Transcript: Directory Site Hits 27,000 Page Views with AI Content in 1 Year – DS479

Doug: Hey, how’s it going? It’s Doug here. Just wanted to pop in before I send it to the episode. It’s a great one with Tony Meritato. We get into different traffic sources to diversify the risk of Google updates and losing traffic from various Google updates and just to diversify your traffic sources. I want to let you know that Tony has a couple courses.

one on directory websites, which he has had good success and they seem to be okay as far as the Google updates here recently. So he has a course on directory websites and his approach so far.

Additionally, he has a course on the Amazon influencer program, and I’ll link up. The other thing that I want to mention is Tony references Kyle Roof a couple times, a friend of mine, a genius in general, and especially with SEO and Tony has learned a lot from Kyle.

Kyle was on the show a couple weeks ago. I’ll definitely link up to that so you could check out the recent episode on E E A T. And the way to approach that and Kyle’s, , ideas around the whole thing. I also want to point you toward Kyle’s course. He actually has a course. He’s one of the partners, I believe at internet marketing gold and internet marketing gold IMG is kind of like the Netflix of SEO courses.

So there’s a ton of courses that you can go and take you. Can get a standalone course like Kyle’s on page SEO course. However, you can also sign up for the full catalog there. So I’m an affiliate for all the things that I just mentioned. I will link up to it. If you do want to check it out, no pressure, of course.

But I’m a course consumer myself. It actually saves a lot of time to learn from experts that have tested experts that have taught other people how to do it. And that is super valuable because of the feedback loop they have with their students and they’re able to improve courses over time. So I’ll link up to that stuff without further ado, let’s get to the show.

Doug: Hey, what’s going on? Welcome to the Doug show. My name is Doug Cunnington. And today it’s my pleasure to bring Tony Meritato back on the show. He’s been on, I don’t know, five, six times, many shows that we have covered various topics. Um, so I’ll link up to those so you can get some of the backstory today.

We’re going to get an update. We haven’t talked to Tony for several months. I’d have to look back. I think it’s about six months or so, but. He has some updates for us. So he has a small portfolio of sites with different business approaches in general in the focus for today is going to be getting traffic from Different sources aside from Google SEO where both of us Tony and myself have the most experience I think but Tony has been Making sure that he’s a little bit buffered from the impact of those Google updates.

The cool thing is one of the sites we’re going to talk about a lot, it seemed to have made it through without any major issues, both in the September helpful content update of 2023, and then the core update in October, they’re all running together, but we’re going to get into the details. Tony, how’s it going today?

Tony: Hey, Doug. Thanks so much for having me back. It’s amazing. I mean, this is my favorite time of year. I was just outside walking in the cool breeze and it’s, it’s just a beautiful day, so I’m glad to be here talking to you. Awesome. Yeah,

Doug: it’s the time of year where we got a little snow in the mountains out here in Colorado, so it’s absolutely beautiful.

And then we just changed the clocks yesterday, so we all got a little extra sleep, so that’s a bonus. But it’s just warm enough here. You know, we get those days that warm up a little bit with the snow in the mountains, so it’s going to be 75 degrees or something today. Just kind of perfect, a little cool and crisp in the morning, and you get some break from the heat down in Florida, right?

Tony: We do all right, which actually, well, now that you said that I’m in Ohio, I was in Florida. I’m in Ohio, but still we’ve got the leaves changing and we’re like low seventies right now. It’s perfect.

Doug: I always messed that up, Tony. I’m sorry. Yeah, you’re an Ohio. Okay. It’s nice there too. All right, let’s get into, let’s get into business here and we’ll do a quick intro for the folks that didn’t catch your other interviews, but certainly listen back and you can hear the progression of what Tony has been working on.

But what’s your story? And you could just give like the elevator. Um,

Tony: yeah, so I’m a physical therapist by trade. I have a private practice here in Middletown. I treat patients on a daily basis. That’s my full-time job. But years ago, decades ago, I got into websites. I love websites. I’ve always wanted to find ways to communicate with my ideal client and the website was the way to do it.

