Informational Content Site Case Study Mths 24-25

Informational/Content Site Case Study Mths 24-25

Hello all, here is another bi-monthly update for the content/informational site I started back in Jan 2020.

It’s been a bit of a ride the last couple of months, the site had enjoyed good growth and avoided being hit by updates – until November of last year!

Here is a brief overview of the last couple of months:

  • The site made a total of $5,072.84.
  • Itโ€™s been negatively affected by recent updates and is seeing <3k pageviews a day for the first time in ages.
  • On a positive note, affiliate sales are up due to the products Iโ€™m selling being seasonal.

Anyone who knows me will know that I always take a positive spin on things. We may be seeing a decline in traffic, but it gets me fired up to recover the site. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a closer look at how the site has done over the last 2 years and how it is performing now:

Traffic and Earnings Stats for 2020-2021

Year# ArticlesPageviewsMediavine ($)Ezoic & Adsense ($)Amazon ($)Other Affiliate ($)Total ($)
2020442437,2510.007,823.13480.42321.858,625.40
20211821,428,56326,677.812,515.67990.602,526.5732,710.65
Total6241,865,81426,677.8110,338.801,471.022,848.4241,336.05

Traffic and Earnings Stats for 2022

Month# ArticlesPageviewsMediavine ($)Amazon ($)Other Affiliate ($)Total ($)
Jan 2233118,7051,843.7144.04500.542,388.29
Total to Date6571,984.51928,521.521,515.063,348.9643,724.34

Traffic Stats for Dec-Jan 2022

Dec January Analytics

It doesn’t look that bad from the Analytics graph, but I’m a long way off of the ~160k monthly pageviews I was seeing for a few months last year.

Traffic started sliding in November, it peaked over New Year as I had a New Year post take off, but it’s clearly sliding again.

The main reason for this is as follows…

My Site Lost All of Its Snippets ๐Ÿ™

Something I noticed almost immediately after Google rolled out the Nov 17th update was that my site lost all of the snippets it was ranking for.

Not a reduction in snippets, or a shuffle around, but I literally rank for no snippets at all now.

At first, I could see some of the sites that had taken the snippets I was previously ranking for were not matching the intent or answering the queries well at all.

So, I figured Google was testing something. But as time has gone on, I’ve not regained any snippets.

In fact, I’ve noticed that a lot of the snippets have disappeared altogether. Or, competing sites have them, and without being biased, most of the new snippets are just not as relevant as mine were.

Why is this happening? Am I banned from ranking for snippets?

I have no idea. At first, I thought maybe it was something to do with my site, and maybe it was affecting a few other sites.

But the more I’ve looked into it, the more I’ve discovered that sites being removed from ranking for snippets is really widespread.

Interestingly, I almost always rank just below the snippet now, or if the snippet has gone altogether, I rank #1. So, the impact on traffic hasn’t been too harsh.

This leads me to believe that Google hasn’t ‘penalized’ my site in any way. In addition to just slipping one space over the snippets, new content I’ve published recently is ranking very well.

If you’ve lost traffic since November – and even if you haven’t – it’s worth checking if you’re no longer ranking for snippets.

Here’s what my snippet rankings look like over time according to SEMRush:

Snippets update November

I’m changing various things on my site and testing a bunch of things with the help of some friends. If I figure out how to get my ‘snippet ban’ lifted, I’ll let you know.

NB – Here’s how to check how many snippets you rank for using SEMRush for free.

Ad Revenue Earnings for Jan 2022

Mediavine Earnings January RPM

As most of you will be aware, Ad RPMs take a dive in January.

I had an average RPM of $18.02 and made $1,843.71 – a big drop from $2,408.91 in December.

Affiliate Revenue Earnings for Jan 2022

I don’t add any Amazon links anymore, so I’ll take the $44.04:

Jan Amazon Earnings

It’s the other affiliate program that I’ve been working on more as they pay 10% and are a small family-run business.

