AdSense Content Site Case Study Month 11 Update

AdSense/Content Site Case Study Month 11 Update

Festive greetings everyone, December is upon us and that means an update for my case study site!

I wrote 33 posts and grossed $1,185 this month, so a decent month. Here’s how it went:

First of all, if you’re landing here and wondering how I built this site to this point; you can find previous updates here:

Traffic and Earnings Stats for Jan-Nov 2020

Month# of articlesPageviewsEzoic earnings ($)AdSense earnings ($)Affiliate earnings ($)Total ($)
Jan311090000
Feb706770000
Mar866,5330011.4911.49
Apr3330,001190.8418.8964.84274.55
May3548,275474.6746.8394.60616.10
June2242,748454.7560.4162.52577.68
July2548,058572.6888.15126.26787.09
August7256,0891,012.76122.40176.831,311.99
September1755,9621,145.86136.65103.541,386.05
October1851,0981,023.00123.2365.841,212.07
November3344,8591,026.38137.2021.601,185.00
Totals442384,4095,900.94733.58456.367,362.02

Ezoic Earnings for November

Ezoic earnings for November 20
Ezoic Premium Split Nov 20

Traffic might be slipping, but EPMVs are still climbing so I actually earned a little more in November than October with Ezoic.

Overall EPMV for the month was exactly $27, and towards the end of the month, I started seeing $34+ days.

I’m happy with $1,026.38 for the month considering what little work I put in. Here’s hoping ad rates continue to climb in December!

If you’re not yet using Ezoic you should sign up and at least give them a try. I’d appreciate it if you used my affiliate link here – let me know if you do and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.

Amazon Earnings for November

Amazon earnings November 20

I didn’t add any more Amazon links or do anything to improve my Amazon income, so no surprise that I’m not making much.

Still, down from $65.84 last month to just $21.60 this month.

Third-Party Affiliate Earnings for November

Third party affiliate earnings Nov 20

228 clicks and no sales sucks, but what can you do. It’s not the season to be buying the products I’m referring people to, they belong outside and do not like the cold!

Traffic Stats for November

Google analytics for Nov 20
Google Search Console data Nov 20

Traffic is trending down pretty hard, that about ~10% down from October. I’m pretty sure this is due to the niche being seasonal, just look at this Google Trends graph for one of the keywords I published a lot of content around:

Google trends for search volume

Going to be a rough few months…

What I Did This Month – and Why (I Think) It Didn’t Work (Yet)

I’m trying to be a bit more structured and deliberate about what I’m doing – and share more of the why’s and how’s with you guys.

I said last month I was going to target some higher RPM, evergreen content to try and ride out this traffic dip a bit better.

To do this, I decided to write up some business listings. I’ve done this before, and it usually works out really well.

I find keywords with volume like, “dog groomers in [city]”, or “labrador breeders in [city]”. I then write up a summary of businesses in that city and answer some questions about what to expect from these companies.

Now, first of all, if you Google these kinds of queries you’ll see a block of Google My Business data at the top. As well as high DA sites like Yelp.com and other directories.

I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t rank for local results and beat Yelp and Yellow Pages with a general list post”.

But guess what, it works for me. These KWs are almost always low competition and you can better optimize your post around the keyword to rank high on page 1. 

This is because not many of these sites are targeting the exact KW, and not doing it with some helpful SEO content. Yelp, for example, is usually an AI-generated list of businesses, most of the time they’re not even accurate for the city in question.

Make sure you answer additional questions, such as:

  • How much does dog grooming cost?
  • Will a mobile groomer travel to [location]
  • Mobile dog groomers near me, etc

This content is some of the most engaging content I’ve published on my sites. Businesses reach out to me to be added to the list, people leave comments about their experiences and make suggestions; it’s great for engagement.

I’ve already done this once for this case study site, and it accounts for a good chunk of traffic and a lot of these posts are getting an EPMV of $40+ – which is why I wanted to repeat it.

