Ep 270: Google Update Massive Opportunity Alert w/ Alternate Traffic Sources & Monetization Methods with Kyle Roof

Do you want to improve your website traffic? In this episode of SEO Insights, join Jaryd Krause as he dives deep into the recent Google Core Update with renowned SEO expert Kyle Roof. Discover how this update presents new opportunities for website owners and learn about alternate traffic sources and monetization strategies to thrive amidst evolving search engine algorithms.

Jaryd and Kyle discuss which sites were affected the worst through these Google updates and why, which weren’t and why. Why is this a great time to be in online businesses, especially content sites, because of the opportunities? This is NOT toxic positivity; this is legit and they explain why in the pod. They go through strategies to reclaim traffic. 

They also discuss why Google hates affiliate links and ads, ways to stop using affiliate links or ads and different monetization methods for those types of sites. And how do we determine which sites are recoverable or buyable and why?

Check out the entire video to find out how you can improve your site performance and increase your earnings.

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Episode Highlights

10:30 – Side Effects of the Google Update

17:40 – Great time to be on online business

26:10 – Strategies to reclimb the traffic

33:10 – You can stop affiliate links and sites

44:30 – Recoverable sites

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

Kyle emphasizes the need for SEO practitioners to adapt and focus on user experience, ensuring that conversions happen on-site rather than directing users away. He suggests that surviving and thriving in SEO post-updates requires innovative thinking and a deep understanding of SEO’s core goal: driving quality traffic and optimizing the user experience. Both of them agree that while Google’s updates pose challenges, they also create opportunities for those willing to innovate and evolve their strategies.

They stress the importance of user-generated content (UGC) and building communities around content sites, which not only align with Google’s preferences but also enhance user experience and trust. By prioritizing quality over cheap content and optimizing for user engagement, they suggest that content sites can thrive despite Google’s algorithm changes.

Kyle Roof highlights the importance of avoiding single-source dependency in marketing strategies, highlighting the risks of relying solely on one traffic channel. He explains that diversifying across multiple platforms and channels is essential for business resilience, as traffic sources can fluctuate over time.

Kyle Roof

About The Guest

Kyle Roof is responsible for the development and implementation of all SEO techniques used by the SEO agency High Voltage SEO and the SEO tool PageOptimizer Pro. Kyle is also the co-founder of Internet Marketing Gold, a global community of 3000+ SEO professionals who test and prove cutting-edge SEO techniques. 

Kyle’s SEO techniques and discoveries are followed by many SEO professionals and business leaders, he has been featured in many respected publications and is a regular speaker on SEO and SEO testing at conferences throughout the world.

Connect with Kyle Roof


Jaryd Krause:

This may be a touchy subject for a few people. However, if you are giving up because of the Google updates, you're only making it easier and better for the real business owners.

Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today, I'm speaking with Kyle Roof, who is responsible for the development and implementation of all SEO techniques used by the SEO agency High Voltage SEO and the SEO tool PageOptimizer Pro.

Kyle is also the co-founder of Internet Marketing Gold, which is a global community of 3,000+ SEO professionals who test and prove cutting-edge SEO techniques.

Now, Kyle's SEO techniques and discoveries are followed by many SEO professionals and business leaders, and he has been featured in many respected publications and is a regular speaker on SEO and SEO testing at conferences throughout the world.

Now, in the podcast episode, Kyle and I talk about which sites were affected the worst through this Google update and why they were affected the worst, and which weren't and why they weren't affected the worst.

We also discuss why this is a great time to be in online business, especially content sites, because of the opportunities. And this is not toxic positivity that I'm giving you. This is legit. And I'm going to explain why this is a really good time to be in this space throughout the podcast.

We also go through strategies to reclaim your traffic, understand what the actual goal is, and understand why Google is not the answer. We also discuss why Google hates affiliate links and ads and ways that you can stop using affiliate links or ads on your content sites and use different monetization methods that are alternatives that we share for these types of sites.

We also discuss how to determine which sites are recoverable from these changes, which ones you could buy and why. There's so much value in this podcast episode. I know that you're going to love it.

If you are thinking about buying a content site, you own a content site, or you're in an online business and you want organic traffic, you must be listening to this podcast episode. Let's dive in.

Have you been lied to about how to increase organic traffic and grow your website? I too used to think that all you needed to do was add more content and gain backlinks, but this just doesn't work.

More content and more links alone are not the answer. Nor do you need to butcher your website with generic SEO changes you picked up on some crummy online tutorial, leaving you with a Frankenstein website that's slow and clunky.

And because I got sick of seeing great people with great websites struggle to grow them, I decided to do something about it. I created an SEO service, which is not just about publishing content and getting links. Sure, we offer that.

But first, we give you quick wins, which are SEO tweaks that can make you a website that actually boosts your rankings. And then we lay out a killer SEO strategy to acquire more traffic and revenue that outranks your competitors with less content and fewer links.

We've thoroughly tested this service on many websites before launching it and have achieved incredible results, which you'll see on our landing page, which I'm about to share with you. Now, you can finally buy a business and give it to us to grow it for you.

To check out our SEO service, head to buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services and book a call to chat with us to see what the best growth strategy is for you and your website. That's buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services and a link will be in the description too.