So I’ve always been interested in SEO. I’ve been a student through. YouTube and other means. And, you know, until recently, really probably until 2019, I just thought everything was made up. I thought there is no way I can create a site that’s going to get traffic because I created sites and they never got traffic.

Um, but then once I kind of buckled down and really started to study SEO, I realized. Oh, there is a formula to this. There’s an algorithm to this. And so that’s where I really got serious about it. I created my business website, other niche topic websites, WordPress primarily. Then I moved into some directory sites and then it’s kind of snowballed from there.

So I’m happy to talk about anything and how I use that, but I am a small media company, if you want to call it that very small. Because I still have a full time job. But I think what’s cool is I can do these things without sacrificing my daily job.

Doug: And again, check out some of the other interviews. The cool part is you had an area of expertise with physical therapy.

So you leaned into that and it all sort of organically fit together. And the fact that you dabbled for years and then really focused in 2019, it was amazing how much progress you made. But when we’re looking back, it kind of makes sense because you were, you were laying the foundation for years and you’re a good teacher as many physical therapists are.

So. Really amazing story. Go ahead. Yeah, I was

Tony: just gonna say it’s like you hear people say I was a 20 year overnight success You know like so many hard lessons learned and then when it clicked it all came together and it seemed so quick But it really took all of those years to lay the groundwork.

Doug: So let’s get into the details of your site.

So the site we’re going to focus on mostly today, uh, didn’t have any major impacts, but you have a couple of sites that were impacted. So, uh, let’s lay out kind of your portfolio and you can give some details about, uh, the age traffic and what has happened over the last few months with the sites.

Tony: Yeah, so everybody’s been talking about the helpful content update and then more recently the core update So just for context I have and we’ve shared the domains on these sites, so I’m happy to share them again Total therapy solutions calm is my business website and that site had grown To about 30, 000, 40, 000 page views a month.

It was doing great. It has smooth trajectory. And then all of a sudden it got hit. Now I’m the first one to admit it wasn’t great content. I’m not a great writer. This was pre chat, GPT and AI. So right up into about a year ago, I was doing all of the writing for that site. I had a second site that we talked about on the show, Learn Medicare Billing.

That site was more targeted toward helping physical therapists understand how to bill insurance, how to document, how to run a private practice. Both of those sites are WordPress sites. Both of those sites had been growing pretty consistently, all written by me. I had no outside writers. I didn’t hire anyone.

I didn’t do anything. And I would publish about one or two articles a week. at my best. Sometimes I go three or four weeks without publishing. But most recently with the, uh, latest helpful content update, those sites got crushed. They really did. They lost 70 percent of their traffic. They were monetized with Ezoic.

They had some paid, um, digital products that I would sell through the sites. And I was shocked to see what an impact. Those sites had taken, but something that I think is interesting was, I also looked at competitor sites that were about the same size, so not the huge media sites, but other little private sites that we’re doing about 20, 30, 000 page views, and they got hit really hard also.

So, you know, I take it for what it is that that’s what’s going on. But like you and I had talked about, I remember you asking me on one of the shows, why, or if I, why I’m doing multiple sites instead of just putting all of my time and effort into one site. And I said, I know I’d probably get further if I focused on one site, but I’m also scared that if I put all of my eggs in one basket, I’m going to drop it.

And so. Exactly just over a year ago, October 24th, 2000, well, a year ago, whatever it was, 2022, I started chooseptfirst. com. That was my latest directory site. It was a brand new fresh domain. I don’t know if that domain, that URL had been used before because I did find some evidence that there might’ve been something prior, but I registered it as a fresh domain.

I had no backlinks going to it. There was nothing there. Um, and over the 12 months that site has continued to grow right now. It’s averaging about 22, 000 visitors or sessions a month. It’s doing about 27, 000 page views. Um, I’m happy to talk about the things that I did that might have helped that site continue to grow.

But the most interesting thing is when my other sites, which were older. And had a little bit better domain rating, got crushed with the helpful content update. That site did not. There was not a blip on the screen. My Google Analytics, my Google Search Console, everything was consistent and continued to grow through the recent updates.

