[Journey] Scaling an Authority website to 10K a month (and beyond)

That's an impressive Passive income stream, If i may ask, how much time you used to spend on that website daily on the first year, compared to now ?
Thank you. It is more complicated than that, since I had this site all the way back from 2011. However, we should look at a more recent period.

When I started this journey in May 2020, the website was getting about 100K sessions per month. In one year time, until May 2021, I took it to over 500K sessions/month. During this year I worked very hard on the website, as it is documented in this journey (posted daily updates back then). Basically many hours each day, with almost no days off...

Than I eased a lot since June 2021, and for some months didn't work on the site whatsoever, but as it is the case always in IM, some results showed with delay, and the website reached it peak in May 2022, breaking 800K sessions, getting close to 1 mil page views. This happened even though I worked a lot on some side projects & other ventures and gave the website little attention.

Now, I have periods when I do not work on it at all. But for example lately when I had a period when I was spending lot of time at airports, in planes, trains, etc, I got into the grind and came up with some new articles :).

This is a kind of journey thread, you read, learn, package and sell here for some quick cash.
People go after "get rich quick with little work" courses, packages, and gurus. What I did in this journey is anything but that.

Hence I am not sure if you will make any cash trying to sell the information posted here...

Most of his sites are down by quite a lot from the latest updates. Also, every single one of them has received the so-called sitewide snippet ban that Google still refuses to admit publicly is a thing. Here are a few of his bigger ones that have took a beating:

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I'm noticing the same trend across all the big players in my niche and other niches as well. I would be hard-pressed to find someone that has benefited from the last updates and gotten his site on an upward trajectory.
God, first I though, how do you know his sites? But then in about 7 minutes I found three of his sites myself, two smaller (below 50K page views according to SimilarWeb), and his very first one perhaps, maybe still the biggest one?

On SimilarWeb though, this bigger site doesn't seem to do that badly in last months:
morten_1.png

Having said that, I do not know what his traffic was before (for example in summer), and also on these chart we do not see yet the impact of the February 4th update.

I any case, I hope for the best for him, because based on his videos I understand he has a young family, a team of workers, he just bought a house etc, so things can get tight with money for him, if his earnings suddenly drop by 50% or something similar, something he no doubt didn't expect...

That's an interesting observation and I'll add something interesting I noticed.

Of all the sites in the niche of my main site (travel related), two have survived. One hasn't posted since December 2020 and another has only added about 150 articles since that period.

The site that didn't post anymore has a ton of unique images and also posts these on Wikipedia. The site that only posts about 1 article a week has a massive Youtube channel on which about one or two videos a month are posted.

My conclusion is that the EEAT factors play a major role in search today. If you can show first-hand experience in your content or on other sites linking to your site you can still do well even if you don't post a lot.

What convinced me is that the site that hasn't posted in over 2 years as a massive boost around August / September last year (from 100K to 250K visitors according to search tools). The site with a Youtube channel has steadily grown from 1 million to 2.30 million visitors in the same timeframe.

Funny enough, Morten started posting videos on his YT channel of his niche site about 2 months ago, perhaps he came to the same conclusion.... :)
This is a great observation, and I think you hit the nail on the head here.

It would sort of explain how these services/SaaS/business/.Edu websites got a boost in my niche. They are all real businesses, with addresses, employees, physical offices, tech support, phone numbers, LinkedIn profiles, etc.

Whereas the traditional "blogging" players, though they often offer much better content, or cover specific topics the aforementioned websites do not cover, are typically run by a small team or one person only, with no tech support, phone numbers, physical offices, etc.

Maybe a time for me to hire a social media manager and try to do something in that space (since I dislike social media and know nothing about them anyway, having no accounts there), or perhaps restart the YT channel, with better content, and try to take the EAT on the site to a new level... I will definitely consider these options now.
 
Thanks man, I hope your website wasn't affected much, especially now when the traffic grows nicely for you.

I agree with you, that Google often tests things, and I saw more than once (on both my websites, and websites of people here who shared their domains with me), that traffic can come back as quickly as it has dropped. As I said, the results for many queries are not relevant now in my niche.

For example, imagine that you are looking for a way to teach your dog a particular trick. With the results you see now, instead of seeing articles/videos that dive into that particular trick and how your dog can learn it, you will see both long & short articles on "dog training" in general, from all sorts of big websites/sites that sell dog collars, vet clinics, etc. I believe the results (the clicks) will show Google that the change wasn't good, and they will take it back.

And when it come to focusing on the moment, my personal philosophy is actually to live in the present moment :). But that's more about not worrying about the future or the past, and not about the way you look at your business, and consider whether it moves in right direction or not....

