Introducing a new case study: A fully outsourced AI content + expired domain + Ezoic content site portfolio.
I have a portfolio of sites that had been mostly neglected, but I have decided to put on an effort to rebuild them. Most of these sites are built on expired domains from LightningRank.com and content created using GPT-3 tools, then significantly human-edited, similar to how RocketContent.ai produces content.
I have hired a manager, given them access to tools, and had them build out procedures that I reviewed. This has been going now for about 6 months and its time to start providing a monthly income report.
Overall I am really happy with the progress of the sites, the content quality being useful, and the cost/article we are currently producing.
My plan is that each month we are going to share the traffic, revenue, expenses and overall PnL for a portfolio income.
Why Expired Domains? The power of backlinks in the eyes of google is undeniable. Building relevant sites on expired domains continue to be a SEO “hack” we see work.
Why AI Content? AI content with a human editor to spot-check and fact-check produces solid quality content that is useful at unbeatable prices.
Why EZoic? Ezoic is the simplest way to monetize sites successfully. It Beats Adsense all day! When it makes sense, some sites have affiliate monetization, but the focus is on traffic and display ads.
Why Fully Managed? In this case study, I have a manager assigned to the portfolio managing everything! From the sites to the writers to ezoic.
The aim is marginally profitable solid growth.
Everything below is prepared by the manager (who is awesome!)
Here’s how our portfolio of AI-driven content has performed in October 2022 with Ezoic.
1. Traffic & Earning Overview (Ezoic)
Our portfolio sites get the most traffic from search engines, and Google is the primary source.
After the latest updates from Google, we noticed positive and negative impacts on the AI content sites. While some sites significantly improved their SERP rankings, others lost a substantial portion of top-ranking keywords, creating an unrelaxed fluctuation in the overall traffic for the portfolio.
The overall portfolio traffic in October lost 9.62% in total visits (75,570 compared to 83,610 in September 2022) and 9.27% in terms of page views (88,413 vs. 97,448 in September 2022).
Regarding revenue, the portfolio sites show similar statistics to traffic, a 10.90% drop compared to the previous month (September 2022) and a tiny drop in ePMV of 1.42%. It’s pretty obvious not to maintain a higher total revenue while there’s a 14,000 fewer page views gap than the previous month.
While the October traffic and revenue outcome of the portfolio is not successive to September, we have a much better result for an entirely AI-driven portfolio than the same month of the last year.
The portfolio growth data (Oct 2022 vs. Oct 2021):
- Total Visits (+147.70%)
- Pageviews (+141.43%)
- Revenue (+182.53%)
2. Traffic Overview By Site
Traffic data per site on the portfolio has had frequent ups and downs following the Google algorithm updates in the last couple of months. Some of the major sites’ traffic dropped a little bit, while other new sites have evolved into a major contributor to the portfolio’s overall traffic, and some other sites tanked.
Here are October traffic data from a couple of prominent sites in the portfolio: (compared to September 2022)
The portfolio obtained a total of 75,570 traffic in the month of October across all sites, 36,244 being the maximum and 164 being minimum traffic for a site. We found an overall change of -8,040 visits to the previous month and -9,035 that of page views.
The maximum pageview gained by an AI content site in Oct was 41,515, and 174 was the minimum. That would be average traffic of 5894 across all sites in the portfolio publishing AI content.
3. Revenue Data Per Site
The portfolio’s revenue stats are directly proportional to October’s visits and page view stats. The total revenue for the portfolio was $738.51 in Oct 2022, with $467.32 as the highest revenue for a site with an average ePMV of $7.19 compared to $7.31 of the previous month (September) across all sites.
The maximum ePMV during the month was $21.03 and registered the minimum ePMV of $1.45 for a site with the least page views.
The changes in terms of ePMV and Revenue are -1.69% and -9.46% from the previous month (September), respectively.
Running a website portfolio with multiple sites publishing regular content can be quite expensive. Having a functional, well-managed AI content machine was the plan to reduce the cost of content creation.
To produce content with an AI copywriter tool, we have a team of human writers who follows specific guideline, take care of the content creation, does fact check for AI-generated texts, and does the optimization to ensure output quality and authenticity.
So we have a combined monthly expense of the editorial team and AI copywriter tool, which generates texts for a fixed price per word.
Here’s the portfolio October total expanse compared to revenue generated with Ezoic Ad revenue (excluding other revenue sources) looks like:
- Total expanses: $652.00
- Total Revenue: $740.73
- Profit (with Ezoic revenue): $88.73
- % of profit Ezoic revenue brings in: 13.61%
5. Changes & Focus:
The unpredictability of website performance in terms of traffic and revenue has always been a part of content-based websites, especially those that get the most part of their traffic from search engines.
