June 2022 Niche Site Summary
Hitting publish in the early morning of June 30th, followed by hitting publish a second time later that evening, kept my 10 posts per month goal alive.
As it turns out, attempting to write content while your site traffic is getting pummeled by a Google core update is mentally taxing.
BUT, a long weekend with my wife and friends in San Diego was the reset I needed to objectively assess the situation and get back to work.
In the spirit of what Glenn Gabe refers to as the kitchen sink approach, I performed a holistic review my site and decided to take the following actions post the Google May core update:
- Add Cloudflare CDN
- Update About Us page
- Socials at the site level (LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit)
- Add an Author Profile page
- Socials at the author level (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)
- Add an author box to every post
- Delete posts covering topics outside of my niche
- Manually remove retired domain URLs
- Start link building (reclaiming image attribution, HARO, and original research link-bait)
My two leading theories for why my site got hit continue to be the history of the retired domain I acquired and E-A-T.
With regards to my domain’s history, Google has crawled a total of approximately 40 old URLs now over the past month that appear in my Google Search Console coverage report.
Unfortunately, most of the old URL slugs are related to YMYL topics. One that popped up the other day was about “how to make money by surviving the pandemic”. Not exactly the kind of content that gets you in Google’s good graces.
I have since manually submitted all of these URLs for removal, and continue to do so as new URLs are discovered.
On the E-A-T front, Google recently released some best practices around author schema, an area my site fell massively short on.
By updating my ‘About Us’ page, adding an ‘Author Profile’ page, incorporating an author box to every post (using the Simple Author Box plugin), and adding socials at the site and author level, I believe I now check this critical box.
During my comprehensive site review, I also noticed two early posts that simply fall too far outside of my selected niche. Despite being 8 months old, neither post was ranking and so I decided to delete them both.
And finally, one major adjustment I have made is incorporating link building into my overall strategy.
It’s early days but I can already see why folks HATE actively building links. It’s a TON of effort for very slow and gradual returns.
I’ve gotten started with a few techniques like reclaiming image attribution, HARO, and creating original research link-bait.
Of the three, I am by far the most optimistic about generating link-bait posts with high quality, original research. I published one link-bait article in June that took about a week to collect the data for and I think folks in my area will find extremely useful.
Only time will tell which of these techniques proves to be the most effective…
In the meantime, although the site wide featured snippet ban remains in full effect, traffic has recently stabilized. Even more encouraging is new posts are quickly ranking in the top 10 SERPs and holding these positions over time.
From May (53,841) to June (22,018) the site had a 59.11% decrease in pageviews.
Google Analytics – June 2022
- Users: 17,327
- Sessions: 19,989
- Avg. Session Duration: 00:54
- Pageviews: 22,018
- Avg. Time on Page: 8:44
Google Search Console – June 2022
- Total Clicks: 16,000
- Total Impressions: 153,000
- Avg. CTR: 10.4%
- Average Position: 9
With the dust of the Google May core update now settled, the question of when to monetize my website has rang a little louder.
The goal from the very beginning has been to prioritize content with the aim of achieving 50,000 sessions and monetizing the site with Mediavine display ads straight away. With site traffic now set back a few months to April levels, it’s clear that the road to Mediavine is going to be longer than initially expected.
It is very possible that I’ll need to wait until the next Google core update (likely sometime in November 2022) to see the same growth trajectory the site experienced prior to the May update.
This assumes that Google recognizes the changes I’ve made to the site at that time…far from a given.
The reason I have continued to choose NOT to add Ezoic at this time is the risk of negatively impacting site speed and user overall experience.
To be clear, these are only perceived risks at the moment based off my best attempts to filter the general experience of other niche site owners and SEO Twitter.
Ultimately, I remain singularly focused on getting accepted to Mediavine.
The upside of adding Ezoic at this stage is potentially a couple hundred dollars a month. The downside risk is an associated decrease in rankings and traffic.
…for now the downside risks outweigh the monetary upside.
Discipline = Freedom
Always Be Publishing #ABP!