$5,818 Last Month!? How My Website About Squirrels and Other Backyard Stuff Makes Money

$5,818 Last Month!? How My Website About Squirrels and Other Backyard Stuff Makes Money

Last month, OwnTheYard.com made $5,818, and this month it’s on track to make more than that. Today, I’m going to show you exactly how it’s making money and where the traffic is coming from.

Overall, this is the most recent update for Niche Site Project 4!  This is a public case study site that I started in late 2018 and the site continues to do well.

Enjoy the full report by watching the video below!

Read the Full Transcript

Hey everyone, Spencer here. So. Last month, which was May, 2021 own the yard.com made $5,818 in earnings. And this month it’s actually on track to do more than that. And so really, I just wanted to sit down here today and explain exactly how it’s earning its money and share the strategies behind that, where it’s getting its traffic.

And everything. And so I’m going to dive in to Google analytics. I’m going to dive into the content published and of course their earnings and exactly where that’s coming from. So let’s go ahead and jump right into it. So first let’s take a look at earnings. The site actually makes money in two different ways, Ezoic display ad. And then Amazon associates earnings.

And so if I jump into my egoic dashboard here for on the yard.com, you can see how much it’s making, right. And this is even showing June. So today’s actually June 16th. But if I go back here, And take a look at if I go monthly. All right. So if we, after clicking monthly, if we scroll down here and look at may.

We can see that the total earnings was $3,351 and 45 cents. Right? That’s how much the site made in display ad revenue. And then if we come over here to Amazon associates, I’ve already got Mae selected and the proper tracking IDs you can see that it made $2,467 and 21 cents for a total of. $5,818 and 66 cents.

Right? So that’s where that’s coming almost $6,000 last month. And so let’s look at his Zohak again, this is the display ad revenue. So if you come over to my site, you know, my site has ads on the site, which of course, it’s not going to be showing up because I’m logged in. But if you go over to own the yard.com, you’ll see that that is pulling.

One thing that I do kind of like about ease Zohak is that you can see the in-depth analytics. All right. So if I come over to big data analytics and click content, right. I can see which pages are earning the most display ad revenue, which I think is kind of interesting. Huh? Okay. And so as I pull this up, it shows that right now, I believe it’s sorted by page views.

I actually want to sort it by earnings. If I can, it looks like I need to add a column here. Okay. So now I’ve got the revenue column over here. And if I sort by the revenue, I can see which page actually earned me the most money. And that one was walkway ideas. There you go. It made me $176, which is interesting because the best water garden ideas, which actually got more page views.

Almost $50 over $50, less $122. Right. And so there’s lots of data here. I just thought it would be interesting to show you some of my top pages and then certainly some of my lowest pages there that made nothing right. And then if I go over to Amazon associates, we can see which products I’m actually making money from.

Right. If I just click on one of these tracking IDs, just to give you an idea, you can see that I’ve got a. Lego dots, magic forest bracelet. I don’t even know shipped nine of those camping chair, camping chairs, right? That’s what actually shipped the most items. What actually made me the most money.

Interestingly, really not nothing big. You know, I made 73 bucks on, on one of these, but it’s a lot of individual items. Now I thought it might actually be interesting to also see what the earnings are like for this month as well. So in Amazon, I’ve made a total of $659 and 95 cents. And if we add that to my ear, Zohak, you can see that this month, so far, I’ve made 2000.

$69 and 91 cents, right? For a total of $3,729 and 86 cents. And it is a, I’m recording this on the 16th, but Amazon’s a day late. So if I divide that by 15 days and then which is anyways, it’s that number of times 30 days. It says that I’m on pace for $7,459. Right. So I should make more in the month of June than I did last year.

All right now, let’s go ahead and take a look at Google analytics. Where’s the traffic coming from, what pages are getting traffic, et cetera. I just thought it might be interesting to show you what is actually working and getting traffic. Right? So the site’s getting, if I go to, let’s just, I like to look at sessions, right?

It’s getting anywhere from. You know, about 5,000 to six for F anyways, 4,500 to 6,200 sessions a day. Something like that. About 100 and well, it’s 169,000, almost 170,000 page views in the last 30 days. Right. So if we just look at the site content, you can see what my top pages are. Right. Best post hole Digger, apparently a coy pond ideas, walkway ideas, best water, garden ideas, tree stump, ideas, how to get rid of mushrooms.

These are some of my top pages and what’s the breakdown of where that traffic’s coming from. If I take a look at the overview, you can see that about 62% is coming from organic search. That’s Google. 23% is coming from social sources. Primarily Pinterest and 14% is direct. And so if I click on the social just so you can see the bulk of that, you know, 99% is from Pinterest.

All right. All right now, let’s, let’s take a look at the site itself. So this is what the site looks like. And if I look at the back end, you can start to see, I know a lot of people are always curious how many posts are published on the site. And so right now there are 625 posts published. I’ve got 16 drafts and some of the more recent articles that have been published, like best pressurized, water, guns, best putting mats and on down the line.

