LowFruits Case Study Site, Month 12: Did Dim’s SEO Strategy Work?

Dim
Updated on

It’s been 12 months since I started a BBQ website called Barbehow.

And today, we’re looking at where we were at the beginning and where we are now. 

It’s showtime! 👇

My Strategy for the Barbehow SEO

My strategy was simple:

  1. Use LowFruits to find low-competition keywords.
  2. Publish high-quality informational content in the first 6-9 months.
  3. Once the website has topical authority and organic traffic, monetize it with display ads and commercial content.

I didn’t use any other tools to analyze the SERPs or optimize my content.

Instead, I worked with writers from the US and UK who own grills or smokers themselves, so they can write competently on the subjects of grilling and meat smoking.

Did My SEO Strategy Work?

This is where we started and where we are right now:

SEO results with LowFruits

As far as I’m concerned, the strategy has been working out!

I’m pleased with the results:

  • I published 131 articles 
    • Total word count: 155,454
    • Average word count: 1,178 per article
  • Articles ranking in the first 1-3 positions in the SERPs: 78
  • Page views: 20,333 page views per month on average (last 3 months)
  • Monthly revenue: $353.30 per month on average

Calculating the ROI: Should I Sell the Case Study Website?

I’ll keep the website in my portfolio for the time being.

If I were to sell it now, the year-to-date revenue and likely sale price combined would recoup my investment with an ROI of 100%.

How did I come to this number?

Suppose you need 2 x 1,000-word articles/month to keep the lights on and you can source them for $0.04/word.

This puts the Last 3 Months (L3M) profit at $273.30 and leads to the following valuation:

  • $10,347 at a 38x L3M profit multiple
  • $10,892 at a 40x L3M profit multiple
  • $11,479 at a 42x L3M profit multiple

Not bad for a “side gig” with a few posts per month, which, were you to try doing the same, you could write yourself.

A Note on Seasonality

We haven’t seen the seasonality yet, but I expect traffic and revenue to decline in the coming months as we enter fall. (People prefer grilling during the summer.)

Any post I publish or update now will be in preparation for next year’s BBQ season.

LowFruits Tip of the Month

Need more ideas for content but not really sure where to start?

Open a few of your old reports and go to the “Related” tab. You will get lots of ideas! 

How to use LowFruits to find ideas for related keywords

Then, create a list, add ideas to it, and rinse & repeat until you’re ready to analyze the list and look for low-hanging fruits in the SERPs.

What Happened in September?

Last month was almost all about “Best X for Y” posts. 

It’ll take a while for these posts to rank (anywhere from 2-3 months to 8-9 months). 

Once they do, I expect them to start bringing in decent revenue from Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and Impact.com.

In September 2022, the website received:

  • 13.8k clicks
  • 526k impressions
  • Average CTR: 2.6% (Google’s SERPs)
  • Monetization: $368.48
    • Ezoic: $325.65
    • Amazon Associates: $42.83

It’s no surprise the results peaked on Labor Day:

SEO performance with LowFruits

What’s Next for Barbehow and Our Case Study?

I asked you how to proceed with the case study, and you gave Paul and me some excellent ideas!

We’ve decided to continue the case study with quarterly updates. 

There are not that many multi-year case studies around, so let’s make this one of them. The next update will be out in January 2023.

Until then?

Well, let’s just say that another case study is in the works.

And this time, a partner and I will approach things a little differently—and on a larger scale.

Stay tuned 🙂

Metrics Over Time

Traffic

Time PeriodSeptember 1, 2022 – September 30, 2022
Monthly Pageviews20,000
Avg. Engagement Time1m 02s
Engaged Sessions / User0.58
Pageviews / Published Post (PPP)152.67

Source: Google Analytics

Content

Rankings

Date CheckedOctober 10, 2022
Avg. Position (Google, USA)13.35
Top 378 / 131
Top 1098 / 131
Top 30106 / 131
Top 100108 / 131

Source: SERProbot

Earnings

Time PeriodSeptember 1, 2022 – September 30, 2022
Total Revenue Since Start of Site$1,180.61
Total Revenue Year to Date (2022)$1,180.61
Monthly Revenue$368.48, of which:
$325.65 from display ads$42.83 from affiliate programs
Monthly Revenue / Published Post (MRPP)$2.81

Source: Ezoic, Amazon Associates

Who I Am

Thank you for reading (or scrolling?) this far.

Since 2007, I have been building, buying, investing in, and selling websites. I’ve been in and out of this business, sometimes full-time, other times as a side hustle. Wherever life takes me, I somehow seem to find my way back to this game.

