August 2022: Niche Site Case Study Update

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This Month in a Nutshell

As I mentioned in last month’s report, my main site (Site 2) was hit by an algorithm update at the end of July. This wasn’t the “Helpful Content Update.”

However, it got hit a little before all of that during the “Product Update.” I covered it in July’s report if you want to go and check that out.

In short, I was very surprised that this site, out of all sites, was hit, and here’s why:

  • It is 95% informational content. There are little to no products in the niche.
  • The site has a healthy amount of EAT. More so than my other sites as I actually put time into building EAT.
  • The content is quality (well, I think so, at least!). I have hired writers who know the niche and are passionate about it and have written a lot of content myself (yes, with AI assistance).
  • Month on month, the site seemed to be growing nicely, and I thought Google was happy with it overall.

The update caused a significant drop in traffic (and at the time, I thought it would have done the same to revenue). Ad revenue did drop significantly.

However, surprisingly, both my EPMV and time-on-page went up! Due to this, my ad earnings and pageview decrease did not correlate as closely as I expected.

With all that had happened and the announcement of a second (and, later on, a third) core update, I decided to leave the site alone rather than unnecessarily tweak things. Additionally, the things I would have done to the site probably would have been a waste of time as I still have no idea what was wrong, to begin with.

What I do know is the content that is still indexed is content that has brought my EPMV up to a $40 average and many days ins the $50-75 range. If I were to start troubleshooting, I would start by looking at those pages closely.

Results Snapshot (Site 2)

Earnings

This month: $1089.99

Revenue Breakdown:

  • Affiliates – $713.44
  • Ezoic Display Ads – $320.45
  • Amazon – $9.94
  • Digital products – $46.16

12-month look back showing ad earnings and steady growth. The site just started to get its wings and then lost almost 2/3 of its visits. EPMV began declining at the start of the year, and looks like it was about to start improving in July.

 

revenue epmv site 2 visits pageviews site 2

Revenue dropped by 45%, while visits and pageviews dropped by 63%. This is due to the rise in EPMV by 52%!

Expenses

This month: $297

  • Hosting – $0
  • Content – $0
  • Ezoic Premium (1/5 sites) – $22
  • VAs – $275

I didn’t spend anything on content this month. Although I do usually like to publish my way through the storms, throwing content at this site was not the answer (did that already).

Traffic

Pageviews This Month: 10,036

The Last 365 Days: 156,564

Visits This Month: 7,980

The Last 365 Days: 129,392

I accidentally deleted the Google Analytics code, so I only have Ezoic Analytics data and not “sessions” but “visits” instead.

 

Site 2 August vs July Pageviews On Ezoic Analytics

Ezoic Analytics Snapshot August 2022 vs. July 2022. It shows both the progress happening in July and then the impact of the hit. August has been pretty consistent.

Results Snapshot (Site 7)

Earnings

This month: $319.55

Revenue Breakdown:

  • Ezoic Display Ads – $127.47
  • Amazon – $182.45
  • Digital products – $9.63
  • Affiliate Program – $0
Ezoic Visits And Earnings For Site 7

Screenshot showing Ezoic visit, earnings, and EPMV for 2022

Expenses

This month: $246

  • Content – $200
  • Hosting – $46

Traffic

Pageviews This Month: 27,569

Lifetime: 123,934

Sessions This Month: 23,509

Lifetime: 102,991

Ezoic Analytics Site 7 Lifetime

Ezoic Analytics Lifetime Visits (10 months on Ezoic)

Visits and pageviews haven’t budged much since last month and have only gone up by a few percent. Conversely, my ad earnings decreased by $10.

What’s Working

Site 2:

In many ways, the site is working as intended as the articles still ranked are doing well; people are staying on the page longer, and the EPMV has gone up, which reflects this. Whatever I have done with those articles or topics is worth exploring.

Admittedly, I have not yet looked too much into it (the drop was definitely a turn-off).

But I may find that there is an underlying theme or topic cluster the site is now doing well on or that there are quality issues that need addressing.

Either way, what has worked more than anything, was stepping back and waiting for more data and not just acting on impulse by tweaking things based on assumptions.

Site 7:

This site has been showing consistent growth and constantly proves to me that the unlimited keywords method works. It has worked on multiple sites now, and the only thing that stopped me from publishing 500 articles instead of 250 was the low EPMV. Hopefully, the new cluster nudges it a bit, and I can crack on with the 500 article goal and build this site to a 1-2k per month revenue point.

What’s Not Working

Overall, there is nothing that is ‘not working’ beyond things I have already discussed, which are things out of my control like the algorithm update (those aren’t working for many people -_-) and Site 7s EPMV (which I feel like I should stop going on about).

On the Horizon 

Next Month

I have commissioned 20 articles in a brand new topic cluster on Site 7. The cluster is not closely related but semantically related. It is very possible that the people who visit the site for the main niche will also be interested in this new cluster.

This new cluster has higher volume keywords and is still relatively low competition. It is also more appealing to advertisers, and if there is any correlation between CPC and ad earning potential, it should budge that EPMV a little.

Either way, I won’t know until the cluster ranks (if it ranks). And, if it does, and has a better EPMV, then I have hundreds of articles I can publish quite easily.

Parting Thoughts

I wouldn’t say my attention is divided, but neither of the two projects excites me right now, and another site in my portfolio shows a lot of promise. I can only do what is within my control, which usually comes down to publishing more content.

There are many routes I could take with Site 2 outside of Google Search, i.e., courses, Youtube, more digital products, etc., which I have discussed with Doug.

However, due to my schedule, it isn’t easy to get those things started as they require my presence and attention.

Publishing content requires less of me, what with VAs, content outlines, and writers, so it feels like I am swimming upstream by working on additional streams with Site 2 right now.

Initially, I chose to start niche sites as the business model is one that fits my lifestyle perfectly and has scalability. The ability to find keywords, create outlines and then outsource the process is very straightforward and can work for anybody, no matter their schedule.

Whereas planning and recording videos, courses, etc., can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort, blogging can be done in short bursts and still be effective. So, while Site 2 has the potential to transcend the typical blogging model and be a brand in itself, I do not have the capacity for the things it needs.

About the Author: Arielle Phoenix is an author, blogger, and business enthusiast documenting her SEO/niche site journey on her blog and hoping to help and inspire as many people as she can along the way.

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