If you’ve landed here directly, this is an update for month 4 of my content site case study.
Basically, I decided to start a new site on the 1st Jan 2020 with some simple goals:
- Publish as much SEO-focused content as possible
- Do no outreach or link building etc
- Monetize mostly with ads and some affiliate stuff where possible
You can read more about my backstory and how the site grew through months 0-3 here if you’re interested.
Let’s jump into all the important numbers and how things went in April:
Traffic and Earnings Stats for April 2020
|Month||# of articles||Pageviews||Ezoic earnings ($)||AdSense earning ($)||Affiliate earning ($)||Total ($)|
There were some ups and downs, here’s how the month played out.
Getting Approved for AdSense
The main monetization goal for the site was display advertising, so I had to get approval from AdSense.
AdSense alone doesn’t pay the most out of all the display advertising options, but most of the premium ad networks use AdSense in their bidding inventory and require a site to be AdSense approved.
I know a lot of people struggle to get their sites approved. I’ve lost count of the number of sites I’ve had approved for AdSense, it’s quite a few. I’ve never had a problem being accepted though, so I’m doing something right.
All I can suggest is that you read their terms and conditions, and make sure your site is compliant.
On top of this, don’t apply until you have a decent looking site with loads of original, quality content, and all your legal stuff is covered like a privacy page, GDPR disclaimer, etc.
Despite seeing endless people complaining about being rejected for AdSense over and over, if you have a decent site with clear navigation you’ll get approved.
My site was officially approved on the 9th April.
I have other sites on the Ezoic platform and it was always my first goal to get this new site with Ezoic as they pay much higher RPMs than Google AdSense in my experience.
I hit 10k users within the last 30 days (the minimum traffic requirement to join Ezoic) around the time I was approved by AdSense, so I contacted Ezoic and also got the site approved with them on the 9th.
The process for integrating Ezoic didn’t seem so daunting now I’ve been through it a few times. I even added all my own placeholders and did the whole on-boarding process myself with this site as my account manager was away for Easter.
I started earning some $’s right away on the 9th.
As you can see from the graph above, I earned $190.84 in the 20 days the site was showing Ezoic ads. That’s pretty good, especially when you take into account my overall EPMV is half of what it was pre-COVID-19.
My daily earnings have been steadily increasing since I started showing Ezoic ads too. This is partly due to an increase in traffic, but it’s also to do with their AI better optimizing my ads.
It’s going to be interesting to see how much the site makes for the month of May.
If you have a site with around 10k pageviews a month I recommend giving Ezoic a try. I don’t know any way to earn more from display ads at this point, and it’s totally free so you’ve nothing to lose.
You can sign up for Ezoic here using my referral code (if you do we’ll be best friends). Let me know if you do and I’ll try and answer any questions you have.
Adding Content and Traffic Stats for April
As you can see from my Google Analytics and Search Console, the site is growing at a decent rate. This is still with zero backlinks or outreach.
Total pageviews in April was 30,001, with 23,993 sessions. What makes this more impressive is that I lost around 15% traffic (more on that below).
Despite this, I have to say that April was a challenging month for me personally. I found it difficult to find time to write content. I have a lot on my plate right now with other projects, and lockdown means a lot less time for me – opposed to more time for most people.
Anyway, I was still able to write 33 articles. A lot of people reading this are going to say that’s still way more than they did, and it’s probably more than the average “niche site” builder adds in a month.
But it only took me about 35 hours. I spent maybe a few more hours tweaking things, onboarding with Ezoic, and some other bits, and estimate I spent 40 hours total working on my site in April.
That’s not a lot of time to put into something I expect to be a business and a revenue generating asset.
For those with excuses that they’re too busy. If you work full-time, that’s an hour and a half each evening. Or, your lunch break plus 30 mins before/after work.
While I’m not having mind blowing success or anything like that from the time I’m putting in, I’m just trying to motivate anyone who’s not even that this point yet.
You can do it.
The Power (And Hidden Traffic) of Longtail Keywords
A lot of people pass over longtail queries because they are usually so specific, which makes you believe you’ll capture less longtail traffic. Plus, they have low search volume so it doesn’t seem worth going after them on paper.
I’ve known for years this is not the case. Which is why I built this site targeting low volume longtail keywords.
Below is a screenshot of my search console data for the site to-date. I’ve added the estimated monthly search volume from a keyword tool I used, and the position I rank for the keywords.
Note – This data is for the post, not just the keyword.
As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. You can see from my actual results why I’m happy to target keywords with search volume as low as 20/mo.
Oops My Pinterest Account Got Banned
On the 13th of April my Pinterest account got banned.
I was reading posts from other people on Reddit saying their accounts were also banned on the days leading up to mine getting banned. So, I’m wondering if Pinterest did a purge or tweaked their algorithm or something.
Either way, I tried to appeal but only got as far as automated messages saying it’s final. They’ve banned my URL; noone can pin, post, share, or do anything with my URL on Pinterest anymore and they removed every trace of me.
Why do I think I was banned?
