Outdoor Site Case Study (March 2021): $4,511 Revenue With 82,000 Pageviews

mushfiq sarker

This outdoor authority site earned $4,511 in March 2021 (compared to $3,360 in February). The site is trending upwards in traffic, time on page, bounce rate, and revenues. The total time commitment from me this month was approximately 5-hours since I now have a dedicated website operator on staff (covered the details of that here).

I cover the following in this month’s write-up:

  1. Traffic and earnings update
  2. Title tag optimization test results
  3. Silo topic leads to 6,000 visits and $600 in earnings
  4. Rebuilding shoulder niche site on an aged domain
  5. Plans for April 2021

For the previous update in February, check out this post, or check out all the posts here.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Highlights

  • 21 articles published across 40,117 words (total is 842 articles across 762,861 words)
  • 3 backlinks acquired to inner pages (DRD 68, DR 57, DR 43 links)

๐Ÿ“‰ Setbacks 

  • 7 e-books still not launched
  • Lost $200-$400 this month due to one Clickbank affiliate link being broken
  • Email blasts have been neglected to 19,000 subscribers

๐Ÿ“Š March 2021 Website Metrics

Traffic Breakdown (March 2021):

OD Apr

Traffic Breakdown (L12M):

Outdoor L12M Apr

The bounce rate and time on page in March was significantly better. The average bounce rate is 75% but was 42% in March, whereas the time on page is usually 1:30 minutes and was 2:00 minutes in March. The engagement is growing on the site.

AHREFs Metrics

Screen Shot 2021 04 05 at 2.22.17 PM

In March, many of my keywords moved up to positions #1-#3 according to AHREs. This can be visualized using the organic keyword charts. See below:

Screen Shot 2021 04 05 at 10 16 58 PM

๐Ÿ’ฐ Revenue

Here is the breakdown of P&L:

  • Revenue: $4,511
  • Costs: $2,437
  • Profit: $2,073

Of the earnings, the breakdown was as follows:

  • Display/video ads: 22%
  • Amazon: 35%
  • Direct Partnerships: 9%
  • Affiliate Networks: 34%

Of the costs, here is the breakdown:

  • Website operator salary: $500
  • Social media management: $150
  • New content (23 articles): $820
  • Title tag optimization service: $350
  • Niche Website Builder’s FAQ optimization: $617.70

The FAQ service I purchased from the Niche Website Builder agency is still in the works and I will be doing a case study in a future month on that. Stay tuned!

๐Ÿ‘‰ March 2021: Improvements To The Site

Title Tag Optimization โžก๏ธ Minimal Growth

The Idea

Title tag optimization is the process of optimizing the SEO title tags that show up in the SERPs.

Publishers publish content with specific titles and as that article begins to get traffic over time, it starts to rank for many keywords. These show up in Google Search Console; it may be the case that you are bringing in traffic for keywords you never planned to rank for.

By optimizing the title tags with these keywords, you are hoping that pages get pushed up in the SERPs for those keywords.

Below is an example of what the title tag is which can be optimized.

The Service

I purchased a title tag optimization service from an agency for $350 for 50 optimizations. The process was as follows:

  • Agency: Analyze Google Search Console to find pages getting page views but are not fully optimized for high-traffic keywords
  • Agency: Provide a Google Spreadsheet with optimized titles
  • Me: Change the titles in the Yoast SEO box of each article
  • Me: Submit pages to be re-indexed
  • Me: Track the traffic to these pages using the SeoTesting.com service

The Results

I am a new customer of SEOTesting.com, which is an amazing tool that connects with your Google Search Console and allows you to run tests. For example, once I changed over the title tags, I immediately ran a test on SeoTesting.com for a 2-week period. This essentially starts tracking search traffic from the time the test is initiated and after 2-weeks it showcases the results side by side for the control vs test period.

Successful Test: Higher CTR

A specific page’s results are below. The change resulted in more clicks per day, and higher CTR. This page was a success.

title tag optimization result success

Failed Test: Lower CTR

While some tests had an increase, others saw a decrease. This one specifically saw a lowered CTR after optimizing the title tags.

title tag optimization failure

The Verdict

I implemented 45 of the 50 suggests optimizations. Of those, 31 saw more clicks per day and 19 saw less clicks per day. Was it worth it? For $350, I do not think so. Did it drastically increase traffic? No, it did not. Doing this process does not mean the overall positioning will improve for each keyword.

