Google UNLEASHES June 2024 Spam Update

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Welcome to another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast! 

This week, Spencer’s flying solo so we’ve got a shorter episode for you. It may be shorter, but it’s still packed with the news, some side hustle shenanigans, and a weird niche site.

He starts by talking about Google’s 2024 Spam Update , which was just released on June 20th, and unsurprisingly, Google doesn’t offer a lot of information about the update, except that the rollout will take just 1 week.

What implications could this update have for your site if you were hit by a previous update? Is this part of the site reputation abuse update? And what did Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan say about it?

Keep your eye on your rankings (as you probably are) to see how this all unfolds!

Watch the Full Episode

The next topic on the agenda is Lily Ray’s article about how SEO visibility is shifting away from review sites to eCommerce and UGC sites.

Google says that it has worked to “reduce unhelpful content by 45%,” although many small publishers would disagree.

Spencer takes a look at Amsive’s study, which compared the SERPs from May of 2023 and May of 2024 for various queries. What did they find? What other results does the article share? What does this mean for review sites?

Spencer offers some advice if you’ve been affected by this. Tune in to hear what he says!

Then he gives a quick update on his Facebook challenge side hustle, in which he’s trying to make $1000 from a brand new Facebook page.

He shared his recent stats on Twitter, sharing his number of followers, his current earnings, and his current costs.

How many clicks has he got to his website? What’s his new strategy going to be moving forward? How much engagement is he getting? How often is he posting? Check out the episode to get all the details.

When it comes to his weird niche site, he shares For Eternia, which is dedicated to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which Spencer admitted made him feel slightly nostalgic.

The site covers the latest news (there’s a new movie coming out) and has an official podcast, an official late-night show, a YouTube channel, and a community with a forum.

Spencer talks about how niche the site and topic are. How well is it doing? How are they making  money? Where is its traffic coming from? 

Does this site give you any ideas that you can apply to your own site or business? What can you learn from this successful and weird niche site?

And that wraps up this week’s solo episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast. We hope you’re up to speed on the latest events in the space and feeling inspired by Spencer’s side hustle and weird niche site.

See you next week!

transcription

Spencer: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of this week in niche pursuits news. Well, Google has unleashed the June, 2024 spam updated just came out today. And we’re going to dive into what it is and how it might impact your site. Now, in addition, there’s been an interesting study done by Lily Ray and her agency, uh, that shows the S.

SEO visibility shifts for review sites and how user generated content and e commerce sites have improved in visibility. We’re going to dig into the data for that. Uh, and then finally, I’m going to bring it home, uh, talking about a side project that I’ve been working on for, uh, a couple of weeks now with a new Facebook page, I’m going to give you an update on the number of followers, how much I’ve spent, how much I’ve made.

And then finally, I’m going to talk about one weird niche site. Now you may see that it’s just me today. I don’t have my usual cohost. Jared is on vacation today. It is summer. And so, uh, getting our schedules to meet up all the time is not going to happen, but the news does go on. So, uh, I’m going to jump right into it.

As I mentioned, Google has unleashed. They just released the June, 2024 spam update. Now, this was just announced a couple of hours ago. And, uh, so if I just share this article here on search engine land, this is one of many places that this news is covered. It was, uh, just released today, uh, June 20th. And, um, The update that Google gives us is not a lot of information, honestly, right?

They simply say that, Hey, at 8 13 AM, uh, the release was announced and it started the June, 2024 spam update, and that the rollout will take up to one week. To complete. So, uh, they’re projecting a shorter time frame for this one. They’re saying only one week. Some of the updates that we’ve seen just recently, notably the March core update took over a month, uh, to to roll out.

So this one only about a week. And, uh, what do we know about this update? Well, it’s a spam update and the last spam update was actually happened during the March core update last time from March 5th, uh, to, uh, March 20th of 2024 was the last spam update. So, uh, it’s possible that if you were impacted in that timeframe of March, 2024.

It could have been from the spam update and not the Google core update that was happening at the exact same time. And so it’s possible that this new spam update could bring back some of the traffic to your website. If you were hit by the previous spam update, that’s all conjecture right at this point.

So, uh, basically Google just sends us over to their state, their standard spam updates, documentation, just. Hey, they’re trying to reduce, uh, spam. Um, spam brain is based on their AI system to help reduce, uh, spam and the spam prevention system, uh, that they do have now, there is a little bit of chatter, uh, on Twitter, which I always find entertaining, you know, the official Google search liaison.