Sales jumped up in Jan as the niche is coming into season and I made a nice $500:

Affiliate earnings January

Plans Going Forward

We have to expect a few bumps in the road in this business, and it could be a lot worse than what I’m experiencing since the Nov update.

I’m still doing all the work myself on the site, so I don’t have any expenses outside of hosting. It’s still a very profitable project, and more importantly, I love working on the site.

I made a wager with a friend last year; we’re both at a similar number of articles on our sites and we committed to getting our sites to 1,000 articles by the end of 2022.

At the time we said that I had to write another 394 articles in 383 days, so a little more than one a day.

That really shouldn’t be a lot to ask, and it’s a little added motivation to get stuck in and start ranking for more keywords and growing the site.

How’re your sites holding up over the past few months and numerous Google updates? Notice anything changed with the snippets?

Feel free to drop me a note!


Image credits – Photo byย Cookie the Pomย onย Unsplash

24 thoughts on “Informational/Content Site Case Study Mths 24-25”

  1. Do you think this is due to all the massive A.I generated spam blogs that’s clogging up the SERP today? I think this is google’s solution to that problem and we’re just getting caught in the crossfire.

    Basically, Google just said fuck it, and turn the importance of backlinks all the way up to get this AI shit under controlled.

    I’m about to reach mediavine requirements when the same thing happen to me. It’s kinda demotivating tbh.

    1. Hi Rei

      I’ve heard a few people say that it might be related to the AI stuff, and I know a lot of those tools scape snippets and keep reposting them – it’s certainly one of the more likely-sounding reasons, isn’t it.

      That sucks you were so close to Mediavine! Damn. Keep going, keep doing the right thing and you’ll win in the end, it’s Google’s job to deal with all the spam we’re seeing right now, it’ll happen.

  2. Hello Phil,
    My site is quite new (7-months old) but I have a handful of articles winning snippets.
    What strikes me is that these articles were not optimized for snippets. In fact, the paragraph that is featured is somewhere in the middle of my article and not a “summarized version” right after the H1 or a H2.
    On the contrary, the articles ranking in the top10 and for which I have a dedicated section to aim at the snippet… Well… I am not winning it.
    I know my comment does not help to find a way around that issue, but that’s what I have been noticing for my small site.
    That was my 2 cents.
    Just like you, I will publish a lot of content for my site this year.
    Best of luck to you project.

    1. Interesting observations, Eric, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening so you can better optimize your efforts.
      Good luck with the publishing!

  3. Hi Phil,
    Wishing you the best in your recovery plans; you attained your goals before so nothing’s really new this time round.

    Now, there is this site i started 3 months ago. It was growing well until a few weeks ago when new content just wouldn’t index. At first, new content would index within a few hours after submitting the url on GSC. However, in the past month, from, say, 10 articles i publish, only 1 or 2 gets indexed. It has been this way for 3 weeks now. Really confusing!
    I have a total of 70 articles now, and about 5 main keywords are ranking in top 5.
    What would you advice me to do?

    Thanks,
    Kelvy.

    1. Hi Kelvy

      I think just about everyone is having indexing problems. Personally, I just keep on posting and assume Google will catch up and figure it out. So my advice is to just carry on publishing and building your site.

  4. Another incredible update!!! I think seasonality still have impact on the traffic of this website since it’s in outdoor niche.

    I hope the traffic will pick up again next few months ( I am speaking from past traffic record)

    As for my website, I have 270 articles published on my website, it’s in outdoor niche and it’s 7 months old. It seems something is not right with my niche site because I received just 1,205 sessions for the month of January.

    Though I am not excited with the amount of traffic to the website at present, but I am planning to publish 500 posts before the end of this year.

    I don’t know how busy you are, I would like to PM you my website, perhaps you can point out one or two corrections.

  5. Hey Phil,
    Its always a pleasure to see the updates on your site. Reaching 1000 articles this year will be easy for you!

