Adsense Website January 2019 Case Study

Domain acquired: January 2019
Price: $1200
Primary monetization: Display ads (Google Adsense)

Update (May 2020): The site has been sold since first writing this post. The post has been updated and you can expect further updates as I will be updating this into a detailed case study.

History

I bought this domain on Godaddy Auctions and it was my last purchase in 2018. The only reason I bought it is because this outdated one-page website was (is) ranking for some high traffic keywords.

OK, I also had some extra cash to invest which I wanted to include in my expenditures for 2018. I estimated (with the help of Semrush and Ahref tools) that it should bring around 1000 visitors a day. I was right.

I bought the domain on 31st of December 2018 (yes, on New Year’s Eve) and received it one week later.

While waiting for the domain I set the website, changed the main article and prepared the content for the homepage, as well as created a unique picture that would go along with the article.

Strategy

As I said, I only bought it because of its traffic and my goal was to monetize it with Google Adsense. It took me several tries before Google approved the website, even though previous owner also used Adsense. Seems they got a bit more demanding in the meantime.

Finally in early February of 2019 I started to display the ads.

Then it took me another week or so to optimize the ads and get somewhat decent RPM.

What I did to get it approved by Google Adsense is:

  • added several more pages of content (7 additional pages)
  • expanded About page, linked to Privacy and Contact pages through it
  • expanded/revised the homepage a bit more
  • sorted out the menu bar, added all relevant pages there, including Privacy policy

Initial traffic and revenue

First month of having the site monetized (February) it pulled around $90 with Adsense. It also earned a few dollars with Taboola ads (I will probably ditch them as they earn almost nothing).
The second month it earned around 125 USD.
The third month it earned around 150 USD.
adsense revenue

Considering the site received around 70.000 visits in the last 30 days I’d say there is definitely some room to improve the current RPM.
adsense site

Plan and risks

This is an aged domain and website has been stable for a long time. According to Semrush these rankings have been stable for around 5 years.

Obviously, the main risk is that they will drop. If it stays stable I’d be able to get my initial investment back within the next 6 months. At that point I should be able to sell it for 25-30 x monthly revenue.

Update: I returned my investment (what I spent on domain, content…) after 11 months, in November 2019.

Considering I’m seeing these new pages already ranking on page 1 I see there is also potential for scaling it.

Either way, I will follow-up on the progress in a few months so stay tuned.

Further Content & SEO improvements

I didn’t work that much on this site.
I’ve did extensive keyword research and added several more posts.

Built some backlinks
I was quite cautious with the backlinking strategy. I didn’t want to ruin what was already working. The site maintained great rankings of main keywords for years and few nice backlinks in place which obviously came organically.

Throughout the year I created some blog comments, forum links, and few guest posts. Blog comments and forum links were created by a VA on mostly relevant pages.

Many newer posts ranked on page 1 but still the main page brought the majority of traffic.

Monetization improvements

Added affiliate links
Adding Amazon affiliate links for some moderately relevant products I managed to increase earnings by 7-10%. Nothing drastic but improves the overall valuation.

Implementing Ezoic instead of Google Adsense
By switching to Ezoic I managed to drastically increase the earnings in the next few months (by around 50-60%).

Selling The Site

After few great months with Ezoic came COVID-19 and RPM started to drop drastically. I was contemplating quite a bit whether I would sell the site. I speculated the lower RPMs might continue for some time (6 months) so in the end I decided I’ll try to sell it now while I have a good earnings trend.

In the end I sold it for a 40x monthly multiple.

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