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NoCable.org 2017 Website Resolutions

2016 was a good year for NoCable, but I need 2017 to be even better.

  – Chris Cagle

2016 was a good year for NoCable, but I need 2017 to be even better.

In this post, I am going to analyze the data I have been digging into recently for my other posts to see if there is anything that may be able to help me increase pageviews, SEO effectiveness and revenue. You can see those other posts here:

I learned a lot from building those posts that can possibly help me grow even further in 2017. Here is an outline of some I quickly came up with:

  1. Found: Getting survey responses was hard for our 2017 Statistics post.
    • 2017 Action:
      I luckily have a Build Your Own Home Setup questionnaire that asks many of the same questions. I have since changed the site to save those answers to a database so that I can analyze later. A full year of answers should help shape some of the analysis I build next year.

  2. Found: The AmazonBasics 35-mile antenna was more popular with my visitors than the 25-mile.
    • 2017 Action:
      Consider switching my budget 25-mile recommendation over to the slightly longer range version. I assume they are essentially the same product and same quality - but I need to do some research to prove that out before I change my recommendation page.

  3. Found: Product reviews really do help manufacturers.
    • 2017 Action:
      I need to get more of these product reviews in the pipeline. I now have proof that reviews work - not to mention that they are great ways to add new content to the website. I need to heavy up on asking for free units.

  4. Found: When I recommend an antenna, it sells.
    • 2017 Action:
      I need to consider Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Since I can accurately predict that a product will sell based on my recommendation, just so long as I can find a quality product manufacturer - this may work. It of course depends on a lot of other things: 1) this is new to me, 2) there is A LOT of antenna competition and 3) it will likely take a lot of capital to get off the ground.

      I need to find a mentor that has done this before. I don't feel I have the expertise to pull this off myself without at least a little guidance but I think there is a real opportunity in FBA. I need to take a serious look at this in 2017.

  5. Found: Sports interest among Cord Cutters is highest at the beginning of the season.
    • 2017 Action:
      Heavy up on the content and social media posts around the beginning of every professional sports season. This means I need to get cooking for the start of MLB Spring Training in March/April.

Bigger, Better Content

There is extensive proof circulating around the SEO community that web pages with over 1,500 words rank better than those that do not. Aside from some of the most recent blog posts I have done, there really are no other pages on NoCable.org that are that long.

Ok, so I need to extend and update existing pages, but which ones should I focus on to get the biggest bang for my time? Let's find out...

Sports Related Pages

The goal for almost all my sports related pages is to drive visitors towards a VPN signup. Mostly because there really is not a product on Amazon I can show them, but also because to avoid game blackouts, a VPN is needed. Looking at the VPN service click-outs generated on NoCable in 2016 by page shows some interesting trends.

Pages Clicks Count
Sports Team Specific  (aggregate)11,622
Regional Sports Report  (aggregate)1,968
Watch Sports Online590
Compare Streaming Devices347
Compare VPN Providers234
My Cord Cutting Story100
Build Your Own Wizard41
In-house Ads16

I need to beef up the sports team specific pages since they are already doing well, despite a lack of information on them. These pages are also where most of my VPN conversions have come from, so more traffic and information should correlate to more conversions. One thing I noticed while writing this article is that I do not have overview pages for each league (MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL and MLS). I need to write some long form pages for these topics as well.

I am also surprised at how well my Watch Sports Online page did. I did not feel like it got very much traffic, but it seems to convert well. Assuming I can get more traffic to it (with better, longer content), I might be able to greatly increase my earnings from it.

Product Review Pages

My product review pages have always been a little light on content. I have always only focused on listing the product's basic details and creating Google rich snippets along-side good photography... but surprising little on creating long-form content.

Nowhere is that more evident is with the Google ranking for my SlingTV review. That review currently has just over 650 words, which is waaaay below what it needs to be.

What data did I use for this analysis? Easy... the fact that I have not referred even a single SlingTV signup and the fact that I am (as of this writing) the 34th result in Google for the term "Sling TV Review". By comparison, the top blog review of SlingTV is barely over 1,500 words (hmm, there seems to be a pattern forming...)

For a second case-study, look at my Mohu Leaf 50 review. It is ranked at #4 on Google despite only having 560 words.