The Importance of Topical Relevance

To cut a long story short, I posted around 25 of these posts targeting different cities. At this point in time, they’ve tanked.

Here is the traffic they’re bringing in:

Higher RPM content test

Ezoic isn’t picking up enough pageviews to get reliable data, but you can see from the pages getting views it has potential to be high ad revenue keywords:

Ezoic High RPM content

Most of my posts are appearing on page 1, just at the bottom of the page. So, it’s not all bad.

Honestly, I expected the posts to rank higher though. But you can’t win them all, I’m big into testing different types of keywords and clusters of content. It’s the only way I find out what does – or doesn’t – work.

One thing I was thinking was that my site wasn’t super relevant to the keywords. They aren’t as closely related to my site as the previous keywords I targeted that ranked well.

Interestingly, I have a friend with a site that is a little more relevant to the keywords I targeted, so I asked him to post a few to see where he’d rank.

He ranked in the top 5 overnight – and pushed some of my posts onto page 2. 🙂

I looked at his content objectively, I can’t see any on-page optimizations that I think are responsible. I think it’s literally down to his site being more relevant. He’s even mentioned the exact keywords on this site before, he just never thought to target them with a post.

Oh well, on to the next idea…

Wrapping Up

That was an interesting little content experiment. I stopped writing around those keywords, maybe they’ll improve in the coming months, you never know.

Another good month overall though. I probably worked about 40 hours writing those 33 posts, so I’m very happy with the $1k+ income again.

I’m still balancing loads of client projects, some other sites, and a different content case study on another site that I’ll write about if it works. I also worked with a few of you guys building sites and saw some awesome improvments on your site – that’s what gets me fired up!

Hope these insights were helpful, or at the very least interesting. Feel free to let me know how you’re getting on, cheers!

30 thoughts on “AdSense/Content Site Case Study Month 11 Update”

  1. Hey Phil!

    These posts are inspiring! Keep up the good work Pal. You do have a fan base out there. Especially from those of us who refuse to do link building, guest posting etc. and have soured on other “Gurus” like the Income School guys.

    1. Thanks Dave, I’m starting to see other people earning some dollars that have been following along for a few months now, it’s really awesome. Hope you making progress each month.

    2. I’m curious why have some people recently soured on the Income School guys? I don’t follow them that closely but the info I have seen from them they seem to be relevant and transparent with their strategy.

  2. Hi Phil,
    Again, you revealed a novel way of targeting keywords which apparently not many people can think of unless they are doing local SEO. I’ll definitely give it a try and see how it works out for me .
    You wrote about relevance and my question is how do you establish relevance. For example if I’ve a dog grooming site, then will the relevance signals be what the domain name is, what the site title is and what keywords you’re targeting ? Also, while writing the site title in your theme, do you choose an ultra high volume keyword that in a way summarizes what your site is all about? Like – dog grooming tips.
    Thanks for writing this up.

    1. Relevance is a hard one to nail sometimes, I think it often comes down to how much content you have on your site around a particular topic. Which is why some people silo blocks of content and see good results.

      Yeah, if you had a site about dog grooming specifically, I don’t doubt you’d rank well for “best dog groomers in [city]” ahead of a general pet site (with all other things like DA being similar).

      I use partial match domains, I do think they help. Like, if you had a site about budgies I’d go for BudgieSite.com, AllAboutBudgies.com, just maybe something not quite as cheesy as those…

  3. Great job Phil.

    I have taken the time to study the basics.
    Don’t be distracted and be consistent
    Never give up

    Have a great December.

  4. Hi Phil,
    Been following your journey and I’m thankful for all the knowledge you share.
    Would you advice someone to start with the articles you’ve mentioned on a new domain?
    How many businesses do you usually include in your articles?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Dorcas, appreciate that.

      Yes, I’d recommend posting any content you intend to rank for on a site of any age, it’s going to rank as your site ages to it’s good to have that content live.