Um, Danny Sullivan is the one that, uh, Uh, answers a lot of these, uh, updates, right? So basically there was just the announcement from Google search central that said the June, 2024 spam update, uh, just came up, you know, check your, uh, status update to see when it’s complete. Uh, Barry Schwartz said, Hey, is this.

Related to the algorithm action on the site, reputation abuse, or just a normal spam algorithm update. Now, of course, a lot of people have been waiting because they announced way back in March that the site reputation abuse was going to. Have a big impact. As you know, they gave like two months advance notice, Hey, it’s coming out.

I think it was like March 5th is when it’s going to be rolling out. And while it never rolled out on March 5th, at least the, uh, algorithm algorithmic part of that update, just the manual actions. And it’s just ironic because that’s the update that could impact a lot of really big websites that have sort of.

the site reputation, a sort of loophole, um, to, to gain rankings. And so people are always asking about this and Danny Sullivan, uh, gets a little bit snippy here in his response here. He says for the third time now, I’ll say it again. I have every confidence that when we’re acting on site, reputation abuse algorithmically, we’ll say that it’s not right now.

Uh, I also won’t be responding to this particular question every week, so maybe let it go a month between asking. I don’t mean to make this sound harsh as it seems, yada, yada, yada. So anyways, he’s getting annoyed by the questions. So if you’re asking, uh, this is not part of the site reputation. Abuse update.

Uh, I just found that, um, a little bit funny, uh, if you will. So that is about all that there is to say about this spam update. It’s happening. We don’t know if it’s going to be a big impact or a minuscule or unnoticeable impact, We really don’t know. It’s just happening. So watch Google search console, watch your rankings over the next week.

And maybe by the time we record this next week, the update will be complete and we’ll kind of have a better idea. All right. The second news story that I do want to cover that is interesting. I think it’s a really fascinating study was done by Amsive. Of course, that’s Lily Ray’s agency. Uh, Essentially, the title here is SEO visibility shifts from review sites to e commerce and user generated content sites in 2024.

We kind of have known this. We’ve talked about it essentially Reddit, Quora, these other user generated sites are ranking really, really well. And then sites that are typically like the affiliate review sites have seen their visibility drop. And that’s happened. Uh, most recently with the March core update, but previously the September 2023 helpful content update, right?

Google says that, uh, they’ve tried to reduce unhelpful content by 45%. Right. Of course, this is Google saying that they’ve reused. Reduced unhelpful content. Uh, all of us bloggers and a lot of people that I know that have, um, put a lot of effort into their sites there. They would say, and I agree that their site is not unhelpful, even though they’ve seen their visibility drop.

in a big way. So let’s just take a look at this study. They only looked at 40 particular keywords, but it’s interesting nonetheless to look at the visibility change. They compared the SERPs from May of 2023 to the SERPs of May of 2024. This particular keyword is for bird feeders, and the ones in red are the ones that Um, have basically dropped out of the SERPs completely and these are your review type sites.

So a year ago there was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 review type or affiliate type websites in the top 10 and now there’s none. Uh, for this particular keyword for bird feeders. Uh, and it’s a similar story as we go down. There’s laptops, towel warmer, right? If we look at this one again, 1234 sites that have dropped that were review sites have now just Completely dropped out of the serps.

Um, you could make the argument that, um, the, the singular phrase like towel warmer or laptops or bird feeders. The search intent isn’t really for a review or for an affiliate type. So the story is quite different when you add the word best or review at the end. Right? So if it’s best towel warmers and you look at the serbs, there actually still are some product review websites there.

Or if you look at leather cleaner reviews, you definitely do get some review websites. So this is not saying that. Um, review websites or affiliate websites no longer get any traffic and that they’ve been a hundred percent replaced, but it is saying for more generic keywords like travel, hanging toiletry bags, um, you’re, you’re getting more e commerce sites, you’re getting the Amazons, the Walmarts, the other, uh, e commerce sites.

Uh, and then, of course, the shift in rankings for, uh, user generated content. We’re now seeing this increase, right? So, for example, toys for two year old boys before did not have any, uh, user generated content back a year ago. And now today you’ve got, um, Reddit. You’ve got YouTube. Well, and then read it again.