Thanks mate, I may watch it as well now!
Hi Kikerinka Not negative impact so far for my site

yesterday I just passed the 200 unique visitors mark


I understand well the example of dog training. There is no doubt that the results will come back in your favor.
I believe that in 2023 a lot of upheaval is underway with this AI that we hear about all the time and everywhere.

See you soon for more adventures
Isn't there a book to be published in this experience?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already published his :)
 
Hi Kikerinka Not negative impact so far for my site

yesterday I just passed the 200 unique visitors mark


I understand well the example of dog training. There is no doubt that the results will come back in your favor.
I believe that in 2023 a lot of upheaval is underway with this AI that we hear about all the time and everywhere.

See you soon for more adventures
Isn't there a book to be published in this experience?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already published his :)
Congrats mate! I remember you were getting loads of Google Discover traffic at times (up to 1K visits a day). Does this still continue, or have this traffic disappeared after some time, as it has done for many of us?

With the traffic coming back to my website, it is certainly a possibility. Google seems to be trying to do something about the current SERP... lot of unconfirmed Google updates (3rd February, 8th February, 14th February, and no doubt the next one coming soon).

On the other hand, I feel it is not easy for them anymore to come up with solutions based on an algorithm, with all that's been going on lately with AI. So let's see what happens.

And with the book: Well, I'm not Zlatan :D. But certainly life is an adventure and no doubt interesting things are ahead, regardless of how the now dramatic story of my website unfolds :)
 
Congrats mate! I remember you were getting loads of Google Discover traffic at times (up to 1K visits a day). Does this still continue, or have this traffic disappeared after some time, as it has done for many of us?

With the traffic coming back to my website, it is certainly a possibility. Google seems to be trying to do something about the current SERP... lot of unconfirmed Google updates (3rd February, 8th February, 14th February, and no doubt the next one coming soon).

On the other hand, I feel it is not easy for them anymore to come up with solutions based on an algorithm, with all that's been going on lately with AI. So let's see what happens.

And with the book: Well, I'm not Zlatan :D. But certainly life is an adventure and no doubt interesting things are ahead, regardless of how the now dramatic story of my website unfolds :)
Thanks to you for the good advice
I've passed the 4k of visits in 28 days and it's going to go up to 5k soon.
Concerning Google Discover yes as soon as I publish 2/3 articles I have direct traffic by hundreds for 2/3 days. It is however less recurrent because I publish less since a few weeks.

I think discover likes very fresh content or depends on the seasonality too.

Since the opening of the site I have had no problems with google updates. In the meantime I do white hat 100% I will continue.
Regarding my first prospect in early January I had him on the phone but he is not excited about the idea of advertising.
Problem for him my article is severely cannibalizing his traffic he will come back to see me soon I think.
Concerning the monetization, the advertizing not bringing much, the affiliation also requiring a certain investment I think that I am going to canvass myself the professionals for my articles and to make annual or monthly partnerships. More work at the beginning but I think in the long run much more profitable.
 
Thanks to you for the good advice
I've passed the 4k of visits in 28 days and it's going to go up to 5k soon.
Concerning Google Discover yes as soon as I publish 2/3 articles I have direct traffic by hundreds for 2/3 days. It is however less recurrent because I publish less since a few weeks.

I think discover likes very fresh content or depends on the seasonality too.

Since the opening of the site I have had no problems with google updates. In the meantime I do white hat 100% I will continue.
Regarding my first prospect in early January I had him on the phone but he is not excited about the idea of advertising.
Problem for him my article is severely cannibalizing his traffic he will come back to see me soon I think.
Concerning the monetization, the advertizing not bringing much, the affiliation also requiring a certain investment I think that I am going to canvass myself the professionals for my articles and to make annual or monthly partnerships. More work at the beginning but I think in the long run much more profitable.
You're doing well! With 4K visitors you cannot expect miracles in terms of monetization and earnings, unless you discover some special niche like @blogmen did a while back :).

When it comes to Google discover and fresh content in general, I have an impression that even outside of discover traffic, the recent Google updates (all unconfirmed February updates) gave a boost to fresh content. Honestly when manually checking SEPRs for some keywords in my niche, I see in top 5 domains I've never seen before, many of them with DA below 10, so relatively new projects.
The question is though whether this is just a temporary thing, or something that will stay. Time will tell I guess :)
 
I decided to create this journey primarily to monitor my progress, but hopefully it can also serve as a motivation for some of you guys, plus maybe you can also motivate me a bit :).
It's a journey and a case study at a same time. Let's see where can it take me/us.