Well, I didn’t break any rules. At least not intentionally, I never do.
All I can think of is that I wasn’t pinning other people’s stuff. I was just pinning my posts once and leaving it. While (I don’t think) that’s not breaking any rules, it’s not exactly acting like a productive Pinterest user either I guess.
On one hand, it sucks because around 13% of my traffic was coming from Pinterest and it was growing nicely. On the other hand, it is what it is and I have to move on.
I was putting some effort in with my photography and Canva skills too….
Pinterest – if you’re reading this – it’s your loss! 🙂
Amazon Earnings for April
I’ve added very few Amazon links, around 10 posts out of the 220 have links on I think.
I only add Amazon links to products when it’s super relevant, like I’m talking about the product or recommending something as a solution to a problem and the reader needs to see what I’m talking about.
I don’t write those “best of” or “X vs Y review” types posts when I haven’t tried, touched, or don’t have a detailed knowledge of the products.
Hence why my main goal was to monetize the site with display ads.
Anyway, one post is ranking well and driving a lot of clicks. It was looking like Amazon was shaping up to be a nice side earner until they slashed the rates for my niche from 8% to 3% effective from the 21st April.
You’d have to either live under a rock or not be involved with internet marketing at all to not have heard about the changes to their affiliate program, so I won’t go into here.
If you’ve just crawled out from under that rock, however, here’s a rundown of the changes on CNBC.com.
What’s the Plan for May?
I’m pretty happy with how things are going. In fact, if I’m honest, it’s going a little better than I expected traffic-wise.
So, I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing and change nothing. I’m going to produce as much content as I can, with the goal of 50 posts in the back of my mind.
May will be the first complete month the site is earning with ads, so I’m interested to see how much it earns. Ad rates are down drastically while were in this pandemic, so nothing is “normal” regarding monitization right now.
I have a hunch that traffic is up due to the pandemic too. Only time will tell, but the one thing that’s in my control right now is how much work I put into the site.
Are you working something similar? Anything I didn’t cover above you’d like to know? Just want to say “Hi”? Feel free to drop a comment below!
Header image credit – Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash
16 thoughts on “Adsense/Content Site Case Study Month 4 Update”
You are really a speed writer, if you can write a 1000 word in 1 and a half hour xD
Yeah, it’s not bad. I mean, my writing speed is about 50 words per minute and I’m free-flowing.
Formatting, images, it all adds to the time but I didn’t think I was that fast.
Looking at your stats, your CTR is awesome – do you attribute this to it being a long tail keyword too, or are you doing something else to encourage a great CTR?
Yeah, that’s due to the nature of almost all my posts being very focused long-tail queries. I have a crazy amount of featured snippets, too. Not sure how many, keyword tools like SEMRush as way too far behind and inaccurate to take the data from right now.
The amount of posts you have per month is staggering. Are all of your articles long (1000 words or more) or do you mix it up with short, to the point articles that only answer one question as well?
Your numbers are inspiring.
Almost all my articles are around 750-900 words. That’s typically what it takes to answer a question in depth, so that’s where I stop. No added fluff and BS.
Nice, and how do you plan for your content? You must have 10 drafts ready to go at any point in time!
I just have a long list of keywords and knock them out as and when I can. I work in batches of 5-10 as it saves a little time doing it like that. Especially if they’re related and will need to be interlinked when I publish them.
You are a talent on finding many low competitive keyword.
How do you find many low competitve keywords to write on just one site ? 220 posts on just one topic or many topic on your site? Is your site focus on 1 or many topic? Tks
My sites are pretty narrow, like one hobby. I don’t find it difficult to find lots of KWs, if you use this method https://earningfinancialfreedom.com/how-i-find-low-competition-longtail-keywords-for-free/ and the WMS extension it lists loads of KWS in a short amount of time.
Can you maybe do an Ezoic setup post? I tried joining but got stalled, noticed it’s not compatible with my cache plugin and wordfence. I feel like I would need to set aside a lot of time to learn how to use their platform.
Hey Jak, it is confusing to set up Ezoic, I agree. I had a member of their team call me on Skype when I first joined and talk me through it.
I’m not even confident enough that I know the process to write a post on it! Reach out to them, they should walk you through it too if you ask.
Looking forward to your next update! What do you use for plugins? I like the fact that you really seem to streamline them which of course affects your page speeds. Also what do you use for GDPR and the state of California’s equivalent CCPA?
Keep it up!
Hi Dave, I try to keep plugins to a minimum, yes, I have these:
Contact Form 7
Easy Table of Contents
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Insert Headers and Footers
W3 Total Cache
Ezoic supplies a cookie pop up that is fully Google compliant, so that’s covered.
Does AdSense accept websites in all niches or are some niches banned? For example, if I were to build a neat, decent niche site in online casino gambling would the site be accepted for AdSense?
I just read through the AdSense publisher policy page and I can’t see they say gambling is not allowed, but I wouldn’t be very confident about passing a site built around gambling. Google doesn’t allow most adult-themed content types, you can read more about their policies here.