AdSense Content Site Case Study Month 8 Update

AdSense/Content Site Case Study Month 9 Update

Here we are at month 9 already. I really wanted to ride the wave of momentum from last month, but alas, life, work, and some other things got in the way.

I published the fewest posts in a month to date – just 17 new posts.

The good news is that all the work I did previously is paying off and ad rates are on the rise!

Here’s how the month 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:

The purpose of building this site and my goals are very simple:

  • 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

I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible. Rank low competition content, rinse and repeat. Here’s a couple of posts detailing exactly how I find low comp keywords, and structure my posts:

Traffic and Earnings Stats for Jan-Sep 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
Totals391288,4523,851.56473.33640.064,964.95

Ezoic Earnings for September

Ezoic earnings for September case study site

Ezoic is really pulling its weight for me on this site. Affiliate earnings are down (as you’ll see below) but Ezoic earnings are up again.

The average EPMV for the entire month was $23.29, combined with AdSense that’s a total ad EPMV (earning per 1,000 visitors) of around $26.

I see sites with a higher EPMVs, and I see some with lower. For me, I’m perfectly happy with where these ad rates are at.

Obviously, I won’t complain if it increases a little more – which typically ad rates do leading into December.

I’m using Ezoic Premium, which helps. If you want to know about how Ezoic Premium works – or how I also have AdSense earnings – I explained it in last month’s post.

Amazon Earnings for September

Amazon sales data case study site Sep

I didn’t add any Amazon affiliate links to new posts this month. Earnings are up on the $34 from last month, and I sent almost a hundred fewer clicks so I’ll take it.

As I’ve explained before, I only add Amazon links into informational posts when it’s super relevant. I don’t write any buyer intent posts, so I don’t expect this to increase much in the future.

Third-Party Affiliate Earnings for September

Affiliate sales for September case study site

I sent a similar number of clicks over to this third-party affiliate, but earnings were down from $142.75 to $56.18. I guess it’s just variance. It may also be a seasonal thing, I noticed they were out of stock of a number of items.

Either way, I’m going to continue to focus on sending traffic to this business over Amazon. I didn’t have time last month, but I will definitely be adding some affiliate content for this company this month.

Traffic Stats for September

Google search console data case study site Sep
Google analytics data case study site Sep

Here comes the obvious; when I publish a load of content (like last month) I see a rise in traffic. When I don’t, I don’t see a noticeable rise in traffic.

I didn’t do much this month, I spent about 20 hours in total writing 17 posts. Pageviews are down slightly on last month, but that’s just because there is one less day in September vs August.

Wrapping Up: Month in Review and What’s Next

I’ve had a goal of publishing 500 posts by the end of the year for a while, and I don’t intend on missing that. So, that’s 109 more articles in the next 3 months ,I better get writing!

I’m super happy with how it’s going so far. The site made me $1,386 this month (that’s £1,071 in the Queen’s money here in the UK), pretty much passively for the most part.

I am going to aim for at least 30 posts this month!


I really hope this helps some of you reading this make more money from your sites. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to earn a passive income online.

As always, I love hearing from anyone who is also making strides forward. Feel free to drop me a message and share how you’re getting on or ask any questions if you think I can help.

28 thoughts on “AdSense/Content Site Case Study Month 9 Update”

  1. Hi Phil.

    Great stuff mate. Keep it up. Am applying your keyword research method and will keep you updated with my progress.

    Cheers

    Ali

      1. Hey Phil,
        Nice blog, I look forward to more content. Couple of questions.

        Do you ever target more than one keyword(phrase) in a blog post?

        How much do you use Google Search Console? Do you ever double down on posts or keywords that are bringing you traffic, if so how?

        What do you think of Fatstacksblog.com? Seems like Jon and you have similar approaches.

        BTW I got slammed by last May’s Algo Update and never recovered.

