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The Anatomy of a Cherry Article

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By Edited Apr 1, 2016 5 3

Make More Money With Your Articles

Why is it that some articles produce huge money and other do not?  I got thinking about this in reference to a forum thread from the other day.  One of the questions posed was about cherry articles.  Specifically, it was about how many articles you have to write to have one cherry article.  While I’m not going to give up the names of the cherry articles I have on InfoBarrel, I am going to do my best to explain why I feel they are big money makers, so you can try to replicate them.  I communicated with some of my online contacts to find out what they saw as well, all using various sites, to try to find some consistencies. 

Almost Everyone Has Cherry Articles In Their Library

If you have a few hundred articles, the ones that earn the most on a relatively consistent basis are your cherries.  On the thread I mentioned that 1% of my articles earn 20% of my income.  I asked for some others to verify and there wasn’t much for response, but Sound Foundation stated he noticed the same.  I emailed a few of my online contacts and they confirmed very similar stats.  As I stated on the thread, it’s probably like the 80/20 rule, but more like the 20/1 rule.  I would encourage you to take a look at your articles and see if that holds true.  Unfortunately, you probably need to have a few hundred articles that are seasoned (at least 6 months old) to get a true grasp of whether or not it is holding true for you.  Your Cherry articles might be ones that earn a few bucks per month or one hundred dollars per month.

Anatomy of Cherry Articles

I cannot speak for everyone else, but I can speak to my own observations and the information I’ve gained from others that write articles online.  We all came up with the same basic things as we looked at our best earners.  The following suggestions are what we came up with after analyzing over 20 cherry articles on various sites.

High Organic Traffic Levels:  I have one exception, my highest earner.  While it earns around $300 per month, it gets relatively few views.  All of my other cherries, and most of those of the others I talked to, got pretty decent levels of traffic.  Now, keep in mind that high levels of organic traffic will not be a flat number.  With some topics, you simply will not get much for traffic and with others you will.  On those topics, a  good number of organic views might be as little as 25 per day, while others might require hundreds daily to be profitable.  Please note the word ‘organic’ is included.  While links and traffic from Stumble, Reddit and other bazillion social sites out there can produce tons of views, they generally are not income generating views.  You need to rank in search engines for organic traffic.  The links from these sites, however, can help you rank higher to get the organic traffic, so please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying as link bashing.

Ranked for Multiple Terms:  You might find that ‘cheap ABC widgets’ is easy to rank for and get a little traffic.  Can you also rank for ‘best ABC Widgets’, ‘how to fix ABC widgets’ and ‘who makes the best widget’ in the same article?  If you can, you have a good recipe for success.  Unfortunately, for the most part, it takes quite some time to rank for the alternative search keywords.

Formatting:  Virtually all used headings or something similar, like the bolded word ‘formatting’ at the beginning of this text chunk, to break up the content into manageable sizes.  Only one lacked any of this and was just paragraph after paragraph with nothing for the eyes to scan quickly to move from point to point.  If you aren’t breaking up your text for the reader, it’s probably time to start.  That stuff isn’t just for the reader; it’s also a part of SEO.

Long Tail Keywords:  All but two of our cherry articles had primary keywords of at least four words.  Over half were six words long or longer.  Now, it should be noted that many of our super long keyword articles ranked for shortened versions of the keywords, which generally provided the most traffic.  It should also be noted that we all tend to focus primarily on long tails on all of our writing, so it’s possible we skewed the results that way.

Evergreen Content:  I personally have a Christmas article that earns pretty well all year round, but it doesn’t make nearly enough to be considered a cherry article from February through August.  We all had articles that made good money on seasonal topics, but none that delivered enough to be a cherry year round.

Longer Articles:  17 of the articles were at least 600 words long or longer and 12 were over 800 words.  I suppose that’s part of the reason they ranked well for multiple keywords.  I have to admit, the people I conversed with, like me, are all on the same page with article length.  We all tend to write longer articles, so I don’t know if our sample, as it pertains to article length, will give truly accurate results.

Focused Content Within a Theme:  None of the articles rambled off the primary topic.  The vast majority covered multiple topics within the same basic area of information.  We built on a theme more than anything.  Maybe it’s because we are all long winded and had to in order to create longer articles.  For example, if the article was about ‘cheap four wheelers for sale under 500 dollars’ (which none were), we would have likely had a section with a clear header for the manufacturers of them, another section for parts availability, one section for pricing or places to shop, and another comparing new and used four wheelers for that price point.

High CTR:  Most of them caught people in action mode, not researching mode.  Most of the cherry articles were on topics where a person needed a product or service and not just information.  This, in my opinion, led to the high click rates on the articles.  There were some exceptions, two of which were very interesting, but the majority followed this rule.

Seasoned Content:  There were a few articles in our pool that made good money right out of the gate, but the majority didn’t get there for at least six months or longer. 

Some Things Made Us Scratch Our Heads

There were some things that made us scratch our heads a little as we all compared the cherry articles in our libraries. 

CPC:  I would have thought the CPC would have been high on the vast majority of the articles, but that really wasn’t the case.  CPC was all over the board.  I think it means organic traffic with a good CTR is more likely to produce.  With a relatively small sample of just over 20 cherry articles, it’s entirely possible we just didn’t have enough data.

Lack of Spinoff Ability:  Like most writers, when we hit home runs, we tried to hit them again.  Sometimes it happened, but most of the time it didn’t.  We all tried using roughly similar keywords on the same basic topic to replicate the success of our cherry articles, but very few of the spinoffs became cherries of their own.  Some of the spinoffs did pretty well though, earning more than enough to be a nice addition to the author’s library, but most didn’t come even remotely close to earning at the same level.  We all agreed that a spinoff with fresh info was still wise to write, but that lower expectations were in order.

Wide Range of Topics:  Perhaps related to CPC being all over the place, some of us were shocked at the topics.  All of us had at least one that we never saw coming, with most of us having several that fell into that category.  What’s the moral of the story?  I guess it’s that anything can earn if everything else falls into place just right.

Please note this is not InfoBarrel specific, since our cherry articles were across many sites.  There are always going to be exceptions to everything.  You might have an article that’s purely informational and not dependent on a product or service that does well.  You might have some that do great without any formatting.  It’s just a group of guys and gals putting their heads together to come up with some similarities for cherry articles.

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Comments

Mar 2, 2012 3:14pm
Senterprises
Awesome article Jason. I'll definitely take all this feedback into account when evaluating my own progress as I move deeper and deeper into the world of writing online articles.

Thank you for taking the time to gather all the information and piece it together in a concisely written article.

Also, thank you to the other authors who lent their work to the sample set used.
Mar 17, 2012 9:31am
Rev999
Yeah...thanks Jason...I'm stuggling with the making money bit here at infobarrel and will try and bear all of this in mind in future :-) ...you're an absolute star here i reckon...have been reading quite a lot of the advise you give and think it's really great that you're willing to share your secrets to help the rest of us out :-)
Jul 1, 2012 10:01am
Danielpj512
Great article. I love that you share your learning's with the rest of us.
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