What Happened: We built a website in the pet niche, grew it to over 200,000 monthly visitors, and then sold it for six figures.

We built this property from the ground up over the course of a couple of years, and ended up selling it in 2019.

At first, our plan was simple: publish content and get links.

So, we wrote content.

Then, we acquired links.

The site was reasonably successful for awhile, but many of the main terms just weren’t cracking the first 3 positions on Google.

We decided to do a comprehensive audit in January of 2018, and we realized a few things.

First, our content game wasn’t dialed in.

This was actually the inflection point that had us reimagine our content production pipeline, and emphasize search intent and much higher quality writing.

We updated nearly every single page on the website, focusing on:

  • Optimizing the Title for CTR
  • Editing each piece to target a group of keywords, or topic, not just a single keyword
  • Matching the piece of content to the search intent
  • Hiring an editor and more accomplished writers

We saw some very quick wins here, growing to over 150,000 visits/month from about 60,000 visits within just a few months.

This is one of the reasons why we love to optimize existing content on a company’s blog. By applying our processes to existing pieces of content that have had a chance to “age” in Google’s database, we can usually see quick turnarounds.

After updating most of the content on the site, we began acquiring some high value links on important industry publications.

This involved manual, personalized outreach, and included leveraging some of our expert writers as sources for stories on other sites.

By August, we had reached 250,000 monthly visitors, and mid 5 figure earnings per month.

Google’s algorithm update in September 2018 had a negative impact on this property, cutting search traffic in half.

Fortunately we had gained more insights over the year from working on this and a portfolio of other sites, and we launched another audit on this site.

We found that once again, Google’s algorithm was getting much better at targeting search intent, and that we needed to tighten our focus even more.

We removed pages that had not been getting traffic over the previous 6 months, brought on a veterinarian to help oversee content production, ran our content through new AI-powered content tools like Clearscope, and continued building links.

Basically, we made a few changes to “tighten up” around the edges, but really just buckled down and had a belief that we had been unjustifiably caught up in Google’s filter. Our content was really good, we were releasing data-driven posts from our own research, and we were becoming an authority in the space.

Sure enough, in March of 2019, Google said, “whoops”, and we shot back up the rankings, climbing once again to over 200,000 visits/month.

You can see the traffic increase from February to April below:

February 2019: Just over 100,000 visits to the site
April 2019: Just over 200,000 visits to the site and growing

We ended up selling the site in mid 2019.

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