        So I’m going through GSC to find the Keywords and Posts that were/are bringing me the most traffic and Updating the content, adding, but also quite a bit of repurposing or even deleting content. I’ve found that I have a lot of irrelevant content on some of my posts that weren’t “on target” and think maybe that is what eventually dragged my posts down in the end…

        I love writing and in an effort to “Skyscrape” Content, I got a bit overzealous and veered way off target on many of them.

        Anyway, would love some feedback.
        Keep up the good work!

        1. Hi Dave, appreciate that! To answer your questions:

          – I deliberately target more keywords in each post, yes. All very closely related, usually picked up from the “people also ask” and “related searches” on the results page.

          – I use Search Console to find more keywords too, yes. Not as much as I used to, as I find these really low comp KWs have less opportunities for more KWs, but they rank way easier for the main KW.

          – I like Jon D’s content at FatStacks, yes. Followed him for years, wouldn’t buy his courses though, all the information is out there for free.

          – Sorry to hear you got hit in May, do we even know what that update was targeting? I’ve had hits before, always recovered them over time.

          – Relevancy is everything in my opinion. That’s why I write short posts and rank just fine. I only answer the KW in tightly related questions relevant to the post.

          If you keep adding content and always try to improve your processes, the only result will be more traffic, Dave. It’s not easy as a lot of people selling courses make out – and they know that. But it’s very attainable for anyone willing to put in the work.

  2. Hey Phil!

    Thanks for the feedback. Seems like we are of like minds)

    As far as what the May Algo was targeting, no idea….But judging how I got hit and which posts overtook mine. It seems many of them were newer sites targeting the same content as I was.

    I fact, I swear some of them possibly rewrote some of my posts, but in a way I could not out and out “call them out” on it.

    That’s ok though. In fact, many on the first pages for the keywords I had lost rankings on all have similar content. Nothing special, in fact they’re almost all repetitive. But there are quite a few gaps.

    Content wise I will either:
    1. Attack the keywords from a different angle and go more in depth. Adding and rewriting where relevant. Focussing on the answer target and query as concise as possible.
    2. Cut out irrelevant content that veers away from the target keywords, (I see patterns for each post in regards to KWs in my GSC data), then repurpose the cut out content along with more relevant KWs (as low competition as possible) then expand on them and turn them into new posts.
    3. More on page SEO interlinking, linking out to authoritative sites where relevant, social media posts that are relevant, images, tables, infographics etc.

    I was surprised with how much my content had veered off track, especially from the KWs Google was ranking my site for….I have some real whoppers 4-7k word posts….I didn’t realize it until I took a real hard look. But since I hate to let good content go to waste, I’m using it for new posts…

    Look forward to hearing more about your SEO journey’s and of course, more content!
    All the best!

  3. Thanks for putting together these progress updates Phil- they’re really motivating to read each month!

    I recently set myself the goal of publishing 150 articles in 90 days- 30 in month 1, 60 in month 2, and 60 in month 3.

    My question is: Would you ever go down to say, 4 posts each month after publishing a large number of articles during the initial few months? I come from a YouTube marketing background where it’s a recipe for disaster to decrease publishing frequency, but I often hear of people not publishing articles on websites for months on end and not seeing a decline in growth (unless they get outranked, of course).

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Daniel, thanks!

      Yeah, that’s fine, I have sites I have not touched in years and they keep chugging along. One in particular, I try to just post once a week to keep it looking fresh and it gets 50k pageviews and holds steady.

      It’s more important to get as much content up as quicky as possible, then just do what you can. But you’re right, unless someone pushes ahead of you, you shouldn’t see much decay.

  4. Hey Phil!

    Keep this up! Reading your content about keyword research has been a breathe of fresh air! I want to see updates for this site for at least the next year!

    Ben

  5. Hi Phil,

    Long time reader, first time poster. 🙂

    First off, thanks to your case studies and keyword research tips, I’ve managed to get my blog up to 200 organic visits a day. And that visitor number is rising at a parabolic rate of 25-30% per week!

