Dating/Relationship Site Case Study (July 2020)

mushfiq sarker

This is the July 2020 update for the dating/relationship site. For the previous update (June 2020), check out this post, or check the archived case studies here. July was another month of waiting to see if any of the site’s enhancements increased traffic.

In this update, the following will be covered:

  • July 2020 traffic and income stats
  • Backlink Audit
  • Negotiated increased payment from an affiliate program
  • Will the site recover from the Google update?

Let’s get started!

📊 July 2020 Traffic and Income Stats

📉 Site Traffic (L3M)

  • May 2020 Pageviews: 40,316
  • June 2020 Pageviews: 33,103
  • July 2020 Pageviews: 33,367

July 2020:

image 216

The traffic seems to have settled around the 33,000 pageview mark since being impacted by the Google Core Update in May 2020.

Last 3 Months

image 215

You can see that I went from 2,000 visitors to 1,000 visitors per day after the update. In this niche, that’s around $8,000 per month we lost.

I will continue improving the site in the hopes it recovers. You just never know with Google.

💰 Revenue

The site’s revenue increased slightly from $7,631 to $8,243.

Last 12-mo P&L

image 214

📆 July 2020: Improvements To The Site

Re-negotiated CPA Rate

During the early parts of COVID, one of the biggest revenue sources reduced their CPA rate from $60 to $51.

Their reasoning was they were not turning a profit; but in reality, they were just cutting costs.

I reached out to push them to increase back to $60 since it’s not been 3 months since the change took place.

The rate was increased to $57! This will give us a boost going forward.

Backlink Audit

I downloaded the backlink file from AHREFs and did a manual audit.

Note that Google has come out and said you do not need to disavow unless you know the bad links. Therefore, if a domain/backlink you are thinking of disavowing is on the borderline of bad and good, best not to disavow.

You may be thinking it’s a bad link when it is good in the eyes of Google…

So what kind of links did I disavow? The bad ones:

  • Any links that are adult in nature
  • Any domains with IP addresses
  • Domains that are just random pages with images

I disavowed 169 domains in total.

The domains were submitted to Google’s Disavow Tool once identified.

Whether the site benefits from this disavow or not is never known. We can only hope!

New Content

  • 4 articles
  • 6,000 words total
  • 1 guest post

These articles were Clickbank product review articles. I am slowly integrating such reviews and then linking to the Clickbank products to generate more revenue.

I also accepted a guest post. They paid $350 for the guest post so it was worth it.

If I charged a more reasonable amount around $100 or so, I could get a large revenue stream from guest posts. However, I like to keep the integrity of the site with high-quality content.

📌 Pinterest Update

Pinterest has been a consistent traffic source. However, going forward I will no longer continue promoting on Pinterest.

The VA has been amazing. He knows what he is doing. I actually have an exciting announcement of a partnership with him. Stay tuned for that!

Here is July’s Pinterest traffic to the site:

image 213

The total was on average 50 visitors per day to the site. The VA gets paid $125 per month to manage the profile.

Unfortunately, the ROI is not there to continue.

The major reason why Pinterest did not work was that the site is primarily guides and reviews. The informative content the site does have is not Pinterest or Social friendly; it’s a more serious topic.

The site could add more social-friendly articles. However, that will require significant investment into content without a guaranteed ROI.

I am officially stopping any further Pinterest promotions for this site

Will The Site Recover…? 🙏🏻

The site was hit in the Google May 2020 update. Since then, I’ve improved the site with the following things:

  • Improved for Google EAT: author archive pages, author bios in articles, author credit in meta tags, etc.
  • Backlink audit: cleaned up bad backlinks
  • Content audit: got rid of over 100+ pages of non-ranking content
  • Content improvements: hired an editor to clean up the English on some of our top articles
  • A re-designed site with unique theme and design: This does not have a direct correlated to algorithm updates but it doe give us more credibility as an authority
  • And many other small things…

With all this, there has not been a significant change in our traffic. That’s expected.

Usually, you have to wait until the next Google core update to see the impact of your changes. That can take months so it’s just a waiting game now.

Last 2 Month’s Traffic

Below is a Google Analytics snapshot since Content Pruning took place on June 2, 2020, and site redesign took place on June 9, 2020

image 212

As you can see, no real traffic boosts.

Keep on going

SEO is a long game. Changes to site structure, on-page, off-page, etc take time to kick in.

Especially with an algorithmic penalty in a Google Core Update, we just have to wait to see if any benefits.

I will keep tweaking the content, improving site structure, adding quality backlinks, and see where it ends up in the next 6 months.

I will keep you all posted!

What Can Be Improved in August 2020?

The goal in August (similar to July) is to monitor and improve.

I will do the following improvements:

  1. Backlink Audit: I only removed the obvious top 100 bad links. There are many more alleged bad links. I am planning on disavowing those as well.
  2. New Content: The plan is to add 10 new pieces of content.
  3. Integrate influencers: two “influencers” reached out to us. One of them is a University professor that researches the topic that the site covers. The goal is to have them write an article so I can add their bio to the site. These small things add a ton of authority to the site.
  4. Optimize (A/B test) popup times: the site has mobile popups Optin Monster and Popup Maker. They have been set up to be less aggressive (i.e., open after 30 seconds). The popups generate significant revenue so being a bit more aggressive (e.g., 10-second open) theoretically should increase income. That’s the hypothesis to test.

Wrap Up

That’s it for July 2020 update. Leave a comment or reply with any questions, suggestions, and concerns. Happy to help!

mushfiq sarker

Analyzed by Mushfiq Sarker

Mushfiq has been buying, growing, and selling website assets since 2008. His first exit was in 2010. Since then, he has done 218+ website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. He is the founder of The Website Flip. Check out all Mushfiq's articles, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

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