AdSense Content Site Case Study Months 0-3 Header

AdSense/Content Site Case Study Months 0-3

I decided to kick off 2020 with a fun little project – to build an AdSense/content site blogging about stuff I find fun and interesting.

I do have some other sites that are doing fairly well. I just really wanted to diversify my portfolio with another site.

More importantly, I wanted to try out some new on-page SEO tactics and see how well they’d work on a brand new domain.

I’ll get more into the types of tactics and things I’m testing with the content on this site as the months go on.

I hope to be able to identify some content writing strategies and on-page SEO stuff that works well to share with you guys, so stay tuned for that.

Here’s the layout of how I’m planning to build this content site, how I’m going to monetize it, and how it’s going so far:


Goals for Months 0-3

In a nutshell, my goals for the first three months were;

  • To get the site up and running
  • Learn as much about my niche and competitors as possible
  • Tick all the boxes for privacy pages, GDPR stuff, all the legal T&Cs
  • Write as much content as I can

I think I can confidently say I achieved all of that. In fact, things went a little better than I was expecting, so I can’t complain.

Traffic and Earnings Stats for Jan-Mar 2020

Month# of articlesPageviewsAd revenue ($)Affiliate Revenue ($)

Here’s proof of these stats:

Google Console data shows a steady increase in traffic as I added more content. That’s a decent curve for a domain that is barley 3 months old at this point.

Adsense Site Google Console Data Jan Mar 2020

The site peaked at 546 pageviews in a day. It’s not all organic, about 13% is from Pinterest.

Adsense Site Google Analytics Data Jan Mar 2020

I added a few Amazon Affiliate links where it was really relevant to the article. I think maybe on just 5 of the 187 articles to date. Managed to pick up a few sales, so can’t complain.

Adsense Site Amazon Earnings Jan Mar 2020

Marketing and Promotion

Social and organic traffic split

All I’ve done on the marketing, promotion and linkbuilding side of things so far is set up social media accounts.

I’m not sure if it helps to have a Twitter account, YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc but it doesn’t do any harm.

The only social media platform I will be using to generate traffic is Pinterest.

I like using Pinterest, I’ve sent a decent amount of traffic to my other sites through the platform.

All I do is create a pin using a template on Canva. Add my own image, add a title, and click pin. I try not to spend more than a minute on it, and I just pin it and forget it.

As you can see, Pinterest already accounts for 13% of the users coming to the site.

How I’m Deciding How Long My Content Should Be

It’s a question I see being asked all the time:

How long should content be for SEO?

More often than not, I see people recommending long-form content. They say, “Write the longest article in the SERPs”, and “You’ll capture more longtail traffic”.

I’ve never subscribed to this.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to add a few hundred, or even a few thousand words of fluff to a post.

If that was all it took to rank better than other sites, the SERPs would be flooded with never-ending articles.

However, I don’t know the right answer to the question.

For this site though, I’m trying something different. I’m letting the SEMRush writing assistant tell me how long my articles should be.

(I think) the tool looks at the top 10 or the sites on the first page of Google and works out an average word count.

It looks like this and is on the right-hand side of the page when I’m typing up an article in Google Docs:

SEMRush writing assistant for content length

Either way, I’m liking what it’s recommending because it rarely recommends I write more than 1k words. This is probably because I’m targeting low competition longtail keywords, but it works for me.

I’m happy with the results so far. Just look at this data from Search Console, I have dozens of keywords with real search volume ranking on page 1 of the results already.

Keywords ranking on page 1 for Adsense case study

And I didn’t have to write any long-form content.

My Goals for Monetizing the Site With Ads

You will have noticed I called this project an AdSense/Content site case study.

If you’re thinking that people tend to build affiliate sites over ad sites because they’re more profitable, you’d be right.

Affiliate sites tend to have a much higher ROI. I’ve built affiliate sites before, and I’ve done fairly well – in bursts.

There are a few things about affiliate sites that I don’t enjoy, however:

  • I don’t like writing “reviews” around products I’ve never tried
  • I don’t like having to build unnatural links to money posts because they’re competitive
  • I don’t like managing links from several different affiliate programs

What I do like about content/ad sites, is:

  • I can target low competition keywords without the need to build links
  • I can focus on getting better at organic SEO
  • Once an ad site is getting decent traffic and earning ad revenue it’s fairly passive

Which Ad Network Will I Use?

I already have a couple of sites on the Ezoic platform and I’m happy with how they’re earning for the traffic they’re getting.

So, my goal with this site is to get it on Ezoic as soon as possible. The traffic requirement for Ezoic is 10k pageviews per month, although I think I can join earlier as I’m already a member.

I’ve already started hitting the daily numbers anyway if you saw the analytics for my site above. 10k page views works out at around 333 page views per day for a 30-day month.

I’ve already started breaking 500 pageviews a day, so I’ll be applying soon.

Do you have a site hitting 8k-10k pageviews a month? I recommend signing up for Ezoic and checking out their platform.

You can sign up for Ezoic with my referral link here. If you do, let me know and I’ll answer any questions you have.

Although, I can vouch for their awesome customer support as they’ve been super helpful for me. Their support basically set everything up for me.

Note; You need AdSense approval to use Ezoic. I’ve already submitted my site for approval with AdSense to get the ball rolling.