Kyle, thanks for coming back on the podcast again.

Kyle Roof:

Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Jaryd Krause:

I've got a bunch of questions, and I know there's going to be a lot to get into. I know that you've probably been talking about this a lot. You may even be sick of it. But Google, what the hell? Are we all doomed forever?

Kyle Roof:

Stupid Google, it's over. SEO is dead. It has died. It is time to become

Jaryd Krause:

Let's go back to the old days and just live off the land somehow.

Kyle Roof:

I'm genuinely concerned about a zombie apocalypse because I have no useful skills whatsoever.

Jaryd Krause:

I'm prepped. I'm prepped. I've got survival instincts.

Kyle Roof:

I would literally just walk out into the zombie’s hole and kill me now. I don't want to survive this. Does anybody need a difficult—?

Jaryd Krause:

But just cancel the pain as fast as you can and get rid of us.

Kyle Roof:

Yeah, just end it. These hands do nothing constructive.

Jaryd Krause:

I've got a friend who's studying permaculture, so he might be able to help us a little bit.

Kyle Roof:

There you go. This needs to work, which is my main point. We need to get through this.

Jaryd Krause:

And we can and we will. I think when these sorts of things happen, I know you've been around through a lot of these; this one's significant, and I've had some pretty significant, impactful things happen, including nearly going bankrupt in my business multiple times and stuff—this business, different businesses.

And it creates resilience. And a lot of people that are new to this space and are listening to this podcast are like, “Whoa, this is massive.” And the reality is, this is business. This is life. We can't expect to go through life without getting sick, being injured or having some sort of health thing happen or something crazy happen in our lives. So I think we should just normalize it a bit as well. What do you think?

Kyle Roof:

Oh, that's exactly correct. I came into SEO after Penguin, so I wasn't alive during that blood bath. But when you think of Panda and Penguin, the first two massive disruptors, SEO has died every six months that I've been doing it.

There has been something that has killed it off. But those were massive sites where people lost their sites, and they did not recover. I think maybe we got a little complacent, if you will, in terms of updates and that we can recover from some of these.

But the last two, the HCU and then also the March Core Update, really didn't consolidate a lot of HCU. There might be some sites that won't recover and that's the reality of this particular update. But that doesn't mean that it's all gone or that it's all over.

And to your point, you're correct. It requires innovation. It may require a pivot, but that doesn't mean the whole thing is gone and we just pack it up.

I've said this before, but I've seen through my career these ebbs and flows where it's like everybody's doing SEO and then nobody's doing SEO. It's so easy. We're all making money. And then everyone gets out.

And the times that I made the most money, the times I've had the most success, are when everybody's getting out. In those contraction periods, that's where there is more opportunity, and there's more to do with updates.

I love updates because they almost always require some form of innovation and the people that are really looking at the why of what we're doing are not clued in on a specific technique. If you're stuck on a technique, if your whole game is like one tweak to the thing, that's trouble.

But if you're understanding what we're trying to accomplish and what we're trying to do as SEOs, then the techniques don't matter. Those will shift and those will change. But the grand scheme of things is that SEO really makes impressions when you get down to it.

If you were to use the analogy of a brick-and-mortar store, there's foot traffic that goes in front of the store, and then a certain amount of people go inside the store, and then a certain amount of those people that go inside the store and make a sale buy something.

In SEO, it's very similar. We're putting people by the store; we're putting them past the shop. We're getting their impressions. Some will click to go in. Now we have a little influence from that, but not too much.

And once people are inside, they may or may not make a purchase on the website. We have a little influence from that, but not that much. But what we can influence and what we should be thinking about all the time is the traffic.

If we can increase foot traffic, then statistically, we'll increase the number of people who go inside, and statistically, we'll increase the number of sales.

And so, as long as you're always focused, how are we getting traffic? How are we being positioned? What is that traffic? Can we get better foot traffic in front of these websites and in front of these stores? Then you can figure something out, and then you can figure out a way to do this. Then you can really excel.

I see this as an opportunity to make sure that we're doing what the goal of SEO is or what we as marketers can do. And if you're focused on that, then I think you can do very, very well, even in these very trying times.

Jaryd Krause:

Like you said, because there are fewer people in the game, so many people give up. For example, it's a very simple analogy. I'm obsessed with surfing. My audience knows that.

And when the surf gets big, people go in, right? And I go out because I'm going to catch more waves. I'm going to catch bigger waves, bigger and better opportunities for me, right?

Because a lot of people aren't prepared to be in that situation or fight for an opportunity like that. It's a scary place. So people will just drop their tools, drop their boards, and run away.

And the same with this, where people say, "Well, Google doesn't work anymore." It's just Google. And the reason it's so scary for people is because people put so much weight on it.

Yes, Google traffic was and had been a superior form of traffic in terms of organic, because the intention of that traffic compared to, say, social media traffic or Pinterest or something like that was higher and better, and we had people on our page longer.

However, that's changing. We're also seeing other search engines take up some of the market share over Google, which is very small at the moment because Google's a massive behemoth. And if they didn't make changes, then it could have happened even faster. Who knows about Google?

So, yeah, I mean, what are the sort of conversations that you've been having and helping people feel a bit more at ease in terms of who got affected, why and how, and then moving into solutions?