Why do you think that is? So, what was different about that site, um, one is, and you and I have talked about directory sites, I think directory sites have the advantage of having some user generated content. So, on the directory, I have about 800 member listings. These are individual therapists, private practice owners that have come to my site, created their own user profiles.

Some of them have created content. It’s not SEO optimized content, but it’s something. And so I’ve got multiple connections through that site to real businesses with real addresses, real phone numbers, real profiles, and real people. I think that helps. I also started this site with a digital PR campaign, which I’ve never done before.

So right out of the gate, like literally in the first three months of launching the site, I was doing Haro links, which I know you just interviewed a guy that was a great interview talking about do it yourself or hiring an agency for Haro. I was getting DR 80 and, you know, 70 and 80, um, backlinks to major media sites.

Uh, I feel like I just kind of did things, you know, with the experience of the past 20 years differently than I would have otherwise done. And then of course, with ChatGPT is released, um, from January of 2023 through April, I was still mostly writing the content myself then around April, May. I signed up with ChatGPT when ChatGPT4 came out and the premium version.

I signed up for that and I developed a very specific, uh, SOP for how I create content, how I train the chat, how I prepare the page for publication. And I just think that it helps, you know, you also interviewed Kyle Roof. Lately, he’s one of my heroes. I love everything he puts out. And so looking at the way he talks about SEO, I try to incorporate a lot of those elements.

Um, but you know, I think it was basically, I’m starting to understand the formula to, to get my pages ranked. And right now, I mean, I’ve got some content that’ll jump to the front of Google, uh, search results in. Two hours, three hours. I’ll capture a featured snippet in one or two hours. Um, and then I’ve got other stuff that of course might be sitting on page six.

You know, it’s infinite scroll now, but let’s, let’s say it’s in the 60th, um, place on Google search, but I’m working on that.

Doug: Okay, a lot of stuff to unpack there. Yeah. Quick summary. So you said there’s some user generated content on the directory sites. And the other part is you have all these EEAT type, um, references to real businesses, real, uh, physical therapy locations all across the country, right?

So that helps. Right. You did a PR campaign right out of the gates. Um, that took a lot of time. Did you hire anyone or you did that yourself

Tony: I did. I hired someone. Um, I’ll tell you my honest opinion. I mean, the, the team was great that I hired. I wouldn’t hire him again. Not because they didn’t do a good job, but I felt like I was still doing so much of the writing, so much of the content.

I don’t know that the links that I got through their efforts were any better than the links I get myself through Haro. So, that was money I probably would have allocated somewhere else. Got it.

Doug: And the other thing you, that you mentioned was adding, um, chat GPT into your content area. So we’ll expand on that in a few minutes here, but do you think the AI content has helped a lot?

Was it just the velocity that you were able to publish or what’s your impression?

Tony: Yeah, it was a combination of, okay, now I understand how to do keyword research, uh, better than I did now. I understand. And this is a lesson from Kyle roof where, you know, he talked about this concept, which he got from someone else, but where your site is kind of stratified.

And so if you’re at a certain level and you’re getting this many visits, then Google’s probably going to put you in this box. And so. I kind of know what articles I can write based on the competition for those articles and those keywords and the volume of those keywords. I know, okay, I can write this article today and I’m going to index immediately.

I can write this article that’s got a much higher competition, higher volume. I’m probably not going to index or I’ll index somewhere around, you know, 50, 60, 70, uh, organic results. But I’m still going to do it because there’s a chance that I might. do better than I expect. And so using those principles, what ChatGPT and AI does for me is it allows me to take my ideas, take my concepts, all original, but then it does the editing, it does the paraphrasing, it puts my jumbled mess of words into a, you know, usable, readable format.

And, and if I train the chat correctly, I mean, it really is a powerful tool. It’s giving the best possible answer, uh, that we want to deliver to the ideal user, and those are all elements that I try to bring into my training of the chat is, Hey, who is the perfect reader for this? What is the, the answer?

