Adsense content site case study month 5 May 2020 Update

Adsense/Content Site Case Study Month 5 Update

If you’ve landed here directly, this is an update for the 5th month of my content site case study.

On the 1st of this year (2020), I started a new site to test out some things. I had a few simple goals:

  • Publish as much SEO-focused content around low-comp keywords as possible
  • Invest no time or money in link building or outreach
  • Monetize preliminary with ads and some affiliate stuff where possible
  • Return a nice ROI within 12 months

If you want to start from the beginning, you can find my other updates here:

Right, let’s jump straight in with the numbers to-date:


Traffic and Earnings Stats for May 2020

Month# of articlesPageviewsEzoic earnings ($)AdSense earning ($)Affiliate earning ($)Total ($)

Ad Revenue RPMs EPMVs and More for May

The pandemic is still having a big impact on ad revenue. Still, I’m not one to complain. I’m happy with the $521 I made from AdSense and Ezoic combined in May.

Here are the Ezoic earnings:

Ezoic earnings for May 2020

You may notice a dip in ad revenue on the 15th in the above graph. This is because I used some words that were flagged as being “objectionable content” and were in violation of Google AdSense’s terms and conditions.

They were not naughty words!. Well, they were words that could be taken as meaning something rude. But in the context in which I used them, it was perfectly fine.

Those words have now been whitelisted, so I can use them all I want. But Ezoic pulled my ads for a couple of days and I lost around $35 in ad revenue I’m estimating.

Weirdly, the EPMV from the day ads were reinstated has been much lower than pre-ban. Maybe this is just a coincidence, maybe it’s not. I wonder.

I decided to run with the maximum Premium plan from the 19th too as you can see by the darker portion on the graph.

This has made up for the drop in EPMV, but it’s costing me $220/mo. That’s split across 5 sites, so it’s not a hit on this site as an entire cost.

If you’re still using AdSense or no ads at all, you should give Ezoic a try. You can sign up for Ezoic here using my referral code and it would be much appreciated.

Amazon Affiliate Earnings for May

Amazon Affiliate Earnings for May 2020

I’m not tracking it too closely, but I think almost all these clicks are coming from one post. I have very few Amazon links across the site, I intend to add more next month though.

I’m also using Amazon’s OneLink to capture UK sales. I made a couple of hundred bucks in the UK store, but I’m not sure how much related to this site so I left it out of the figures.

Traffic Stats for May

Google Analytics for May:

Google traffic for May 2020

Google Search Console data for the last 3 months:

Google Search Console Data for May 2020

Traffic has been slowing up for a while. There are a few reasons for this:

  • I’m posting less content
  • I’ve spotted other sites scraping my keywords and copying my posts
  • The pandemic increased screentime, which I think is gradually reducing now
  • The May Core Update didn’t affect my site, but articles I published since haven’t been ranking as well
  • My Pinterest account was banned last month

I still believe in the content strategy I’ve been using to date. Growing a new site to almost 50k page views in 5 months is solid growth.

If I could double the traffic by doubling the work I’ve already done, I’d take that. It doesn’t work like that though, I will have to start being a bit more dynamic with my content strategy at some point.

For now, I’m just going to continue what I’m doing and posting as much as I can.

If you’re interested in how I do my keyword research to find longtail low competition keywords < read that post.

Time Spent Working on the Site in May – Passive Income Activated

Passive income is a controversial and subjective term, but it’s fair to say I’ve hit some passive income with this site now.

I spent about 38-40 hours on the site in May. Had I spent 0 hours or 100 hours, I think it would have earned roughly the same amount.

It’s still really early in the life of the site. Five months is early in the life of any site, so I’m not banking on anything yet.

The consistency of the site is still far from established. With the global pandemic still happening and so many young articles on the site, I really can’t guess what the numbers will be next month.

What’s the Plan for June?

I think my goal for May was to write 50 articles, and I didn’t get anywhere close to that.

Hopefully, I can pick up the productivity in June and publish more. I have some other big projects on the go though, so I’m not going to set a number.

How are your projects/sites going? Feel free to drop me a note below if you have any questions, cheers!