Kyle Roof:

Well, it's no secret that Google is hostile to affiliate sites and has been—

Jaryd Krause:

It's about time. Well, it's about time they just decimated some of them because, I mean, there's a lot that aren't really—let's be honest—not that valuable, not that good.

Kyle Roof:

I had an interesting talk with Kasra Dash. He's from FatRank. And he brought up a really good point that if you put up a page and it ranks for a term, and somebody comes to that page and they read that information, then they want to convert.

You've got a page about vacuums. And they're like, “Okay, I want to buy that vacuum.” And they click and they go somewhere else to convert, to buy the vacuum. That's a doorway page. You've captured that search volume and then you've funneled them somewhere else to do the thing that they want to do.

And doorway pages have been on the no-no list from the beginning. And in a sense, the affiliate model in that form has kind of been in violation of Google's policies from the jump. And maybe they're just really taking it seriously. And they've been taking it more seriously for the last five or six years.

Same with niche content sites. You might say, “Well, I don't have an affiliate site. I'm just getting traffic and getting ads.” But in the same way, those will look like affiliate sites because all those ads on the page will have external links.

Essentially, somebody searched for something, came to your page, and liked what they're seeing. But then they see that ad, and now maybe they get that thing that they want to do. They're leaving the site. And it's also a doorway page.

It was an interesting thought for me because I'd always thought of doorway pages in terms of local SEO. I always get asked if I have services in different locations, Dallas Plumber, Houston Plumber, or El Paso Plumber. Is that a doorway page?

Because essentially, it's the same content. You're just kind of changing the location and maybe a little location specific information. But the rest of the page is the same.

And I always said, “No, that's not a doorway page because somebody can come to that page and they can convert, they can call the plumber, they can fill out the form and they can get that service that they search for.” So it's not a doorway page.

But I never really thought of it in terms of affiliate sites or niche content sites that have been completely whacked for the last five or six years. And then in these last two updates, especially. And I think it's because they fall under the category of a doorway page.

And so if you think about it in those types of terms, then you think about what we can do to go forward or what we need to do? And one of the biggest things is to make sure that people can convert where they're at.

And it doesn't necessarily have to be a sale to convert there. Can they convert where they're at right then and there? Or do they have to go off? And the more you can get people to convert where they're at, the safer you are, and the more you can survive and then the more you can thrive.

And if you're just getting started, that's one of the first things I would look at is where can a conversion happen? What can that conversion be?

And remember, Google is a bot. It's not a human coming in and saying, “Oh, even though they're converting over there, this is a real legit site. This is great. I'm a better person for having read this information.”

Google's not going through that mental process. It's a bot saying, “Is this a good user experience? If somebody comes here, are they going to have a good user experience?”

And if the vast majority of that good experience actually happens off the site—good experience in this case defined as a conversion—then that's going to be problematic for a bot. And so anything that I could do to keep the conversion on the site would be step one. And if you cannot, that might be a niche I would avoid.

Jaryd Krause:

Let's dig into that in terms of step. We've seen it, which is why e-commerce brands haven't been hit so badly, that they have a bunch of organic traffic going to their site. Haven't been hit as badly because the conversion happens on that domain.

Like we said before, you own a content site, you've been hit, and then you run away. Some of these sites may not be recoverable, but some are. And some are in that niche that you can convert to your page and on your domain. And the questions then become, like, how would you do that?

Well, number one is that you start selling those products as a drop shipper on your own page, on your own site. People might not want to go into order fulfillment.

Another way that I was just thinking before now, as you were speaking, is that if somebody wants to choose that vacuum cleaner, you click on the link and there's an opt-in form to get the best prices for that vacuum cleaner from four or five places.

And then you email them four different affiliate links and that conversion from an email doubles as you’re building your audience. Amazing, because then you can send more traffic to that audience, which is what we're all wanting.

And you own the audience. Google is not going to take that away from you. Nobody is. And then you can also send them affiliate links and then you can do all your affiliate marketing through your newsletter.

Kyle Roof:

And the important point there is that opting in is a conversion. They have said, “Okay, I want that information from you, and I want it in this way.” They have opted into that.

Something else that I've been kind of pondering and I haven't done this, but just kind of been brainstorming what could be done, even I think maybe like a captcha, where they have to prove that they're human before they see the links.

So a bot is not going to see these links and think that these conversions are happening over there. And the person is opting in, understanding that they will be going somewhere else, perhaps to actually buy the vacuum. But they had opted in at that point.

It's okay. I understand what's going on here. I accept that. I'm cool with it. There wasn't any deception happening when I came to this page; I liked this content, and now I have to leave and do something. They're understanding that that's what's happening, and they can do it that way.

So some sort of opt-in captcha type thing. I like your idea a lot right there. And something I hadn't really thought of, which is great, is that we'll email you this. We'll send it to you. You look at it at your leisure. And then all of those links going out are just coming.

Jaryd Krause:

One thing that I saw when one of our members was looking at acquiring a content site was that they had the option to have the whole website without ads.

And to do so, that call to action was behind a paywall and they would pay a membership fee of, say, a couple of dollars per month to get all of this content, which was insanely good content without ads.