      I try not to get too carried away, I will usually include 5 or so businesses. It depends on how long the article is, I don’t like to go much over 1k words.

  5. Hi Phil
    Congratulations on these awesome months and income…
    It will be your first year very soon… until now do you feel that you have done great work or still you want to achieve a lot of things?
    I have a question:
    For example, if we found a big number of keywords in a niche, but we didn’t know anything about it… is it a good idea to go for two first pages on google results and then write those ideas and turn them into your own words. ?
    Sometimes I feel like those articles in the search results are the same talking about the same thing in different ways…
    Sometimes I open first article that is in number one but I don’t like it… Sometimes I find my answer in the second page or in positon 4
    Lol I think still a lot of people go for second page in order to get what they like. or maybe just me ?
    Keep going and we are waiting your new results next month…

    1. Thanks Mehdi – I’m happy with how the site has gone, yeah. I wasn’t too sure how the first 12 months would play out, I think it’s gone a little better than I expected, so that’s all I can ask.

      I know what you mean, I think most people, and this is true of writers, pick an article and just rewrite it. I moved away from doing that and I try to build up articles tackling more keywords and questions than my competitors to write a better article.

      It’s hard though, especially if you don’t know the niche well. My advice is to do what I do, pick up more questions from the search results and include them. I don’t see many people doing that. I don’t think many people go to page 2 – maybe it is just you! hah

  6. Great job Phil! You are reaching that tipping point and gaining serious momentum now 🙂

    You stated you wrote 33 articles. How many words were each one?

  7. I’m afraid of writing on keywords that already have affiliate websites ranking on them. Because I think I wouldn’t be able to beat them.

    Because of this fear, I end up picking keywords that are very low in competition, and such affiliate keywords with low competition are very rare to find. I don’t have a proper process to find such keywords yet.

    I wanted to know, should I just write on keywords that have volume and try to beat the sites that are already ranking? Or stick with finding low competition affiliate keywords.

    Also, if you can please share a process with me of finding low competition affiliate keywords, that’d be really helpful. Because I can churn out the content of 1 affiliate article per day, only If I had a process of finding low competition affiliate keywords to write about.

    1. It’s hard, Umar, but sometimes you just have to write an article and see how it does against the competition, I make sure to add more/different KWs to my article to at least rank for other stuff than my competitors.

      I find low comp affiliate KWs the same way, looking for few sites that have targeted the KWs. Most of the “best” keywords are taken, of course. Most of my affiliate clicks come from “how to” posts with products as a the solution.

  8. Congrats and well done for your hard work Phil.
    Traffic and earnings have remained same so far..

    I wonder inspite of your constant publishing of so nany articles per month, why your traffic has remained almost same for last 6 months..

    Anyways, here is my little update for my niche site which you asked in the last month..

    Total articles published in last 11 months: 65
    Traffic per month: around 6000
    Earnings: $180
    I am trying to be more consistent to publish articles every month now onwards.

    Thanks for your monthly update.

    1. Yeah, traffic has plateaued for sure, hasn’t it. Hopefully, it will go up when the warmer weather comes around, I think I’m fighting against the seasonal trend. I checked some of my top posts and they’re still ranking #1, so it’s the search going down, not my posts.

      Thanks for the update, that’s a very good number of visitors and earnings for 65 posts, I’d be happy with that!

      1. Hey Phil,
        When I heard you had picked a seasonal niche, I thought uh oh. But think of it this way. If you are still earning over $1000 per month with a brand new domain less than a year old, just think how much that site is going to earn when it is “in season” as well as once the site gets some more age.

        I think you hit a winner by anyone’s interpretation.

        P.S. What do you think of this fresh December 2020 Core Algo Update Google’s just thrown in? How are your sites holding up?

        I can’t believe my traffic is a little down. I was hoping this Update would have my site recover from the beating it too with May 2020’s Algo Update, wishful thinking. But, I guess it still may be too early to tell…

        Anyway, glad I started focussing my energies on my two new websites. I only wish I had started them earlier in the year for the diversification sake instead of doubling down on this one website, hoping that it would recover….