17 thoughts on “Adsense/Content Site Case Study Month 5 Update”

  1. Thanks for this IF true. Can you tell me one thing I’ve made site and i’m at around month 2 with around 100 or so daily clicks, but I see super low CTR like “most recent” is 0.5 – 0.9%

    What was your google search console CTR if you can show some screenshots thank you.

    NICHE sites are getting SUPER COMPETITIVE!

    1. Hey, I included a screenshot from my search console above. Average CTR 3.9%, it’s been 4.1% for the last 28 days, just looked.

      It always starts off much lower of course, give it some more time.

  2. Another great article.
    Currently using your strategy on my site. Have been doing so for about 4 days. I’ll be writing more than 1 article each day soon hopefully. Let’s see where that leads me.

    Great work, great article. Can’t wait for your June update. Best of luck !!!

  3. This is really an awesome case study Phil,
    I landed here after knowing you through Reddit and trust me your content is easy to read and implement. My one question, How to pick a niche for adsense/ads site, the same your doing now. Keywords picking is understood but a niche, should it be broad or narrow?

    1. That’s always a tough question.
      Some niche pay more for ads than others, but that’s something I’ve never really considered. But will do before starting another site.
      Just pick a niche with plenty of search volume, then use a domain that’s not too specific so you can branch out.
      You should always be able to think of at least 5 categories to start with.
      But, honestly, you can pick almost anything around your home, a pet, or look on Wikipedia for list of hobbies and pick one of those.

    1. I’ve seen it happen, both bots scraping it exact, and other site builders just spinning my stuff – I don’t do anything about it. It’s too time-consuming and never-ending trying to stop this kind of stuff in my opinion.

  4. Hello
    I read a lot of niche site case studies, but your case study and your work is great and awesome. You write lot of articles in few months, and you got lot of organic visitors and good revenue. Really it is very good and I wish you good luck in other sites as well.
    My question is can you have atleast a small success with a niche site and get organic visitors and small amount of ads revenue without building any backlinks?
    Can I have a nice results with just on page seo and good keyword research and some social media sharing ?

    1. Thanks, Mehdi, appreciate it.

      Yes, absolutely, I didn’t build any links to this site. I don’t build links to any of my sites. I do know that links are obviously incredibly powerful, it’s just not something I choose to do right now.

      1. Yes you are right…
        -If we don’t have a paid plans -in stock photos websites . can we use free pictures in pexels or freepik and do an attribution?
        What is your experience about images in this site and other sites?
        -I have a domain registered in June and the domain name is indexed .. I have not ranked any content just like first step when you index your domain name first time.. so from June I didn’t work on it and it was still from June until now it is on google. does it mans that it will soon escape from good Sandbox.. because theuly say you should wait 6 months until it will earn authority from google like they always said.. so now my domain name has 5 months on google but not working on it.. does it is good?

        Thank you so much for you articles… I hope to see you again posting new case studies and tips on your website.

        1. I use Unsplash and Pixaby for all of my images. I do put an attribution (without the link) in at the end of the article, even though it’s not required. It helps me remember where I got the image from and doesn’t do any harm. I also take as many as I can for myself, I think there is a small benefit to having unique and original images, I always do it where possible.

          The more age the better, but I don’t stress or think about the sandbox, I just publish content and let Google do what it does. You can see from my case study, and this is true of my other sites, I start getting traffic after 3 months using my low comp strategy.

          1. Thank you my friend for answers…
            I hope you make a lot of new articles in this site, because it will be beneficial for all of us.

  5. Hi Phil,

    When you work on content, do you work on several posts at on time like 5-10 for one site or do you work on say 5-10 posts for various sites? I find I get bored when I’m too focussed on one site, yet find it very time inefficient to jump around different unrelated posts as it takes time doing research….

    As far as having a list of keywords, I usually come up with 5-10 keywords at a time, since it takes time evaluating the competition and finding low competition keywords. What’s your strategy for coming up with keyword batches?

    Thanks for your continued contributions!

    1. I like to write in batches of related articles for the same site, usually 5 or so yeah. That I upload and publish them at the same time and interlink them. I find it quicker to stick to the same general topic for a while, less back and forth.

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