    So thank you so much for posting these updates (they are a real inspiration!).

    Now, I am just posting because I have a quick question about Mediavine.

    Do you use a Lazy Load Style plugin on your websites? (these are those plugins that basically smush and reduce the site speed impact of large images and videos).

    I read that Mediavine don’t want us to use these plugins on our websites.

    I currently use a Lazy Load plugin on Youtube iFrames to help cut those Video embeds down to size.

    But if Mediavine won’t allow Lazy Loading of iFrames videos, how do you manage to keep your site speed low?

    I use video embeds a fair bit throughout my website. But what is your work around for this problem?

    Thanks!

    BTW I heard you chat on Shaun Marrs channel a few days ago. Great advice! You should really start a Youtube channel or Podcast yourself. I’d be your first subscriber!

    1. Your site is growing nicely!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I don’t do much to optimize speed, my sites are very slow, and this includes a site I have running Mediavine ads. You’re right, they say not to use Lazy Load plugins.

      Mediavine is bringing out their own theme that they say will tackle all of these speed problems and work perfectly with their ads. Basically, I’m waiting for that theme and will move my site over.

      Apart from that, I just use WPX hosting and they set up the W3 Total Cache plugin with their settings and that’s all I do.

      1. That’s good to know!

        What kind of page speeds are you currently getting on your blog posts?

        I am getting 3-4 seconds page load speeds with Lazy Load switched on (according to GTMetrix).

        But the moment I switch off the Lazy Load plugin my video-embedded website pages slow down to 9 to 10 second loading times (which is probably not bad considering that the average page load speed across the web is around 8.4 seconds – once again, according to GTMetrix).

        I don’t even have any ads on my website yet, so I figure ads will slow down that loading time even further.

  6. Hello Philip. Usually it doesn’t take me this long to comment on your new posts but I didn’t find anything to type until now.

    I would like to ask you about external links. Do you force yourself to include and external link to an authoritative website in every single article that you write?

    I link to external articles whenever I can, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right to link to an external article in some of my articles.

    Side note. I have started a new blog. The old one doesn’t seem to work. I’m following every bit of advice that you gave me here on this blog. Planning to write more than 100 articles in less than 45 days(so far the plan is perfectly on track) and hoping for the best haha. We’ll see what happens.

    Lastly, Congrats on your numbers in this month !!! They look amazing as usual.

    1. Hey Ahmad

      I do link out to a site in most posts. Usually a study or scientific paper, not such much other sites that are writing similar content.

      But if I’m answering a question or stating something as fact, I usually link out to a source about it.

      Good progress on the new site, that’s a lot of content, not many people write that much you’ll jump over loads of other sites!

  7. Hey Phil, congrats for your success so far on this site..

    I just have one thing to mention here.

    Don’t you think you are producing too much content with lower word count?

    I think an article with 1000-1500 words can easily outrank your 800ish word articles if your competitor decides to outrank you..

    AS per my experience, articles with 1k -2k words rank much better and maintain their ranks for long term..

    You really don’t require to publish 500 articles on your site this way..

    You can earn the same amount in 200-250 quality articles with higher word count..

    I recently launched a new site too and it has only 20 articles so far.. they have avg 1500 words ..

    Without links, this site is currently getting 4000 visitors a month and earning around $120..

    So my epmv is about $30.. I agree it depends on your niche..

    But I still fill that you need to add more words for your articles so that they will maintain their ranks for long term..

    So, you really don’t have to publish lot of articles.. I guess 1 article a day is sufficient to maintain the balance between quantity and quality..

    This is what I do at least..

    Good luck buddy.

    1. Hi Vishal

      It’s an interesting topic; content length. I really don’t know what is best.

      I think for the types of keywords I’m targeting, 800 words is fine. After all, I’m ranking in the top 5 most of the time.

      Also, I’m covering the topic in detail as they are mostly specific questions that could almost be answered with just a “yes” or a “no”, you know?