And so it's an option as well. You get a bunch of traffic to your site, and you say, “Hey, do you want to get more information value?” Put it behind a paywall.

And that's basically what my business has been for a while, it’s a membership business, can be the same as a course business, can be the same as any digital product, and can be behind a paywall, which can be a conversion.

So we've talked about it being a scary thing and people just bailing on the whole idea of content sites, whereas there's so many opportunities here.

Kyle Roof:

100%. Google always talks about how much they like the concept of a community and how much they like UGC. It establishes trust and authority that people are asking questions or are there. They're invested in what you have to say as an expert or what your community has to say.

You could mimic that with what we're talking about, where essentially you join the community to get these prices and then you can also get verified reviews.

You can talk about whether this is actually a legitimately good product? And people can then share their experience with that product. And it's just one more step. And I understand that that's going to maybe do conversions on one hand.

On the other hand, though, once they've made that commitment, you might get a higher conversion rate, indicating that they are actually now involved because they see that this is a serious enterprise of people that are committed to giving you the best information possible.

They're not just trying to make the sale and get you over to Amazon. They're telling you, “Okay, this is what's actually going on.” And then once you're inside that community area, you're getting better information.

You're getting UGC, you're getting verified, which, I think, as a theory, explains why something like Reddit and Quora have won these updates is because Google's not really in the value judgment game. They don't want to determine if an answer is right or wrong. They're just there to say that this answer satisfies our algorithm.

But we don't really know if this is the correct information. But something like a Reddit or a Quora app has upvotes and downvotes and has community involvement where people can say, “Yeah, that's a true statement,” or “No, that's incorrect.”

Or there might be some disagreement. But then you, as the user, can read that disagreement and decide for yourself which merits more. But that doesn't happen on a web page that's just selling you something.

And so Google's always said they like that a lot. You can read through their documentation. They talk about how much they like that.

You can create that for your site. And this is a way to do it. It's also a way, I think, to protect yourself from these types of updates. And a way to create a community that Google really would like in the first place.

So you see what's out there. You see those updates. And I think, in the end, that increases your sales. I think your conversions will go up because of that.

Obviously, it's more work. Click through rates are going to go down, but your conversions might go way up, and I think it'll make your site safer.

Jaryd Krause:

This is where people forget the goal. They might want the click through rates to be higher. But that's not the goal, right? It's conversions to be higher. And that's the same in all traffic, including in the e-commerce space.

Now, with this, like you mentioned, this is the problem. The biggest problem is that people have just made their whole content site about Google. And that is a problem. It’s a huge, huge problem. That's why so many people are suffering.

And we say we could create user generated content for Google, and it would be better for Google. Yes. But what's more important than Google? We are human beings. I've been saying it for a long time.

If I think about this in terms of the vacuum cleaner and I have a site that's on vacuum cleaners and for all different types of surfaces, all different places, I could go away and create an article or a piece of content that promoted people to share their feedback on the best stick vacuum cleaner for carpet, this type of carpet.

I would write a piece of content on maybe two or three of these and then share it and then have people rip them apart or offer suggestions and alternatives. And with that user generated content, yeah, cool, it can be great for Google. But what's more important than Google is us.

And if I'm choosing to buy a vacuum cleaner, that is going to be a far better piece of content to go through or page to go through than “Yeah, here's just four vacuum cleaners that I just found on Amazon.” We were optimizing—

Kyle Roof:

And then I had an AI write the content for it and the AI doesn't even know what a vacuum is.

Jaryd Krause:

AI has no idea. Unless there's an AGI that's doing the vacuuming, which is maybe about four years away,. But yeah, that's the big problem, I feel. People have forgotten that it's actually people who want the content and people who want to consume it. And we're trying to give them a service.

And I recorded a Facebook Live in my community behind the paywall. And then I decided this is important public information. So I just shared it on my podcast and turned it into a podcast episode.

And I explained that to people with content sites, I get it. Let's-make-money-online world. We want to make as much money as we possibly can, and we want to spend the least amount as we can on expenses.

And the reality is, that's what most businesses do. However, the best thing the best businesses do is don't compromise on quality.

And so many people have compromised on quality by just getting cheap content. And it can be from non-English writers or non-native writers to the language that you're using, and it can be through AI.

And people have forgotten that, like, “Let's just rip the internet off you. Let's rip people off and create everything super cheap.” When you do things super cheap, you get super cheap results, and this is why these things happen, right?

Kyle Roof:

For sure. I can see people's frustration, though, in that when you're putting up a website, it is speculative. There is no guarantee that you're going to make money.

And as a result, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars, do it the right way and not make a dime. Yeah, for sure. Or you could spend the least amount.

Everyone has seen that example where somebody just spent a thousand dollars on this whole thing, and now they're raking it in, and that is an unfair reality that we live in.

And so I completely understand if somebody's listening to this, and they're like, “Yeah, sure, I could do all that, but will I make any money?”

Well, yeah, that's business. That's the business that we're in, and it is speculative for sure, and I understand why somebody might reject that and just try to go the cheaper route, just because, I mean, you just don't know sometimes.

Jaryd Krause:

I'm not saying that I'm perfect, and I've done it every single time. I've used some tools, and my main business website doesn't really get any Google traffic, so we're very lucky in that regard.