For example, improving the title tag for an article in position 8 does not mean I am going to increase in positioning. It may over time increase since the CTR is improving thus Google rewarding that page. But it’s a long process.

Takeaway: my ROI is better spent on new content and backlinks to boost the page positions overall in the SERPs.

Silo Receives 6,000 Views/Month with $602 in Earnings

I added a new shoulder silo onto the main site starting last July 2020 for highly competitive keywords. I hired a dedicated writer for this silo specifically, who is a niche expert, being paid $30/article. A total of 35 articles have been added to this silo from July 2020 to March 2021 across 9 months.

Trend-wise, the silo topic is winter Q4 peaking as shown by the Google Trends below:

Google Trends

Tracking Traffic Growth

I gathered the URLs of all the articles in this silo and put them into SEOTesting.com as a “content group”. This content group will now track all the search traffic to all of these pages in aggregate. I am trying to answer the question: “Is this silo bringing in traffic?”

Here are the results:

clicks per month

This silo is working well. The silo brought in $602 in revenue via affiliate commissions.

The proof of concept was complete and now it’s time to double down. However, before doing so, I like to take a birds eye view to really understand what kind of content I am publishing. I like to list out the cons to see how they can be solved.

Silo Pros and Cons

The cons are:

  • The topic cannot be monetized via display ads due to being a sensitive topic
  • Currently, all commercial content published leading to too much affiliate content on the site over time
  • Seasonal topic with Q4 peak

The pros are:

  • High-ticket priced products; monetized with ShareASale and AvantLink brands at 5-10% commissions
  • High traffic keywords

To ensure I tackle the cons, I’ve assigned 30 informational articles to round out this silo. I will then interlink this informational content to the commercial content using Link Whisper.

Takeaways: Add 5-10 articles in a silo, track the traffic, and if growth occurs, then double down. Once the silo does well, make sure to diversify the type of content. Think of each silo as its own niche site within the umbrella of the authority website.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shoulder Niche Site Update: Moving to an Aged Domain

The shoulder niche site was started in December 2020. The site currently has 89,441 across 42 articles.

I am always on the lookout for a quality aged domain to pick up and I found a perfect one on ODYS that matches the topic exactly for this website. I purchased it and then redirected the entire site to this domain.

Why move shoulder site to aged domain?

I recently did a write-up where I showed how I redirect aged domains to niche sites. This was the complete opposite though; I moved the entire shoulder site to the aged domain and did a redirect.

These are the reasons why:

  • The new domain still was not getting any traffic
  • The new domain had no backlinks or authority

However, if the niche site was established already with traffic and earnings, I would not move it to the aged domain. Instead, I would redirect the aged domain to the niche site. No need to risk a perfectly good niche site making money.

Aged Domain Stats

The aged domains stats are as follows:

  • Ahrefs DR 15
  • 194 referring domains with quality links from Wikipedia, Wikihow, and niche relevant domains
  • Aged since 2007
  • Perfect topical relevancy with anchor text match

Here is the AHREFs stats:

Screen Shot 2021 04 05 at 8.46.53 PM

The Move Process

The process was as follows:

  1. Setup a new WP install on the aged domain
  2. Setup aged domain in Google Search Console
  3. Take a backup of the old site using All In One Migration plugin
  4. Upload the backup into the aged domain
  5. Setup .htaccess wildcard 301 redirect
  6. Perform a site move in Google Search Console
  7. Test all pages to make sure redirects are working
  8. Install Redirection plugin in aged domain
  9. Redirect specific aged domain URLs with backlinks to existing articles on the site

The entire process took a few hours to complete. After that, I figured out which pages on the aged domains had backlinks but no relevant content to redirect to and they were assigned to my writer. These were then published on the site and a redirect was set up for them using the Redirection plugin.

This process ensures maximum retention of SEO.

Next Steps

I am now even more confident this shoulder niche site will be successful. I will continue adding content to the site over April and monitor AHREFs and Google Search Console to see if the redirects have been picked up properly.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Plans for April 2021

Hereโ€™s the plan:

  • Add 10 informative articles to the silo
  • Add silo pillar page that interlinks everything
  • Add 20-30 other articles to the site
  • Add 30-50 articles content to shoulder niche site and monitor redirect
  • Launch e-books

Thatโ€™s it for this update. Stay tuned for next month’s update.

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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