Project Urchin - Update #1


Author: Daniel Cuttridge

The last month has flown, and we've even had a Google Algorithm update to contend with. How has the site fared? Did I reach the goals I set out in the last update? What are the goals for December-January? Read on to find out.

Project vitals

  • Posts published - 20
  • New post total - 72
  • Impression change - +66.20%
  • Traffic change - +102.04%
  • Revenue change - N/A

Goal Update:

In the project outline I mentioned two goals for November-December.

1. Publish 20 new articles

Outcome: Success.

2. Add custom schema

Outcome: Semi-successful

I wanted to reuse some schema I use on other sites, so I adjusted it, which validated. The problem I ran into was the schema interacting with other structured data I have on the site. I removed the custom schema until such a point that I can fix it without cannibalizing the baseline structured data.

Testing

Last month, I neglected to mention that I had setup a couple of A/B tests. These tests are focused on identifying a winning template for my content. The difference? A single extra section.

  1. Template A - No extra section.
  2. Template B - One extra section.

Results:

Template A:

  • Less overall queries in top 100
  • Ranks better for the keywords they target

Template B:

  • 21% (average) more overall queries in top 100
  • Ranks worse for the keywords they target

I have left the tests running at this time, new websites often take months to show true results and so I would like to gather more data. I believe that Template B could perform worse in terms of target keyword rankings because of the extra section. Extra content can help expand the 'keyword footprint' - as seen in this case - and, conversely this can affect the relevance to the target keywords.

It is important to test templates to help you create the best templates for any given type of post, on any given site. I explained more about this in my post Content Templates vs Outlines which I recommend you read!

I will perform more on-page tests on the site in future, though, I am undecided on just what I'll be testing next. So I won't announce it in this months goals section.

Anything else?

I pinned a couple of posts to a pinterest account I setup. Nothing else to report. The focus is publish, publish, publish.

Quick aside - Google's new crawl stats tool seems to show the site is getting crawled rather a lot for a new site. I think this is a good omen.

Month 1 - Project Urchin - Crawl Stats
This is twice the amount of my own blog here!

Google Algo Update

The site being so new (and likely sandboxed) means that it was going to be a tough ask to determine if the site performed well in the algo update. There is also the fact that, at this time of writing, Google have announced that it is still rolling out. I'll be honest - I have not seen any evidence to suggest the site has had a change due to the update. It is fluctuating - this has also been the case for all of November.

Traffic & Search Performance:

I stated last month that the initial focus with the site is organic search. So how has the site performed?

Impressions Performance

October 1st - November 10th: 577 Impressions

November 11th - December 9th: 959 Impressions

A 66.20% increase in impressions, across fewer days in total.

Note: In the future I will work this month-month - this month is an exception due to it being the 1st update.

Organic Traffic Performance

Over the same period as with the impressions the site did a total of 99 visits from Organic Search.

Month 1 - Project Urchin - Organic Traffic
Getting love all-round!

A 102.04% increase in organic visits.

Here's a graph of total traffic (including non-organic) -

Month 1 - Project Urchin - All Traffic
Graph from FathomAnalytics

This tells me people are coming back to the site, which is one of my main long-term goals for the project.

Monetization

I am still holding off on this at present. I want to give the site fair time to settle before introducing ads onto the site.

Goals: December - January

I usually take a bit of time off in December for Christmas. So for that reason I am setting one goal, which should be easy to achieve.

- Publish 10 posts.

I'm afraid I'll be far too busy eating turkey, and wiping drink off my chin to do more :)

Final Word

That's it for this month. I expect to see more growth over the coming months as the site begins to settle, build more relevance and user signals, etc. So until next month, ciao!


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Questions?
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Want more? Go check out Update #2