What is the question we’re answering for this? What is the search intent behind this? And I kind of bring all of those elements into it so that. I can produce the best possible product for the ideal reader. Got it.

Doug: Okay. Yep. And we’ll be a little more specific on that shortly. So the directory site has been doing well.

A couple of things have changed along the way you’ve adapted. Things have continued to grow. Can you talk a little bit about the revenue and the monetization methods that you are using for the directory site?

Tony: Absolutely. So my, my first directory site, um, it, I was just looking the other day, it’s sitting at around 24, 25,000 in revenue.

Um, that was a site that I basically put together. I put about a month’s worth of effort in and I haven’t touched it since. I haven’t updated anything. I haven’t written more content for it. I have not done anything, but as it continues to kind of just putter along, it’s not growing, it’s not declining. It didn’t get affected by the helpful content update, which I’m surprised because the content isn’t that great.

This was prior to me really knowing how to do this. Um, it’s still generated 24,000 over the lifetime of the site without me doing anything after that first month. That, that site was, go ahead.

Doug: How old is it just, uh,

Tony: Uh, about two years. I think it’s just a little over two years, but a month of content.

And then I was done, didn’t do anything else. Um, the newer site, my focus has not been on monetizing with paid memberships. I have paid memberships. I’ve made a couple thousand dollars, but what I’m doing with this site is I do think this site has more potential based on competitive analysis, I think this directory.

can compete with directories that are out there in similar niches that are doing 500,000 visitors a month, um, up to a million visitors a month. So I am primarily focused on building the best possible foundation for this site so that it can withstand. Future updates and we can talk about, you know, Pinterest and LinkedIn and other sources of traffic But so from a revenue perspective, it’s monetized with ads display ads It makes a couple hundred dollars a month almost 300 a month.

It’s monetized with affiliate links. I do product reviews It’s it’s probably earning a couple hundred dollars a month through Amazon affiliate income but outside of that I mean That’s just something to kind of put a little fuel on the fire. My main objective is it’s a two to three year project. I want to just build this into a real media site that is going to, you know, have a high valuation.

So I’m not too worried about monetizing it right now. I just want to put everything back into growing it.

Doug: I love that. And I. haven’t talked about it recently, but I always, I try to emphasize people, especially when they’re first getting started. And they’re very impatient that if they look at a much longer timeline, they could make better decisions and do a better job, potentially make fewer mistakes.

But at the end, you end up with a much better foundation. And if you are looking for, you know, maybe a bigger exit or just like better cashflow in the future, spending the time early on to not mess things up so much. It’s a really good move. So it’s great. You’re not in a huge hurry. You just, you’re trying to do it right and make sure that you’re, you have plenty of, uh, you know, traffic diversity.

So let’s, let’s move into that too. So you mentioned Pinterest, LinkedIn. I know you have some, uh, Facebook groups as well. So talk about how important that is and what you’ve been doing.

Tony: Yeah, so, uh, you mentioned content velocity. So I’m publishing about three articles a day. Uh, I know I’m not going to hit every day, seven days a week.

So I’m shooting for a target of 50 articles a month. These articles are well optimized. They’re about 1,500 to 2,000 words. Um, and they’re really specific to a target keyword. And then I’m building silos around that keyword. So with that, silos in particular, Pinterest just seemed to be a natural connection.

I had never done Pinterest before. I was a complete newbie, uh, until about six months ago where I was like, I got to find other sources of traffic because I can’t trust just SEO and just Google. Especially with all the concerns, you know, about AI and, uh, the assisted search results and stuff like that. So I’m like, I’m going to go out and look, look for other areas.

I got on Pinterest. I started pinning things and, and, you know, fumbling my way through it, self taught like I usually am, which means it takes me longer to get it right, but I understand it a little bit better. And so before we jumped on today’s interview, I was like, oh, let me check Pinterest. Let me see what’s going on there.

And I realized one of my pins, the impressions is growing like crazy, a couple thousand impressions, you know, higher each time I look at it. And then a second one. Um, so right now my Pinterest account associated with choose PT first, it’s still very small, but it is. Gaining acceleration and that of course gives me the motivation to be like, Oh, I can do Pinterest videos.