Basic background & overview:
- The website is 9 years old, evergreen niche
- Informative content, currently monetized with digital products & AdThrive
- Current stats - 339 informative articles + 80 other articles (sales pages, about stuff, etc)
- The best monthly income from this website so far: February 2020, $5,778
- The niche is quite heavily impacted by covid 19, but this should be a temporary thing.
- Goals: To at least double the number of informative articles by the end of 2020, and to reach 10K/month from this site in one year from now.
- No links will be built in the process. I will try to achieve the goal purely with quality content creation, on page SEO, and optimization for conversions (increasing the RPM of existing content). That's what maybe makes this an interesting case study...

GWMT, last six months:
View attachment 134898
- notice the heavy drop in the middle of March when covid restrictions really started in US and other major English speaking countries. The situation is the same for all sites in this niche...


A bit longer background & overview:
This is actually the first website ever I started in IM as my own website (did SEO for clients before), back in April 2011.

I worked on it quite a lot at times, and did nothing at other times. For example: Entire year 2014 - 0 articles published, from May 2015 to August 2017 (over two years) - 0 articles published...

Why didn't I do anything on this website for such long periods of time?
- At certain periods I worked on other, smaller sites (MNS) in the same niche (had more than 30 at peak times), since back in the day it was easier to rank them, and they brought in vast majority of my online income. That's not the case anymore, of course, since MNS is almost a dead strategy...
- At other times I devoted a lot of time to traveling and non-profit ventures, not working in IM at all.

Why do I start this journey now?

Actually my original plans for 2020 were completely different. I didn't plan to work on IM much.
Had some offline business/non-profit plans in a certain country in the south of Europe which I love a lot.

However, due to covid situation I can't realize the plan this year... What's more, covid has a lot of impact on my other non-profit and personal ventures, so basically almost everything is stopped, and there's suddenly a lot of time to work on my authority website :) .

One of the lessons I learned in life is that there's nothing like an entirely good, or entirely bad situation (speaking about business, relationships, whatever).
Certainly it's a pity that I can't realize my original plans this year, but instead of crying and complaining I try to find something positive in the situation, and make the best out of it...
Perhaps it can be this journey :).


Other things and methodology of work:
- I will write 80% of new content myself. 10% will be written by an expert in certain sub-niche of my niche, a guy I've been cooperating with for a long time. 10% I hope to actually sell as free/paid guest posts on my site :) (not starting any service or whatever, simply replying positively to a few serious outreach emails I get each month)...

- My main goal of this project is not making money, but building something of true value for people. When there is value, money will come. I've been following this philosophy a lot in my life, and so far it's been working. That's also one of the reasons why I will write 80% of content myself, becasue any writers I tried before (for this website and others, instead of the one guy I mentioned in previous paragraph) just didn't meet my quality standards. Either in writing style, or in expertise (mostly in both :) )

- The plan is to focus 80% of time on content writing for the rest of 2020 (20% on improving monetization and on page SEO). From January to April 2021, almost all focus will be on improving monetization (increasing RPM), since all new articles should be published by that time, and I will drop the frequency of publishing to 1 article/week.

- The journey should end by May 12, 2021

- Will try to update this journey daily, to keep track of my progress. However, there are days, sometimes more in a row, when I am simply offline, not touching my laptop at all. On such days I won't make any updates... I will make for it once back.
Will also try to post some interesting ideas at times, so you guys can also benefit from my journey, while working on your own projects.

That's it guys. If you have any question, do not hesitate to ask. I will try to answer everything relevant, but won't monitor this thread more than twice a day, simply to focus on the main work :).

P.S. If this journey ends up a success, I'll buy 3 people who post here (anytime during the duration of the journey) Jr. VIP, or any service of their choice from BHW of the same value. The members will be chosen at random once the journey ends (if it ends successfully).
Hey
good luck on your journey.
thanks
 
I decided to create this journey primarily to monitor my progress, but hopefully it can also serve as a motivation for some of you guys, plus maybe you can also motivate me a bit :).
It's a journey and a case study at a same time. Let's see where can it take me/us.

Basic background & overview:
- The website is 9 years old, evergreen niche
- Informative content, currently monetized with digital products & AdThrive
- Current stats - 339 informative articles + 80 other articles (sales pages, about stuff, etc)
- The best monthly income from this website so far: February 2020, $5,778
- The niche is quite heavily impacted by covid 19, but this should be a temporary thing.
- Goals: To at least double the number of informative articles by the end of 2020, and to reach 10K/month from this site in one year from now.
- No links will be built in the process. I will try to achieve the goal purely with quality content creation, on page SEO, and optimization for conversions (increasing the RPM of existing content). That's what maybe makes this an interesting case study...

