Hey ya’ll, I’m back for my scheduled monthly update on the content site I started in Jan – thanks for following along.
If you want to check out how I grew the site to where it’s at now, you can find my previous posts here:
If you’re new here, I started a brand-new site on the 1st of this year with some very 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
- Create a nice passive income stream
Ad rates are finally hitting what I was expected when I started the site (obviously not expecting the pandemic to hit), so it’s starting to feel more like how I expected the site to go now!
If you want to know exactly how I’m building this site, essentially there are two key elements;
- Keyword research – You can read how I find low competition keywords here.
- SEO-focused content – You can read how I write and format my articles so they rank well here.
That’s pretty much all there is to it. When you know how to write SEO content that ranks, it’s just rinse and repeat!
Here’s a look at how it’s performing:
Traffic and Earnings Stats for Jan-August 2020
|Month||# of articles||Pageviews||Ezoic earnings ($)||AdSense earnings ($)||Affiliate earnings ($)||Total ($)|
Ezoic Earnings for August
A huge jump in Ezoic earnings this month from $572.68 to $1,012.76. This is mostly due to the EPMV increasing from $13.58 to $20.58.
Not all of this was organic, I also increased my Premium subscription from $110/mo to $220/mo. Not all of the $220 is a cost to this site, I have a few sites on Ezoic and the subscription applies to all of my sites.
I see a lot of questions regarding Ezoic’s Premium plan, here’s the basics:
What Is Ezoic Premium?
In short, if you’re using Ezoic you may be invited to join their Premium plan. This means you can choose to pay a monthly fee (based on your current monthly earnings) and this gives you access to a pool of Premium advertisers they have deals with.
They will then show ads from those advertising partners on your site, and you’ll earn a share of that revenue. Makes sense?
Is Ezoic Premium Worth It?
Ezoic say themselves that results will vary and there are no guarantees. I’ve been using Premium for almost a year and to-date I’ve had a 161% return on the money I’ve paid in.
That means, for every $1,000 I’ve paid, I’ve earned $1,610 back. So, for me it’s been worth it and that’s why I’m paying the maximum they’ll allow me to.
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.
How Do You Get AdSense Earnings Too?
I get asked this a lot too. Ezoic lets – even recommends – you keep your Google AdSense code on your site so you can split test if your site or pages are performing better with Ezoic or AdSense.
I’m sending 100% of my traffic to Ezoic as it’s literally 10x the revenue of AdSense alone, but as a result some AdSense ads still show on mobile.
Mostly the formats that Ezoic do not use, like the floating ad at the top of the page and the full-screen one that pops up when clicking through to different pages. (that’s one of the most annoying ads ever)
As a result I made an additional $122.40 in ad revenue from Google AdSense in August, I can’t complain.
Amazon Earnings for August
I only added a couple of Amazon links this month, so no surprise that earnings aren’t going up. In fact, despite having more clicks that last month, earnings are down from $54 – but that’s just variance, I guess.
My main focus is ad revenue as I explained earlier. I literally only add Amazon links to products that are very relevant to the post in a contextual way. I don’t write any “best” or “top” posts.
Third-Party Affiliate Earnings for August
Now, this is the stuff that gets me excited. This is a small(ish) family run business I’m referring sales to, so it feels like I’m actually helping them with their digital presence.
I get 10% per sale, and as you can see the conversion rate is lower than Amazon but the ROI is a lot higher. I’m thinking about ways to send more traffic to these guys over Amazon for sure.
It’s not as simple as swapping out Amazon links though. This vendor sells items that are not for sale on Amazon. That makes you question – what the hell is not for sale on Amazon, right? 😉
Traffic Stats for August
I took my foot off the gas for the two previous months; June and July. As a result, the site slowed in growth.
This month I got back on track and put in a huge effort to see if I could right the ship – and I’m pretty happy with the results.
I published 72 articles (wow that sounds a lot), I probably put in about 100 hours of work. Still a part-time effort for sure as I have loads of other things going on, but this burst of articles resulted in some decent movement (July vs August):
- Pageviews increased by 16.71%
- Impressions increased by 19.90%
- Hit 2k pageviews in a day for the first time (3 times)
- Most importantly, earnings went up 66.7%!
Wrapping Up: Month in Review and What’s Next
I set myself the goal of publishing 500 articles by the end of the year, so that’s what I’ll do. That means an average of 32 articles per month for the remainder of the year.
I think I’m going to step up the competition and search volume a notch next month and see if I can rank for some bigger terms. I still have no real “authority” according to tools like Moz where my site is a DA 8, but I think I have more authority than that in Google’s eyes. We shall see.
I’m hoping (and I don’t see any reason why not – barring a Google update) that I now have a passive asset bringing in at least $1k/mo.
The ROI to-date on my time and the minimal expenses is fine by me, so I’ll continue doing what’s worked so far and adjust as I go.
I’ve heard some really positive stuff from members of the community here and on Reddit using a similar model to me and it makes me warm and fussy inside to hear that. Congrats to everyone making something happen, regardless if you’re just starting or seeing some results.