I can do carousels I can do these other things so I’m really doubling down right now on my my Integration with Pinterest and understanding how that works because I do think it’s gonna be a solid source of traffic for my directory site the other one that I stepped into since I’m like well It’s a directory.

It’s supporting businesses. Let me see what’s going on with linkedin. I’ve never done anything with LinkedIn Um, I jumped on probably three months ago Uh started posting some content trying to understand the community trying to understand how is linkedin different than facebook I’ve got a great facebook group.

I’ve got multiple Closed Facebook groups of 12,000 members, 7,000 members. Um, I’ve got a lot of engagement in Facebook, but now I’m trying to understand LinkedIn. Different community, different culture, you know, they’re talking about different things. Um, so I do a lot of video. I’ve got a YouTube channel with 40 plus thousand subscribers.

I’ve got a second YouTube channel with around 7,000 subscribers, and a third. So I’m very comfortable on video, and I. Think probably my best way to build engagement on Pinterest and LinkedIn is through short form vertical video. So that’s what I’m doing kind of these days. Um, but I have not done Reddit and I think Reddit would be a great option from what I’ve seen to bring traffic, bring eyeballs onto my articles.

But truthfully, for anybody watching the reality is, and I don’t ever hear anyone talk about this. Before ChatGPT, I was too embarrassed to really promote my content because I was like, I’m not a writer. I don’t feel good about the content. I know the ideas are solid and the information is correct. It’s accurate, but it’s not well written and it’s embarrassing to put something that’s not well written in front of people who actually want to read it.

Now that I’ve got ChatGPT and, and AI editors in my back pocket, it’s still my content, but at least now it’s well written. Now it communicates the ideas that I want it to communicate in a way that I’m comfortable with. Now for the first time, I’m like, okay, I’m gonna share this article. I’m, I’m, I’m comfortable putting my name on this article.

Doug: It’s funny since so many people are pretty terrified of video or even audio. They’re scared of podcast and You’re totally comfortable with that. But you were you were afraid to send people to your content your written content Yeah, the funny thing is, you know, I I mean, it was scary for me too. And then I knew that I was just going to have to get over it and then just like send people to a really poorly written content, which I’ve done for years.

And to this day, I still get it up. Yeah. So that’s cool. Was there any, was there any other like trick or hurdle? Or you just, you were like, now that the grammar is a little cleaner, it’s more concise and all that stuff. You were just like, I need to get people to this great content they’re looking for.

Tony: Yeah, that’s all it was.

It was okay. Now I’ve got a virtual set of eyes looking at this and cleaning it up. I’m ready to go prime time. I’m ready to go full steam ahead.

Doug: Do you have any tips for like getting into Pinterest or LinkedIn, or you just, you know, studied videos and read some blog posts like, you know, People probably already do

Tony: yeah, I’ll tell you I mean the normal stuff.

So I started on YouTube I’m like, how do I start a Pinterest page? And how do I get Pinterest subscribers and all this stuff and truthfully it didn’t resonate with me I do think there’s an opportunity on YouTube for for a male content creator to produce male related content for Pinterest because everything is so female and feminine and You know, I, I, I just, the, the things that they were promoting is not what I wanted to promote.

I mean, I’m still promoting physical therapy and working out and clinical stuff. Um, so, I, I tried to watch them. I, I just couldn’t get into it. But like, SEO, I watch all of your videos start to finish. I watch all of Kyle Roof and Matt Diggity and all those guys start to finish. Gotcha, like, all of them. I just couldn’t watch the Pinterest video start to finish.

So I do think there’s an opportunity there. Um, but then what I did was I just went on Pinterest and I was like, all right, who’s beating me? Who’s ahead of me? What kind of content are they putting? What kind of pins are they using? Um, and then. Just learning the actual mechanics of okay. What’s the sizing of the image?