GWMT, last six months:
View attachment 134898
- notice the heavy drop in the middle of March when covid restrictions really started in US and other major English speaking countries. The situation is the same for all sites in this niche...


A bit longer background & overview:
This is actually the first website ever I started in IM as my own website (did SEO for clients before), back in April 2011.

I worked on it quite a lot at times, and did nothing at other times. For example: Entire year 2014 - 0 articles published, from May 2015 to August 2017 (over two years) - 0 articles published...

Why didn't I do anything on this website for such long periods of time?
- At certain periods I worked on other, smaller sites (MNS) in the same niche (had more than 30 at peak times), since back in the day it was easier to rank them, and they brought in vast majority of my online income. That's not the case anymore, of course, since MNS is almost a dead strategy...
- At other times I devoted a lot of time to traveling and non-profit ventures, not working in IM at all.

Why do I start this journey now?

Actually my original plans for 2020 were completely different. I didn't plan to work on IM much.
Had some offline business/non-profit plans in a certain country in the south of Europe which I love a lot.

However, due to covid situation I can't realize the plan this year... What's more, covid has a lot of impact on my other non-profit and personal ventures, so basically almost everything is stopped, and there's suddenly a lot of time to work on my authority website :) .

One of the lessons I learned in life is that there's nothing like an entirely good, or entirely bad situation (speaking about business, relationships, whatever).
Certainly it's a pity that I can't realize my original plans this year, but instead of crying and complaining I try to find something positive in the situation, and make the best out of it...
Perhaps it can be this journey :).


Other things and methodology of work:
- I will write 80% of new content myself. 10% will be written by an expert in certain sub-niche of my niche, a guy I've been cooperating with for a long time. 10% I hope to actually sell as free/paid guest posts on my site :) (not starting any service or whatever, simply replying positively to a few serious outreach emails I get each month)...

- My main goal of this project is not making money, but building something of true value for people. When there is value, money will come. I've been following this philosophy a lot in my life, and so far it's been working. That's also one of the reasons why I will write 80% of content myself, becasue any writers I tried before (for this website and others, instead of the one guy I mentioned in previous paragraph) just didn't meet my quality standards. Either in writing style, or in expertise (mostly in both :) )

- The plan is to focus 80% of time on content writing for the rest of 2020 (20% on improving monetization and on page SEO). From January to April 2021, almost all focus will be on improving monetization (increasing RPM), since all new articles should be published by that time, and I will drop the frequency of publishing to 1 article/week.

- The journey should end by May 12, 2021

- Will try to update this journey daily, to keep track of my progress. However, there are days, sometimes more in a row, when I am simply offline, not touching my laptop at all. On such days I won't make any updates... I will make for it once back.
Will also try to post some interesting ideas at times, so you guys can also benefit from my journey, while working on your own projects.

That's it guys. If you have any question, do not hesitate to ask. I will try to answer everything relevant, but won't monitor this thread more than twice a day, simply to focus on the main work :).

P.S. If this journey ends up a success, I'll buy 3 people who post here (anytime during the duration of the journey) Jr. VIP, or any service of their choice from BHW of the same value. The members will be chosen at random once the journey ends (if it ends successfully).
Do you plan to use AI content on site now to reduce costs?
 
Hey
good luck on your journey.
thanks
Thanks, GL to you as well!

Interesting journey. Have you tried Mediavine or any other Ad network? Are you happy with Adthrive?
I haven't tried them on this website. Trying some other ad networks on smaller sites. I am happy with Adthrive, I try to approach it as a partnership more than just a deal. For that reason, I am not going to jump over from one network or another, just because they promise fractionally better earnings or what not :).

Do you plan to use AI content on site now to reduce costs?
Mate, I do not plan to use AI content on any of websites, and certainly not on this one. Have a certain strategy with this site, certain vision and values I stick to when working on it. AI has no place in my vision...
 
I initially didn't think that much about ChatGPT and continued doing my usual work, but then I got about a week of free time (thanks, COVID) and I realized that it got under my skin. Badly. I am honestly unsure if it's worth writing articles with a long-term plan in mind. Google may get insane in a few months due to the fear of disruption and then just release their full AI version, wiping out any semblance of revenue from most websites. I've been trying to see an alternative and for the first time in a very long while, things haven't been obvious. Go the video route? Well, I bet the AI will enter there as well disrupting everything and let's be honest, if you think anyone cares that webmasters will just stop creating content, nobody does. Deal with one problem at a time. And now, Google's problem is ChatGPT. What do you intend to do to circumvent this potentially catastrophic issue? And doing nothing seriously feels like being a frog that's slowly boiled alive.
 