        1. Hi Dave
          Yeah, I targeted a lot of the most evergreen content I could, I always do try so sites don’t tank too hard off season. Couldn’t be sure what would happen over winter though as it’s a new site, so like I said in my article I’m happy with how it’s going.

          I didn’t notice any change to my sites from the update as of right now. I haven’t taken a deep look and I don’t track KWs, but the traffic today looks normal as far I can see.

          Sucks you saw a small decrease, hope it bounces back, it sometimes does after these updates. That’s also a good reason to diversify, I’ve narrowed down and am focusing on 3 sites right now. I think 3 is enough for me at the moment.

      2. Thanks Phil for your feedback.

        I also think this is a good conversion so far because almost 40 articles of these 65 ones are 2 months old.. so majority of traffic comes from the rest 22 articles which I published almost 4-5 months back.. So hope for the best.

        And good luck for your website too.. I know yours is a seasonal niche so considering the trend, your site is still doing awesome..

  9. Hi Phil, I’ve been following you case study for a while. I’m curious what plugins do you use for your websites? I’m asking since I’m working on my own and there are so many that I’m getting lost.

    Also I don’t have the time to create as much content as you have and I’m curious to see on my website how will it develop (at what speed) with less content.

    1. Hi Robert here are the plugins I have on my site:

      Contact Form 7
      Easy Table of Contents
      Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
      Imagify
      Insert Headers and Footers
      Rank Math
      TablePress
      W3 Total Cache

      I’m also curious to see how your site grows, keep me posted!

  10. Hi Phil,

    thanks for the update. It looks like your traffic will creep up again next year.

    Can you go a bit deeper into your bounce rate stats? From my experience, for content that directly targets specific long-tail question keywords, the bounce rate is quite high.

    I`m currently testing your principles in a different European market. Wrote 40 articles in the last 3 weeks.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Jan, yes the bounce rate is 89% on this site, it’s a little higher on my other sites. I’ve never paid attention to bounce rate, I don’t believe it has much of an impact, if any. I know some marketers talk about it a lot, but I don’t see what I can do about it, so I don’t worry about it.

      40 articles in 3 weeks is impressive, good luck!

  11. Hi, Phil! I just want to ask your opinion on what you think about this. Say I have a blog that all I write about is the topics about rabbits and I already wrote a lot of articles on that topic, let’s say 1,000 articles. But I’m already tired of writing about rabbits, can I branch out to other topics like hedgehogs or other smaller animals? Will that remove my topical relevance in the eyes of google and ruin my traffic?

    1. Hi Seb

      Sure, as long as your URL isn’t JustRabbits. com or whatever. There are loads of sites that cover various pets that do just fine, it might take a while and you will have to create a separate category, but it’s commonly done.

  12. Hey Phil,

    I’m looking forward to your Month 12 update as well as your plans for 2021…You’ve definitely been inspirational and well as very informative in the whole niche website game. I’m glad I discovered guys like you Shaun-m and Jesse-Nicheinformer over at Reddit.

    2020 hasn’t been very good on my end between Amazon cutting it’s commissions and not one, but 2 Google updates that devastated my one site I had doubled down on. But lots of lessons learned, the main one being diversification….but many others as well, thanks in part by guys like you…

    I hope you have a very happy holiday season. And here’s to a brighter 2021 for all of us!

    Best regards,
    Dave

    1. Thanks Dave,

      Appreciate the kind words. This online stuff is a crazy rollercoaster for sure, sorry to hear 2020 wasn’t the best for you, but I’m sure you picked up a load of knowledge to take into 2021.

      I’m glad I did this case study to meet people like you, and hopefully offer some help, as I’ve gained loads from other’s myself; such as Shaun as you mentioned, and I also recently found Nicheinformer too, who seems to be doing a very similar model as me.

      I feel fortunate to make a living doing this, as I love it, and there’s an awesome community, too.

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