And if you want to see the plugins that I have installed, I’ll show this backend. I’ve got a AWP that I use a lot, Emily pro and the Amazon link engine, which is genius links, all for managing Amazon associates links. Right. And then of course I’ve got link whisper, which I use to manage my internal links.

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If you’re not aware, I’m the creator of that plugin. And so if we look at LinkedIn, I really do use this a lot. My writers come in here and it’s part of the process that they add an internal link to one of my other articles. Every time they write an article. And if I look at my links report, I can quickly come in here and see.

You know, for example, this best waterproof outdoor string lights article has 11 outbound internal links that are pointing to other articles on my site. And it actually has four internal links pointing to this particular article. Right. And so I can quickly see are my writers actually adding inbound internal links.

Which is definitely one of what I want to see. I want to see at least one inbound internal links. So I’ve got a couple of these that probably could use an internal link. And if I want to do that, I just click add link. Whisper will go out that and go out there. Find a link suggestions for me. And it makes it very easy for me to just click and click add.

If I liked those, I’m not going to go through that process now on this video. But I just thought it would be interesting. You can see that coming up. I’ve got lots of squirrel articles being published here. Where do squirrels sleep? What do squirrels eat? Then I’ve got some deer articles. What do a deer eat, et cetera.

So those are. Soon to be published on, on the yard.com. Now, just as a reminder, I actually don’t do any of the writing or editing or really much of any of the work anymore on this site. It’s all outsourced. I have an editor that gets all of the content from the content writers and the editor then formats them, ads, images adds the Amazon affiliate link.

And make sure they’re following my process, which I have a spreadsheet that they follow with my entire process. And they hit publish. I don’t even review it before it’s published. And so the amount of time I spend on this site is almost zero. I get a weekly email from my editor and I basically say, sounds good.

If it doesn’t sound good, I say, Hey, let’s tweak this process a little. And change it. So maybe, you know, some months I do spend a couple hours looking for new keywords, but that at this point that’s basically all, all the work that I do early on building the site. I did put a lot of time and energy into it, but the sites, you know, over two years old and it’s now outsourced and managed and I’ll go into how much I’m spending here and just see.

The other thing that maybe you might find interesting is a trust. Let’s look at the link building. I haven’t done a ton of link building, but certainly there are links. And so if we just look at the overview, you can see that the organic search traffic, it had this massive spike last year, which I called the COVID spike, even though my site is now ranking for more keywords than it did, you know, back then, There was just this massive spike.

So many more people were home searching for outdoor stuff and buying outdoor stuff. It was just a very unique time. So if then if I look at backlinks, you can just see where some of the links are coming from. You know, I have linked to it from niche pursuits, but a lot of these others, right. Are.

Just sort of natural links that have come in anyways. This is nature.org. That’s cool. I didn’t even know about that one. You know, I’ve got some Wiki, how anyways, bee keeping club. Oh, that’s cool. So I share a lot on Pinterest and I do believe a lot of the links actually have come from people then using those pins or those images from Pinterest, they put them on their own blog and then they, then they linked to me a lot of times they use the images and don’t link to me.

But other times they. Right. And so the site does have, you know, lots of links and it’s getting new links every day. Now let’s look at the top pages here. Okay. So top pages, you know, you can see that according to AA, my page is bringing in the most traffic, how to level your backyard, koi pond ideas.

That’s not accurate. Right. You know, if we compare this little side note, don’t always trust everything that you see in AHS, right? It does a decent job at just the best that it can. But. You know, so koi pond ideas, walkway ideas. Those are really my, so I don’t know where the walkway ideas is. Okay. It’s down here.

Right. So everything’s not in the exact order, right. You know, dance, how to make a dance floor. It says is one of my top pages. It’s not even one of my top 10 pages really in analysts. Right. So take things that AHF says with a grain of salt, salt, but it’s an amazing tool. Now let’s take a [email protected]

All right, I’ve already got lots of content and I’ve taken a break for a few months of really publishing a lot of new content. I’m going to go ahead and double down and start doing about 20 articles a month. That’s the plan. I’m going to continue doing about five pins a day. I have somebody doing Pinterest for me, and then updating about one or two old pieces of content using market muse or surfer SEO per week.

So that’s really just the plan going forward. I don’t have any big link building plans or anything like that. Just continue publishing new content on low competition keywords, keep doing Pinterest and updating some old content. And again, this is going to be all outsourced, right? I, I’m not doing most of the work here.

The site is managed by my editor and I have writers and people doing everything for me. How much do I pay for this editor that is managing the site for me? I’m actually going to show here in Upwork is where I have them hired them from $1,400 or sorry, $18,000 total. That’s over about two years.

And a lot of that was upfront. The last 30 days I’ve spent $245. So. Usually now on average, I pay her, you know, depending on how much she gets done that month between 200 and $500 a month, and then to publish 20 new articles a month. Right. I spend anywhere from, depending on the length, 50 to a hundred dollars per article.

So that’s anywhere from a thousand to $2,000 per article. So maybe I’m spending 1500, $2,000 on average. So the site is profiting well, and it’s pretty hands-off for me. So overall that’s owned the yard.com. I just wanted to jump in, share how the site has made about $5,800 last month, and that it’s on track to do even more than that.