How much would a #1 ranking matter? Well, Chitika did some research on this. As it turns out, I could expect a traffic increase of almost 50% (to 11.4% of total) on that search phrase by simply moving up 1 spot into position #3. I could grab around 18% of the search term's total traffic by becoming the second search result (SERP). Considering this antenna is at the heart of a lot of my content, I really need to focus more on this page.

SEO & Competitor Analysis

I've heard of SEMRush for quite some time now, but I never signed up for a free trial until just recently.

Wow – I had no idea what I was missing.

SEM Rush NoCable.org Report

I had no idea this amount of data could be gathered on competitors, missing keywords and overall site SEO health before I signed up for SEMRush. I considered other similar services like Moz Pro, Majestic, SpyFu and Ahrefs, but ultimately – I decided on SEMRush. I always heard good things about them, then I happend to find a 2-week free trial on a blog online, which made it a no brainer to try out.

I need to spend more time inside SEMRush and find more low-hanging fruit to focus on. A quick run through some of their reports shows I have a lot to work on:

  • There are a lot of keywords that my competitors are ranking for that I had no idea even existed. I need to create/edit some content to accommodate people looking for this information.

  • I have a lot of pages that rank on the second or third pages of Google. I need to increase my authority and/or content so that those move up to the first page.
    SEMRush NoCable.org Report by Result Page

I have already worked to build up some of my pages since finding nuggets of information inside SEMRush, but I am currently just at the tip of the iceberg. I do feel the SEMRush monthly cost of $69.95 is a little steep, but I should be able to recoup the cost of a few months assuming I move quickly and then pause billing. More to come on this in a later blog post.

Increasing Advertising CPM

Near the end of November 2016 I switched my advertising over to Google's free DoubleClick for Publishers. I converted all my AdSense units over to price priority DFP units with a fallback to Media.net.

I am fully aware that the fact that I made this change heading into what is typically the strongest CPM month of the year, which will obviously skew numbers. Because of this, I need to revisit this whole setup in a couple months again to see the performance, but the it certainly seems like a positive outcome. Note: I plan on writing a much more extensive DFP-analysis piece after I get a few more months under my belt.

I also need to focus on getting direct advertisers as there is only so much I can do to optimize my page's CPMs when dealing with external services. In all honesty, this was the largest reason I switched all my ads over to DFP. With AdSense unable to do any real in-house ad capabilities, I needed to switch over to DFP sooner rather than later.

Anyway, getting my first direct advertising contract has not happened yet, but I feel it is only a matter of time with my site's clout in the Cord Cutting industry increasing (sometimes drastically) month-over-month.

Committing to Canada

For a while I have known that everyone from Canada that visits my site is being taken to the US version of Amazon. This is a major problem because Amazon will not allow Canadians to buy from the US version, and vice-versa. Amazon will also not redirect the visitor to the right .TLD either, so this falls squarely on me to handle.

This has been a problem for NoCable ever since I added Canada back in October. Currently, Canada only makes up about 1% of my total traffic, but I expect that to rise throughout 2017 as search engines begin to rank those Canadian pages higher.

I finally got around to fixing this right before I wrote this section. To handle it was surprisingly easy.

First, I signed up on Amazon.ca Associates. I then went through all my Amazon affiliate links and found the equivalent version on the .CA site. I plugged those URLs into my cloaking redirect script - what lifesaver that script is - and then read from the browser cookie to see what country report the user last visited. If the country was Canada, I attempt to redirect to the .CA URL, otherwise I fallback to the US version.

This is not ideal, but I think it works OK for now. What I did find out is that not all the products I promote are even listed on Amazon.ca, so I must find a way around that soon.

Diversifying Traffic Sources

The majority of NoCable's website traffic comes from search engines (is there a search engine out there other than Google?!?!). This isn't necessarily a problem, just a potential risk.

In 2017 I want to focus more on building my newsletter and social media up. Both avenues can certainly help diversify my traffic a little more, which should help stabilize traffic flows.

Currently, I only have a Facebook account, and I am reluctant to add Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram because I know it will take more time, and I am not fully convinced of how useful they would be.

Here's to a great 2017!!

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