I initially didn't think that much about ChatGPT and continued doing my usual work, but then I got about a week of free time (thanks, COVID) and I realized that it got under my skin. Badly. I am honestly unsure if it's worth writing articles with a long-term plan in mind. Google may get insane in a few months due to the fear of disruption and then just release their full AI version, wiping out any semblance of revenue from most websites. I've been trying to see an alternative and for the first time in a very long while, things haven't been obvious. Go the video route? Well, I bet the AI will enter there as well disrupting everything and let's be honest, if you think anyone cares that webmasters will just stop creating content, nobody does. Deal with one problem at a time. And now, Google's problem is ChatGPT. What do you intend to do to circumvent this potentially catastrophic issue? And doing nothing seriously feels like being a frog that's slowly boiled alive.
Hey mate, I enjoyed reading your post as always, because of your writing style :).

Definitely agree with the "boiling frog" comment. We should always try to see few steps ahead, and work accordingly, especially in blogging/SEO, where results show after some time, and the business "climate" can be quite different to the one we experienced when actually doing the core of the work.

The problem is that it today it is hard seeing what's next. There has been a lot of talk about AI, many journeys here recently (any by recently I mean last 2 years), videos about it flooded YT and every blogging/money making online channel...

But what had really happened in the SERP?? There were 3 or 4 unconfirmed Google updates in February, and at least in the niches I follow, the AI didn't get a boost in any of these updates. Also there's been a lot of talk about Google introducing their Chat Bot, but where it is???

And all these AI journeys here, except of people who have parallel sales threads for AI related/powered stuff, and post no screenshots whatsoever of their results, I didn't see a single successful journey here of AI powered website... The few examples, it can all be just sales talk...

Of course, most people proclaim Chat GTP and AI in general will disrupt blogging, and the way things are done today. But like with every other prediction of this kind, they say it mostly because that's what they hope will happen, that's what they want to believe in.

People are lazy. Of course 95% of people here hope, that after years of little success in IM, simply because they weren't willing to put in the work to create something of true value online, there is a magical solution like Chat GPT or something someone sells here, where with a few clicks of a button and a few hundreds $$ spent, they will have a website earning $10K/month in a few months which won't lose the ranking in years, and hence they will finally move to Bahamas, and do nothing all days... :D

I do not know what will happen, and how this AI will eventually impact the blogging/content creation landscape. But I am 100% sure the "few clicks of a button to riches" solution many hope AI will bring to IM will end up a complete failure, just like it happened to all such promises in the past...


The truth is though that I am working a lot on my authority website these days (will post more info with the monthly update in a few days from now). But that's because I got hit badly with one of the unconfirmed updates, and try to work on EEAT related stuff, to make sure there isn't another hit soon, and hopefully there's also a recovery in sight.
 
Hey mate, I enjoyed reading your post as always, because of your writing style :).

Definitely agree with the "boiling frog" comment. We should always try to see few steps ahead, and work accordingly, especially in blogging/SEO, where results show after some time, and the business "climate" can be quite different to the one we experienced when actually doing the core of the work.

The problem is that it today it is hard seeing what's next. There has been a lot of talk about AI, many journeys here recently (any by recently I mean last 2 years), videos about it flooded YT and every blogging/money making online channel...

But what had really happened in the SERP?? There were 3 or 4 unconfirmed Google updates in February, and at least in the niches I follow, the AI didn't get a boost in any of these updates. Also there's been a lot of talk about Google introducing their Chat Bot, but where it is???

And all these AI journeys here, except of people who have parallel sales threads for AI related/powered stuff, and post no screenshots whatsoever of their results, I didn't see a single successful journey here of AI powered website... The few examples, it can all be just sales talk...

Of course, most people proclaim Chat GTP and AI in general will disrupt blogging, and the way things are done today. But like with every other prediction of this kind, they say it mostly because that's what they hope will happen, that's what they want to believe in.

People are lazy. Of course 95% of people here hope, that after years of little success in IM, simply because they weren't willing to put in the work to create something of true value online, there is a magical solution like Chat GPT or something someone sells here, where with a few clicks of a button and a few hundreds $$ spent, they will have a website earning $10K/month in a few months which won't lose the ranking in years, and hence they will finally move to Bahamas, and do nothing all days... :D

I do not know what will happen, and how this AI will eventually impact the blogging/content creation landscape. But I am 100% sure the "few clicks of a button to riches" solution many hope AI will bring to IM will end up a complete failure, just like it happened to all such promises in the past...