Feel free to drop and questions, progress updates, or feedback below. Set a goal and never give up peeps, never.
31 thoughts on “Adsense/Content Site Case Study Month 8 Update”
Great effort Phil!
I’m really struggling to get my ePMV into double digits on Ezoic for some reason. Am giving it another couple of weeks before looking into it further with my account manager.
Now that you’re close to 50,000 views, do you plan to apply to Mediavine?
Hey, Lewis – thanks.
It’s frustrating to see a lower EPMV than other sites, I know how you feel. There are so many variables that affect ad rates, it’s worth asking them to try and help though, yeah.
Mediavine doesn’t accept sites less than a year old, so I have some time. I would like to jump onto AdThive by next year ideally, I have a site on Mediavine and would like to try out AdThrive as I never have.
Ah nice one Phil. Didn’t actually know sites needed to be a year old+ for Mediavine.
Have you noticed a big jump in EPMV on Mediavine vs Ezoic?
I have a site on Mediavine in a very similar niche and it does get a higher RPM by a few bucks, which is a huge deal really as a site grows. These two ad platforms aren’t too far different most of the time in my experience.
Hi phil ! I was waiting for this update ! You motivated me to start a blog and i just launched my website on pet niche ( dogs ), currently i have 3 blogs with 700-900 words length ( couldn’t get more infos )
Do you have think it’s profitable niche ? Also what do u suggest me to do in the first month ? ( Im focusing on writing about specific breed with low search volume 10-90 )
That’s awesome, I’m so happy to hear you’ve started.
The dog niche is huge, you shouldn’t have any problems with that. I would stick to one breed for sure at first, just try to find those questions that haven’t been answered by many sites.
It takes practice too, you’ll get better at finding KWs and writing posts the more you do it.
Great to see that things are chugging along with this case study!
I recently decided to start a website targeting 0-10 monthly search volume terms, and I’ve written 30 articles averaging 1046 words in the past 2 weeks. This case study is what inspired me to “pull the trigger” so I appreciate it!
Quick question: What do you do for your H2s? Do you take the time to find relevant secondary keywords, or do you simply create headings that help move the articles along?
I love it, Daniel, starting is half the puzzle – not quitting is the other.
Most of my H2s are questions from the “People Also Ask” block that appears near the top of the search results. I will also use some that make sense to move the post along too.
Thanks for your response! Looking forward to seeing how your site will look next month!
Just when I thought there is no way this man can do better than what he did in the prev months, this happens!!!!
Congratulations on crossing the $1k/Month mark. BEST OF LUCK!!
Thanks Ahmad, appreciate that!
I didn’t expect it to go so well either. But I knew I was going to work my butt off, so you know what, it’s no coincidence because it wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Good luck to you too!
Congrats on the new milestone. I’ve you considered offering Keyword research as a service? I’d be the first customer. Also, is it ok if I can contact you privately?
I should do that, you’re right, I do get asked about finding keywords a lot.
Sure, a message in my contact form should find its way to me.
Hi Phil, excellent results!
I follow your case study from the first month, and you’ve inspired me to start my own website.
I started a website in the pet niche following your guides. Right now, I have 29 articles. Together it makes 41,071 words, which is an average of 1,416 words per article.
Currently, in the Google Search Console, I have 16 pages indexed and one as “Discovered – currently not indexed”. When I use “site:domain.com” it returns 5 results. Google Search Console shows 0 impressions. The website is about 2 weeks old now. The domain is brand new without any history. Do you think that Google just needs more time to index everything properly?
I am sure the website should be easily crawlable for Google. The sitemap is on, interlinking is on point, on-page SEO should be fine as well. And I also targeted only low competition keywords with a lot of forums, Quora, or articles that didn’t answer the query, and I made sure I wrote the best article possible for that topic.
Hopefully, I will start to see some traction soon. I know this is a marathon, not a sprint, but I am kinda nervous to see no impressions at all and not all pages indexed.
Thanks a lot!
Btw. do you do paid consultations? I will obviously use your affiliate link for Ezoic once I reach that pageviews, but it would be nice if we could have a 1on1 Skype call or something like that. Thanks 🙂
That’s awesome to hear that you’ve started, and started at quite the pace too!
It is way too early to be concerned about things like a page that might not be indexing after just two weeks, yes!
I know the feelings in these early stages, I want things to start happening. I tend to see traffic earlier than most people with the super low-comp keywords I target, but I’d still say you need to wait a couple of months.
I have done some consulting, time allowing, yes. drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with some more details, thanks.
So happy for you man!!
Really inspired by your posts. Real happy to hear your successes and I love the way you write – so encouraging.
Also really cool to see that you’ve been doing contextual affiliate links – I was trained in the “best of” style but I really want to be sincere about products when I write. So great to hear an alternate point of view that absolutely works.
Thanks, Sil, yeah, I’m kind of doing what I really want to do, which makes me happy and makes it easier to do this stuff.