To publish content that is written with AI support and still do well in Google SERP, we need to put great effort into content quality and optimization. That being one of the primary focuses, we also need to ensure delivering an optimized experience to the reader.
Apart from maintaining the content quality, our objectives for the sites in this portfolio are,
- Delivering simplicity: a simple and easy-to-understand approach to delivering information people are looking for and letting them access something without having to deal with complex elements on the site.
- Visual Hierarchy: we attempt to organize the website elements so that the visitors naturally see the most important elements first.
- Navigability: All the sites have navigations that are well organized, allowing visitors to have an idea about the clusters quickly and letting people find what they are looking for.
- User-centricity: we believe in the idea and build & update the websites in the portfolio to convey smoother usability and experience to the users. After all, it is the users who will experience the website and explore its contents.
- Accessibility: we try our best to reduce anything that can prevent users from accessing the website and can break the functionality.
- Responsivity: the sites are 100% responsive to be compatible with many different devices our visitors use.
- Maintain a Good site health score: ensuring the site does not have minor issues such as abuse of headings, metadata, or links is vital because they can be decisive when you are pushing for the SERP position and want your pages to be 100% ready to compete with a quality piece of content. If done right, it’s quite possible with AI copywriting tools.
- Site speed and web vitals: site speed and maintaining good web vitals is one of our primary objectives. Our internal data states that with speed upgrade, portfolio sites led to a much better crawling experience for the Google bot and resulted in ~ 6x daily crawling requests compared to before.
Not only that, fast-loading sites improve the browsing experience and provide us peace of mind after having passed web vitals matrices on the google search console. We also improved our visitor’s time on the page and page depth on the site with the speed upgrade, thanks to Ezoic’s CDN and performance tool (LEAP).
1. The addition of a new site to the portfolio
With a plan of smoothly running currently available sites on the portfolio, we look forward to adding potential sites to grow within our strategy. Having a functional setup to publish regular AI content and a plan to optimize them makes bringing new sites to the portfolio easier.
Once a new site arrives, we scale the site’s current traffic, design, performance, and other elements to come up with a plan that can lift up the overall quality and experience. Once the site is ready – we strategically prepare a content plan to execute in the upcoming months.
That being said, not every site we added to our portfolio has had a great time and better output. Some sites tanked and lost a significant portion of the traffic – but most of those threats arrived after the recent Google updates. It brings in the debate of Google penalizing AI content sites which does not hold TRUE for other AI content sites in the portfolio.
Sites that lost a major portion of traffic lately were the sites ranked well for previously created content. It is safe to say those were not the best quality documents available on the internet for a particular search query. We are still putting our effort into better content updates to see and test how those pages perform as we advance.
Number of sites added to the portfolio in October: 2
2. Nameserver connection for Ezoic
Ezoic recommends the nameserver connection method to integrate your site with the platform for better site performance and revenue boost. Earlier on, we had many sites integrated with the Ezoic plugin now all of them switched to the nameserver method.
With the nameserver connection, the site performance has improved a lot. Almost all sites in the portfolio are passing or close to passing web vitals… although we needed to bring some visual and technological changes to the site.
The improvement in performance and loading of the primary page elements faster helps the ads load faster. Pages and ads that load faster can improve your ad revenue by a decent margin and definitely help our sites to increase Ezoic ad revenue.
3. Seasonal decline & monitor performance
Seasonal interest and demand for products and services affects sites and is a perfectly natural, annoyingly unavoidable aspect of websites, even in any business. Quite obviously, our sites in the portfolio aren’t independent of seasonality.
There are unpredictable ups and down in terms of traffic for the sites. Having to maintain lots of sites in the portfolio and smoothly take care of other aspects of the sites, it becomes quite challenging to keep a close eye on each site individually.
Semrush and Ahrefs help us by providing the traffic overview and keywords found in organic searches for each site. It gives us an idea of the ongoing traffic state of a site compared to what could be a scenario for the site in the coming months based on the trajectory of organic keywords.
In addition, we can analyze the organic keywords situation, and based on their latest form; we can decide to improve the content if required.
Conclusion: It is fun to manage multiple sites and have a proper plan to run them all together while still making some decent profit with provisions to increase revenue in the future. This could easily be a project that consumes most of our time, but a well-designed plan and ready-to-use tools + the right people in the right place, make it much easier to manage the portfolio.
This income report serise is aimed at sharing our growth and the fundamentals that helped us reach here, minor details that can help you build your AI-driven website’s portfolio at a significantly lower cost.