Most of the traffic’s coming from Google and you can go check out the site to see exactly how it’s laid out, but hopefully you found. What I’ve explained helpful and overall, just an update on the site and how it’s doing. Thanks again for watching.

How to Make a $65k Per Month Living Blogging About Informational Content

How to Make a $65k Per Month Living Blogging About Informational Content

Interested in learning how to make a full-time income from blogging?  Today I’ve got some inspiration for you and perhaps someone that you can learn from.

Jon Dykstra is the founder of Fat Stacks, an online resource teaching others how to make a living blogging or building niche sites.

I’ve known Jon for a while now, and he is no stranger to us here at Niche Pursuits. Jon has been publishing niche sites as a professional blogger full time since 2012. 

As we all ride the Google wave, bracing ourselves for each new update, Jon has found ways to leverage other traffic sources with social media, Pinterest, paid advertising, and essentially no link building.

The best part? Jon is now making $65,000 a month from his blogging efforts!

So, I decided to ask Jon a few questions about how he got started, what strategies work well, and how others could follow in his foosteps as a full-time blogger.  You’ll find all his answers below.

Want to Learn from Jon?

Before I dive into the interview, I wanted to share that Jon actually does have a full collection of training material that teaches others how to make a living blogging.

Lucky for us, Jon is a fantastic teacher and better yet, has agreed to give the Niche Pursuits audience full access to ALL of his courses at a massive discount. 

This week only for you can get $200 off all of Jon’s courses for the one price. The courses are usually bundled together for $499, and you can only get the $200 off discount through my special link for this week only.

  1. Pinterest Magnate (Reg. $197): Learn precisely how Jon is driving massive (300,000 views +) with Pinterest each month!
  2. Long Tail Deep Dive (Reg. $97): How Jon makes a living blogging with long-tail keywords
  3. Content Site Autopilot (Reg. $147): A multi-module training program to show you how to create systems and processes for putting your content creation on autopilot.
  4. Natural Link Building Formula (Reg. $97): Learn how to attract links naturally with your blog post.
  5. Display Ads Deep Dive (Reg. $97): Your ultimate guide to monetizing niche sites and blogs with passive income display ads (i.e. AdSense and other ad networks).
  6. On-Site SEO Deep Dive (Reg. $147): Learn everything Jon does for on-site SEO (structure, schema, etc.) for ranking content. His search traffic isn’t an accident. It’s the result of setting up sites’ on-site SEO properly and publishing lots of killer content.
  7. Niche Exponential (Reg. $147): The ultimate guide to building specialty blogs such as recurring commission niche sites and others.

Get Access to the Fat Stacks Course Bundle Here

I recently caught up with Jon to find out what he is focused on, how his sites are performing, and some tips on making money blogging with niche sites. Here is what Jon had to say.

What are you working on right now with your sites?

Recently I streamlined my content publishing business by selling 6 sites with a 7th still on the chopping block with Motion Invest.  

That leaves me currently focusing on three sites. It’s looking like I’ll be scaling back even more and focus on only 3 sites. I’m once again merging content from one site to another.  

One of the three sites is Fat Stacks. Lately, I’ve been publishing quite a bit of long form content on that site to bolster search traffic.

My other two sites are run-of-the-mill content niche sites. They’re in different niches. One is quite large. The other is an up-and-comer recently hitting 150K monthly page views so it has real promise.

It’s been interesting expanding and then scaling back in a relatively short period of time. What I’ve learned is that I’m not a good fit for all niches.

I suspect that’s the case with many folks. My biggest niche site was an instant fit but other than Fat Stacks, finding another great fit took time. In fact, it tools launching a pile of sites to see what sticks.  

What makes a niche a good fit?

For me at this point a good niche is one where I can effortlessly find great topics to cover and then write killer content on those topics all the while enjoying the entire process. I’ve entered niches I thought would be fun but weren’t. They weren’t bad niches, just not quite as good of a fit as other niches.

How much are you currently making from your largest blog?

For the past three months (September, October and November) it’s been around $65,000 per month.

The lion’s share of that revenue is from display ads courtesy of AdThrive. Another $9,000 or so is from the video ad network Ex.co. And the $5K to $7K is from affiliate marketing, including Amazon and other merchants.

How much traffic does your largest blog currently get?

Traffic has grown to my biggest blog quite a bit over the last year. Over the last 30 days it topped 2 million sessions. About 1 million is from organic traffic. 336,000+/- is from Facebook. 218,000+/- is from Pinterest.

The rest is a smattering of sources.

Here’s a traffic screenshot for another niche site that I’m excited about:

And just so you know it’s not all fun and growth, here’s the traffic of one of my sites that took a beating from the very recent December 2020 Google algo update:

Why is informational content your go-to strategy to make money blogging?

I used to focus on affiliate marketing which requires focusing on a particular type of content that generates sales. It’s called pre-selling with buyer intent content. I still do some of this but it’s a very small percentage of my content strategy.

