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We’re now six months into the “No Stone Unturned” case study, which means we’re about to enter the phase where we anticipate some serious growth on any new site (months 7-12).
If you need to catch up on the strategy behind this case study, you can check out the full playlist over on YouTube.
Like the last few updates, I’ll try to keep this one short. While we are starting to see more and more activity and growth on the site, we’re not quite far enough into this case study yet to determine whether or not the strategy has been successful.
First, let’s take a look at the number of posts that we’ve published so far:
Our output in April was a bit lower than other months, which was mostly due to some of the posts being higher in word count. We’ve basically been publishing roughly 50,000 to 60,000 words per month, and some months will have fewer articles that make up that total word count.
The total number of posts published through the end of April is 279.
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We really haven’t run into any serious indexing issues with this site, but just to give you an update, here’s what the Coverage Report looks like through the end of April:
This is about as perfect of a report as you can hope to see, so we have zero concerns right now about indexing.
I’ve gotten some questions about backlinks after posting/sending out each update, which made me realize that it’s probably something that at least a few of you are wondering about.
To be honest, it’s simply not something I think about, because our strategy is non-existent. We’ve never built backlinks on a site, and this site is no different in that regard.
Instead, we simply rely on backlinks to come naturally over time as we publish more and more content. Yes, this takes longer, but it absolutely works. It also doesn’t require any time and effort, and it keeps the risk at a minimum.
Regarding internal links, we have a very clear strategy for this case study, which is to add them wherever it makes sense. As I mentioned in the last update, we’ve already added close to 2,000 internal links to this site (this only included contextual links, not navigational, etc.).
Something that I don’t think I’ve mentioned at all with this site is linking to external resources, as in linking to other sites from within our posts.
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Because the general strategy of this case study is to create a comprehensive resource with our visitors’ needs in mind, we absolutely have been linking to external sites whenever it makes sense to do so.
I pulled a count of these outbound links just to see where we stand, which came out to about 850 total links so far. This is roughly 3 links/post, which is right around where we’d hope to be.
Now onto the fun stuff. Here’s a graph from Search Console showing the clicks and impressions for the life of the site:
As you can see, this site has a really nice upward trajectory, which we expect to continue over the next several months.
What’s exciting is that when we look at the positions for the various keywords that we’re ranking for, there are still only a couple in the #1 spot. This means there’s still a ton of room for growth across the vast majority of the keywords that we’re targeting.
Here’s another lifetime view of the site’s traffic, this time in Google Analytics:
The screenshot above shows total pageviews by month.
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What we like to see once a site starts taking off is more or less a doubling of traffic each month. That’s basically what we’ve seen over the past few months, and if it continues, this site will be generating some significant traffic in the near future.
Since some of you have asked how much this site is generating, I figured I’d touch on it in this update. The answer is $0.
We have no intentions of monetizing this site until it reaches Mediavine’s traffic requirement, unless it looks like that will take a significant amount of time to reach.
This has been the approach that we’ve taken with the last few sites. Yes, we’re leaving money on the table in the meantime, but we have our reasons for doing this.
The main reason we prefer to wait on monetization is that we want the user engagement metrics to be as good as possible during the growth phase of a site. Basically, we don’t want to give Google any reason not to rank the site well, and adding display ads and affiliate links obviously does provide a poorer user experience for your visitors.
If we were to monetize sooner, it would be with Ezoic. However, the last time we tried this, we ran into all sorts of technical issues, all to make a very small return. We’re just not willing to go down that road again.
With that being said, don’t let me discourage you from monetizing your own site early on, as getting an early revenue stream can be huge for motivation. Also, Ezoic is a solid platform, and the issues that we ran into were not typical.
The first six months (sometimes 12 months) are the worst to endure with any site. You typically don’t see any significant growth, and keeping yourself motivated to move forward can be very difficult.
While the traffic is still pretty low on this site, we’re very encouraged by the month-over-month growth, as well as how early that growth set in.
We’re about to enter the 7-12 month phase of this site, which is when we’ll really be able to see whether or not this strategy paid off.
Keep your eyes peeled for another update in about a month.