At the end of July, my main site (Site 2) was hit by an algorithm update. This wasn't the “Helpful Content Update”, however, it got hit a little before all of that. I have already spoken about it in last month's report as well as in my more detailed take on it in the Niche Site Project Case Study.
- Site Portfolio
- What Has Happened This Month?
- What I Am Doing Next Month
- Some of my SOPs
Last Month (July) vs. This Month (August):
- From Ezoic, I earned $784.33 from 61,672 Unique visits. That is an ad revenue decrease of 21.65%
- Portfolio pageviews are down 12.86%, with 74,249 pageviews vs. 85,206 page views in July.
- From Amazon, I earned a combined total of $286.13.
- From my own digital products, I earned $366.56.
- I also sold a digital service on one site for $175 (which was a low-ball, but a lesson learnt!)
- From other affiliate programs (combination of ShareASale, Awin, etc., as well as niche-specific programs), I earned $713.44
Now then, let's tally that all up:
Total earnings: $2,325.46
Interestingly enough, with Site 2 taking the hit it took, I expected my earnings to be a lot lower overall. I knew the recurring affiliate earnings would continue to grow, but I never mentally calculated the impact it might have on my portfolio.
Another thing I was not expecting was for my EPMV to increase on Site 2. As a result, my drop in ad earnings did not correlate with my drop in traffic. See below:
Total spend: $985
Total spend includes:
- Ezoic premium subscription – $110
- Content $660
- VAs – $275
- Mailchimp, Canva, Hosting (Namecheap and Cloudways), and Jasper. ($135)
- AI Art. This cost me about $80 also, this month, as I tried out Jasper Art, Mid Journey, and Dalle 2.
I only worked with one VA this month as there was significantly less work to be done. My VA handled all the formatting, as well as adding images and internal links. The workload should pick up again in September.
Age: 1 year 10 months
Total Articles: 40 (0)
Total Word Count: 62,648 (0)
Average Article Word Count: 1,566 (0)
- Digital products
Site 2 (Hobbies)
Age: 1 year 9 months
Number of articles: 225 (22)
- Digital Products
Site 3 (Sports)
Age: 1 year 8 months
Number of articles: 79 (0)
- Digital Products
Site 4 (Pets)
Age: 1 year. 2 month
Number of articles: 114 (0)
- Digital Products
Site 5 (YMYL)
Age: 10 months
Number of articles: 18
- I have been meaning to try out Ezoic Basic Ads on this but haven't added the code yet!
Site 6 (Pets Test Site)
Age: 1 year
Number of articles: 75
This is a 100% AI test site used to train VAs
Site 7 (Fitness)
Age: 11 months
Number of articles: 239+
Site 8 (🔝🤐)
I do not want to reveal too much about this site as it is built in a completely different way from my other sites, and I want to share the case study along with my free plugin in the near future.
- Digital Services
- Other Affiliate Programs
What Has Happened This Month?
I have definitely taken a step back this month after Site 2 was hit. The main reason for this was to evaluate my next move properly and not make any emotional decisions. Slowing down and observing things has many benefits and can often stop you from throwing time and money at a situation you do not fully understand.
Probably something a lot of people are doing right now with this “Helpful Content” update. From preemptive strikes to assumption-based troubleshooting; I just didn't want to make matters worse by tweaking things without any data.
The 60% Drop
Over the last month, I noticed that while my traffic was down, my earnings didn't dip as much as I thought they would – I thought losing 60%+ traffic from my main site, and best ad earner would dramatically drop my revenue. While I'm sure I would have made more had the site continued on its upward trajectory, the impact was not as severe as I expected.
I would never have expected my EPMV to double for the remaining ranking articles on that site, or for my time on page to increase. These little changes acted as a sort of buffer and softened the blow from loss of traffic.
Additionally, my affiliate earnings which almost mirrored my ad earnings last month increased and, thus, took up a larger percentage of the site's earnings.
While I would prefer to have my traffic back, it is clear that there is something I need to be looking into with those articles that Google is rewarding. I am sure I can learn a lot about the content I need to continue to produce to keep those metrics whilst increasing traffic, and so much more.
I upgraded my Cloudways servers slightly. I have two separate servers, and they were both on the staging package. They are now on the 2GB one…I am not sure this is enough, however.
I have an ongoing battle with Page Speed Insights, so if all of my other efforts to improve that darn LCP, I will look into increasing this some more if need be.
What I Am Doing Next Month
I have found a new cluster to explore on Site 7. It is another uncrowded market, and I am hoping to get enough content up on the site to see if this cluster improves the awful EPMV (which is now at around $5, yikes!).
It is semi-related to the main topic (well, not really, but it is semantically related), and I believe it is more ad-friendly. So let's see.
I want to bring this site to a position where I can sell it and put that money into one of my other projects (and maybe give myself a well-deserved bonus 😏).
I will be kicking the cluster off with 20-25 new articles this month. Some will be written by me, and the rest outsourced.
Some of my SOPs
My favourite ways to find keywords are:
👉 Google Autosuggest
👉 Keywords Everywhere longtail finder
👉 Reddit/Quora reverse (you need Semrush or AHrefs to do this)
I still use the KGR method, but these days I don't really need to check the calculation; if it seems KGR it probably is! The keyword goes in the title with some clickbaity additions, and then I build the post out as normal.
Example keyword (so sorry if this is your niche…):- how to get your pet cow to sleep at night
Example title with keyword and clickbaity addition: How To Get Your Pet Cow To Sleep At Night: 3 EASY Tricks!
When I find new keywords, they get clustered and then put on a master list, ready for a content brief and outsourcing to one of my Upwork writers. You can check out my video on free keyword clustering tools below:
As I've mentioned previously, I either use the Thruuu SERP analyzer (free) or Outranking to create a content brief for my writers (Outranking if I want the help of AI and to ensure the writer covers all of the key topics – I can always flesh it out myself later if need be).
When I give my writers outlines, I may also include a specific Youtube video on the topic or urge them to use Youtube and things like Quora or Reddit to help them form their article.
I do not expect the writers to be master SEOs – I include any additional keywords I want to support my articles in the subheadings of the outline. This way, they usually end up using and repeating the phrase naturally in the paragraph without keyword stuffing.
This is where the magic happens.
I definitely like my posts to be aesthetically pleasing. Formatting was the first thing I outsourced to my VA! It was important to me but started to get very time-consuming as I ramped up content publishing.
I think formatting with spacers, bolded text, bullet points, headings, images, video and then alt text, internal linking, proper anchor text etc etc… are all signals to Google that the post was made with love and care… as well as being optimized for the reader!
It is a good way to get a balance between making Google happy with all the technical and semantic SEO and making the reader happy enough to hang about and see more ads!
I am a big fan of repurposing content. Whether that be creating pins out of the key points in your blog, making audio from the blog that you can embed, or making videos to use on Youtube.
I've stopped with the Pinterest pins, although that had worked pretty well. Pinterest no longer seems like a wise investment of time. Instead, I have my VA use Pictory to create a video for each of my blog posts.
It allows her to select the key text she wants it to include and then it auto-selects stock videos related to that scene.
I love these videos as they:
- are clean, useful, and easy to make.
- provide value to the reader as they get the key information in your blog post in a more concise visual format.
- can be used for video ads
- can be repurposed for various social network platforms including Youtube
Until next time…
Also, if there is anything specific you would like me to touch on, feel free to reach out or let me know in the comments, Twitter etc.