I love monetizing with ads because I can monetize any topic I want. I’m not stuck writing about products and commercial topics. I can write about how to find quartz crystals in North Vancouver and if that article gets traffic, I’ll make money.

A complementary benefit of that is I can seek out easy-to-rank keywords so that I can get decent traffic to content quickly without expensive or risky link building schemes.

Switching to focusing on display ads was a game-changer for my content publishing business.

Why are you focused on updating old content and what’s your strategy there?

When I first read about updating old content a couple years ago I scoffed. I was naive.

About 6 months after that I had the aha moment where I understood that updating old content, especially content with decent rankings but not number one rankings in Google could grow traffic considerably with little effort.

After all, if Google ranks an article in position 9, that means it’s not useless. Google kind of likes it which means it’s worthwhile to put more spit and polish into it to nudge it to the top.

In other words, updating content can be a very low cost, little time method to yield big traffic growth.

I also believe the stronger and better your content is overall, the better your site will do overall.

How do you choose what you’ll be writing about for your blogs?

My niche sites (other than Fatstacksblog.com) are broad in that they cover quite a few related topics. I don’t restrict myself to just “basketball shoes” for example. I cover footwear or even broader yet, fashion or sports.

However, there is kind of a method to the madness.

When starting a niche site I’ll publish on many topics within the niche seeking out ridiculously low competition keywords. My aim is to get some content ranking in Google.

After 3 to 9 months I check to see which topics are ranking. I then hone in on those and publish more content on those already successful topics. This method takes the guesswork out of it. Google tells me what they like the site for so why not give Google more of it.

Since I monetize with display ads, I’m not so concerned about whether content will generate affiliate sales. I just need traffic.

Over time as a site attracts more links and gains authority, it can start ranking naturally for more competitive keywords. This is a great development because this is when traffic can grow considerably.

And then sometimes I just write about what I feel like writing about. Just today I wrote an article about jogging pants because I just bought some that I really like.

I also wrote an article on Fat Stacks today on whether incorporating a blogging business is worth doing and if so, when to do it. This topic arose as a result of my accountant calling me back about some questions I had.

When I dream up my own topics I always run them through Ahrefs to determine the best wording to match as closely as possible a decent keyword.

How do you choose when to monetize with affiliates vs display advertising?

If an article could effectively sell something with affiliate links, I’ll plug them in. However, it has to stand a reasonable chance of actually generating affiliate links. I don’t pepper in affiliate links in everything.

Usually, I restrict affiliate links to the obvious articles such as reviews and comparisons.

When starting a new site, how long until the blog makes money?

It takes a while to start making money. If you aggressively build links you could probably make money inside 6 months. If not, it’ll take longer… 12 months to see any decent revenue at all. It’s a long process.

Are you making money from other channels Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube?

I generate about 200,000 monthly visitors from Pinterest and a tad more than that from Facebook. That’s about it.  

If someone was starting from scratch today, what would you have them focus on to generate traffic to their blog?

Choose a niche that interests you that also has some commercial viability to it as in there are products being sold. Once chosen, focus on very low competition keywords and start ranking some articles. You won’t get much traffic but the thing is traffic gets traffic. With traffic comes links. With links come more traffic.  

So, focus on finding easy-to-rank keywords. There are billions of them.

How long does it realistically take for someone to become a full-time blogger?

This is impossible to answer.

If you’re single with a part-time job and need almost nothing to live on, you could conceivably be a full time online in 12 months with a big effort.

If you have a family and a demanding job you probably have very little time to devote to this so it’ll take quite a bit longer.

It also depends on how well you choose keywords, whether you take on more risk and build links, etc.  

There are many variables involved. However, I know folks who managed to get to $5,000 per month inside 18 to 24 months.

Do you have a strategy for managing your multiple websites? Do you find it better to focus on one or build multiple?

At this stage, I find it’s best to focus on a few sites.

I believe there’s merit in sticking with one site. I could easily devote my days to my biggest niche site. However, I really like the idea of being slightly diversified with another site or two performing well. None of us are immune to Google updates so I’d like to be in a position where I have more than one site pumping out a healthy revenue.

Do you ever get discouraged in blogging, and if so, what do you think or do to motivate yourself to continue?

I sure do.

Everything I do today won’t yield any results for a long time so sometimes it seems pointless. However, and I tell myself this often, consistency is critical. I can’t move the needle with one day of work but if I publish one to three articles every day for a year, that’s significant.

It’s amazing how fast a year goes by. You could sit and read about how to blog, or you could bang out one to three articles per day. I strongly encourage you to just write and publish. By the end of year one you could easily have 250 to 750 articles published. That could be a decent amount of traffic and revenue.

Whenever I procrastinate or am not sure what to do, I write an article. It’s my default activity because if I do nothing but publish one article per day, it’s a good day. If I spend the day looking at stats and reading about blogging, that’s not going to do me any good.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what someone may learn in your course bundle? 

My course, which is now a massive bundle of courses has grown like crazy over 18 months. It started with my course on how I find low competition keywords and grew from that to what it is now which is an A to Z program for growing fun niche sites on topics you love and earning good revenue from them with display ads.

