Search Visibility Changes, Starting Over, Tools of the Traffic Trade

Big site visibility winners, how I'd start over today, and matching tools to strategies

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

Before getting started, be sure to subscribe to Creator Spotlight, one of my '“must reads” for incredible solo-started creator businesses:

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Ok, let’s get started with this week’s topic.

Examining Search Visibility Changes

Now that the “HCU” apocalypse has ended, there’s been some very interesting (if not entirely surprising) post-hoc analysis:

Wikipedia, Reddit, Amazon, YouTube, and Instagram top the list… but there’s some interesting data Lily surfaces on which specific verticals saw the most gain.

This correlates strongly with the content brands that lost search visibility, although Reddit took a bite out of pretty much every vertical… Some (like gaming and product reviews) are especially decimated.

How Would I Start Over Today?

If I had to start over creating a brand from scratch, I actually wouldn’t start with Google search per se.

Given these visibility changes, Reddit appears to the fastest growth hack (and proxy for Google). While it’s been horrible for existing publishers, the advantage of the current landscape is that the barriers and costs to entry are virtually nil.

You don’t need a domain to post on Reddit.

You don’t need hosting to post on Reddit.

You don’t need a theme or design to post on Reddit.

All you need is is a good way to capture users, ideally an email funnel.

It’s also a great validation exercise, a sort of Kickstarter for brands.

Have 5 good ideas for a new content brand, product, service, or software? Spend a few weeks creating content, interacting with relevant subreddits, and building out your own for each.

Then, see which ideas have 1) the most user engagement and/or 2) generate the most traffic from Google.


No waiting months to rank in Search, or painstakingly crafting “optimized” content.

I’m even starting to see dedicated “Reddit Agency” service offerings pop up to specifically execute this playbook for brands…

I don’t particularly like the new paradigm because it requires change (change is hard)… but that’s the human condition. Play the cards we’ve got.

An Alternative: Starting with eCom

The other “play” for more ambitious brand builders is to leverage ecom platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and others to quickly validate market potential via easy to source digital products, print on demand, dropshipping, or wholesale.

It’s somewhat ironic, but a highly effective media play = starting with products.

For example, rather than launch a recipe blog first, I’d publish a recipe book / ebook via Amazon FIRST. See which books get traction, then double down on those.

See what sticks, then launch a stand alone site with ecom + content.

There’s often a brand “halo effect” where popular / emerging platform specific brands start getting search traffic from search engines.

Caveat: The current Search landscape is objectively not good and it can change. This is purely a “point in time” analysis of where I would start today.

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Matching Tools to Traffic Sources

I am currently knees deep experimenting with all sorts of strategies to generate traffic and found it useful to start matching optimal tools > platforms:

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

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:

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

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