How do I do a video? What is Pinterest looking for and then how how how do I create these boards and these different things? So and it’s still a learning process But I do feel like I’m starting to get a sense for the culture and and you’ve talked about it and other people It’s a different culture.

Every social media platform has a different culture and I can’t just take the same stuff From one can’t put YouTube videos on LinkedIn and expect it to resonate with the LinkedIn community. I need to talk to the LinkedIn community in their own language and in their own way. Um, so, so that’s really what I’ve been focused on.

Doug: It’s one of the rare areas, great business idea, but yeah, a couple of white dudes are underrepresented. So, so that is a good, a good business idea. Those are my words, not Tony. So. No one get upset at Tony, but like that, that is so true. And I think, um, we were talking earlier before we hopped on. So Etsy is another area where most, not everyone, but most of the creators or people that are selling stuff or a creator sharing information about Etsy.

They’re female. So like people are, uh, some guys are turned off by that. And there, of course we have plenty of other places to go for our, uh, you know, SEO content, but yeah, they’re like, if people are wondering if they could start something, there’s always an opportunity for you to put your own spin on it.

And this is a case where like you could put your own spin on how to get traction on Pinterest and there’s, there would be a huge market. And there’s apparently not that many guys out there creating content. So, and with Google pushing out updates that are, you know, kicking everybody in the butt here, then there’s an opportunity to say, all right, let’s focus on alternative traffic sources.

And that would be huge. That would be a huge area to focus on.

Tony: Okay. Now. Real quick, I will say a couple of the lessons learned recently. I did mention this. You and I had talked about Amazon Influencers program and I had said, you know, what I noticed was my titles for my videos that go on Amazon Influencer.

If I SEO optimize those titles and understand keywords, they will rank organically in Google search. Um, Goldie, I don’t know what his last name is, but he’s got a YouTube channel. SEO guy. He had mentioned that LinkedIn articles. So there’s LinkedIn posts, but there’s also LinkedIn articles. That those are ranking really quick there.

They’re getting picked up in Google search And so if I write something for my directory and it’s not getting picked up or it’s not indexing where I want I’ll do a related article on my LinkedIn page and it’s an article not a post I’ll optimize everything put my keywords where they need to be and I’ll find that that LinkedIn article will rank top three top five in Google search and then I can embed a link on the LinkedIn article to my directory article So I can bring traffic in that way, you know and that’s why I’ve been focused so focused on Pinterest and LinkedIn just because They seem to be the easiest to bring traffic from those platforms to my directory website whereas like Facebook If I post a link, they’re going to shut me down.

Like Facebook is not going to share organically, share my, my content. If I’ve got links taking people off of Facebook, I don’t do anything on Instagram just because kind of the same thing, nobody wants to leave Instagram. It’s not my community. It’s not the right audience for what I’m delivering. Um, so there’s a lot of platforms that I just completely avoid, but Pinterest and LinkedIn, I do feel like for visible traffic to my website.

Directory, WordPress site, whatever it’s going to be, they seem to be the best sources for me right now.

Doug: You highlighted a couple of great things there where it’s like, you know, number one, it’s an area that has the audience that would be potentially interested in your topic area. And the Venn diagram intersection is like, it’s content that you can produce that makes sense for you to produce.

And then the third portion there. Is, um, well, I forget the third portion. It was going to be a great finish to the sentence here, bringing it all home. But I totally forgot. I’ll remember in a second, but, uh, the, the other part, Oh, keeping people on the platform versus like sending people off the platform, which I think is like a big issue for a lot of the social media platforms.

I mean, I, I don’t enjoy consuming that content so much, and I don’t want to produce it. And it’s really hard to get people off of TikTok or whatever to go buy your product. I know there’s some stuff where you can make some sales, but if you look at a podcast and a connection that you have with a listener versus like someone who’s quickly scrolling through, it’s a completely different relationship.