You don’t have to chain yourself to writing product reviews. There’s a wide world of topics to cover that are fun to write about. Thanks to the mighty display ad, you can make money from any topic.

In addition to long tail keyword research, the course includes a huge module on writing, outlining and ordering content. I also cover everything I do for on-site SEO. I’m not an SEO tech but there are some things I’ve figured out over the years that’s made a big difference.

I also teach how to get decent traffic from Pinterest based on my getting more than 200,000 monthly visitors from Pinterest.

Finally, the course offers a unique approach to link building. I’m not anti-link building.

Instead, I’m all about publishing content that attracts links naturally. To date I’ve attracted links from over 10,000 referring domains. I did not do outreach or guest posts or anything. I just focused on publishing great content.

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FatStacks Course Bundle $200 OFF This Week Only

Includes All Courses!

  • Pinterest Magnate: Learn precisely how Jon is driving massive (300,000 views +) with Pinterest each month!
  • Long Tail Deep Dive: How Jon makes a living blogging with long-tail keywords
  • Content Site Autopilot: A multi-module training program to show you how to create systems and processes for putting your content creation on autopilot.
  • Natural Link Building Formula: Learn how to attract links naturally with your blog post.
  • Display Ads Deep Dive: Your ultimate guide to monetizing niche sites and blogs with passive income display ads (i.e. AdSense and other ad networks).
  • On-Site SEO Deep Dive: Learn everything Jon does for on-site SEO (structure, schema, etc.) for ranking content. His search traffic isn’t an accident. It’s the result of setting up sites’ on-site SEO properly and publishing lots of killer content.
  • Niche Exponential: The ultimate guide to building specialty blogs such as recurring commission niche sites and others.


What makes your courses different from other how to make a living blogging courses?

I’ve carved my own way in this business and my course explains in minute detail exactly what I do. For example, I don’t build links. I attract them. I don’t try to rank for big keywords. I look for those obscure gems other sites missed or won’t target.  

Most of my growth is a result of trying different things and then focusing on what works.  

You recently sold a few sites on Motion Invest. Why did you decide to sell? What was your experience with Motion Invest?

There were a number of reasons. Here they are:

  • Distracting: I find it distracting to effectively grow 12+ sites. These days sites need a lot of TLC, especially when it comes to content. I’m still at the helm of these sites issuing instructions, tracking results, etc. While this work doesn’t take up tons of time for one site, it adds up with many sites.
  • Sites end up better quality when I care and I only care when I’m involved: I’m at the stage in my content publishing business where I’m still involved. Here’s a weird psychological phenomenon I’ve noticed over the years. When I 100% delegate a site or let it sit untouched, I stop caring. As soon as I roll up my sleeves and get involved I start caring and want it to succeed. This caring and motivation to make it succeed makes all the difference in the world. It makes this work more fun. It’s like an artist enjoying the painting process. I enjoy digging into niche sites and making them great. But I can only do this with so many sites.
  • Interest: I’m now down to focusing on 4 sites. Fat Stacks is one of them. It’s a diverse set of sites. Two are general info sites monetized with ads (mostly). One is a pure product site (smartwatches and wearables). And then there’s fatstacks. These niche sites are my absolute favorite topics.
  • Costs: It used to be most software could be applied to unlimited sites. These days, with better software available, you have to pay for each site or on a per use basis. 2 examples include Nitropack and MarketMuse, both of which I’m using. They charge for each site. Costs go up instead of being able to dilute costs across as many sites as you want.
  • Fat Stacks: I have a lot of plans for the course bundle over this next year. I’ve received plenty of suggestions for new modules and details to fill in existing modules. I want to add it all plus more. I also want to add more video tutorials. This stuff takes time. Time permitting, I’ll do more YouTube vids and podcasts as well.
  • Investment: I have an investment opportunity independent of niche sites. I’m keen to pull the trigger in the new year. The proceeds will fund that.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a beginner blogger who wants to earn a living blogging?

You have to enjoy the process. If you don’t there’s an easier way to make a living. But if you do like it, it’s a terrific lifestyle business.

What’s next in your professional blogger career?

I’ll stick to what I’m doing which is growing a few niche sites. They aren’t nearly as big as they could be so I’ll just keep hammering away.

As with every conversation I have with Jon, he truly knows what it takes to be a successful blogger, and the proof is in his monthly income reports. 

If you want to learn how to make a living blogging, Jon is a great resource, and I highly recommend his courses. Read more about how you can get Niche Pursuits Fat Stacks deal here

<imgsrc=”https: www.nichepursuits.com=”” wp-content=”” uploads=”” 2020=”” 12=”” copy-of-fatstacks-280×255.png”=””></imgsrc=”https:>

FatStacks Course Bundle $200 OFF This Week Only

Includes All Courses!

