The Content Site That Went From $0 to $700,612 In Just 2 Years [Case Study]
Do you know how bamboo grows?
A bamboo shoot will barely sprout in the first 4 years of its growth while it’s incubating in its environment and spreading its roots. Then, in the spring of the 4th year, it’ll grow to over 27 meters in just 60 days!
Many of us hope for “overnight” success, but little do we know that to become successful overnight we have to prepare for many weeks, months, or even years for exponential growth to happen.
The same is true for building a successful website.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term game. It takes time for your website to become recognized and established within Google.
Many new SEOs want to expedite the labored maturation period of SEO growth and go right for the jugular by pumping out a load of affiliate content to get straight to the sales.
This can work quickly, but success by this means is usually short-lived. Once competitors start coming in and Google updates start pulling your site down the rankings for having rushed, poorly written content and weak authority, you’ll start to lose that income pretty quickly.
We had one SEO who came to us with a site they had grown like a gardener would grow a bamboo shoot—nurturing the soil and creating an environment for astronomical, sudden growth.
Their site grew exponentially once the buds broke out of the incubation period:
In this case study, we’re going to explore how the site owner built a strong content foundation to foster this growth.
An Authority Site Built On a Bed of Deep-Rooted Backlinks
The site was created in March 2019 in the home and real estate niches. It had evergreen content that was mostly informational, consisting of educational guides and product review articles for home improvement and real estate topics targeted at homeowners and real estate professionals.
The site owner monetized the site through display advertising, affiliate, and Amazon Associates. Of the total revenue, 55% came from advertising, 44% through affiliate partnerships, and 1% through Amazon Associates.
The site had a DR49 and was featured on the likes of Yahoo! Finance, Martha Stewart, and Reader’s Digest.
The traffic came primarily from organic search (90.91%), direct (6.2%), and social (1.63%). The top three countries driving traffic were the US (81.80%), Canada (5.79%), and the UK (3.1%). The top three pages made up 7.66% of total site traffic, contributing to 2.7%, 2.7%, and 2.26% of traffic respectively.
This was a solid site that had every right to be worth over $700,000. So how did the owner get it to this point?
Planting the Seeds For Bamboo-Like Growth
It’s a fine art to balance backlinking and content production. Some SEOs sit on the extreme of either side of the fence; they either focus the majority of their work on backlinking or on content production. Either way, a site needs both a healthy volume of content and high-quality backlinks to become recognized by Google as a trustworthy source of information.
The owner of this site prioritized backlinking a bit more than content production. They figured that if they were able to get the right backlinks, those authority signals would show Google that the site deserves to be ranked highly.
However, the site first needs content that warrants high-DR backlinks.
The site owner produced informational, topically relevant, evergreen content that was detailed and high-quality, with the help of a team of writers.
Nurturing the Soil With a Team of Gardeners
It’s pretty straightforward to outsource content writing to freelancers; you can easily find someone on sites like Upwork or Fiverr to write you an article.
However, you need a good process so they produce high-quality content. If you don’t have a process for caring for the soil, your buds won’t grow.
This site owner created a number of writing templates for a variety of topics. Each template was built on research and the site owner’s content production experience, and was designed to set the content apart from competing articles.
The writers were also given clear instructions on how to write the content to the site owner’s content strategy—the article had to be unique and it had to answer a question.
In the past, the site owner had tried AI outline generators to create outlines for writers but found the writer would unknowingly produce duplicate content. For this site, the owner didn’t use AI.
At this point, the site owner wasn’t thinking about what they were going to sell with their content just yet. They dedicated time to HARO outreach to get the links. On average, they got 1-2 high-quality, high-DR backlinks per month.
However, on occasion, they were tempted to go after the money.
They tried “X for Y” articles to diversify earnings by monetizing through affiliate commissions, so the site wasn’t solely reliant on informational content. However, most of the links they had acquired through HARO linked to the homepage and they weren’t able to redirect to the money pages.
They also tried targeting high-volume, money keywords that weren’t very relevant to the site content and were high-difficulty, but overall found that intent is more important for site performance than these factors.
After trying these experiments, the site owner decided to stick to the game plan and remain focused on producing high-quality, evergreen informational content to build a solid website.
With this strategy, the site barely made a dime for over a year and a half.
However, what the site owner had built was a fertile ground for growth. The high-quality, evergreen content organically attracted many links. The topic clusters were well built out so the user experience was good and users would stay on the website exploring articles. This good user experience made the site formidable against Google updates.
In October 2020, one year and seven months after the site was created, the bamboos burst out of their shoots.
The site grew in revenue month-over-month almost every month for the next two years, scaling from $3.9K to $24.7K per month.
Linear growth trends like this make your website a prize catch.
Cashing In On A Massive Growth Trend
We vet every business that is submitted to us to make sure it’s a legitimate, high-quality asset. In fact, we’re so committed to ensuring we only sell high-quality businesses, we reject 91% of business submissions.
During the vetting process, we confirm the business’ earnings and analytics history to make sure they meet our minimum listing requirements. We also investigate the site’s SEO profile to make sure there aren’t any black hat or spammy devices.
Because the owner of the site in this case study had built their site so well and had their finances and analytics well organized, it cruised through our vetting process and we were able to get the site live on our marketplace in just over one week.
As you’ll see on the business listings on our marketplace, we hide sensitive business information from public view. This protects sellers from competitors and individuals with nefarious intentions from stealing or misusing information.
The business information is protected by our Unlock system. In order for a buyer to see your business information, they must confirm their identity with us and their liquidity to prove they have enough funds to acquire your website.
When we’ve verified their identity and liquidity, they’re able to Unlock listings to see the business information.
While on our marketplace, this website was Unlocked 55 times by buyers.
The most interested buyers asked the seller a number of questions:
- Could you give more information about the Google Ads campaigns? Are those accounts included in the sale?
- Are the affiliate earnings tracked by an affiliate program and is this account included? Or are these private deals?
- How many new articles are added on weekly basis?
- Who does the content planning and keyword research? I suppose that is the owner? How much time do they spend on the business per week?
These questions give you an idea of what buyers are interested in knowing when considering acquiring your site. The most interested buyers set up calls with the seller to learn more.
This website was so popular with our buyer pool, which currently has a collective total of over $7BN in liquidity confirmed by us, we were able to get the site sold in under one month after just three phone calls.
Want to See What You Could Get For Your Site?
You can get a baseline sale figure for your website in just a few minutes by using our free Valuation Tool that uses algorithms built on data from the sales of over 2,000 businesses.
Our criteria for websites are as follows:
- Minimum $2,000 in average net profit per month over a 12-month period
- Google Analytics or Clicky data for at least three months
- No evidence of actively manipulating with penalizations, deleted accounts, 301 redirects short-term earnings, etc. (If there are 2 instances or more, the website/business will immediately be rejected)
- AdSense / Amazon Associates / Affiliate / Advertising sites must be on the same domain for the previous 12 months
- Not related to pornography, gambling, payday loans, hacking, illegal substances, any form of criminal activity, or sell physical products that are CBD or hemp oil-related. Plus, any site promising cures through herbal remedies/other dubious claims, or anything that leans in the direction of these categories, will not be accepted
Does your website meet these criteria? If it does, you could potentially sell it for 30X-45X its monthly net profits, or even more on our marketplace.