If it was some other sort of channel that got affected, it would be very detrimental to the business. I learned the hard way, though, through Facebook when this happened to me through using Facebook ads only, single-source dependency.

So talking about that in terms of, all right, Google's cooked the chook for so many people. Then is this where SEOs like yourself and others start to ask, “Why is some of this content ranking on Bing now? And do I optimize a bit more of my content for Bing or for other sources?”

Talk to me about what you think about getting the impressions, getting that traffic from other places moving forward.

Kyle Roof:

Did you say cook the chicken?

Jaryd Krause:

Oh, sorry, the chook; that's so Australian. My apologies. I'm glad that you brought that up because most of my audience is from America.

Kyle Roof:

My business partner's Australian, and I have several Australian friends in Chiang Mai that I hang out with daily, and I thought I'd heard them all. I'd never heard that before.

Jaryd Krause:

Cook the chook, so the chook is chicken, and I cooked it too much. I'm glad you brought that up.

Kyle Roof:

I love it. I love it. So far, my favorite term is money for jam.

Jaryd Krause:

Money for jam? Oh, is that Australian? I didn’t realize.

Kyle Roof:

Yeah, that's only you guys.

Jaryd Krause:

Money for jam. I love it.

Kyle Roof:

That's great. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to sidetrack.

Jaryd Krause:

I'm sure everybody is having a good laugh too, anyway.

Kyle Roof:

So I think I have two thoughts. Thought number one, and you mentioned single-source dependency, and it is, the siren song of one thing that works.

It’s really easy to listen to and get sucked into, where you're like, "You know what? The majority of my conversions are happening from this source. I should just go all in on this source.”

And while I understand that mentality and you're like, "Why should I spend money on these other channels when they're just not bringing in the same kind of thing?" It's for that—that things ebb and flow.

I can tell you, on the agency side, or for my software, or for my course platform, things come and go. Sometimes we're getting organic traffic, and sometimes we're not.

Sometimes it's all converting through Facebook for some reason, and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's AdWords or what have you, or a lot of it's me speaking or getting kind of experiences or exposures on shows like yours.

But that all ebbs and flows. And even though it's like, "Man, should we be spending money on that?" I know at the end of the day we should because it will come and go.

And so, try to avoid that single-source dependency as much as possible. And I know that's a difficult task, but it's necessary to survive times like these, when all of a sudden, that lever gets completely shut off and you don't have anything else at all. That's an issue.

The other thought that I would have, though, is what I think we might be seeing a little bit better of is that actual niching of traffic, where before, when you thought about Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram as kind of the big three, or maybe even Twitter, of social media, there were somewhat distinct audiences on those platforms.

And if you had a certain product or a certain service, it might be in your best interest to be a little more present for one of those. I don't think that was necessary.

I think as more platforms come out and more traffic is diverted, and people are doing different types of searches on those platforms for the information they want, it could be in your interest to really niche down into some of those and say, "My audience is on TikTok," or "My audience is on Pinterest.”

And really re-evaluate where your people might be and get in front of them in a way that isn't the same as an organic result, where you are communicating with them on a level that they like and in a style that they like. Because people who are on those different platforms like to consume content in a slightly different way.

A lot of it is repurposable, for sure. But you might want to think a little bit more about where my audience is on a daily basis and how I can meet them there on their terms in a way that is comfortable for them, in a way that they enjoy taking in content and consuming content.

And then I think it's an opportunity. The more that these platforms can peel off, the better it is for us to identify the people who are here and I can get in front of them in this way.

Jaryd Krause:

The way I think about an article and a really good article that maybe you put $1,000 into with the research, and it's written by somebody that's got the E-E-A-T, and it's just perfect.

It's written in the language of your audience, the lingo and the terminology, right? And using terms like “cook the chook” and stuff like that for the Australians.

If it's written in that long format, then you've got this great piece of content that is a long-form piece of content, which is what we do. If you think about it with all podcasters, podcasters create long-form pieces of content, and they're done.

And then that gets repurposed into different formats, like what we do on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and all that sort of stuff.

We take little pieces of it, reformat it, and then we take people from that junk, I would say, sort of attention format on socials to get them from the short attention span to the longer form content, use it as a gateway to get them to our website.

But you can also take it from short form onto the email list to eventually give them better, longer form pieces of content from the email list. And you're really building a fort, an ecosystem, a business with a moat versus being reliant on just Google.

And I get it. I get it. Google had the best traffic because it was people who were searching for that actual term. It's intentional marketing versus social media and those sorts of formats are disruption marketing.

But you can actually get people at a time in their life where it's like, “Oh, I actually need this vacuum cleaner. I just bought this new place and it's way bigger. I need a better vacuum cleaner.” So, yeah, those other sources are important.

Are you seeing people changing things on their sites and their long-form content in terms of articles, SEO for different search engines or maybe even ChatGPT, which has slowly started to put links into their results as proof of where they got the data from? Have you seen it?

Kyle Roof:

That's exactly the example I was going to give. How do you show up in the ChatGPT search?

A lot of the people that I know don't have English as their first language, but they work in English, and they communicate in English really well, like using ChatGPT for searches. And these are SEOs as well, not just normies. They like the results that they get and it's faster.