  • Pinterest Magnate: Learn precisely how Jon is driving massive (300,000 views +) with Pinterest each month!
  • Long Tail Deep Dive: How Jon makes a living blogging with long-tail keywords
  • Content Site Autopilot: A multi-module training program to show you how to create systems and processes for putting your content creation on autopilot.
  • Natural Link Building Formula: Learn how to attract links naturally with your blog post.
  • Display Ads Deep Dive: Your ultimate guide to monetizing niche sites and blogs with passive income display ads (i.e. AdSense and other ad networks).
  • On-Site SEO Deep Dive: Learn everything Jon does for on-site SEO (structure, schema, etc.) for ranking content. His search traffic isn’t an accident. It’s the result of setting up sites’ on-site SEO properly and publishing lots of killer content.
  • Niche Exponential: The ultimate guide to building specialty blogs such as recurring commission niche sites and others.


Here’s What We Learned About Google Searches

Here’s What We Learned About Google Searches

We analyzed 306M keywords to understand the types of queries that people use in Google search.

Specifically, we looked at keyword distribution, query length, keyword difficulty, CPC, SERP features, and more.

Using data from DataForSEO and Ahrefs, we uncovered some very interesting findings.

Now it’s time to share what we found.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. 91.8% of all search queries are long tail keywords. However, long tails are responsible for a relatively small percentage of total search volume (3.3%).

2. Search demand is concentrated in a small percentage of high volume terms. In fact, the top 500 most popular search terms make up 8.4% of all search volume. And the top 2000 keywords are responsible for 12.2% of all searches conducted in Google.

3. The average keyword gets 989 searches per month. However, the median search volume for a keyword is only 10 searches per month. Which shows that low-volume long tail keywords are extremely prevalent in Google search.

4. 14.1% of searches are in the form of a question.

5. “How” keywords are the most common type of question keyword. Followed by “what”, “where” and “who”.

6. The mean CPC of a keyword is $0.61. Search terms related to finance and real estate have the highest average CPC.

7. The average keyword is 1.9 total words.

8. Not surprisingly, longer keywords get searched for less often than shorter keywords. In fact, keywords with 5+ words get an average of 10x fewer searches than search terms that are 1-3 words in length.

9. Industries with the highest search volume are “News and Media”, “Internet & Telecom”, “Arts & Entertainment” and “Consumer Electronics”.

10. Popular keywords have significantly higher keyword difficulty scores. In fact, each time search volume doubles, keyword difficulty goes up by 1.63.

11. SERP features are extremely common in Google search. In fact, only 2.4% of all Google search results don’t contain at least one SERP feature.

12. The most common SERP features present in Google are People Also Ask (19.5%), image packs (19.4%), video results (17.9%) and Top Stories (15.5%).

We have detailed data and information on our findings below.

According to our analysis of 306M US keywords, the vast majority of search terms (91.8%) are long tail keywords.

91 Percent Of Search Terms Are Long Tail Keywords

However, we also discovered that long tails don’t account for a large percentage of search volume.

Head Terms Account For The Vast Majority Of Search Volume

In fact, all long tails combined only account for 3.3% of total search volume.

In other words, we found that most keywords tend to be long tails. But even when added together, long tails only make up a small part of global search demand.

(For this study we considered any keyword with 1-100 searches per month as “long tail”).

This finding is largely in-line with a keyword analysis conducted by Ahrefs earlier this year.

Like the Ahrefs analysis, we defined long tail keywords as any keyword getting less than 100 searches per month. The exact numbers differed due to differences in sample size and analysis. But we both found that a) long tails account for most keywords and b) long tail keywords represent a relatively small slice of the search demand pie.

Key Takeaway: 91.8% of keywords are long tail keywords. However, even when added together, long tails only account for 3.3% of overall search demand.

Search Demand is Largely Concentrated Among a Relatively Small Number of Keywords

A relatively small number of search terms make up a large percentage of total search demand.

Specifically, the 500 most popular search terms make up 8.4% of all search volume.

Search Demand Is Largely Concentrated Among A Relatively Small Number Of Keywords

It’s not surprising to see that monthly search volume is not evenly distributed. But we were surprised to see how skewed search behavior is towards a small number of search terms.

For example, when including misspellings, 2-3% of all searches conducted in Google are for 4 keywords: YouTube, Facebook, Amazon and Google.

Most popular keywords in Google (ranked by % of all searches)
Keyword Volume
YouTube 0.546%
Facebook 0.530%
Amazon 0.407%
Gmail 0.296%
Google 0.271%
Weather 0.164%
Yahoo 0.161%
Ebay 0.161%
Walmart 0.145%
Yahoo Mail 0.143%
Netflix 0.139%
Google Docs 0.100%
Translate 0.098%
USPs tracking 0.093%
News 0.091%
Craigslist 0.091%
Fox News 0.091%
CNN 0.083%
Calculator 0.073%
Hotmail 0.064%
Roblox 0.063%
Target 0.063%
Instagram 0.057%
MSN 0.057%
Trump 0.054%
Twitter 0.054%
Bank of America 0.051%
New Year 0.051%
Maps 0.050%
NFL 0.044%
UPS Tracking 0.042%
Pinterest 0.041%
Linkedin 0.041%
ESPN 0.038%
Disney Plus 0.037%
Etsy 0.036%
USPs 0.035%
Finance 0.033%
AOL 0.029%
Women’s World Cup 2019 0.026%
NBA 0.024%
You 0.023%
Amazon Prime Video 0.022%
Internet Speed Test 0.021%
Bed Bath and Beyond 0.021%
Ikea 0.020%
Dow 0.018%
Food Near Me 0.018%
United Airlines 0.018%
Speedtest 0.017%

This finding is interesting for two reasons. First, it shows that a large amount of Google searches are navigational.