How I Achieved a 95-99 Google Pagespeed Insights Score

I’m always seeing a buzz around page speed and how important it is for SEO, so I decided to see what I could do to hit a high pagespeed score for my site.

Until recently, I was getting 99-100 when testing the site. I’ve installed a couple more plugins since then and I’m now getting 96, which is still pretty awesome.

All I can really put this down to is installing the absolute bare minimum number of plugins. As well as crushing the life out of all the images I upload to reduce the file size, and I’m hosting the site with WPX who use a high-speed CDN.

How I achieved a 96 Page speed inisghts score

My Plan for the Next 3 Months

For the next 3 months, I’m just going to continue adding as much content as I can find the time to write.

I’m going to slow down from what I’ve been doing though. I have other sites and projects to work on, I just really wanted to front load this site to speed up the growth.

I should also have ads on the site in the near future too. I also need to put some effort into the look of the site. I’m running the Astra theme without making any cosmetic changes to date.

Are you building an ad/content site? Is it something you’re interested in? If so, or if you have any comments or feedback, feel free to drop a comment below. Thanks.

28 thoughts on “AdSense/Content Site Case Study Months 0-3”

        1. Hi Charlie,
          I’ve got it nice and lean, the plugins I’m using are:
          Contact Form 7
          Easy ToC
          Monsterinights Analytics
          Rank Math
          W3 Total Cache

  1. Hi Phil
    I must say you have written content at an amazing speed. Do you write all of it? how much research for your posts do you do and so from coming up with a title to posting live how long would you say.

    I’ve struggled with content taking literally weeks finding info trying not to just regurgitate whats already out there and so long formatting, images etc etc (using Thrive Themes/Architect)

    It’s in self development and only 5 posts over 7 months with doubts if I am in the right niche or not as there’s no traffic

    Do you think traffic comes from ‘Time’ from site going live or from a certain number of posts going live? I’ve used long tail like you for low competition (Alphabet soup method)


    1. Hi Steve
      I do write all of my own content, yes.
      It’s something I have become a lot faster with over the years. Both from practice and repetition, and also being deliberate about getting faster as when I’m writing for clients I get paid by the word, not my time.
      There are different types of content, I target keywords that do not require (much) citation and scientific references. Longtail queries tend to be specific in nature, and the questions often require an answer mostly based on the author’s experience and opinion. If that makes sense.
      I believe there is a number of reasons why content ranks well, and why a lot of the stuff I write ranks well, It’s a long topic, but I’m summary:

      – I’m targeting longtail low competition keywords.

      – The volume I’m writing helps as Google notices I’ve written a lot of the topic. Maybe it’s more internal links, more content around specific keywords, frequency, or a combination.

      – Then there’s the 80/20 rule, which is so often true in publishing. 20% of your content is going to perform better, so make that 20% a larger number of articles!

      Hope that’s helped somewhat.

  2. Would you please share more about your Pinterest strategy?
    I know you’ve already mentioned that you barely waste few minutes on Pinterest. But how are these few minutes like?
    Do you do keyword research on Pinterest to know how to write your title, description and hashtags in the pin? or do you just use the exact same info from the post you are linking to.

    1. Hi, I have the Pinterest Chrome extension, when I click on an image it opens up Pinterest and pulls the title over. I just add some hashtags and click pin to the relevant board.

  3. Hi Phil great info. I’m just starting out and I agree that I wouldn’t like reviewing products that I don’t own. Which is why I’m going to start out with an ads based site.

    1. Hey Marc, yeah, it goes against the grain for what everyone does, but that’s where I’m comfortable right now.

  4. Congrats bro. I have also started in a very competitive niche. I will be following your updates. I only picked the niche because i landed on a sweet 10-year domain on auction. I couldn’t avoid it.

    I will be interested in how Ezoic performs.

    Meanwhile, can you please walk me through your keyword research process and how you come up with the titles of your posts.

    Thanks again.

      1. Thank you. This info was very useful. I will keep you posted of my progress. It is a bit slow, because i write my content myself. But since it is a niche that i love, am not in a hurry to make $$$.

  5. Hi,

    Please can you provide some tips on how to write content faster as it seems to take me a while? How do you do the research for an article quickly?

    Thank you.

  6. Finally, someone said it 😀
    I was wondering am I the only one who thinks that way.
    “There are a few things about affiliate sites that I don’t enjoy, however:
    I don’t like writing “reviews” around products I’ve never tried
    I don’t like having to build unnatural links to money posts because they’re competitive
    I don’t like managing links from several different affiliate programs”

    Thanks for sharing info, I find it useful.

  7. I’m just curious as to how you find over 350 good long-tail keywords, as I used your method and am struggling to find at least 30 good topics after spending 2 hours. Do you have any tips?

    1. Finding the KWs is usually the quickest bit, you just need to practice clicking around in the results and seeing what the Extensions bring up.

      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.

    1. Hi Nils, with this site I went a little more niche-specific than usual, yeah. Think of it as being about one type of pet, I only write about that one pet on the site.

  8. well said. I am from a third world. I am determined to make a name from blogging, and make as much money as possible truly helping my readers. Your write ups are just too encouraging!

  9. Hi Phil, what do you do for the look of the site. I get carried away trying to optimize the look of the site so I’m wondering how much effort should I be putting to design my new site.
    This site has minimalistic design. Do your niche sites have better designs?

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