Jaryd Krause:

It's very hard, hard data-driven and it gives you the information without any emotion. And it's just straight to the point, which is very good.

Kyle Roof:

And I think it's easy to consume. If you're reading in your second language, that's not an easy thing.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, if you don't understand the term “cook the chalk," then you're just going to be confused the whole time.

Kyle Roof:

Exactly. Done. You're done. You're done. An Australian version of ChatGPT would be amazing, by the way.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I think so.

Kyle Roof:

Why haven't they given us this yet?

Jaryd Krause:

Let's create one of those.

Kyle Roof:

It’s just a BoganGPT.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, it’s a BoganGPT.

Kyle Roof:

And just go all in.

Jaryd Krause:

BoganAI, let's give that to him. Yeah, he's already got it.

Kyle Roof:

Bogan.ai is mine. No, it's and also the answers are structured in a very nice way to read and how the information is presented. It's a very nice way and an easy way to digest.

So how do you show up in that search? And well, we know that they're using Bing. When they're searching for that information, they're going right to Bing, which means you need to show up in Bing in order to show up in those search results.

So, yeah, what I would start doing is I would start looking at my pages and saying, “How do I rank in Bing for these very important terms?” Especially if your audience might be somebody that's using ChatGPT.

If your audience is 55+, it's unlikely that they're using ChatGPT for any kind of search, and they're probably still using Facebook and Google.

But the younger the audience, the more likely they are to use something like ChatGPT or any of the other tools that are just built off of that and using that search function.

But that means that all those things are coming from Bing. And that's an opportunity right there. Am I showing up high enough in Bing to show up in ChatGPT and its search function? So that's a huge opportunity. That's something that would definitely get going, and it's only going to grow, I would think.

The only scary part of that—again, I wouldn't go all in—is because my unpopular opinion would be that ChatGPT in this iteration and this LLM probably won't be here in a year. Now they might still be using Bing.

So, again, it still could be worthwhile, but you need to be careful about going all in on something like that, because I think the language models that they're using now can only go so far and there will be something bigger and better and that will be soon.

But that goes back to kind of my earliest point, the techniques might change slightly, but you need to be cognizant of why and what we're trying to accomplish.

And then I think you can fit in any particular technique, and we can excel, just as long as you're keeping your eye on the macro and using the micro in the moment. So keep the big picture, but then figure out what that big picture is and what tools we have.

Jaryd Krause:

You're just highlighting the problem that people have forgotten what your actual goal is, and then got hyper focused on Google and thought the goal was, “Let's just optimize just for Google,” but that was not actually the goal.

The goal was, “Let's get more traffic and more clicks, more conversions and more eyeballs.” So it's super important. And I think it's also to add to that more eyeballs, but I love the intention of the traffic, the intention of the eyeballs with where they're at in the journey.

People are literally going to go, “I need this thing.” They're searching for it and they're getting it. The closer they are to that purchase, all that purchase, or handing over money for a service or anything, typically, the better the traffic's going to be.

So working out what that source is or where that source is, and then understanding that you can have multiple sources of those versus just one technique for Google, or Bing, or Yahoo, or whatever it is,.

So I've got a question, Kyle, because people listening are like, "Do I buy a content website or not?" or “If I have a content website, do I make these changes that we've mentioned in this podcast or is it not worth it?”

“Is my site going to be the one that is not recoverable?” or “Is my site the one that can be recoverable?” What are some of the things that people should be looking at to determine the answer for them?

Kyle Roof:

You can use a blunt tool like Trends to see if that's actually moving up or down. Are people coming? Are people actually doing these searches still? Or are they literally going somewhere else? You can use that. It's not the best tool of all time, but it's not bad.

You can also, when you search for your terms, see how many sites like yours are actually on page one? Are there spots that you can take?

I often talk about this in terms of local versus national, where you're going to compete against some massive brands. But then there are also some local spaces. If you see on page one, there are only two local sites, that means you have two spots. You don't have 10 to get; you've got two.

So you want to look in and see what the opportunity actually is for a content site in your space. I think it's counterintuitive. If you were to do a search and see that out of the 100 results, there are 100 content sites,. I'm getting into that one if I'm creating a content site, because then I know I can beat some of these clowns.

But if you do the search and there are no content sites, that's scary to me. Because I don't think that means that there's an opportunity for you to now show up. It means Google doesn't want that. It's not the type of site or the type of page it's expecting to see.

And I don't think you can teach Google anything new. And so you're not like, “Hey, I'm coming with better content.” I don't think it's going to work that way.

So if I'm making those decisions, I would look at trends to see if I could kind of trend out, but then I also look for an opportunity for a website to rank for the terms I'm thinking about that I want to rank for and if it's even a possibility at all.

Jaryd Krause:

I love that answer. That's so good. And I would also look at the website. I would add to that. So, I would say step one in terms of content and getting traffic from sources to take it off your competitors.

And then step two would also be to look at what we mentioned in this podcast, can I convert them on the domain level? In terms of an email subscriber, they could be a lead. If I could start selling a product, I could start seeing a service, and I could start saying leads instead of ads on the site.

