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Before I dive into update #4 for the “No Stone Unturned” case study site, if you’re unfamiliar with this case study or need a refresher, make sure to check out the full playlist over on YouTube.
We’re now four months into the development of this site, and while the traffic is still very low, we’re starting to see some signs of an upcoming upward curve, which I’ll jump into further below.
First, here’s where what we’ve published by month so far:
As I’ve mentioned in the past, our goal up to this point has been to publish roughly 40-50 posts/month. While that still holds true today, I think we’ll likely reduce this to 1 post/day at some point in the near future.
I’m not going to spend much time here, but as far as we can tell, we are back on track again with getting new posts indexed, as you can see in the screenshot below:
Since the whole goal of this site is to test the impact of improving topical authority (through thoroughly covering each sub-niche and interlinking articles accordingly) on the growth of a site, let’s take a look at the clusters so far:
The screenshot above shows the number of posts that we’ve published so far in each cluster. With this case study, we are publishing all posts within a cluster before moving on to the next, so clusters 1-4 above are done, while cluster #5 is still in progress.
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As I mentioned in an earlier video (at least I think I did), as we started really diving into the keyword research for this site, we quickly realized that it made more sense to create articles with more of a topical approach (rather than covering a single keyword with each article).
That is the main reason that the bar for topic #1 is so much higher than the other clusters. We were simply figuring things out at that point in time and took more of a one-article-per-keyword approach for about half of the first cluster.
That’s not to say that we aren’t still targeting single keywords, as about half of our articles are still doing exactly that. We’ve just found that when you’re really trying to dive deep into a cluster, it simply makes more sense to group some keywords together into a single article, instead of writing separate articles that will likely end up with a lot of duplicate, competing content.
With a brand new site on a fresh domain, you typically won’t see much movement in the first few months. Sometimes, it even takes close to a year before a site starts to hit that upward trajectory (if at all).
We’re only four months into this particular site, and so far, we’re really happy with what we’re seeing. First, let’s take a look at only the organic search sessions, when compared to our previous three sites:
The next couple of months will be really interesting to see, as this site is clearly off to a better start than our previous few sites.
Next, let’s take a look at Google Analytics, again for only organic search sessions:
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The screenshot above is for the life of the site, with the first article being posted on 11/7/21. While there are a lot of spikes and dips, both are clearly getting higher and higher.
Lastly, here is a screenshot from Google Search Console, showing the impressions and clicks from Google Search traffic:
This is the graph that excites me the most, because as I mentioned last month, most of our traffic up to this point was coming from other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo.
The list of keywords that Google is ranking us far has gone up significantly, and the rankings for those keywords has been slowly, but steadily, climbing.
While it’s clearly way too early to know whether or not this site will succeed, all signs are pointing in the right direction.
Our hope was to start seeing an upward growth curve around the six month mark, which would still be pretty early for most sites. The next couple of months will be telling as we near that milestone.
Look for another update in early April.