SEO Case Study – Update #1: April 2020

A month has gone by since I started my SEO case study. I did not manage to get much done on the site as I suddenly got busy with client work for a few weeks. I was happy to take on the work while stuck at home all day, but unfortunately this SEO site had to take a back seat.

I still did manage to get a tiny bit of stuff done. Let’s see how the site performed despite my lack of attention.

Traffic Overview

Here was the traffic over the past month of April:

Traffic was steady with just under 200 users per day, or a total of about 5000 users for the month. This is actually a bit higher since my last report, where it was just over 3000 users for the month. Not sure exactly why, but perhaps it is because of all the people stuck at home spending more time browsing. Anyways…we have progress!

Looking at the traffic channels / sources:

It is still about the same as last month with close to 95% of traffic coming from organic search (i.e. Google). I have not tried to get any traffic from other sources yet, so this is as expected.

Finaly, here are the stats from Search Console:

Total clicks and impressions are both up significantly since last month. Average position and CTR (click through rate) is also up a tiny bit. Again, people staying home all day may be increasing overall search volume, but the higher ranking is probably due to a couple of the articles aging a bit more.

Overall traffic since inception:

The site is ‘officially’ 2 years old this month. Here is a look at the traffic since April 2018:

It has had a pretty nice, steady increase over time. I would like to get the bounce rate lower, but I think this will improve naturally as more content and internal linking is added.

Earnings overview past 30 days:

Some big news in the affiliate marketing world last month was that Amazon cut their commission rates drastically. Extremely drastically. All categories had huge reductions in their rates, with some as much as 70%-80%. The category this site is in was cut from 8% to 3%; or just over a 60% decrease. This obviously kind of sucks, and is going to hurt earning potential a fair bit (at least in the short term). I will share some of my plans/thoughts in the next section.

For now, let’s take a look at the Amazon Associates earnings the past month:

Amazon earnings totalled just over $300. This is a decent percentage increase over last month ($230). Amazon did not cut its rates until the 21st of April, so it only affected the last week or so. I expect next month’s earnings to be significantly worse.

I also have Google Adsense installed now. Here is how the earnings looked:

It made a nice $20. Solid beer money. I will try to optimize ad placements, or perhaps try a different network, so I expect earnings from display ads to increase in the future.

WHAT DID I DO THIS MONTH ?

As mentioned at the start, I did not manage to get much done on the site this month. I published two new articles (my goal was 4 to 8). I also did some internal linking and small design changes.

Current site stats overview:

Articles published:  14 (+2 from last month)

Monthly earnings:  $320 (39% increase from last month)

Monthly traffic: 5000 users / 6000 sessions (60% increase from last month)

Conclusion / Goals :

The site actually performed quite well over the past month despite my lack of attention. This is probably due to the fact that some articles are aging and improving their Google rank. Also there are a lot of people stuck at home due to COVID-19, that have more time to browse the internet (and buy things online).

My original goal was to reach $1K USD/month by the end of this year. Since Amazon changed their commission rates, I’m not certain how the earnings are going to be. So, I am going to change my goal to focus on TRAFFIC instead of earnings. The new goal will be to reach 10,000 users/month by the end of the year. Seems like a reasonable goal.

Things to do this month:

For next month, I will focus on these two things:

  1. Publish more posts — I will try again to get more posts published. Last month, I planned to do 4-8 posts, but did not meet that goal (I managed only two). So, this month I will try to lower my expectations, and publish three posts.
  2. Change design – I’m fed up with theme/design originally used for this site, so I’ve decided to change it completely. I will probably spend one week or so implementing a new design.

Some things that are not top priority now, but should eventually be done:

  • Research alternative income sources – with Amazon cutting rates, I will need to do some research to see if there are other sites that offer a better affiliate program for my niche. I will also need to think of other potential income sources like books, courses, and maybe YouTube? We’ll see.
  • Set up email newsletter sign up – I want to start setting up an email newsletter. Once the list grows, it could also become an income source. First, I need more content though.
  • Set up social media pages — diversify traffic channels by setting up some social media accounts with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

That’s all for now. Let’s see how I do next month.

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