How a Niche Site Earned 250k Visits/mo in 12 Months With Keyword Chef

Today, I have a very impressive case study by a niche website builder, Nirav Shah. As we know, SEO takes a long time, so I’m quite excited to publish this case study on such a large and successful website.

With case studies, I want to be as transparent as possible without giving away the specific site or niche. I had asked Nirav Shah for details of his site after the site had grown. While Keyword Chef was used in the success of the site, I wasn’t involved in the site in any way.

What makes me excited about this case study is that it shows how someone can start a site from scratch, write the content themselves, then start to outsource the content to scale. This is a natural progression a beginner could make when starting a new website. What’s even better was that Nirav Shah wasn’t even familiar with this chosen niche.

We’ll explore:

  • The type of site
  • What the results are
  • How Keyword Chef played a role
  • How countent was outsourced
  • And the site’s backstory and lessons learned (worth the read)

So, let’s dive into the details…

What kind of site is this?

Now, we’ll see what kind of niche site this is. There are lots of different strategies when it comes to niche and topic selection, but what Nirav Shah built wasn’t any super-secret…

Quick snapshot:

  • Informational site in a popular niche
  • Build on a fresh domain
  • Wasn’t familiar with the niche
  • No backlinks were built

This niche site is purely informational and is in a popular niche that everyone has heard of. When I say “informational”, it means there are no articles with commercial intent, such as reviews, best of, or “vs” articles. All of these articles are focused on answering readers’ questions rather than trying to get them to buy something. With this model, the main source of revenue is typically from display ads, using ad platforms such as Ezoic, Mediavine, or Adthrive.

The site started on January 1st, 2021 on a fresh domain. This makes a difference as some experienced SEOs will buy expired domains to take advantage of the existing backlink profile, but this wasn’t a strategy in this case.

Nirav Shah didn’t have any experience in the niche either. There are certainly pros and cons. The benefit of being familiar with your niche is that you are able to write more detailed and helpful articles as you are considered the expert. But if you aren’t familiar with your niche, that is perfectly fine as long as you can do proper keyword research and write helpful articles.

Additionally, and probably most important, is that there was no link-building done on this site. Achieving such traffic numbers without building backlinks is possible, as long as you perform good keyword research and publish SEO-friendly content.

How did you use Keyword Chef as part of your keyword research strategy?

I wanted to know more details about how Nirav Shah used Keyword Chef as part of his keyword research process. These are some of the details he shared with us.

Quick snapshot:

  • Used Keyword Chef to import keywords and regular search to find new keyword ideas
  • Digging deep into your niche will help
  • Initially target keywords with a SERP Score of 3 or more
  • Use Similiar and PAA keywords to help build article structure

Did you use Keyword Chef to find keywords or did you import them?

I used Keyword Chef both ways. Mostly, I import my keywords which is a great way to save some credits. But whenever I run out of ideas, I turn to Keyword Chef and it never lets me down and gives me a bunch of new ideas.

What keyword categories did you use and why?

I mostly use the wildcard and question categories to get new ideas.

How did you know what to search for in Keyword Chef?

How deep you dig deep into your niche, you will get to know more about topics around your niche. There is no magic formula.

Which SERP Score and search volume did you target?

Initially, I targeted keywords with a SERP score of 3 or more. Once my site got some traffic and authority, I started to target keywords with a SERP score of 2 and sometimes 1 also if that topic is closely relevant with my other topics.

Did you use the Similar or PAA keywords?

Yes. PAA is and similar words are the main source that built my article structure and included in subtopics.

Were there any other tools used in your keyword research process?

Google autocomplete and Keywords Everywhere (free version).

Tracking the Results

Most importantly for this case study, I wanted to know how effective Keyword Chef was and what kind of results Nirav Shah saw with his site. In short, does Keyword Chef actually work?

Quick snapshot:

  • 593 total articles published, most keywords came from Keyword Chef
  • Articles started to rank 2-3 months max
  • Keyword Chef SERP Score is pretty accurate
  • Revenue is over $4200 per month

Here’s the month to month breakdown:

Here are some results that Nirav Shah shared:

How many articles were published based on keywords from Keyword Chef?

To date, nearly 600 articles were published on site, out of which roughly 400 odd articles are published based on Keyword Chef.

How quickly did those articles start to rank?

This is highly variable but most of my articles start ranking in 2-3 months max.

Did you find the SERP Score accurate (example – green scores ranked all first page)?

It’s pretty accurate. Also adding a custom weak domain feature is quite useful.

How much traffic are those articles bringing in each?

Also, this is highly variable but the biggest traffic earner is getting around 4000-5000 page views per month.

How much revenue did these keywords bring in?

$4266.16 was generated last month.

How did you outsource your content?

I know that one question everyone is going to have is, “how did you outsource your content?” I was curious myself.

Good affordable writers are hard to find, but Nirav Shah shows that is it possible:

I am not using any agencies. Just hiring from Fiverr and Upwork and training them according to my requirement. I prefer not so expert writers as my topics are pretty basic and don’t require any expertise. So I pay anything around 2-4 cents per word.

Still, I wanted to know about the process of sourcing, vetting, hiring, and training the writers – basically the whole process. Nirav Shah was kind enough to give this explanation:

Process of hiring writers:

So basically I never hired from any writing agencies and always prefer freelance writers from Fiverr and Upwork and sometimes FB groups also.