    On the content strategy that you use,
    a)do you work on one content cluster for a given time then move on to the next?
    B)I know a content cluster cannot be entirely exhausted because of the many keywords opportunities. But about how many articles do you roughly add to one cluster then move on to the next? in short, how deep do you go with the content depth in a cluster

    Thanks and hoping your site will recover the traffic.

    1. Hi Nicole

      I tend to write in batches of about 5 articles in a cluster at a time. I find it easier and a little quicker this way to learn about the topic and interlink them all when I publish them.

      I used to do that and move on, then go back and add more content to topics that are ranking better than others. No exact plan, but I tend to write more on a topic than competing sites, so if a site looks like it has about 5 posts on a topic, I’ll do 8-10.

  6. I wasn’t ranking for any snippets anyway, so I didn’t notice a traffic drop as you did. I’m averaging about 970 visitors a day.

    Also, I sold my website for $6,400 to Adam Smith from Niche Website Builders. ๐Ÿ˜…

    I’m now focusing more on my affiliate sites, one of which is expected to sell for $60k-$70k in a few months once the earning history is long enough.

    1. Nice, that’s a decent chunk of money, congrats!

      I’m sure you’ll hit that target now you’ve built and sold a site once, that’s exciting, good luck with that!

  7. Hey Phil,

    Even though you lost your snippets, your earnings haven’t dropped that hard, taking the Jan RPMs into consideration.

    I’m sure it would bounce back once RPMs get back on track – so in the end I don’t think the snippets issue should be a concern.

    BTW – I’ve started journaling my ride on /r/juststart too!

    https://old.reddit.com/r/juststart/comments/skh7jr/update_2_earned_613_getting_back_to_seo_after_8/

    I made $613 last month from Ezoic – which is okay I guess for now. I’m more concerned that I’m stuck around the <40K sessions mark. I really need to get to 50K as soon as possible so that I can at least get into Ezoic Premium, if not Mediavine. Let's see how Feb goes!

    1. Thanks Darsh, <40k sessions is awesome, get a big push in and apply to Mediavine asap! I'll follow along with your case study, for sure.

  8. Hello Phil…
    Nice that we are seeing your site doing well every month…
    If you had an opportunity to work on a niche that has high competition, how would you plan to build that niche site?

    1. Hi Mehdi

      The higher the competition, the more links and authority you need (generally speaking). I’d just expect my keywords/articles to take a lot longer to rank, and I’d have to put some effort into building links.

      Not something I enjoy doing personally, but plenty of people to like going after competitive niches, it can be more profitable when done right.

  9. Hi Phil
    I’ve just finished reading all of your updates on this project. You’re an inspiration and deserve every bit of the success you’re having.

    I’m getting started on a site and I’m going to follow your keyword method and high frequency posting schedule.

    Thank you so much for generously sharing all of this information. Because of you I’ve finally got myself pointed in a sensible direction after spinning my wheels for too long, lost in conflicting information posted on forums.

    I’ll be sure to use your Ezoic link when I’m ready to put ads on the site.

    Thanks again Phil ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi
    Do you have other blogs that you work on it simultaneously for now ?
    And if yes , have they built with the same strategy
    And are they profitable like this can study ?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi atusa

      Yes, I have several sites. I build them all exactly the same way, this case study site is actually my least profitable, which is why I’m spending a little less time on it this year.

  11. Hi Phil
    Good progress on your site… Wish you the best result again next month.
    Do you still have traffic coming from Bing search or you don’t use it as a traffic strategy? How many visits?
    Is it good to diverse your traffic sources or just rely on Google alone?

    1. Hi Mehdi

      All of my posts rank really well I Bing, I do look occasionally to see how I’m doing there.

      Only 4% of my traffic comes from Bing just because such a small % of users in my niche use Bing. I don’t see I can do much about that, I can’t rank much better on Bing.

      I’m all for diversifying where possible.

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m going to skip a couple of months till I do an update. Only because there isn’t a lot happening, I’m just writing an article a day, and I have some big goals I’m working on right now so I’m trying to be super productive.

      It’s going well though, the site is trending upwards again! ๐Ÿ˜›

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