on Amazon.
I think 100 percent of the links go to Amazon. They are all affiliate links. So that is clearly how they make their money, uh, on this website. And, uh, I guess in the sidebar on the left, you can do some different sorting, right? You can sort by new or used a terabyte or gigabytes, the capacity, uh, the solid state, uh, removable, et cetera.
There’s a few other categories that you can sort by. So if you’re looking for a hard disk and you really want to like. Focus in on, you know, a very specific thing like this is the website for you go to disc prices. com It’s interesting because it doesn’t appear to get a lot of search engine traffic You know looking at a hrefs.
It’s like 20 Uh, 600 organic searches a month, the amount of traffic that it’s getting, um, you know, but it’s going up into the right, so it’s continued to increase, but it ranks things, uh, for things like, uh, disk prices, right? Um, or hard disk, hard drive prices. Um, hard drive price tracker, things, things like that.
So, um, ranks number one for actually a, a lot of keywords related to disk prices. So it does well, um, SEO wise, I wouldn’t say a lot of traffic. Um, but when I look at a similar web. It does seem to get more than just organic traffic, right? Uh, so it shows that it gets about 71, 000 visitors per month. So a little bit better than AHRF shows.
And in terms of organic search, uh, it shows that, um, this is. Well, this is looking at a quarterly view, but basically it’s saying 30 percent of its search, 30 percent of its traffic is organic searches. So similar web is estimating closer to maybe 20, 000, uh, organics a month. So I don’t know which one’s right, but the biggest chunk is, is almost 60 percent is direct traffic.
So I guess once people know about this site, they go back, right? You want to buy a disc, you go to disc prices. com and you just buy a, so kind of a cool site, uh, that I suppose is useful. You don’t have to design something super fancy. In order to get people to visit your website, I guess, is one takeaway from this.
Well, it’s a,
Jared: it’s a, it’s a, it’s a gross design. It’s not a good design, right? Especially if you go look at a mobile. I was looking at a mobile here while we were talking. It’s a disaster. I pretty much guarantee all that traffic they get every month is from desktop. Because if you go to a mobile, it’s pretty much unusable.
I’m going to have a bit of a hot take, just for fun. I don’t really mean this, but I partially do mean it. In many ways, this is the type of site that the Helpful Content Update seems to want to reward. And if you look at the graph in A Refs, it seems to have skated through the Helpful Content Update perfect.
I mean, look at it. It’s got a large share of direct traffic, people coming to this because it gives them what they want. It’s clearly Expert written content that is obviously not written for search engines. If you can see the screen, you’ll know what I mean. And it’s, um, displaying data in a pretty new format that is very, very helpful.
Like it’s sorted. You put this out, Spencer. It’s sorted by the price. Uh, what is it? Per terabyte. Per terabyte. So it’s like, basically telling you like, here at present time is the very best deal per terabyte. You know, it’s like, it’s like when you go to the grocery store and you’re like looking at how much does this yogurt cost per ounce?
Cause even though it’s cheaper, you only get a third of the amount of ounces, you know what I mean? Like they’re doing all that work for you. So it’s not a good looking website and it’s not getting a lot of traffic. But it does a lot of things pretty well,
Spencer: and it’s, it’s only this one page. There’s no other menu items.
There’s no, from what I can see, no about page, no, uh, articles, nothing just in the very bottom of the footer. It does say last updated as of, um, today, uh, 11, 16. And then it gives the time. It’s in UTC. So I don’t know exactly, but I assume it’s just like every hour or something. It looks like it’s updating.
Um, so it’s clearly is, is programmatic. I’m sure they’re tying into some, you know, Amazon database to make sure the prices are updated. Uh, I mean, so if this is
Jared: updated in real time and this is a script in essence, like this person. Produce this whatever many years ago and are just sitting back and collecting affiliate commissions, even if they’re small, I’m not sure they’ve had to do much work on this since then.
Spencer: Yeah, it just it makes me wonder like what other spreadsheet looking website can I create? You know, what other prices can I compare? What’s another category like disc prices that you get one of these bad boys up and running and if you write the script that it Updates like maybe there’s a couple hands off sort of ideas.
So that’s an idea people can take with run with And, uh, yeah, get all, get all the data from Amazon. Why not? So there there’s my weird niche site. Um, what do you got Jared?
Jared: Well, Spencer, um, you know, I was reminiscing and I thank you for the reminder on this, we were talking before we recorded about my favorite.
Weird niche of today is cat facts, right? The one we did way back in the day where you can sign someone up to get daily text messages with random cat facts and so it’s been a while since we did a cat website and cats are kind of the The the banner child or the poster child for weird niches So today we’re going to hearken back to our cat days and go with cat news headlines dot com So, um,
Spencer: uh, there it is on screen.
Yeah, cat headlines. com. Great. This is an
Jared: explosion of cat everything cat related now, um as spencer scrolls If you’re not watching on the video just think everything cats you could imagine is happening on this page. There’s got to be Hundreds of links on this homepage out to a variety of cat articles, cat videos, weird cat, you know, memes, like everything under the sun.