Second, it demonstrates the popularity of the four dominant internet brands compared to all other brands.

Key Takeaway: The 500 top keywords account for 8.4% of all search volume.

Average Search Volume for a Keyword Is 989 Searches Per Month

The typical keyword gets an average of 989 monthly searches.

The Typical Keyword Gets An Average Of 989 Monthly Searches In Google

However, this number is slightly skewed due to the concentration of extremely high-volume terms that we just talked about. Which is why we decided to also analyze median search volume.

And we discovered that median search volume is only 10 searches per month.

Median Search Volume Is Only 10 Searches Per Month

This shows that, again, the vast majority of keywords are “long tails” with relatively low monthly search volume.

Key Takeaway: The average keyword in Google gets searched for 989 times per month. However, it’s likely that this number is impacted by the top 500 search terms. And when we analyzed the median search volume, we found that the typical search volume for a keyword was only 10 searches per month.

14.1% of Search Queries are Question Keywords

As the name suggests, a question keyword is any keyword that contains “who”, “what”, “where”, “why” or “how”.

Considering that many people use Google to search for information, it should come as no surprise that question keywords are relatively common.

Indeed, we found that 14.1% of searches in Google were conducted via a question keyword.

14 Percent Of Search Queries Are Question Keywords

We also brokedown the most common types of questions that people used.

How What Where Are The Most Common Types Of Question Keywords

As you can see, the most common types of question keywords were: “how” (8.07%), “what” (3.4%), “where” (.88%), “why” (.82%), “who” (.6%), and “which” (.33%).

Questions, by their nature of being relatively long and specific, are typically long tail terms. And as we also previously outlined, long tails are common in terms of keyword frequency. But they typically have low search volume (even when added together).

Key Takeaway: Making up 14.1% of all search terms, question keywords are relatively common in Google search.

The Average Keyword Has a CPC of $0.61

One of the main insights we wanted to look at for this research was Google Ads cost per click (CPC). And how CPCs varied between different industries.

We found that the typical keyword has a Google Ad CPC of $0.61.

The Average Keyword Has A CPC Of 61 Cents

We also broke down CPC by industry.

Finance Real Estate And Health Industries Have The Highest CPC

Overall, keywords in the real estate, finance, health, legal and home have the highest average CPCs.

On the other side of the spectrum, keywords related to the news, arts & entertainment, food and fitness have the lowest CPCs.

Key Takeaway: CPCs vary greatly between different keywords. When averaged together, the typical keyword costs $.61 per click. The finance, real estate and health verticals have the highest Google Ads CPCs. While fitness, food, and arts have relatively low CPCs.

The US Has Higher Average Search Volumes and CPCs Compared to Other English-Speaking Countries

For this analysis, we used a dataset of English language keywords from 5 countries: the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

When adjusted for population size, Americans search in Google far more often than any other English-speaking country.

Americans Search In Google More Than Any Other English Speaking Country

In fact, Americans use Google 38% more than the UK. And 90% more than Australia.

The US also has significantly higher CPCs on average.

The US Has Higher CPCs Compared To Other English Speaking Countries

While the absolute numbers are different between the US and other countries, search patterns tend to be fairly similar.

For example, with some exceptions, searches that have high US volume tend to have high international volume, and vice versa.

Popular Searches In The US Tend To Be Popular Internationally

Key Takeaway: The US uses Google far more than other English speaking countries. In fact, Americans search in Google 38% more than the UK and 90% more than Australia.

Mean Keyword Length is 1.9 Words and 8.5 Characters

Our analysis found that, among the 306M keywords that we looked at, the average keyword is 1.9 words and 8.5 characters in length.

Mean Keyword Length Is 2 Words And 8 Characters

We also looked at the relationship between keyword length and search volume. When looking at character count, extremely long and short keywords get relatively few searches.

We found that keywords between 5-10 characters tend to get searched for most often.

Keywords between 5-10 characters get searched for most often

And that 1-2 word terms have the highest average search volume.

1-2 Word Terms Have The Highest Average Search Volume

Key Takeaway: Mean keyword length in Google search is 8.5 characters and 1.9 words in length. We also found that shorter keywords (in terms of word count) have higher search volumes. In fact, short keywords (between 1-3 words) get 10x more searches than longer keywords (5+ words).

Industries With The Highest Mean Search Volume Keywords Include Internet & Telecom, News and Media, and Consumer Electronics

We decided to categorize each keyword in our data set. And investigate which industries had relatively high and low volume search terms.

