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I’m not going to sugarcoat last month’s progress. It’s mixed with a big dose of “ouch”.
With three Google updates rolling out recently, it looks like my main site was in Google’s crosshairs.
Let’s crack on.
Watch the income report
What happened in September
Here are some of the things I’ve been doing in September:
- Writing specifications and getting content published with my small writing team, as usual
- Published 23 posts on the main site (which is a combination of my own content plus sponsored content from Content Pit and Hands Off Publishing)
- Editing older underperforming content and improving some internal linking
- Finally began working on a PR campaign for the main site
- One writer I brought in last month left the biz, and another one joined
- I applied for Mediavine when my L30D sessions was around 45K to see if they’d let me slip through, but they didn’t! But they did say positive things about the site in response to my application, which makes it seem that the only thing stopping me from joining is traffic consistency (above 50K sessions per month).
Site #1 Google Search Console
Site 1 reached 37,400 organic clicks and 1,350,000 impressions.
Considering there are fewer calendar days in September, there’s fair progress over the month.
But it’s clear that the start and end of September are very different. It feels very similar to May’s core update.
Impressions and clicks have been consistently declining since around the middle of the month
Site #1 Analytics
Looking at the traffic for my main site, you can see a clear difference in the baseline where September begins and how it gradually declines to become similar to the start of August.
August was a gradually growing month, ending in a nice place for September. But despite some good growth spikes in early September, the Google updates forced the traffic downward.
It’s being felt even more in early October, but more on that next month.
There were 43,660 sessions in September 2022 for this site. Compared with 35,917 sessions in August.
Overall, that is a 21.56% increase in traffic which is something to be pleased about.
Overall the stats are as follows for September:
- 43,660 visits/sessions in September (21.56% increase)
- 49,325 page views in September (20.23% increase)
- 1.13 pages per session in September (1.29% decrease)
That puts the site just shy of 7,000 visits to reach my goal of applying to Mediavine.
Site #1 EPMV (Ezoic)
My EPMV graph covering August and September shows a little bit of improvement going into September.
I’ve noticed that despite traffic drops recently, the earnings have remained close to the same.
August’s EPMV was $6.30, and September’s EPMV was $7.70.
This increase is most likely due to the end of Q3 for advertising, where bidders are spending the rest of their budget for that quarter.
Now moving into Q4, the rates will be higher than usual for the next few months.
Site #1 Earnings (Ezoic)
The daily earnings graph over August and September shows how the increased ad spending has benefitted the site.
In August, Ezoic’s base ad partners weren’t doing any better than Google Adsense (mediation), but there has been an improvement in September.
Site #1 Amazon Earnings
In August, my main site broke the $100 mark of affiliate earnings with Amazon.
And in September, I’ve now smashed the $250 mark!
The majority of these sales are going to a few specific products that are mentioned frequently in product-focused articles I wrote a couple of months ago.
Despite the recent Google updates, even including a product-based update, two of my product roundups, in particular, have only improved.
These are the last three months’ Amazon Associate earnings:
I used to say bad things about Amazon’s commission-to-conversion ratio, but I really can’t argue with these numbers.
In comparison, the direct affiliates (via Skimlinks, some others) only totalled around $47 for September.
I give my readers all the options, and they end up on Amazon and convert way higher. Happy to have that extra income!
In total I’ve helped Amazon to ship $7,215.50 worth of product, at a 13.39% conversion rate.
Most other affiliate programs you can expect conversion rates of much lower like in the 2-4% range (on a good month).
Amazon just has everyone’s cards ready to pay. And that makes a huge difference.
Site #1 Total Income
My main site earned a total of $666.51 in September 2022!
Despite traffic concerns, the total income is making much bigger strides. And it is from multiple sources.
Ezoic revenue has risen even at the base ads, and Amazon Associates has increased significantly and a little extra coming through Skimlinks and direct affiliates.
September 2022 summary on income for site 1:
|Income (Month Total)
|Expenses (Month Total)
|Profit/Loss (All Time)
Hitting a new record on income feels awesome.
The expenses have lowered considerably since last month.
