Live Case Study: Recovering From and Outgrowing Algorithm Updates (Up 749% in 90 days)

Michelle Toole

Michelle Toole

Live Case Study: Recovering From and Outgrowing Algorithm Updates (Up 749% in 90 days)
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Embark on a captivating journey with Michelle, the founder of Healthy Holistic Living (HHL), and her partners at Infinity Engager and Publisher in a Box, as these seasoned publishers navigate the landscape of website growth and sustainability. Since its inception in 2007, HHL has been Michelle's conduit for sharing her personal health journey following a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Over the years, the blog flourished, drawing in millions of monthly visitors. However, after grappling with algorithm changes and taking a hiatus, Michelle is determined to rejuvenate HHL's traffic and revenue streams. 

In this article, Michelle takes us deeper into their strategic approach to pave the path towards lasting success. Follow along with this regularly updated case study to learn from Michelle and her team’s implementations and their impact on traffic and revenue. 

17 Years Of

I launched Healthy Holistic Living (HHL) in 2007 as a means of following my personal journey to health after a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. As it turned out, a lot of people were interested in the insights I had to share and the blog grew from tens of visitors a month to tens of millions of visitors a month at various points in its life.


The site reached its first peak popularity between 2014 and 2019, when it generated hundreds of millions of unique visitors through our efforts. After years of fighting the Facebook algorithm, I decided to take a breather and focus on my health…and of course, the traffic plummeted!


[A snapshot of the site’s traffic between 2015-2016. ]

In mid-2023, I was ready to get back on the publishing treadmill and focus on growing HHL once more, and once again, traffic grew to 10+ million unique monthly visitors from those efforts. 

Here’s how I did and how I’m ensuring this time around that the traffic lasts for good:

First, to understand the three main lessons from our first go-around of ‘champagne and caviar’ times: 

  1. Diversify my traffic and income streams to create an extremely stable source of income that can withstand market and platform algorithm changes, 
  2. Have a self-sustainable operations team that can manage the entire operations from end-to-end while keeping the big picture in mind, 
  3. Support all of the above with the right technology, which allows us to be as lean, profitable, and scalable as possible. 

Unfortunately, it became very clear to me that there was no such solution, team, or service on the market that could do all of the above. Fortunately, it turned out that my partner from the 2014-2019 glory years saw the exact same gaping hole in the market and was feverishly working on a 3-pronged solution to this very problem:

Monetization: First, HHL would partner with Ezoic as our primary monetization solution. The revenue from this was to be used as our bread and butter, which we re-invested into new growth. The Ezoic platform has made huge advancements since we last worked with them in 2019, now featuring groundbreaking tools to enhance traffic diversification and drive revenue growth across various fronts, including video content and site speed optimization.

Traffic and audience growth: HHL would then partner with Infinity Engager, a Meta-approved app that automatically responds to all comments with personalized responses using AI, to supercharge the growth and stability of HHL’s online assets. The app would be used to build HHL’s audience and revenue base as quickly as possible and to diversify the traffic streams from a single Facebook Page to dozens of them. We founded this company and built this technology as a solution to our problems and as a means to revive old Facebook Pages and grow new ones super fast. We are now making this technology available to all publishers. 

Operations and traffic generation: Finally, HHL would partner with  Publisher in a Box to manage all of its online assets from Facebook to the website, providing a robust content foundation for generating traffic across multiple platforms. We founded this company almost 10 years ago to manage our first period of high-traffic growth, and now we are going to do it again for HHL and other select publishers, modernized for the realities of the 2024 market.


[Infinity Engager in action– you can prompt it to answer in whatever way is best for your Facebook Page or Instagram profile]

So, how did this 3-pronged solution work? See for yourself:


[A snapshot from Google Analytics showing the year-to-date traffic growth and spikes]


[A snapshot from Ezoic’s dashboard showing revenue generated over the same time period]

Going from $5,000 per month to $60,000 per month in Ezoic revenue in just six months has been great, and this is much thanks to the great traffic growth we’re seeing. That said, there’s still a lot of work to do to raise our EPMVs. 

We’ve already started working on optimizing the EPMVs with our Ezoic VIP Publisher Success Manager, and it’s already spiked 30% in the last few days. With a new website design launching in a few weeks, we expect the EPMV to spike even higher. We’ll launch another case study about EPMV optimization over time so you can see how we are tackling this (that upgraded pool and outdoor sauna won’t pay for itself!).

Below, I will outline exactly how we’re generating this kind of traffic and monetizing it. I’ll also show what we’re investing our proceeds into to ensure this traffic and revenue can be maintained and grown even more. 

Greatest Challenges: Overcoming Algorithm Updates 

Our biggest challenges have always been recovering from the algorithm changes from the powers that be. We’ve focused on growing our audiences on many platforms, which always takes so much blood, sweat, tears, and buckets of cash each time. 

It’s very scary to go from $100,000 per month to $10,000 per month in a matter of months. We’ve all been there, whether it’s from Google’s most recent HCU Apocalypse that wiped out thousands of publishers or Facebook’s updates throughout the years that decimated so many major players. 

Each time, it takes more and more out of me to recover from these disastrous updates until, at some point, I, and so many other publishers I know, start to think that the money isn’t worth the trouble anymore. I found myself and my fellow publishers all in a similar boat: we wanted off of the typical publisher rollercoaster/treadmill and instea, move toward solutions that are more turn-key while monetizing as much as possible these assets that we’ve spent years building.