And it does seem like this is a guy or a girl. Who update this website very frequently, and it doesn’t appear to be programmatically, by the way. Um, it just appears to be this repository of daily information, almost like how a blog used to be, uh, about cat stuff. Now, the site does not perform very well, but there’s some interesting things I wanted to share with you, Spencer, get your, get your thoughts on.
It’s only a DR4. It only ranks for about 250 keywords. The site plummeted in August of this year. So I dove in, I started looking at, uh, I mean, clearly when you look at his homepage, there’s hundreds of links just on the homepage alone, but the site is only indexed for about 29 pages, according to Ahrefs.
And so most of the content they’re sharing is. Kind of canonicalized to other articles, right? They’re kind of pulling other articles like other publishers and just pointing back to them Yeah, and and so they’re not really getting much much for that Now what they are trying to rank for what those 29 pages are is cat food review articles and it’s it’s It’s pretty hilarious when you go look at this.
I’m not able to pull it up on my screen in front of me because of where I am. But, um, these cat, these cat food reviews are, um, well, let’s just say that they’re not doing what we would recommend when it comes to writing a article review on cat food.
Spencer: Yeah, it’s, uh, they’ve got a whole description here, right?
Of how I evaluate. Uh, cat food and, um, they’ve got a whole review rating system, right?
Jared: They do. They do. I mean, this guy is obsessed with cat food. Um, and he, he definitely is not shy about telling you that. I mean, you could read off some of the stuff there, but this guy is, um, is very interested in giving you cat food reviews, unfortunately, and talking a bit about how disc prices is somewhat doing well in search rankings without doing things according to SEO, right?
This one is not doing well in search engine rankings, and they’re also not doing things according to SEO. It’s just interesting to see what’s rewarded. You would say that this person is putting a lot more effort into their cat food reviews. You would say from reading it that they’re an expert, but the information is just displayed so poorly and so chaotically That it it just it’s clearly not an experience that google would typically want to
Spencer: rank, right?
Yeah, it’s it’s really interesting. The guy’s name is doug heinz apparently and um, he’s putting in a ton of effort I mean he has sort of comments and responses to like every sort of Claim on the cat food review, right? Doug Hines, publisher, catnewshedlines. com. And, um, it’s the other thing is on every page up in the banner up at the top, you know, cat news headlines is read worldwide.
Click on a flag to translate the language. And it’s got like a couple of dozen, maybe three dozen like flags. You can kick up, click on that. It’s in other languages. And so I, he’s gone deep, like he wants around the world. He wants everyone to be able to read. About cats and all the cat, great cat information he has to share.
Jared: I’m not sure how he’s making money outside of perhaps. I mean, I didn’t even check Spencer. If those cat food reviews even have affiliate links, I would imagine they do, but I didn’t even check to be honest with you. Sorry about that. Yeah, I don’t know. He doesn’t have ads up that I can see. Uh, he doesn’t get a lot of traffic.
This is clearly a guy who just cares a lot about cats and really does spend a lot of time. It seems like, man, it’s interesting to compare these two sites and see them. Like we, we definitely have a cat lover here. We definitely have what it feels like, you know, would benefit the world, but it’s just not organized in a way that I think is going to end up ranking.
Spencer: Yeah, yeah, and I think you’re right. I, I don’t think there’s affiliate links. Um, there’s some links, but it appears to just go directly to the, the cat food website, uh, for example. So he’s just doing it out of the goodness of his heart. It’s like my Thai guy. So that’s a good one. This is a good one, Jared.
Yeah, it’s like a cat subject. Yeah.
Jared: Yeah, it’s like our friend the Mai Tai guy. Just doing it out of the goodness of his heart.
Spencer: That’s right. That’s right. Exactly. So, um, We’ll see if we can find another cat website. The top’s The last two that you’ve shared, I don’t know, but I kind of feel like I need to stay out of that lane, right?
Like you’re, you’re the cat person now. Um, I’ll just do my own thing. Well,
Jared: and I have to thank all the listeners. So if you’ve made it to the end of this episode, that means you’ve dealt with, um, uh, the fact that I’m not on my microphone, not in my background, probably looking a little bit fuzzy as the sun is going down here.
And I didn’t plan for that. Uh, but you know what the news goes on, so we’ve got to get the podcast out. So thank you. If you have made it this far, you’ve endured. Um, we should be back to normal spots next
Spencer: week. I agree. Thank you everybody for sticking around and listening, uh, to the end, Jared, thank you for, uh, making this happen.
Uh, even though you’re in a different location, but, uh, yeah, if people want to follow along, of course, go to niche pursuits. com slash. That’s where I share out, of course, all podcast episodes, all my side hustles, anything else going on with niche pursuits, uh, I’d love it. If you follow it along there, or just subscribe to wherever you listen to your podcast.
And, uh, overall, just thanks again for listening. Everybody
Jared: have a great weekend.