Hey everyone, it’s been a while, eh?
I did mention when I posted my mth 12 update that I would wait a quarter before doing another update.
But 3 months does feel like a lifetime in the world of SEO and niche sites, that’s for sure!
If you’re here you probably know what this case study is all about. If not, you can check out the month 12 update here and it links to everything.
Wasting no time, here are the highlights of what’s happened over the last 3 months:
- I published a total of 41 new articles (really been taking it a bit too easy)
- Pageviews are up from ~52k in Dec to ~87k in Mar
- Monthly earnings are up from ~$1,250 in Dec to ~$1,750 in Mar
- I moved from Ezoic to Mediavine
Traffic and Earnings Stats for Jan-Mar 2021
Here’s an overview of the site’s traffic and earning stats for this year:
|Month||# Articles Posted||Pageviews||Mediavine ($)||Ezoic & Adsense ($)||Amazon ($)||Other Affiliate ($)|
Here are some screenshots to back all of this up:
Traffic Stats for Jan-Mar 2021
In short; traffic has gone up, a lot.
I think this is a perfect storm of:
- Adding some new articles.
- Other articles picking up more longtail keywords, which tends to happen over time with the style of posts I write.
- Picking up some natural links (haven’t looked, and haven’t built any, but it will have happened).
- Seasonality – this is a big factor for sure. The site is more of an outdoors niche than an indoors one and favors better weather.
- Moving from Ezoic to Mediavine – Not trying to be controversial, but traffic picked up pretty much the day after I left Ezoic. The huge speed jump may have been a factor, can’t tell for sure (more on that below).
I built the site to earn primarily from ads, and I’m obviously super happy with how it’s gone.
This site has made a grand total of $11,522.02 to date from Adsense, Ezoic, and now Mediavine.
That’s a decent chunk of change. People’s opinions vary greatly on what ROI is acceptable for a site, and I respect that. For me, I’m happy with the return I get targeting low comp keywords for ad revenue.
I moved from Ezoic to Mediavine on the 4th March. I had the required 50k sessions you need to join Mediavine for a few months, and in all honesty, I should have moved the site earlier.
I basically procrastinated on it, no way around it.
Anyway, I know what you’re all wondering; is Mediavine ‘better’ than Ezoic?
I don’t want to throw mud, and with such different minimum requirements, it’s almost not fair to compare them side-to-side. They – at least in my opinion – serve different parts of the market.
My advice – If you’re between 0-50k sessions, I don’t think you can do better than Ezoic right now. If you’re above 50k sessions, you’re almost certainly going to get a better experience and earn more with Mediavine.
On that note, if you’re below 50k sessions and not yet using Ezoic, you should try them out. If you do, I’d appreciate it if you used my affiliate link here. Thanks!
I will dive into this a little deeper:
Ezoic vs Mediavine: RPMs
I was getting a decent RPM (or EPMV) with Ezoic. It was usually $20+, but you have to remember that I was paying $220/mo for Premium.
If you take the net RPM by deducting the premium amount, my RPM on Ezoic for the previous 3 months was:
- Dec – $19.97
- Jan – $14.41
- Feb – $17.10
I don’t have a full month of data yet, and it took 10 or so days for the RPM on Mediavine to ramp up, but I’ve definitely seen a decent increase in RPM.
As you can see from the graph above, the RPM has been around $20 for a while now.
Not only is the overall RPM higher, but Mediavine is showing a lot fewer ads. When I check my pages there are literally between 5-9 ads. Compare this it the 16-20 ads I had when I was with Ezoic and it’s a staggering difference.
Mediavine has also dropped the large banner ad at the top to help with CWV and loading times to users see the content right away.
Ezoic vs Mediavine: Page Speed and UI
It’s no secret that Ezoic gets a bad rap for their UI and page speed – and rightly so, honestly.
As I mentioned above, the number of ads has dropped from anywhere up to 20 on longer posts with Ezoic, to single digits on most pages. This might change as Mediavine collects more data, but it’s a much cleaner UI and better user experience.
In addition to this, I was getting a Google Page Speed score of around 30-35 when I was with Ezoic. This jumped up to around 75 as soon as I swapped over to Mediavine.
Again, a pretty big difference, and it’s noticeable. My pages load quickly, there are no spinning wheels where ad blocks are waiting to load, etc.
I haven’t taken a deeper dive in Core Web Vitals yet, that’s something I will look into this month.
Oh, and one more thing – anyone here on Ezoic will be familiar with seeing the less desirable ads all over their site for toe fungus cream, toilet cleaning hacks, and pulling ear wax, right?
My pages were always littered with those ads. For what it’s worth, Mediavine doesn’t even allow those types of low-paying ‘spammy’ ads.
Amazon is still bringing in anywhere between $20-70/mo. I haven’t added many more links, and those I have are just added into informational articles as helpful solutions.
What’s really coming in big is the third-party affiliate I’m promoting. This is a family business, very specific to my niche, offering some awesome products that anyone interested in the niche would be happy to own.
Again, I don’t write any ‘best of’ posts or target the products with a post. I answer questions and provide a link as a way of a solution within the answer.
That’s bought in ~$800 in the last three months. Seasonality has played a big part in this affiliate income going up, so fingers crossed it continues.
Future Plans – Probably Going to Sell
It pains me to say it because I love the idea of having a passive asset more than selling up – but I’m probably going to sell this site, or one of my other sites at the end of the year.
The only reason being that I’m getting closer to some personal financial goals I have, and on the correct trajectory the site is taking I might be able to meet them by selling up at the end of the year.
I’m not counting that money yet though. 9 months is a lifetime in SEO, we have a number of core updates, the CWV update, and who knows what else to whether between now and then.
How’re Your Sites Going?
I had the good fortune of working with a few other people over the last year or so, and following this low-comp strategy they’ve all seen pretty fast and impressive growth.
It just works – when you do it right.
I’m not selling anything or patting myself on the back here. I’m not the only person doing this, I didn’t invent anything new, and I’m not going to slap a 3-letter acronym to this method and call it my own. 🙂
I’m targeting low comp keywords that hardly any other site has targeted, and I’m writing better-optimized articles targeting more relevant keywords.
I’m not trying to simplify it too far, this takes some work and I’m still improving at this all the time. But at the same time, let’s not over complicate it!
Feel free to let me know how you are getting on with your sites, always love hearing from you all.