How do you know you can trust me?

I have experienced pandas and penguins. I owned Facebook pages with millions of likes back when Facebook pages brought traffic and earned passive income from niche sites before it was cool (back then, we called ourselves “webmasters”).

More recently, I started a website under a new domain name in August 2020 that reached 150,000 monthly page views and a DR of 26 in Ahrefs in May 2022.

Here’s a screenshot of that hockey-stick growth, with a few bumps along the way and followed by a plateau, that everyone likes to tell you about:

I am a Certified Ezoic Expert, an Ezoic Premium Publisher, and a member of Ezoic’s Premium Accelerator Program.

I am not the most public person on earth, and I prefer privacy to the spotlight. However, if you like what I have to say and want to get in touch with me, you can do so on my website AskDim.com (ask as in “ask me a question”).

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8 Comments

Hey Dim,
I love this series you just wrote.
Do you have any content – or plan or writing content – on the topic of finding great writers in your niche in a cost-effective way?
What level of interaction do you have with these writers to produce a great level of copy?
And do you handle the on-page SEO for the written pieces? Or do you ask the writers to do this?
I’d love to get your input on these points.

Reply

Hey there, Sheldon,

Great question. No, I haven’t written anything about this yet. But you’ve given me food for thought, either for the blog or when I finally start that YouTube channel.

When I work with freelancers, I hold a weekly 30-minute meeting where I give my feedback on their work, and we exchange thoughts on how to produce good content. I also have a Discord channel for my team and am available to any of my writers via email. I see this as a necessary investment of time to build an engaged team.

I also give them access to the tools I use and train them on how to make the most of them. It’s a win/win. I get engaged people who learn more and more as they work with me; they get more than just the average writing gig and build new skills by the week.

My best writers get free coaching if they decide to build sites of their own, too. My goal is to retain the best people and make myself as redundant as I can.

Finally, my writers and I keep a team wiki with a knowledge base on how to produce great content in Atlassian. Nothing fancy; just bulleted lists of the best practices and non-negotiables for each site in the portfolio.

When working with agencies, I try to have monthly catch-ups with an account manager where I share honest and upfront feedback. If that feedback is listened to and incorporated into the work, we keep working together. Else, I discontinue and change to a different supplier.

Dim

Reply

Honestly, this is the first time in my history that I read a blog post from beginning to the end. eventually I do my own website SEO work myself. Your writing style is very friendly and readable. Thanks

Reply

Thank you, Roy!

Reply

Gutted it’ll only be quarterly updates going forward as I look forward to reading them every month, but excited about your new case study!

Reply

Appreciate you following along, G!

Can’t believe it’s been one year since I started this site. Time flies! Stick around, though, the upcoming case study will be worth the read every month too =)

Dim

Reply

How much money (in total) did you invest in the content you’ve produced already though? I’m aware you mentioned the hypothetical scenario of 2 1,000 word articles a month at a price of $0.04/word to keep it going.
You also mention the total amount of words on the site is 155,454 as of now. So if you paid $0.04 per word (did you?), that would be a bit more than $6,200, not factoring any other costs (hosting, website design, etc) and your own time. You’ve already made back $1,180. So a year into this, you’re around $5,000 in the red.
I understand there’s a hypothetical scenario where you could sell it for $10,000 now (but is it really that easy to find a buyer and make the sale happen?), but given the amount of work you’ve invested in it, it doesn’t seem that great.
I’m not trying to be negative—I’m just trying to understand this business better since I’m looking to build my own niche site.

Reply

Hi, Sam!

You’re not being negative at all; it’s important to think critically about one’s investments and discuss them from both positive and negative angles.

Here’s how I see it:

I’ve invested about $5.7k in the site so far and recouped about $1.2 of it. Considering that the site is 1 year old, built on a new domain, and monetized for 3½ months, I do see this as good progress.

At least in my experience, it’s rare for a site to recoup 100% of its investment in Year 1, especially if it isn’t built on an aged domain and you’re not aggressively building links (which, in turn, adds greater risk). I see this on maybe 1 of 5 of the sites I build, so I consider it the exception rather than the rule.

Of course, this is my approach. Others are probably able to get there faster, especially if their goal is to build cheaply and exit early, which is just as good of a way to do business in this space, even if dissimilar.

I think it’s easy to find buyers for websites right now. This site in particular has a well-kept captain’s log, steady verifiable growth, and plenty of opportunities to do things differently and/or more aggressively.

That said, I also think it’s early. I can do more in Year 2 and sell it for more later (or just keep it and keep milking or growing it).

Dim

Reply

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