Have you thought of alternatives, not just in terms of what we talked about with affiliates, but instead of having ads on a site, like traffic coming to the website just to make ad revenue? I did think of having that version of a paid membership to have no ads on the site.

But have you come across anybody else who's talked about different ways that you could monetize instead of sort of replacing ads?

Kyle Roof:

A sponsorship would be one, where the content is actually sponsored. And I don't know how to set up any of those relationships, so I don't have any great advice there. But I mean, that'd be one option, though, where instead of having all these ads from an ad platform being served, essentially, you get a pop-up at some point that says, "Hey, this is kindly brought to you by the good folks over here, Jim's Trailers, and go buy a trailer.”

You could do it this way. So you're reducing all those different ad placements and getting specific sponsorship on things would be one way to go.

I'm hopelessly addicted to TikTok, and I am seeing more TikTok.

Jaryd Krause:

It's crazy scary how TikTok is, isn't it?

Kyle Roof:

I love it. I love it. And I actually, at times, get bored and say, "I should open up TikTok," and realize that I'm actually on TikTok. That's my level of layered addiction. It's actually in my best interest so I can get that dopamine hit again. Like, close it and reopen.

Jaryd Krause:

It's so scary. I decided to get an account for work to see if it would be worthwhile to post some stuff. And I don't really go on Instagram or any of the social media sites. And then I went on TikTok, and I was there for two to three hours the first time, and I was just doing an ab workout, I was laughing so much, it was ridiculous. It's so fun. Scary.

Kyle Roof:

The point I was driving at, though, was that I've seen more and more sponsored content. So it's not necessarily ads within the platform, but its creators saying, "Oh, hey, by the way, if you like this, please go check out blah, blah, blah."

And it can be disgusting because all advertising can be, but when you're putting up with the facts, like, "Hey, I saw good content that I really wanted, I have no problem with this person making money."

I think people understand money, right? They understand that if they're getting the value they want, I'll live through an ad.

Jaryd Krause:

Think about it like YouTubers or podcasters that have ad placements in the middle of their podcast or at the bottom or the start of their podcast.

Or YouTubers say, "This video is brought to you by whatever this brand is," and it actually isn't; sometimes they're not even related to what that piece of content is talking about anyway.

Obviously, the closer it is to what that content is talking about for the advertiser, the better for both of you guys, because it's a win-win, and you're going to be able to charge a higher price point for that advertisement spot.

But if YouTubers and podcasters are doing it, and also TikTokers are doing it on short-form content, you've got both long-form content and short-form content using these ads. But why are we not doing it in articles that have long-form content as well? So I love that suggestion, Kyle.

Kyle Roof:

It's another opportunity. And again, I don't know if this is going to save the internet or not, but I think there are things that can be done. There are opportunities and there are people who are more clever than I am who are probably coming up with something right now.

But if people stuff that they like, if they like to consume it, they'll stay, and they're not going to have any heartburn about sitting through a 10-second, 30-second, whatever, a minute.

That's no problem because I'm happy to be here, and I'm happy that somebody can make money doing this and giving me something that I'm interested in consuming. I think most people are fine with that.

Jaryd Krause:

I think the goal—and it has been for me always in all my businesses—is that with these businesses that people are owning, and we are owning content sites, our goal should be to help the person and the traffic that's coming to the site and make their life better.

If we just create a website, we just rank for traffic, get on the site, and slap ads on it, and it can be any ad based on what the Google AdSense Exchange decides to put towards them.

We're actually going to be doing a better service for them by going, " I'm a vacuum cleaner business, and we just audit vacuum cleaners, and then we have a vacuum cleaner brand sponsor a bunch of contents, and we just talk about why this vacuum cleaner has been good for us.”

You're actually helping people get closer to what their goal is if they're in your business choosing a vacuum cleaner versus, "Oh, I see an ad for a pair of socks. I don't really need it, and it's freaking annoying. It's in my way, it's just annoying."

So we're actually definitely making our content and our ads better and helping people. It's more important.

Kyle Roof:

There's a creator that I like on TikTok, and he and his wife go around to interesting places around the world and eat food, which is kind of a life that I'm liking to live. It's something that I like to do, and I'm like, "Later in the year, I'm going to Japan," and he's doing this 30 days, 30 meals in Japan. I'm like, "This is great."

And it's really great content. He's a very relatable person, and I like what he talks about. But you know, at the end, he's like, "Oh, by the way, I use this AI thing to check out the thing." I'm totally fine with it.

It's cheesy, obviously, but great; I'm getting great content. I'm happy to put up with this thing. And I actually might use the stupid app because I want to go to these places, and it actually might work.

It's good ad placement because it is directly related, rather than getting some stupid ad that has nothing to do with anything that I'm trying to consume.

Jaryd Krause:

So for some of your clients that have been affected, what's maybe one or two primary sorts of things that you're helping them go down in terms of a different style of campaign to get them back on track?

Kyle Roof:

So the sites that I consult with and that I work with that have been hit are really more on the affiliate side of things. The sites that have made it through are brands, and they're getting branded searches, and they're known things on the internet.

They have knowledge panels—that kind of thing. Google understands that they are an entity, a thing. The ones that seem to get tagged are the ones that Google doesn't really understand.