The main reasons are that my spend on my writers has gone down as their availability has changed a lot, but my article publishing has stayed the same because of sponsored content from Content Pit and Hands Off Publishing.
By the way, you can use code
NICHECAMPUS to get a discount on content from both providers! You can check out my review of Content Pit’s content below:
The month sits in profit for the first time since May (after which the May core update caused a lot of drama).
Which helps reduce the loss on this project back under the $1K mark.
Site #1 Stats & Value
- Articles published: 23
- Total articles: 221
- Blended RPM: $15.27
We’re now well over the 200-post mark.
I remember planning to use this as a marker for editing content more than getting new content out.
I think that will still be on the cards, but generally lots more application on improving content and authority than content only.
Because of the growing affiliates, the blended RPM hitting the $15 range is actually decent. That’s about where I can hope this site to be as a general guideline, I just need more of that to come from ads for it to be reasonable.
Site #1 Historical KPIs
One thing I created recently was this KPI tracker that shows progress since as far back as January 2021.
The site actually began around October 2020, but this is the most accurate data I currently have collected historically.
It’s nice to see this in a snapshot view and observing the most important metrics like articles published, organic clicks, total sessions, and the growth of revenue.
It puts it all into perspective.
Site #2 Google Search Console
As the recent Google updates rolled in, the Site #2’s traffic got progressively worse.
It’s entirely because the site sucks, and has AI content on it, so I can’t blame Google.
Site #2 Analytics
Here are Site 2’s traffic metrics for September:
- 6,059 visits/sessions in September (-13.57% decrease)
- 6,778 page views in September (-14.62% decrease)
Onto the income.
Site #2 Income
It made $27.39 in income from Ezoic + Adsense. It’s profitable. I have no plans to do anything with it currently.
Overall Profit & Loss
Overall, my niche site efforts are still net positive, with $1,869.32 in profit.
That figure has increased since last month, thanks to the profitability coming back from my main site. Now I just need to continue this kind of trend.
What I’ll Work On In October
Looking ahead, what I would like to achieve in October:
I’m very proactively working on a PR campaign for my main niche site. I’m currently collecting useful data, and plan to launch the campaign in the coming week (ASAP).
The purpose of this campaign is to build links. My main site traffic was on a real high pushing into early/mid September. But it’s taken a dive since then.
After having published over 200 posts on this site with a strong focus on establishing topical authority where it was previously lacking, it’s clear to me that I need to improve my site’s authority as a partial defense against Google’s update rollouts.
I have been getting hit fairly consistently in the last several months, and I’m concerned it could only get worse as time goes on.
So I need to act now by getting my content in front of other high authority websites and start building a strong backlink profile. Also known as the “moat” around your site to protect it.
It’s not all about links, of course. My content could be better. In the last few months, as I’ve moved to hiring a small team to help me write, I’ve surely lacked demonstratable expertise in the topics as well as original content (e.g. images and videos) to support it.
The lack of “EAT” and the lack of a more diverse backlink profile adds up to a site that can be pushed around whenever changes are made in Google’s algorithm.
In short, build links and improve the content I have. While simultaneously planning for how to create better and more original content in the future.
I’ve definitely slipped up on the original part, and I know it could be better.
I have definitely seen examples of publishers who can still create original content even when using a writing team. It will take some ingenuity, but will make the work far more interesting.
I may also test another writer or two from from OnlineJobs as after a long while of absolutely no fish on the hook, I had a couple of good applications that may be worthwhile.
I will continue publishing content with my writers but it’s likely not going to be at a high output as some other months have been.
I have a large focus on making improvements that will help take my business to the next level.
Aside from that, a direct business partnership is almost at its launch. This will mean working with someone in my niche to help them launch a product, while simultaneously creating a very close relationship of an affiliate agreement for that product in the future.
I already began preparing some content output to match the product type, and once it has launched (sometime in October) will work on updating content to recommend this high quality product as well as focusing new content creation around that subtopic.
Lots of moving parts right now, but ones which could see a significant increase in the power and reach of my brand.
The current ultimate goal has not changed, I am still working towards getting 50K monthly sessions for my site to then apply to Mediavine – where I’m confident I’ll benefit from much better ad rate RPMs.