[Image Source]

That’s why we appreciated Ezoic’s offerings so much more than any of its competitors: they made it EASY. Ezoic is the only platform we found that takes over the management of all ads and assists in optimizing them to their maximum revenue in such an easy and turn-key way. We used to have a whole ad operations team, and we did header bidding, and… my head starts to hurt even remembering all the details. I want someone to take this over and do it better without bothering me about it, and that’s exactly what Ezoic does with the most flexible terms I’ve seen from any other ad provider. I cannot put into words how helpful their VIP Support team has been to my various websites and team. 

To overcome algorithm updates, we had to realize that Google and Facebook aren't the only games in town for traffic. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of other sources, with more popping up all the time. The trick is to build a system for content creation and distribution that lets you tap into this wide range of traffic options.

By spreading out our traffic sources, we're able to keep things steady even when one source becomes unpredictable. It's a more relaxed way to do business, knowing that we're not at the mercy of just one or two big players. This diversified approach gives us the flexibility to focus on creating great content while keeping a consistent flow of traffic and revenue.

Leveraging Partnerships & Solutions for Maximum Success 

We chose to switch to Ezoic for HHL’s primary ad partner for monetization for several reasons, the main one being that they made us more money! We had Adsense and DFP and a bunch of other networks, and Ezoic was consistently much higher or close to much higher at the top tier but with much less work on our end. 

The other main AI tool that we use and continuously iterate is Infinity Engager, which responds to comments on our main social media platforms with expert value-added responses. When a Facebook Page is getting hundreds or thousands of comments an hour, responding to every one of those comments suddenly compounds the growth rate of the Page’s engagement like few things we’ve ever seen before. We also find that the boost from the growth is long-lasting and continues to improve:


Our team at Publisher in a Box currently uses AI-assisted humans to write all of its articles, generating on average 10 new articles a day just for HHL. We’re testing out Writio, KoalaWriter and a few other platforms, as well as weighing building one ourselves. We will make our final decision on what to use as our main platform for AI-assisted writing in the coming weeks.  

Investing In Sustainable Income Streams  

In general, we follow the rule that ‘viral is viral’ – this was true in 2014 and it’s true today in 2024. We use Facebook to test and refine our most viral content and then we distribute that viral content to as many other platforms as possible. If it worked well on Facebook, it will generally work well elsewhere. 

However, we must always remember, we are at the whims of Facebook and Google’s algorithms, and so what is working one month may not necessarily work next month. That’s why we’re always investing any proceeds we make into growing new income streams that are sustainable, scalable and as predictable as possible. 

Areas we are heavily investing in for new income streams:

  1. New Facebook pages grow from scratch using Facebook Ads and our core audience. Our Healthy Holistic Living Facebook page has 1.9 million followers and does well, but we’re finding that smaller pages are doing much better on Facebook now. For example, our page with 359k followers, Health and Happiness, is killing it with a much higher engagement-to-follower ratio. We are now building out from scratch:

    1. A new gardening Page (our audience loves gardening)

    2. A Page about mental health (ADHD, anxiety, depression)

    3. A Page about living and dealing with Cancer 

    4. A network of celebrity Pages 

    5. A Page about Ancient Egypt 

    6. And much more. All pages, especially new ones, are powered by Infinity Engager to supercharge their growth, resulting in a much lower ad spend to Facebook, faster new page growth and much higher profit margins.

    7. If Google’s latest algorithm updates impacted your site, we highly recommend you start your own new Facebook Page and grow it like how we are!

  2. RSS Feeds. This is where the biggest source of new traffic growth is coming from in 2024 as we take our most viral content from Facebook and distribute it on all of the top RSS-based news sources we could find. We’ve actually built a team and system that maximizes the growth of RSS-based news aggregators and are getting pretty good at it.

  3. Email newsletter. We’re steadily growing HHL’s email list by 5,000 to 9,000 subscribers per month by using Infinity Engager and the website to convert traffic into newsletter subscribers. The goal is to get to 20,000 new subscribers per month and to earn a baseline of $1,000 per month for every 10,000 subscribers from the newsletter. 

Our ultimate medium-term goal is to generate $100,000 per month in profit from all sources for this set of assets owned by HHL. Not a bad goal, considering when we started seriously working on the site in October, 2023 it was only making around $5,000 per month. 

Will there be unexpected setbacks that kick us and our traffic in the teeth? Yes, but this time, we will be prepared for them and deal with them in real-time. 

Follow our Live case study with Ezoic to see how we are progressing towards these goals!

Exclusive Offers for Ezoic Publishers 

Because Ezoic has been so good to us, we want to pay it forward to Ezoic Publishers to get access to the same tools and resources that we used to generate the results you’re reading about above.

  1. Get 2,000 comments free with Infinity Engager - use it to supercharge your Facebook Page growth, whether it’s to revitalize old Pages or to grow new ones. Facebook is the number one platform for publishers, new and seasoned, to make money from the content they’ve spent years developing. Test it out and see the massive engagement spike for yourself, there’s even a ‘Sync with Ezoic’ function for Infinity Engager to send your followers to your website’s highest EPMV articles: Create your account here.

  1. Get a free strategy review with Publisher in a Box - we’ll see if we’re the right fit for each other and, if nothing else, you will walk away with immediately actionable insights to grow your traffic and profitability: Learn more here.

Michelle Toole

Written By: Michelle Toole

Michelle Toole is a co-founder of Publisher in a Box and Infinity Engager; companies developed to rapidly grow and monetize online publications. Her strategies, systems, and technology have generated hundreds of millions of unique visitors and millions of dollars in revenue. Contact her to learn how you can grow your publication's traffic by 1,000% to 10,000% in a matter of months just like in this case study.

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