Thanks for doing these updates. I think I speak for a lot of readers when I say they’re inspiring. It really shows how hard work and consistency pays off. Congrats on the success.
I do have a question: What would you suggest for ways to identify a niche to apply this strategy to? It seems like a lot of niches I’ve been considering for my next site are either too competitive or in niches where I would expect the RPM on ads to be super low. It seems finding one that has low competition, decent ad rates, and hundreds of keywords to write for are hard to find. Either that or I’m not creative…
You do need to take note of ad rates, of course. So avoid a niche if it’s not going to pay well.
But, honestly, I feel like you can find these low comp keywords in just about any niche. I’ve never failed to do so. Larger sites tend to rank for keywords but they’re targeting the broader topic, right?
Target the narrow question that people are actually asking, and you should outrank them – at least sometimes. It has to work, or these sites would dominate Google, you know?
I have just completed reading your income reports and am really impressed with your writing style and transparency.
I had a few questions and would appreciate if you could answer them.
i) What do you think should be the rpm for an educational blog using ezoic and adsense
ii) Do mediavine, ezoic, and adthrive accept people where the traffic is not from the US but other english speaking countries such as Newzealand, England anad Canada.
iii) Can i try the same long tail keyword strategy on a a YMYL topic such as Finance. Will i still have to establish EAT ?
Hi Sam, thanks – happy to answer any questions;
1. I don’t know what the RPM for the educational niche is. It will depend on a lot of factors; countries of your traffic, source of traffic, etc, there is not a reliable source anywhere for what niches pay, but we know there is a lot of advertising spend in education, so I’m sure it’s decent.
2. Ezoic are more accepting to traffic from countries outside of the U.S., for Mediavine, you will almost certainly need 50k visitors from the U.S. per month. Not sure about AdThrive as I haven’t used them.
3. Yes, you can target low comp keywords in any niche and rank for them. Obviously, in the long term YMYL niches are harder to build up considerable numbers.
1. I made an impulse buy of domain in a competitive niche. But i love the niche myself. Should i continue? I don’t want to outrank the best. All i need is a passive $500 – $1000.
2. If my website is for example Philsguide dot com, what can i do so that i rank on page 1 for “Phils Guide”, “Phil guides”, and “Phils guides”? Remember in this case “Phils” is a very competitive word with DA 80+ on top.
Hi William, nothing wrong with a competitive niche, if it’s a busy niche it means there are more longtail keywords!
You might never rank for those core KWs, like “Phil guides”, you might have to search out the longtails, like “which phil guide is best for x”, or “will phil guide help with x”, etc.
I know it sounds easy for me to say, but the $500 is achievable in just about any niche with just longtail keywords, honestly.
Hi Phil, Hope you’re well. I’m inspired by your results. I want to thank you for selflessly sharing ur process. After seeing the merits in your kw research methodology, I recently started a blog in the cat niche(informational long tail keywords with 10-50 s.v) and wrote 12 articles so far.
However, I’m not sure if there’s a decent ePMV in the cat niche. How do I find out if there’s atleast a $15 ePMV.
Thinking of joining a few affiliate programs somewhere down the line. Would you recommend targeting buyer keywords for promoting affiliate products(by writing product reviews) or by naturally linking to a relevant product in an informational blog post.
Hi, Gautam, good to hear you’ve started a blog, I’m sure you’ll do well if nail the KW research.
I have friends with cat sites, so I know for sure it’s a great niche and they get around $20 EPMV.
Personally, I slip affiliate links in naturally. Nothing wrong with product reviews, they’re just harder to rank for without links.
That’s encouraging to hear. Thanks for sharing your insights.
Looking forward to your next update. Wish you well.
Do you use only H2’s or do you mix in some H3’s?
You keep this up, you’ll soon be the next Income School or Fatstackblog.
My only complaint, I wish you posted more. You have so insight, give more than you take unlike Income School who purposely leave out even the most obvious of things like using GSC. They also tend to dumb things down as well. Not you though. You tell it like it is.
Thanks Dave – I’m able to be 100% honest about what I’m doing because I’m not trying to sell anything like other marketers 🙂
I typically use about 5 H2s per post, rarely I’ll go to H3 – only if there are some subcategories, I tend to use bullet points instead as I like to keep the post flowing with just a few hearders.
First of all, a big applause for what you have achieved in short duration. Your EPMV is so good.
I also use Ezoic on my website (Finance/Trading Niche).
Currently, I have website traffic of 30000 per month out of which 90-95% comes from India.
I was getting $1 EPMV till the end of last month.
But I changed my theme 20 days ago for more user friendly theme. Due to this, the traffic have risen to 130 to 150%. But the EPMV decreased by 50 to 70% (Showing the same amount of Ezoic ads).
How can I increase the EPMV? Can you guide me with that, Phil?
Unfortunately, the country traffic comes from has a huge impact on EPMV. The easy answer is to start targeting US keywords, topics, etc, to start ranking for keywords in the US. Outside of that, you just need to work on increasing your traffic.
Your content’s are informative. I’m sticking to your blog now.