The truth is though that I am working a lot on my authority website these days (will post more info with the monthly update in a few days from now). But that's because I got hit badly with one of the unconfirmed updates, and try to work on EEAT related stuff, to make sure there isn't another hit soon, and hopefully there's also a recovery in sight.
I really appreciate your encouraging words and as for the writing style, as long as I can 'trick' people into thinking that I am a native writer, then my mission is complete :D
About this pesky AI thing, I have been battling its effects for years, so I am not afraid that my competitors will somehow be able to create better content than myself, it's simply impossible in my niche. I have to write the original, then everyone simply copies, spins and spuns this content into thousand of other articles. There are fairly large niches where I am the only one writing original content, so go figure...
The problem is that I worry about the big tech having fits of stupidity and not doing the transition the right way, gradually, in a way where everyone can adjust and continue creating great content, while still getting remunerated. If this balance is lost, then the web will be a far stupider place, objectively, since nobody will write researched content anymore.
 
seriously feels like being a frog that's slowly boiled alive.
Have you been watching TikTok videos about Chinese cooking too? Haha, insane.
The problem is that I worry about the big tech having fits of stupidity and not doing the transition the right way, gradually, in a way where everyone can adjust and continue creating great content, while still getting remunerated.
I think this can happen partially but on the long term your content should have better user metrics so they'll have to keep ranking you.
 
Following this journey.

I’m left speechless by the # of years this thread survives including the updates provided over the decade.

Sometimes, I question the sanity of Kikerina based on an objective manner - an expert (in years) dedicating to write quality content without worrying about the shorter-time noises over the horizon.

A well-established domain, approved from a major network, likely to attain consistency perpetually.

However, my concern is on truth behind EEAT whereby your authoritative presence should not deter by such updates. It is merely another update.

Rank Brain or Bang Brain, stick to your endeavor.
 
Have you been watching TikTok videos about Chinese cooking too? Haha, insane.
I have not, but now you made me curious :D
I think this can happen partially but on the long term your content should have better user metrics so they'll have to keep ranking you.
That's the issue, there may not be anywhere left to rank on. If people get their answer directly in the ChatGPT (or alternative), without having to access the actual website, what's the point of creating great content to feed the machine, if you don't receive anything in return?
 
The truth is though that I am working a lot on my authority website these days (will post more info with the monthly update in a few days from now). But that's because I got hit badly with one of the unconfirmed updates, and try to work on EEAT related stuff, to make sure there isn't another hit soon, and hopefully there's also a recovery in sight.
I noticed a curious thing when my main website experienced traffic fluctuations. It wasn't just that one website, but a group of websites from the same niche with similar metrics (my main competitors). All of these websites would rise and fall and rise again at the same time. Did you observe something similar? If so, it may not be your websites that's the issue (and I am very much sure that it isn't), but Google's mood swings and you just have to wait for the entire group to rise again.
 
I really appreciate your encouraging words and as for the writing style, as long as I can 'trick' people into thinking that I am a native writer, then my mission is complete :D
About this pesky AI thing, I have been battling its effects for years, so I am not afraid that my competitors will somehow be able to create better content than myself, it's simply impossible in my niche. I have to write the original, then everyone simply copies, spins and spuns this content into thousand of other articles. There are fairly large niches where I am the only one writing original content, so go figure...
The problem is that I worry about the big tech having fits of stupidity and not doing the transition the right way, gradually, in a way where everyone can adjust and continue creating great content, while still getting remunerated. If this balance is lost, then the web will be a far stupider place, objectively, since nobody will write researched content anymore.
I agree with all you say. The question how "big tech" deals with it this will basically determine the impact on blogging. I believe EEAT, manual reviews, on page metrics, or even domain age, will play even a more important role than they have done up to this point. But we will see.

What I also believe, however, is that if we think long term and do not look only to make "quick cash", we should focus on long term concepts, based on solid foundations, and not on some castle of sands that can be built pretty quickly but as quickly can they fall.
I believe both mine and your projects are based on pretty solid foundations, and even though we may not get through this unscathed, we will get through.

And with your writing... If you told me you were native, I'd definitely believe you :).

I think this can happen partially but on the long term your content should have better user metrics so they'll have to keep ranking you.
Let's hope you're right!

Following this journey.

I’m left speechless by the # of years this thread survives including the updates provided over the decade.

Sometimes, I question the sanity of Kikerina based on an objective manner - an expert (in years) dedicating to write quality content without worrying about the shorter-time noises over the horizon.

A well-established domain, approved from a major network, likely to attain consistency perpetually.