And a lot of these things are kind of put together, but brands often have higher DR, for lack of a better term. They have higher authority; they have better LinkedIn profiles, right?

And so it could be sort of a chicken and egg situation, but sites that have higher DR, sites that are brand, sites that are getting branded searches—those sites always seem to make it through these updates. And it's because of those things.

I don't think it's because of one thing necessarily; I think they're symptoms or indicators of something that Google understands, is real and is established. The less fly-by-night they look, the better.

And brands who can display their address, for example, that probably means they're paying taxes somewhere, which means they're under some regulatory authority for whatever they're trying to sell or whatever they're trying to do.

And if somebody's harmed or they do bad, there is possible redress for people. And you can kind of see why all that sort of dovetails together as to why these types of sites tend to survive and those types of sites don't.

So making yourself a brand as much as possible and getting as transparent as possible fall into E-E-A-T things, but brands don't have E-E-A-T problems anyway. People who have E-E-A-T problems are the ones that aren't brands.

And so it's kind of be as real as you can, be as transparent as you can, be a real business, have real humans behind it, that there's a face to this. And the more you do of that that's legitimate, I think, the better chance you have. The more you do of it that's fake, then the better chance you have of getting hit.

And those things aren't fun. And I know they take time, and I know that a lot of people would prefer not to spend money on that, again, because this is speculative.

And it is easier to put up a website and just hope that it hits, and you get paid rather than set up an actual business for something. I understand all that. But if you're looking long-term at what you can do, those are the types of things you can do.

I would also try to make myself as on doorway page-y as possible. And I think that's huge, actually.

A lot of the sites that got hit were content-forward sites that were just really making display ads. In a lot of them, I saw that the ad platform they were using said the coverage on mobile was less than 30%, which I think is some Google guidelines.

I haven't personally seen that, but I guess somewhere, or at least the principle or the guideline, is to make sure that your ad coverage is 30% or less. And all these ad platforms say, "Don't worry, we got you covered. You're in our gold star platinum service. We won't do more than 30%."

And then a couple of people I know actually looked at their ads, and the coverage was 60%, 70%, completely ads on ads, and they had no idea that that was going on some of the pages on their sites.

So we know that Google can't see, right? Google isn't visiting your site, taking a look at the page and seeing that level of coverage. So there might be other things going on.

Something that I saw in common with all of those sites was that their blocking time was in the red, and their first contentful paint was like orange or red. And their time to first bite was maybe just okay.

And so, while I don't think you want to fix core vitals just for the sake of fixing core vitals, I think you're running into some problems with that.

You could give indicators that you have too much on your page by having blocking time in the red and first contentful paint in the orange or red. Because that's when people can actually interact with your content. And if it's covered in ads, they won't be able to interact with the content.

So it's not Google's saying, “It's the ad coverage itself,” but the thing that a bot might be able to look at would be those technical issues. So you want pages to load quickly, but that doesn't have to be lightning speed; it has to be decent.

And I think if you're not running ads like that, I would make sure that those basic technical things are at least in the normal good kind of area for that.

Jaryd Krause:

Also, you can see how users would get frustrated with that, and it would cause a lower time on page without being able to go through the content easily.

I have definitely seen this on a recipe site myself where I'm trying to find the recipe, and it is half under an ad. And as I scroll the ad, there are two or three ingredients that I can't see. And I was like, "This is just ridiculous.” Well, find me another recipe.

Another recipe site, and then they get my attention and my time on page because—

Kyle Roof:

The recipe's right there and you didn't have to wade through the history of Italy to get to the pasta recipe. I love when it's the history of this, this and that, the controversy. I just need the goddamn recipe.

Jaryd Krause:

Every single person is going there, like, "Give me the ingredients and then give me the directions, and then if I think this is great pasta, then, yeah, let's understand the history of how pasta is made.”

Kyle Roof:

But in the meantime, though, you saw four ads before you even got to the—

Jaryd Krause:

And you've got to play Tetris with your phone to get it at the right place on the scroll to see it. It's crazy.

Kyle Roof:

That's where someone else is taking it and turning it over.

Jaryd Krause:

Zooming in on a mobile phone back in the day. Yeah, stupid.

Kyle Roof:

The point, though, is that it's not the ads, right? It's not that you have the ads; it's that the blocking time was bad. They could see that the symptom was bad. That was the issue.

I think that's how they can find that issue without having to do a lot of processing power and say, "Look, this is just prima facie unhelpful because we can see that these metrics are terrible." You know what I mean?

So don't get lost in the, "Oh, it's the ads, and if I just fix the ads, that's the issue." It's these other things that indicate these problems that you want to be aware of.

Jaryd Krause:

Love it. Kyle, thank you so much for coming on and chatting. It's been a pleasure. It's been fun, as always, and I'm looking forward to doing another one with you again.

Kyle Roof:

Anytime. Thanks for having me.

Jaryd Krause:

Hey, YouTube watchers, if you thought that video was good, you should check out this video here on the 2 Best Types of Websites Beginners Should Buy. Or check out my playlist on How I Made My First $100k Buying Websites and how to do due diligence. Check it out. It's an awesome playlist. You'll enjoy it.

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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives. 

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