NICHE EMPIRE PROJECT
Inside what it takes to build a profitable online property.
MONTH 4: FEBRUARY 2019
In this article:
Making Google Angry
LAST MONTHS EARNINGS (USD)
TOTAL EARNINGS (USD)
MONTHLY GOOGLE IMPRESSIONS (thousand)
MONTHLY GOOGLE CLICKS
I’ll be honest, it’s been a really disappointing month. Life in the sandbox is hard and there have been a few challenges this month that means I’ve not seen the improvements that I’d like to have seen.
Truth is though, for the first 6-9 months of any brand new site, life can be very testing.
Despite these challenges, when we take a look at my favorite graph showing a running total of active users we can see that all is well and we continue to increase traffic to the site which right now is our primary goal.
The number of impressions on Google actually went significantly down (21.7k to 15.5k) compared to last month (it is a short month though) but the number of clicks went up (273 > 394).
This would suggest that those keywords that were lower down the results pages got worse but those higher up managed to be high enough to receive more clicks. I think the KGR articles may have helped with this too (see ‘KGR Success’ below).
There were a few reasons for this performance, one was because we made Google angry (see more detailed analysis below).
As a result, over the course of the month, our impressions declined to about a third of what it had been at the end of January and stayed there for a good few weeks before slowly returning to their previous position.
The above graph does not show this too well but you can see it better in the graph below which shows our performance in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) since the beginning of the project.
With this behind us, we should see the benefits of the work we put in (making Google angry) over the coming months. A necessary evil but it feels hard right now when you hit a barrier like this.
However, in a few months time, this dip, which feels huge now, will feel like a tiny pothole in the road.
Highlights: What I did this month
There were four main focus areas that I think are worth discussing this month.
- Making Google Angry
- KGR Success
- SEO Metadata Implementation
Making Google Angry
Okay, this a bit of a dramatic headline I admit. I did some work this month that made our rankings fluctuate for a while until Google found a new home for our pages.
If you have been reading about this project since the beginning, you may remember in last months post that I carried out a lot of internal linking on every article on the site. This Is what cause the downturn in our fortunes and the number of impressions of our site in Google reduced by a third.
However, as a result of our work, I expect the site to come back even stronger and perform even better over the coming weeks and months. When it does, this short term pain will be worth it.
Back in the December monthly report, I wrote about KGR articles and the fact that we were going to make a sustained effort to include these on our site. Well, I did and some of the results have been fantastic.
Not all of the articles have had immediate results but a fair few have made it in to the top 3 with a whole bunch in at position 1 too. These articles are generating the most traffic to the site right now so I would say that this means KGR has worked for me.
I expect that as the website ages we’ll see more of these KGR articles rising to the top and making up a fair portion of the long tail traffic to the site.
In order to become an authority on a subject, in Googles eyes, you need to have plenty of relevant content and as such you need to write other articles that ‘support’ your main keyword articles. The great thing about KGR articles is that they don’t just site there helping with topical authority but they can also attract visitors and make money in their own right too.
For me, this is the best This is how I like to think of KGR articles. So for me, I’ll be using the strategy for all my sites going forward.
SEO Metadata Implementation
This month I went through all the articles and updated the SEO title and the meta description for all my post. Until now, my main focus was just to get the articles on to the website and indexed by Google.
The title of the articles have generally been the keyword that I am targetting and therefore the SEO title has been the same.
There are two reasons I don’t want to keep it this way:
If the SEO title is the keyword and you’ve been frivolous using that keywords elsewhere in the article then there is a risk of ‘over optimization’ which means Google may not rank the articles so well.
Keyword only titles are not always that appealing in attracting users to click on them in the search engine results pages. So we can work on making the title more attract to users and hopefully increase the Click-through rate.
When composing a good headline there are a few rules you can look to follow especially when stuff:
- Emotional Words
- Be relatable
e.g. ‘Best tennis balls’ might become ‘Best tennis balls: Top 5 tried, tested and smashed!’
Improving titles not only encourage more people to click but increasing your click-through rate is a ranking signal to Google. The better your click-through rate, the better you will rank.
Well, I could not resist any longer. I figured that the traffic is going up and is increasing and will continue to do so over the coming months so I may as well take the plunge and start to add Amazon Affiliate links to my site. I actually did this right at the end of January but it was so late in the month it didn’t make it in to last months report.
I set up a US account and I already have a UK account that had been dormant since 2001! I’ve chosen to use the AAWP plugin on my site as it had a good number of features and looks great. For some reason, a lot of affiliate plugins look like they were made in 2001!
The way the website looks is important to me. You’ll see some people argue that it’s all about the performance of the site rather than the way it looks but for me these two things go hand in hand.
You can create a great looking site that also converts. If the site looks better you will gain more trust from the user thus increasing performance further.
Right now it seems easy to add product tables. images and ‘feature boxes’ using AAWP all through the Amazon API so we’ll see how it goes.
As luck would have it, I was rewarded immediately with a couple of sales and I thought “well, that was easy” but then I’ve not made many more sales since.
As you can see there is a period of about a week where my US store was not getting any clicks. This turned out to be a bug in AAWP which they fixed for me. So, this may have hindered earnings a little.
This has raised some concerns for me. Being at the mercy of a plugin with a bug that takes days to fix is fine now but once the site is earning significantly more this could be a big hit on earnings.
I’m thinking about other options. Amazon’s own OneLink does not use the API, but ‘standard’ links alone which should make it pretty solid. However, OneLink does not have an option for comparison tables which is one of the reasons I chose AAWP.
The other reason is that OneLink does not cover all the Amazon affiliate locales (e.g. Australia is not supported at the time of writing) which will hinder earning potential.
I’m going to see how things pan out for a couple of months, do some more research and reevaluate. Whilst SEO and online business are not new to me, Amazon Associates is so I have some learning to do on that front.
A slightly frustrating month of small gains but really this is to be expected in the early months. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier though.
A few more months of waiting and that’s when the fun really starts.