However, my concern is on truth behind EEAT whereby your authoritative presence should not deter by such updates. It is merely another update.

Rank Brain or Bang Brain, stick to your endeavor.
Thank you mate, though the journey is "only" 2 years 9 months old. Just the website is way older. And me too :D.

We will see what happens, there was a point recently when I almost abandoned this journey and BHW, but so far I am still here.

That's the issue, there may not be anywhere left to rank on. If people get their answer directly in the ChatGPT (or alternative), without having to access the actual website, what's the point of creating great content to feed the machine, if you don't receive anything in return?
Let' see. We are far from this point, and maybe it never happens. Many arguments already speak against it. Mainly. 1. The computing power needed to have such a Bot in SERPs. 2. The "content stealing" issue.

And for sure there are others, but I do not watch it that closely to know them to be honest...

I noticed a curious thing when my main website experienced traffic fluctuations. It wasn't just that one website, but a group of websites from the same niche with similar metrics (my main competitors). All of these websites would rise and fall and rise again at the same time. Did you observe something similar? If so, it may not be your websites that's the issue (and I am very much sure that it isn't), but Google's mood swings and you just have to wait for the entire group to rise again.
What happened in my niche is that website running ads all experienced losses in latest updates. I have a theory for it, and will elaborate more on it in the monthly update, since now I'm too busy to write a long answer :).
 
Mini Update, February 2023
adthrive.png

- As you can clearly see on the chart, and as I informed you at the beginning of the month, the website was heavily affected by one of the unconfirmed Google updates in February.

There were three such updates, and in my niche the first one caused a lot of shifting. As you can see on the chart above, it happened on the 3rd of February. What exactly happened in this update, and what sorts of sites got a boost I already shared with you, so instead of repeating myself, here is the link to the post where I elaborate on the details: https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/j...-10k-a-month-and-beyond.1230972/post-16085330

In a nutshell, bigger websites having ads as their main monetization all got hit, and lost lot of positions and traffic. On the contrary, all sorts of services/SaaS/Edu sites got a boost. Basically sites that have some core product or service they sell and live from, and write about the same topics I cover just as a form of content marketing, while trying to attract people to buy their products or use their services.

- In absolute numbers, this is definitely the biggest hit this website experienced ever, in any Google update. In relative numbers, however, I've had several such hits before. Basically traffic is down almost 50%b year over year. As I said, I experienced it before, but it definitely feels different falling from $1K to $500/month and falling from $15-$20K/month to $7.5-$10K/month :cool:.

For a few days I wasn't sure whether to do something about it, or just continue working on other projects, mostly in the sphere of non-profit, because honestly the income is still pretty much enough for me at the moment, considering the current state of affairs in my life, and what's next for me in the coming months.

I think it is no secret that I am not someone who dreams of earning huge money. I prefer earning $10K/month and seeing 4 other people from BHW doing the same, with some valuable websites and projects (not AI crap) than earning $50K myself, dominating more niches perhaps...

Even though, I eventually decided to do something, because at the end of the day, the way it dropped now by 50% it can drop again, and if it drops again by 50% suddenly I'd find myself in a situation when the income may not be sufficient for the things I hope to dedicate myself to.

But what to do, how to face this update, and how to make sure the website won't get hit again?

Well, the bulletproof solution doesn't exist, and everything is just theory and speculation. But when comparing the 2 groups of websites from this update, meaning websites that got hit and websites that got a boost, at least in my niche, I came to two clear distinctions between the two groups:
  1. Difference: Websites that got hit run ads, and websites that got a boost don't run them.
  2. Difference: Websites that got a boost look like (and usually also are) real businesses, whereas websites that got hit do not.

Obviously I cannot do much about point no. 1, because I cannot turn off the ads. That would basically mean that the income would drop to $1K-$2K/month, which I make from digital product sales these days.

Hence in the changes I started to apply I focus mostly on point no. 2, trying to make the website look more like a legit business, and not just like a blog built to make money from ads. A big shootout here go to @JLeons , who pointed to EEAT and that things have gone similar way in his niche (which is very different to mine).

Maybe some of the more veteran members here remember the "made for Adsense" concept. Long time ago, when keyword stuffing and similar things worked, many people built blogs with really thin content and poor quality articles, often simply benefiting from the fact that many topics weren't covered online at all, and also from these basic blackhat techniques (such as keyword stuffing).
Of course, after some time Google implemented changes to their algorithm and all these "made for Adsense" websites got wiped out completely, or lost almost all their traffic.

