LowFruits Case Study Site, Month 3
In December 2021, the site received 85 clicks and 2.94k impressions on Google, and 16 clicks and 216 impressions on Bing. The average CTR and average position on Google SERPs were 2.9% and 13.9, respectively.
From the creation of the website, the Google Search Console graph looks like this:
On Bing, the average CTR was 7.41% and the average position was 5.
By December 31, 2021, I had published a total of 23 articles (6 in October, 7 in November, and 10 in December) with an average length of 1,101 words and distributed evenly in 3 silos.
Google had indexed 15 of them, whereas Bing had indexed all 23.
Considering that this is a three-month-old website under a new domain name with no backlinks pointing to it or any prior history whatsoever, I am generally pleased with the results.
(As a reminder, this is a public case study, with a twist: I will reveal the niche in Month 6 and the website itself in Month 9.)
P.S. Eventually, this site’s traffic from Microsoft’s Bing will be nothing compared to what it will get from Alphabet’s Google. However, I have found that the data in Bing Webmaster Tools is useful for getting early feedback on what’s working and what isn’t, especially in the first 3-6 months.
So, What’s Working?
So far, I have published only informational articles on the website (i.e., “Can I Do This,” “Should You Do That,” “How to Get Something Done”).
While I have commercial articles in mind (i.e., “Are These Products Worth It,” “Best This for That,” “Product X vs. Product Y,” “Product Z Review”), the SERPs for them are more competitive, and it didn’t make sense to start with them on a new domain.
How I Handle Silos
I have 3 silos so far. Let’s call them Silo A, Silo B, and Silo C.
These are what you’d call “soft” or “semantic,” and not “hard” or “structural,” silos.
The articles are all part of the same category on WordPress, and they follow the same URL pattern. However, that category is very broad (imagine a category called “How-to’s”) and each silo covers very different aspects of it.
After a while, I may consider adding sub-categories or tags to improve the grouping of the content and make it easier for users to navigate the site. Right now, I’m not even thinking about this because it isn’t a piece of work that will move the needle, and I prefer to focus only/mostly on the activities that drive results.
The three soft/semantic silos are all about balance:
Silo A is full of low-hanging fruit to get early, low-volume traffic. But, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t expect the traffic to be all that much, especially once posts from the other silos start to rank and bring in visitors.
For the same reasons, I’m building up Silo B and C. These siloes are more competitive and harder to rank, so it will take longer to see results. Once they rank, those articles should drive the majority of the organic search traffic to the site.
How I Select Which Keywords to Target
When I research keywords in LowFruits, I pick search terms from the tool’s “Top 3” filter or search terms with as many blue fruits as possible.
Because these search terms are low-competition and low-volume, they belong to what in statistics is called the “long tail.” The long tail is the part of a data set with so many exceptions that it’s hard to get reliable numbers for it. This is why I ignore the search volume estimates for them.
My approach seems to be paying off.
Just starting out and you’re looking for tips on prioritizing content?
Focus on one or two categories you’re most knowledgeable about, and write posts that target the search terms with the most blue-colored weak spots in LowFruits first.
These weak spots represent user-generated content, such as Quora, Reddit, and forum posts, and Web 2.0 sites, such as Blogspot.com and Tumblr blogs, which you can easily outrank with well-written and thoroughly-researched content, even with a recently-created blog.
Naturally, the posts with the most blue fruits in LowFruits were indexed the fastest and had ranked the highest.
Here’s what the traffic profile for December 2021 in Google Search Console, enriched with information about the length of the posts, the number of low fruits at the time of keyword research, and the date of publishing, looks like:
|Article 1||Silo A||763||2 green,3 blue||November 3, 2021||50||1,025|
|Article 2||Silo B||936||0 green,4 blue||December 8, 2021||9||131|
|Article 3||Silo A||591||0 green,7 blue||November 4, 2021||8||424|
|Article 4||Silo A||583||1 green,5 blue||December 2, 2021||6||182|
|Article 5||Silo C||958||2 green,3 blue||October 15, 2021||5||224|
|Article 6||Silo A||1,167||1 green,8 blue||November 28, 2021||4||184|
|Article 7||Silo B||1,594||1 green,4 blue||November 2, 2021||1||144|
|Article 8||Silo B||941||3 green,2 blue||November 8, 2021||1||57|
What I Learned for Three Months
As you can probably guess, the articles for Silo A are simple Question-Answer articles. Many of these don’t need a thousand words to be answered, but they do require a fair share of experience and knowledge in the topic to answer well.
