Google's Still Broken, Let's be Like the Plant Daddy

And the FTC probs Reddit deal, Bing may save us...

Welcome to this week's issue of the Niche Media Publishing Newsletter.

Before getting started, a quick note from our sponsor.

AI won’t take your job, but a person using AI might. That’s why 500,000+ professionals read The Rundown – the free newsletter that keeps you updated on the latest AI news and teaches you how to apply it in just 5 minutes a day.

Alright, let’s get into the topics for this week.

Google is Still Malfunctioning

I know it’s starting to get redundant… I’d much rather be discussing other topics in Media, but Google is still “updating” and the SERPs appear to be worse… in many cases.

It’s unclear if there are any action steps indie publishers can (or should) be taking at this point.

This video by Lily and the response by Sean are a good summary of where we are:

I’ll admit to not using Bing in quite some time, but I’m personally finding Google’s result to be unhelpful (yes, I’m jaded too).

Is Bing the Savior?

After using Bing for a bit while Google is “under reconstruction”, I was pleasantly surprised.

Sure enough, I wasn’t alone in this take.

Alex followed up with a real live look at his site (a Nashville local information resource):

Why Does Google Suddenly Dislike Content Businesses?

There’s a perplexing vibe permeating Google’s communications with publishers (not to mention the current state of Search) which levels a certain distain for “content as a business” brands.

Let’s look back at the long, storied history of “content as a business”… some of the very same businesses that Google itself disrupted 25+ years ago.

While Google is fumbling the ball, maybe Bing (or others) can take up some market share. It will be interesting to check in on usage changes in 3-6 months if these trends continue.

That said, let’s not trust Microsoft to make the right decisions, either. It’s still time to build those drawbridges…

We Can All Aspire to be a Plant Daddy

A good news story in this week around someone who leveraged their “search first” content strategy into a legitimate “be everywhere” brand…

A really good reminder for me that every “overnight success” takes years of trying, failing, and half-succeeding before a big breakthrough.

I would definitely recommend giving this podcast a listen:

Kevin is also a great example of how “traffic led growth” can transform a simple content brand into a juggernaut.

Best of all, it appears Kevin is living his best life, out in his garden and creating every day.

Ironically, once you can get a brand to this level, you don’t really need Google in the same way, just ask Matt Paulson:

So whether Google comes to their senses, Bing replaces them, or Facebook or Pinterest traffic unlocks immediate growth… always be building that sticky brand and disintermediating the platforms.

Date the platforms, don’t marry them.

This is a service company we run, reach out if you need content wizards!

Interesting News Below the Fold

These are some other interesting things I read recently. Didn’t quite make the main feature, but worth reading.

  • Mediavine Launches New Tier for Small Pubs: Mediavine “Journey” will be available for publishers starting at 10,000 monthly sessions. Normally this would be great news for indie media and for some it WILL be a lifeline. That said, it does point to some distress in the programmatic ads market. No doubt they are also feeling the trickle down effects of the Google updates.

  • FTC Probing Reddit + Google Deal: That was fairly quick! Don’t expect any immediate impacts, but the FTC seems to be catching what we all were thinking here…

  • More TikTok Drama: I found this thread by Bill D’Alessandro to be quite helpful on the latest TikTok courses of action.

Other Newsletters Worth Following

Here are some other publications I subscribe to, author, or co-sign.

If you are operating a newsletter (or even just interested), this next one is one of my “must opens” every week:

If you leverage affiliate relationships in your media business, Affiliate Insider is where I share my in-the-field experience.

Our COO (Amy), publishes an incredibly detailed and thoughtful newsletter for content marketers here:

Content Forward: Thoughts from the Front LinesWeekly deep dives & insights from a real operator, for creators seeking an edge. New insights every Friday evening!

We also cover the latest MarTech trends and deep dives with a monthly (soon to be weekly) newsletter for B2B operators:

MarTech ToolkitDiscover & Implement marketing tech in your business.

OK, that's it for this week...

Please do reply to this email with any feedback or suggestions.