Hiring a freelance writer is a double edge sword. You have to spend so much time and effort to find good writers. But if you do this exercise, you will surely get some really good gems at a very reasonable rate.

So if you have time and energy on your hand, I will always suggest looking for freelance writers.

The niche which I am working on and the kind of topics on which I publish posts are very generic kind and don’t need any kind of expertise in the specific field. So, what I look for in my writer is, he/she must have a very good hold on English and a unique way of presenting the same content in a different way or from a different angle.

I never prefer that my writer has to be from a native English country only. It’s a misconception that non-native English writers are not that good. So, don’t restrict yourself to just native English writers. These single criteria will open a wide range of writers from which you can choose the best one.

So here is my exact process of hiring writers:

Firstly I do initial conversation with all interested participants regarding their past work experience and what other projects they are doing right now.

Through this initial conversation, you can rule out some of the entries by the way of their talking by seeing some of their past work.

After this initial conversation, I ask them to send me sample writing of 500-800 words on my given subject. Usually, I give the same topic to each participant so that it will be easy for me to compare.

Out of these, half of the entries only submit sample works so it will again filter out from all entries and make my job easy.

After all the submissions, whoever is good with submission, I arrange one personal interview round with them where I discuss in detail my project and what I am expecting from them.

This personal interview round once again filters out some of them.

Whoever passes the personal interview round, I arrange some kind of personal training round which includes reading through some of the articles and going through some of the videos regarding basic article writing.

This training is non-paid, but most of them agree to take part as it will enhance their skills also and they will learn new things also.

This training is the last phase of my selection, and believe me, 90% of all entries which you receive will be already be filtered out automatically at this stage.

Also point here is, who all are still stick with you till this stage clearly indicates that they also desperately needed to work with you and when you hire such writers, they will stick with you for a long time

So I hire writers who have successfully passed all the steps and groom them according to my needs over a period of time.

This whole process looks very long and time-consuming, but in the end, you will find some really good writers who are really interested to work with you and you will get some really good writers who will work with you for a long time.

How did you start the site? What’s your story?

Sharing results is good, but I wanted to also dig deeper and find out the full story behind the site. Nirav Shah was happy to share more details with us on how he grew such a successful site. Here is a quick summary of the mentioned updates:

I started my website on January 1st. Starting this website was an impulsive decision. Although I was investigating many niches over a period of time, I hadn’t decided yet to start one. Then I saw a contest announcement on the 90 Day Niche Site Challenge FB group run by Ben Adler and Vishal Mahadik.

And that was the trigger point for me. I purchased the domain on December 31st, 2020 and it was a fresh domain.

This contest was about self-publishing the maximum articles and you can’t outsource it. So, I started writing blog posts. My target is to publish 1 blog post per day.

In the initial phase, I used the free version of Keyword Chef, and believe me, it’s one of the most underrated (free version). That free version helped me to kick start my keyword research process and I kept grinding during the first 3 months.

I published around 80 odd articles during those first 3 months. I shared my detailed update regarding the first 3 months in this thread.

What is the result of my first 3 months of grinding?

I won that 90-day Niche Site challenge and was awarded 100$ worth of credits from Keyword Chef. I consider that as my first win for my website and boosted my morale to the sky.

I already saw some positive movements in the search console. That added with Keyword Chef credits streamlined my keyword research process to an ultra-fast level.

I started outsourcing the content, and that helped me scale up the whole process to another level. Here is the thread where I shared my 3 to 6 months update

All the hard work done during these 6 months is slowly showing results and experiencing snowball effect. Every month my pageviews are increasing by more than 100%.

I kept publishing more and more content as Keyword Chef is assisting me in keyword research and giving me assurance that my content ranking chances are pretty high.

During the 9th month for the first time, I crossed the 1000$ mark for a month. Here is my update for the months 6 to 9.

And as we entered Q4, my site traffic is growing month on month. In the month of November 2021, the site earned 3008$ from display revenue.

And as I am writing this in mid of December, if everything goes smoothly, I am expecting to cross 4000$ this month.

I never thought that an impulsive decision taken on the eve of the new year will land into a 4000$ per month revenue-generating machine.

According to industry standards, site valuation is anything around $150,000.

Now if at the end of the year, if I think of reasons behind this success then what can that be?

Am I got lucky? 

Maybe… But these results are not just a reflection of pure luck.

If I want to point out the reasons behind the success of this site, it can be:

  1. Consistency
  2. Patience
  3. Keyword research
  4. Good decent content

Everyone suggests that content is king and you can’t rank if your content is not good.

I agree with that.

But I also believe that if content is king, then keyword research is QUEEN. And the king is of no value alone without his queen.

I am not advocating putting out trash content on websites. But, if you put enough emphasis on keyword research and find underserved topics, even average decent content will also rank.

And that’s where Keyword Chef is a game-changer. 

By no means I am stating that you can’t do keyword research without Keyword Chef. It’s just that Keyword Chef fastens your process and comes up with new keywords which no other tools show.

Many are complaining that Keyword Chef credits eat up fast. I usually do my manual research on google and create a list of keywords and enter them into Keyword Chef for validation. This way I save lots of credits.

Finally, I would like to thank Ben Adler for creating such a wonderful tool.

Thank You

Update: Nirav Shah has crossed 400k pageviews for January. After switching ad networks from Ezoic to Mediavine, he is expected to double his monthly earnings.