I plan to exhaust Silo A over the next 2-3 months, as its articles are cost-efficient to write, and they rank relatively fast, which means they will continue to bring in traffic. I will also consider adding more specificity and illustrations to them to make them harder to compete with.
As I do that, I will continue to invest in building up Silos B and C with more content.
Whereas the articles in Silo A are more of the “Can You Do This” type, those in Silos B and C are guides; they are the “How to Do This” guides and “Why This Happened” troubleshooters.
Silo B and Silo C articles are more expansive and costly, but I also expect a higher return from them.
The longer and more factual a piece of content is, the greater the chances it will show up not only as a search result but also as a Featured Snippet and in the People Also Ask drop-downs. More impressions mean more clicks. Clicks bring in traffic, and traffic generates ad earnings.
By the way, isn’t it ironic that the articles of October—which had the most time to rank—also performed the worst?
When you start a new website, you make assumptions that don’t always turn out to be true. The more you research and write, edit, and/or publish, the better you understand your target audience, their search intent, and what they’re looking to get out of your content.
That said, we have a long way to go. It’s one thing getting a site to lift off and get a hundred monthly clicks in Google, and another to grow it to tens of thousands of monthly visitors.
High-Quality Content or a Lot of Content? My Approach
I like to think of content as a capital investment that pays dividends over time.
Just like it’s a better idea to invest in blue-chip companies than penny stocks on the stock market, I prefer to invest in well-researched, high-quality content rather than re-written, ill-worded nonsense.
Most of my writers work at a rate of 5-6¢/word.
I have found that great content is also hard to beat, even if you publish it on a low-authority domain name and competitors with higher authority come in and use your keyword research. Besides, a website with good content tends to be more stable in Google algorithm updates than one with poor content—and stability is ultimately what I’m after.
As for the photos and illustrations, I bought several hundred credits from a Depositphotos sale at AppSumo on Black Friday last year, so all my articles feature spot-on, well-shot, high-quality stock photos. Where I can, I go into Canva Pro and create illustrations or infographics to make the posts more informative and secure their rankings.
Of course, this is all subjective. And how you approach your website depends on how you feel about your business as a whole. I know and follow some who try to get the maximum profit out of their websites by working with the lowest-paid writers they can find, and they’re highly successful doing it.
There is no right and wrong way to make a living on the web.
Why I Always Write the First Articles Myself
Of the 23 articles I published in 2021, I wrote 20 articles myself to get a feel for the niche and to create an editorial guide for my team of writers, who I contract through WriterAccess for this site.
Then, I ordered 3 articles to test this editorial guide, which sets the tone and voice and provides a general template for writing “good” content requiring minimum editing on my part.
Happily, it worked.
I am now confident that I can scale the creation of content for this website and, from January, you will see me delegating 90% of the writing to others at an average rate of 5¢/word.
The rate is high because I work with American writers who have a personal interest in—and hands-on experience with—the subject. I selected them through a question-based application that helps me find writers with real-world experience.
|Date Checked||December 31, 2021|
|Avg. Position (Google, USA, Mobile)||8.96|
|Avg. Position (Google, USA, Desktop)||9.15|
|Positions in Top 3 on SERPs||1|
|Positions in Top 10 on SERPs||7 (+2 Change Month-over-Month)|
|Positions in Top 100 on SERPs||2 (-2 Month-over-Month)|
|Time Period||November 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021|
|Avg. Engagement Time||1m 51s|
|Engaged Sessions / User||0.81|
|Pageviews / Published Post (PPP)||33.96|
|Time Period||November 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021|
|Total Revenue Since Start of Site||$0|
|Total Revenue YTD (2021)||$0|
Of which $0 from display adsOf which $0 from affiliate commissions
|Revenue / Published Post (RPP)||$0|
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 88,000 monthly page views and a DR of 10 in Ahrefs in August 2021. Here’s a screenshot of that hockey-stick growth, with a few bumps along the way, that everyone likes to tell you about:
Since, monthly traffic has increased by 15-20%, and revenue (display ads and affiliate programs) has grown at about the same rate.
I recently graduated from the first cohort of Ezoic’s Level-Up Learning Program for publishers and was the recipient of an Ezoic Content Grant in October 2021.
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”).