Why not? You’ve got read it in there twice. So three of the 10 serbs now are now this user generated content before there was none, right? So what does all of this mean? If you have a review type website? Well, it certainly does mean that Google is now prioritizing e commerce sites. Um, even if the search intent Is a little bit more, um, unknown if it’s a little more, um, yeah, just, it, it could go either way if somebody is looking for a review, uh, or trying to buy the product now, Google is sort of, um, leaning towards these, uh, uh, user generated content and websites.

So how could you maybe do better in the SERPs? Uh, one idea is to look for more informational or definite review type keywords. Make sure you’re not targeting just these general type keywords. And then the second would be to just jump on the bandwagon, maybe even start selling your own products, have an e commerce store.

I do feel like there is a little bit of an advantage in Google. Now, if you are an e commerce site owner, if you can create your own product, um, Or have a line of products and have an e commerce store where you’re selling your own products. I know that’s a, a lot of work. Uh, but if you’re going to start a business from day one, that’s probably what I would advise is maybe start an e commerce store and then bolt on SEO as a way to gain more traffic to your website.

Use it to your advantage because that is clearly the way that Google is going. Okay, well, those are the two news stories that I wanted to cover and I’m gonna just kind of move rapidly along here. We’re gonna have a quick fire episode today. Uh, so I’m going to give an update on sort of a side project that I’ve been working on now for, uh, I think it’s day 16 out of 30.

So I have a 30 day challenge that I’ve given myself to try and make a thousand dollars from a brand new Facebook page. In 30 days. And so I gave an update on this. I did. I’ve done mostly daily updates, although I missed a couple of days this week. And so here is just my daily update on Twitter. And oh, yeah, by the way, I’m trying to lose 10 pounds in 30 days as well.

Um, but the good news for my Facebook page, I’m now up to 5692 followers. And so it feels like I’m gaining followers a little bit quicker now. Uh, the bad news is that I’ve only made 15 and 67 cents. Uh, so if we look at some of my stats, I guess, let me round this out by just saying that I’ve spent 581 and 93 cents, and that is all gone to getting more Facebook page followers.

So I’ve been running some ad campaigns, uh, some light campaigns. And that’s been going okay. Um, I’ve been getting likes for about 10 to 11 cents each. I really thought I was going to be able to get likes for. About 5 cents because I’ve done that on previous Facebook page pages. Um, so I’ve spent about twice as much, um, because my ad costs are twice as expensive as I thought it was going to be.

I’m giving myself a budget of about a thousand dollars for this project, just to see what I can do at the end of 30 days. I’m going to end up with close to 10, 000 page followers, which that’s pretty decent. Um, and then, like I said, I’ve, I’ve gotten some clicks over to my website. If we look at the stats here on this, um, this is a screenshot from my Facebook analytics.

Uh, basically, you know, I’ve reached 81, 000, uh, people engaged over 8, 600 people. Uh, And reactions, 4, 200, uh, link clicks, 1, 260. And this has equated to about, what did I say? Almost 16 in earnings just from display ads on my website. So that’s not working incredibly well. So my goal is to kind of throw this Hail Mary pass, try some ad arbitrage, like Jared and I discussed on our podcast last week.

Uh, I got, I boosted a post, but something weird happened. As soon as I boosted that post, the link preview, the image went away, uh, on that. And so there’s some sort of technical glitch because you want to have this great link that they can click and this great image, so it stands out on Facebook. But as soon as I boosted it, that image went away.

And so I stopped the ads. Uh, for that and I’m diving into whatever technical issue this is. I’m hoping to figure this out today. So I, I don’t have anything to report specifically on the ad arbitrage front, uh, but I hope to buy next week. And that’s, like I said, hopefully a way I can, uh, send traffic to my website for cheaper than I’m spending.

And make more money, um, make more money from, from those, uh, users. So the good news is, is that I’m actually getting pretty good engagement on my Facebook page. I’m getting, you know, 50 comments or a hundred likes on certain posts. Uh, and so the engagement is pretty good. And so I think if I just keep posting five, six, seven times a day, which is pretty easy, I can look at other successful pages, uh, in my niche and see what they’re doing, uh, I think I’m going to have a highly engaged audience and that could lead to me getting accepted to the Facebook bonus program.

And so long term, this may just end up being a Facebook bonus play where I’m making, you know, whatever it is, a thousand dollars a month, hopefully or more, uh, over time. And I just have a nice little side hustle on my hands. So we’ll see. Uh, it’s going to be a long stretch to actually hit my goal of a thousand dollars, uh, in earnings.