      I’m planning to try some longer articles, but I also need to find KWs that I can write more about, so it’s a different strat really.

      Sounds like you’re having really good progress. Would be interesting to see how your site is performing vs mine with the same overall wordcount.

      A lot of people say “longer content ranks better”, I see it all the time. It’s not always true, I think it depends on the type of KWs and some other things.

      It’s the easiest thing in the world to add 500 words of fluff to a post, I can do that in a few minutes. I choose not to as I think keeping the content relevant is important, but like I said, I’m interested to see how you get on with longer posts. I’d start writing longer posts if I thought it would bring more traffic.

      1. Thanks for your detailed response Phil.

        I agree that the word length really depends on the depth of the topic.

        The topics I chose for my new site were needed that much content to outrank my competitors.. thats why I opted for 1500 words avg.. but sometimes I do write 800-1000 words articles due to the selection of relatively easy keywords.. same like yours..

        So the content length clearly depends on the choice of your keywords..

        But I see a strong correlation that the long form content ranks for more long tail keywords and this attracts more traffic and revenue in the long run in comparison to short form articles..

        I will try to post my site update on my site in next few months.. and then we will compare for sure.

        1. Hi Vishal

          Yes, I saw your 90-day challenge on your site, looking forward to seeing how your site continues to grow, good job making some $ so early on. I didn’t see an email signup, feel free to let me know if you post an update with more stats.

          1. I haven’t put any email signup yet on the site..not looking to sell anything..but when I post update, I will let you know..it would be a very much interesting case study..

  8. hello Phil..this may be a silly question but I’m just getting started and I just want to design a basic blog to concentrate on making content.
    Can you please tell me which theme you’re using = the plugin you used to create the sign-up form in your sidebar as well as the cookie policy at the bottom of this blog?

    1. Hi Mohamed, design isn’t my strong point, but I can answer this:

      The theme I use here and on most of my sites is Astra (Free version)

      The Signup form is just some script from MailChimp

      The cookie policy is a plug in called GDPR Cookie Consent

      Cheers!

  9. Hi, Phil

    I am a college student and looking into specifically adsense sites, as i feel affiliate sites just require so much work ( backlink and strong seo) and i have no exp, so i liked the idea of adsense sites. However, i am still confused about the epmv and the empv you can expect within a niche. What are your thought’s about finding a high epmv niche, ymyl topics for the low ranking terms and how you go about finding a niche? What are the factors you use to decide a niche before spending the next long months writing content for it?

    1. Hi Bala

      Something a lot of people don’t explain about EPMVs and niches is that it’s also specific to the individual keyword. So, you can rank well in the YMYL niche, but still get low EPMV.

      My advice is stick to average niches, like pets, stuff around the home, sports hobbies, etc. This way you can build up traffic easier than a competitive niche more reliably.

      I don’t think too hard about the niche. I go where I can see low competition. I have pet sites, which are always fairly easy to find KWs for, a site to do with home improvements, a site about self improvement, things like this. They range from $10-$25 EPMVs, but honestly, $10 if fine if it means you can rank fast, you know?

  10. Hi, Phil
    Thanks for your comment. In your post about keyword research, I can only find few keywords using the free tools, just wanted to know what seed phrases you use other than the usual “can”, “what”…, if not what ways do you go finding more topics with low comp

    1. Hi Bala

      I usually go down a hole following the “people also ask” section and see where it takes me. If you had a site about rabbits for example, I’d probably start with:

      Can rabbits eat…
      When do rabbits…
      What age do rabbits…
      How do I know if my rabbit….
      Will rabbits….

      Then start thinking about problems people might want to solve, so just guessing:

      Signs a rabbit is sick
      Do I need to trim my rabbit’s claws
      Do rabbits need flea treatment
      Do rabbits need toys to play with

      Then just see what the KW tools throw out and go from there, this always works for me.

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