Fast forward to 2023, and I feel we face something similar, just on 2.0. level :D. It seems that Google doesn't like anymore sites that are "made to earn from ads", even though many of such sites run excellent content, actually much better content than those businesses from no.2 group do have online, as a part of their content marketing campaign (sites that got boost in the recent updates).

I do not know why it is so. It can be an attempt to fight AI content, because 99% of the AI sites are exactly that--just content websites with no products and services, no ownership, no EEAT, nothing. Or it can be something different... Anyway, that's the situation, at least in my niche, and something I try to address.


- So for a few weeks now, I've been working on certain things, trying to make my website look more like a real business, while still maintaining the way I run it, meaning that it can still work on autopilot, eventually just with few hours of work each week.

Because of well known events that happened here on BHW last fall, I will not explain all changes I made, and all things I am working on. But I will point out some, because perhaps it can help someone else from you guys who got hit in one of the recent updates. So these are some of the things I've done or are still working on:
  • I purchased a toll free US number, and added it to a visible part on the website, as well as to the contact page. Of course, considering that we have visitors from all around the world and what not, I do not want this phone to work all the time, and someone waking me from sleep... So what I did is that I left just a very short window each day for a call, and send all other calls to a voicemail. There's a nice introduction (just as real businesses have when not available), and I got all messages (including the number they called from) to my mailbox. Hence I can call or write back if necessary.
  • I started working on my YT channel again, this time using Doodly, and scheduling videos (at first 2/week, later 1/week). My system isn't perfect and the videos aren't top-notch, but sometimes when I feel creative I come up with a good one. Again, the goal isn't to get lots of traffic from YT, or get more subscribers or whatever. The goal is to simply have an active channel on some "social platform", because that's what real businesses do. For my niche and content YT is the best platform, that's why I opted for it. Again, I also added link to the channel to a visible place on each page, to contacts, etc. I post videos on articles from certain category I had mixed success with on the website, so let's see how they perform on YT, and whether it will help the website in any way.
  • Lot of changes have been made, and some new content added, when it comes to pages related to EEAT. Think About, Contact, Disclaimer, Authors, etc.
  • I work heavily on interlinking, getting back to oldest pages on the website, and doing everything manually. The truth is that over the last years (and especially during the first year of this journey), I added a lot of content in different categories, and there are now many opportunities for meaningful interlinking, that should not only be meaningful for the visitor, but also hopefully help Google to understand the connection of various topic on my site, and basically boost the mysterious "topical authority".
  • Few other changes I won't elaborate on, due to the reasons I mentioned before.

I plan to continue working on these things until mid March, when the core of the work should be done. From then on I will return to work on other projects & ventures, and hope for the best from the next Google Core update :).

So that's it for today guys, I hoped to bring you better news, but as always I am honest and say things as they are with the website. Good luck to everyone, and any questions/suggestions, do not hesitate to ask!
 
Hey mate

Really nice update. Thanks for keeping up with your Journey.

Regarding this:

Difference: Websites that got a boost look like (and usually also are) real businesses, whereas websites that got hit do not.

I know you have been following my Journey thread too. We have been having a steady growth in the daily users (evil eyes stay away please) even though most bloggers I know got hit by this update.

My website is built on an expired domain that used to be a real brand/business. And I can confirm your statement. Im not saying it is 100% accurate but my website is part of the second "group" and it is getting boosted.

We also add a lot of content and maybe the snowball effect, who knows ...:cool:

Ps. Whenever u got some free time PM me please, id like to connect with you and share some ideas.
 
Hey mate

Really nice update. Thanks for keeping up with your Journey.

Regarding this:



I know you have been following my Journey thread too. We have been having a steady growth in the daily users (evil eyes stay away please) even though most bloggers I know got hit by this update.

My website is built on an expired domain that used to be a real brand/business. And I can confirm your statement. Im not saying it is 100% accurate but my website is part of the second "group" and it is getting boosted.

We also add a lot of content and maybe the snowball effect, who knows ...:cool:

Ps. Whenever u got some free time PM me please, id like to connect with you and share some ideas.

Thank you mate, I can definitely see this trend in more niches. Then real question is though whether the changes I am making will be enough for Google to place me into the 2nd category :).

BTW, when it comes to your website, have you done anything to keep this "business image"? For example keeping some social profiles, content related to their services on your site, etc? Or do you think you simply benefit from the fact that it was a business, and is perhaps still listed in some directories online, LinkedIn, and so on?

When it comes to connecting, we do not need to connect outside of this platform. Any questions you have, any ideas you want to discuss, just send me a DM here.

Thank you, and good luck with your journey, which I definitely follow, and hope for an update soon :)
 
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