It’s a fun project nonetheless. I’m having a lot of fun. I’ve got over 5, 000 followers, hopefully 10, 000 by the end of this month, the end of the 30 days. Uh, so there you have it. Now, uh, let’s jump into without further ado. My one weird niche site. I don’t have two for you today. Jared usually brings the second one.

Uh, so I am just going to share my one weird niche site and that site is for eternia. com now I don’t remember exactly where I found this, but it does make me chuckle a little bit. It makes me a little bit nostalgic, uh, because this is like a he man masters of the universe, uh, uh, fam. Fan, uh, website, right?

So everything is related to, um, you know, the show to the toys, to movies that are supposedly coming out, uh, being recorded now for He Man or masters of the universe. Uh, so it’s kind of a fun website and especially. Uh, if you grew up in my day and age, you know, this show, after doing a little bit of research, just double check this show aired between this cartoon aired between 1982 and I believe it was 87 or 88, right?

So if you were a child, uh, during that timeframe, which I was, you’ll remember watching these cartoons. I had the action figures, uh, as a child. So it’s kind of a fun website. You can see that they. sort of, they have a lot of gossip or news, right? So this article he met actor indicates movie starts later this year and Hugh Jackman is helping him prepare, right?

So they’re talking about the latest news. Hey, is this film actually happening out, uh, happening? Uh, they have an official. Podcast. They have an official late night show. They have a YouTube channel. They have a community with a community forum where everyone is talking about, you know, the Masters of the Universe collection, the action figures, the movies, the, you name it, they’re talking about it.

It’s just such a niche. website. I find it fascinating, right? I mean, uh, it’s not just for eighties cartoons or for comic books or for action figures. No, it’s for one specific show. And that’s it. Right. And it, it appears to be right. An active website. They’ve got news. I mean, essentially coming out every day.

Who knew? Um, you can buy and sell. I believe your, um, your action figures. The community is quite active, uh, as well. And overall, just kind of a fun website. You can buy a T shirt apparently. Um, yeah. They do have some display ads on the website, uh, as well. So they are making a little bit of money through display ads, selling, uh, buying and selling action figures.

They sell t shirts, right? And, uh, I imagine they probably have some affiliate links as well. So how much traffic is this website getting? It’s not getting a lot of organic traffic, but it has seen a big increase recently in Google. So whatever it’s doing, it’s, it’s, Um, close to 10, 000 organic visitors a month as a DR of only three.

Uh, so, you know, doesn’t appear to have done a lot of link building, right? Um, anyways, you can see some of the keywords on the screen that it ranks for things like metaverse checklist, uh, et cetera. Uh, and. Overall, the traffic though, if we go over to similar web, uh, you can see that over the last few months, it’s gotten 126, 000 visitors, total visitors.

So it estimates in the last, um, in may that it got close to 50, 000, uh, visitors. So not bad. I mean, it’s, Hey, if you’re getting 50, 000 visitors in a month, you’ve got a fan club here. And most of that traffic is coming from either direct or social, right? That’s the, the biggest chunk of it. And I could actually see if it does ever get picked up in Google discover, I could see it getting a lot of traffic from, uh, Google discover as well.

And, uh, they do indeed have a YouTube channel for Eternia official. Uh, you know, they’ve only got about 4, 000 subscribers, but they are putting out, um, new videos, uh, quite frequently. It looks like right every week, uh, approximately. And so they have an active, uh, YouTube channel and then they do have an active Twitter account as well.

Uh, and so I found this site again. I just found it interesting. It’s a little bit nostalgic for me, but it’s a fun niche website, you know, weird in that it’s, you know, it covers a cartoon from the eighties, but perhaps this will spark some ideas and that’s really why we do this segment of the show is, you know, does it give you any ideas for a niche website that you can create?

Or is there an interesting angle that you could take your existing site? Um, Could you add a fan club or a forum or sort of a news section like they’re doing? Um, anyways, hopefully it just sparks some ideas of anytime you can find a raving fan base, um, a bunch of people that are really interested in one particular thing as narrow as he man.

You might have a business idea on your hands, so I will just leave you with that thought that go out there, find your niche, start that niche website, start that niche, youtube channel, e commerce store, whatever it may be. Uh, there are niches for everybody. If there’s interest that interest and a fan base around that subject.

You might be able to start a little bit of business. So hopefully you enjoyed this solo podcast. Thank you so much for hanging out with me for a little bit as we covered the news, covered an update on my project. And then of course brought it home with the weird niche site. Thank you so much and have a great weekend.



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