We acquired MomCurls.com in July 2019 for $201.8K from a seller we had previously done some deals with.
The site is a content website in the health and beauty niche. It published articles on women’s beauty and health-related topics, as well as posting reviews of a variety of different beauty products sold on amazon.
The website was monetized with AdSense as well as through the Amazon Associates affiliate program for Amazon US, UK and Canada.
We significantly grew the revenue of the site, but after some unexpected challenges decided to sell the site earlier than planned. We were still able to make $300K in profit in one year.
This case study will go through how we grew the revenue, the challenges we faced and how we dealt with this.
Growth Potential and Risks
Declining Revenue and Traffic
At the time of acquisition, the website had a shaky history. While the numbers were good, traffic and revenue were rapidly declining.
This meant that we deemed this to be a very high-risk acquisition and this was reflected in the price. However, this also meant that there was a high potential for growth.
Questionable SEO Techniques
The business was using a lot of high-risk SEO techniques. It had built up its backlink profile through a large number of Private Blog Networks (PBNs) and paid links. This can be a precarious way to manipulate search engine rankings.
What We Did to Grow it?
After the acquisition, our immediate plan was to stop the declining rankings and traffic. These were the techniques and steps we took to do this.
First, we spent time inspecting and doing an audit of all the top traffic pages. We then optimized these via on-page SEO improvements.
We started by optimizing every page that was trending downwards via on-page SEO improvements. We utilized a couple different software’s for this, including Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, and SurferSEO.
In doing this we had to take into account the following:
- Heavy keyword cannibalization – this refers to having too many similar or identical keywords appear throughout the content and website.
- TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency) analysis – this involves evaluating the value and relevance of a word to a document. Our senior SEO manager Josh performed on the site.
This gave a quick 10% increase in traffic.
We gave the site’s content a much-needed refresh by doing the following:
- Update any page that hadn’t been updated in 6 months
- Rewrite and optimize nearly all the articles
- Carry out on-page optimization
Over the first couple of months, we managed to edit and update most pages. The result was that we were able to successfully reverse the downward traffic trend.
The site had accumulated some links that we deemed to be high risk. We decided to disavow some of the most spammy ones and build our own high quality ones with outreach.
Increase Social Media Presence
Next, we focused on increasing social presence.
One of the ways we did this was by activating and growing the different social accounts for the business.
The results of doing this were that we were able to:
- Increase the value of the site
- Reduce SEO risk
We also conducted some paid Facebook campaigns.
These helped us improve brand recognition and allowed us to experiment with more monetization options.
Originally monetized mainly through Adsense and Amazon affiliates, we diversified monetization through preparing a media kit and reaching out to potential direct advertisers to get higher value ad campaigns.
We were also able to get the site approved for a premium ad network Mediavine. This secured an extra sizable source of income.
We also found alternative affiliate programs and products to promote, negotiating higher commission rates.
By adding new and more lucrative revenue streams, we were able to increase the revenue of the site.
To increase the value of the business we also combined it with other websites in the same niche. We chose sites that had a sizable social following but lower revenues.
This allowed us to present higher overall metrics to potential advertisers to get better-paying campaigns.
Through this continuous effort, we managed to grow the business to over $20K per month in revenue consistently in late 2019 early 2020. At that time it was valued at around $600K and we had further plans to get to $1M value before reselling.
But that’s when some troubles started mounting.
Challenges We Faced
We faced a number of unfortunate and unexpected challenges while improving this website. These drastically changed our plans for the site.
Google Algorithm Update
The Google algorithm update affected the website negatively and the site lost around 20-25% of traffic. This was due to Google limiting the number of featured snippets, and first place rankings a site could get.
Amazon Affiliate Commission Cut
Later Amazon announced that they would be reducing the commission rates from April 21, and we lost a substantial amount of revenue due to that.
As if that wasn’t enough, the COVID-19 pandemic started around that time, and global spending on beauty products reduced, as people were spending more time indoors. Therefore our sales continued to drop.
Final Result and Outcome
Following this series of unfortunate coincidences, we decided it was time to sell the business. We sold it for $340K in July 2020.
In the end, despite this series of misfortunes that affected the business in a row, we were able to generate over $300K in profit (more than 150% return) in 1 year of holding the business.