Here’s what we discovered:

Industries With The Highest Mean Search Volume

When it comes to mean search volume, the most popular keywords in Google tend to fall under the categories: Internet & Telecom, Retailers, News, Arts & Entertainment, and Consumer Electronics.

On the other hand, keywords related to Real Estate, Vehicles, Occasions & Gifts, Home & Garden, and Law get relatively few searches.

We also ran the same analysis with a focus on total searches. In other words, instead of analyzing each keyword’s mean search volume, we looked at the total number of searches conducted under each category.

Industries With The Greatest Total Search Volume

As the chart indicates, the results are similar. But not identical.

Specifically, at 19.5% of all searches, “News & Media” is the most popular search category in Google. With “Internet & Telecom” (17.5%) and “Arts & Entertainment” (17.4%) 2nd and 3rd.

These findings make logical sense. Millions of people use Google to find information on current events. Which is why news-related searches make up nearly 1 out of 5 Google searches. However, each term isn’t going to rack up significant search volume. Which is why mean search volume for news-related keywords tend to be low.

Key Takeaway: “Internet & Telecom” is the most popular search category in terms of average search volume per keyword. However, when looking at the total number of searches per category, “News & Media” comes out on top. In fact, 19.5% of all Google searches fall under the “News & Media” category.

To get keyword difficulty data on our data set 306M keywords, we analyzed a subset of terms (approximately 2.5M) using Ahrefs.

Perhaps not surprisingly, popular search terms have higher average keyword difficulty scores compared to keywords with low search volume.

Popular Keywords Have Higher Keyword Difficulty Scores

For this analysis, we ran a subset of keywords from our dataset in Ahrefs. Although each SEO tool has a different approach for analyzing keyword difficulty, the keyword difficulty measurement in Ahrefs is considered reliable. They’re also transparent about how the metric is calculated.

Overall, we found that popular search terms tend to have more competition in the SERPs.

Specifically, each time search volume doubles, keyword difficulty goes up by approximately 1.63.

For example, as search volume goes from 100 to 3200 (6 doublings), the difficulty increases by roughly 10 (1.63 * 6).

This is likely due to the fact that popular keywords are attractive to SEOs and content marketers. Which leads to heightened SEO competition for those terms.

We also looked into the relationship between keyword difficulty and CPC. We found a clear relationship between those two variables. Specifically, the more competitive the terms, the higher the CPC.

Keywords With High Keyword Difficulty Scores Have Higher CPCs

Again, this finding is something that most digital marketers would expect. Keywords with high CPCs tend to have strong buyer intent. While many businesses are willing to pay to get in front of those searchers via Google Ads, others prefer to rank organically. Which leads to a glut of competition for high CPC terms.

Key Takeaway: Popular keywords have higher average keyword difficulty scores compared to keywords with low search volume. We also found a relationship between keyword difficulty and CPC. Specifically, keywords with high CPCs tend to have higher SERP competition levels.

People Also Ask Boxes, Image Packs and Videos are The Most Common SERP Features In Google Search

Next, we looked at the prevalence of SERP features. And the relationship between SERP features and keyword difficulty.

Firstly, we looked at which SERP features appear most often in Google’s search results.

The Most Common Search Features In Google Search

We found that the most prevalent search features in Google’s organic results are People Also Ask (19.4%), image packs (19.4%), video results (17.9%), Top Stories (15.4%) and Sitelinks (11.0%).

And the least common SERP features include Tweet boxes, Google Shopping results and Knowledge cards.

We also looked at which SERP features appeared together in the search results. Here are the most common SERP feature pairings.

The Most Common SERP Feature Pairings

Interestingly, keywords that bring up SERP features tend to be more competitive than those without SERP features.

Search Results With SERP Features Are More Competitive VS Those Without SERP Features

And Google search results with more SERP features have higher mean keyword difficulty.

Google Search Results With More SERP Features Have Higher Mean Keyword Difficulty

All in all, SERP features appear in almost all Google search results. In fact, 97.6% of searches contain at least one SERP feature.

97 Percent Of Searches Contain At Least One SERP Feature

We also noticed that searches without SERP features tend to have low volume.

Search Results Without SERP Features Are Usually Results For Very Low Volume Queries

This is likely due to the fact that these low-volume queries are extremely specific long tails. Which means there’s less likely to be a “match” in terms of a relevant YouTube video or Google Shopping result to use as part of a SERP feature.

We also looked into the impact that various SERP features have on clicks. Interestingly, knowledge cards tend to significantly reduce clicks-per-search. While the other SERP features appear to have limited effect on drawing clicks away from the “10 blue link” organic results.

Knowledge Cards Significantly Reduce Clicks Per Search

Key Takeaway: 97.6% of all Google searches result in a SERP feature. “People also ask” is the most popular SERP feature in Google.


I hope you found this analysis interesting.

I’d like to thank DataForSEO for providing the data on 306M keywords that made up the bulk of this research.

For those that are interested, here is a PDF of our study methods. And a link to a GitHub repository with all of the raw data.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

What’s your #1 learning from today’s research?

Or maybe you have a question about something from the study.

Either way, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.