So you have to know your audience. Obviously it’s right for certain audiences and not right for others. So, okay. Let’s talk about the Amazon Influencer Program. That’s another area that, um, we kind of skipped over before, but we had a whole episode dedicated to this. So it was pulling in a good amount of revenue, but where are things at now

Tony: Yeah, so that’s that’s interesting. It’s an evolving landscape. Um, when you and I had originally talked and I was getting into it, you know, I had said, Look, I have no idea how long this is going to last. This is a cash cow. I’m going to take advantage for as long as I can. Um, and as I kind of expected, things are declining.

So to give the viewers some context, I was officially approved to upload video shoppable videos to the Amazon Influencer program. Uh, I think it was December of 2022. December, January, February, I just put my nose to the grindstone. I grabbed a bunch of videos I had on YouTube that I pulled into the Amazon influencer program, and then I just created a bunch of new videos.

I sprinted to like 200, 250 videos as quick as possible. And then I stopped. I, I just stopped uploading. I’m sure you run into this as well, Doug. It’s like, you’re fired up, you’re excited. I was getting 2,500 a month from this batch of videos that I had uploaded. Why I stopped, I have no idea, but I just kind of burnt out.

I was like, I’m just not going to do more videos. I’m done. I’ll see what happens. And so, um, I was making like 2,000 to 2,500 a month. January, February, March, all the way through May, April. June, July, it started to come down a little bit. Now, right now, as of today, I’m probably averaging about 900 a month. Um, I’m getting pretty close to the same number of views.

I was in my, uh, Amazon Analytics this morning. Uh, they updated some of their metrics. They’ll show you how many hearts a video gets. They’ll show you how many lifetime views a video gets. How much percentage viewed your video got watched and then, uh, how many, uh, average minutes of watch time for each video.

So it gave me a chance to kind of see, I didn’t know those analytics were there until this morning. Uh, what I ended up doing with that information is I looked at some of what I thought were good videos that weren’t getting any traction. I took them off the platform. I deleted them and then I re-uploaded them and tagged the product again.

There are a couple techniques and strategies, um, that I’m doing there, but basically it’s a bummer. So it’s 900 a month on average from shoppable videos, about 250 to 300 a month on average from the traditional affiliate links, uh, that are on my various websites and YouTube channel. And then from there.

I’m re-energized. So now moving into obviously Q4, I’m just going to start cranking out video. So I got a couple of free products. I got some pickleball paddles. I got some compression leg devices and things. I always disclose when I get a free product in exchange for creating video. Depending on the product.

Sometimes I’ll charge, sometimes I’ll do it for free. Um, but now I’m back. So I uploaded two videos. I think yesterday I uploaded another two videos. Today I’ve got a slate of videos ready to go for the rest of the week. Um, products that I already have that I know are popular that I know they’re successful and I’m just going to start kind of lighten that fire again to get back to where I was.

Doug:Okay. Do you think the. Lack of publishing new videos is why the revenue went down.

Tony: I really don’t. Um, I, I looked at some of the key kind of revenue drivers, the products that were doing the most for me. I opened an incognito browser. I go to the product on mobile and on desktop. I scroll through and I look at the videos that are there.

And I’m still placing really well, you know, there there’s usually a six video carousel There are some videos at the top where the product is. I’m still showing up I’m still there and my views like I said, they really didn’t change that much what I don’t know and Somebody else will probably know this answer is I Amazon’s public You know their 10k or any of that stuff.

So I don’t know if it’s site wide Amazon sales have declined. I don’t know. I get that feeling that that’s part of what’s going on. I don’t think it’s more competition. Although i’m sure there is more competition in shoppable videos Um, you were recently on niche pursuits podcast, you know I watched what spencer is doing and they’re working with that also and they’ve seen a decline too Uh other influencers have seen decline.

So I tend to just think that maybe it’s just the economic downturn a little bit. Maybe people are just buying fewer, um, products or they’re just watching fewer videos. I don’t know, but I do think that I’ve got enough experience in history that I know what to do for the videos and I know how to. Get the right video in front of the right person.

But one of the things, if I didn’t mention it, I am embedding links to the Amazon videos on my website, where historically I would have embedded a YouTube video. I still put a YouTube video there, but if I’m talking about a product, if it’s a product specific post. I tend to put embeds of Amazon videos onto my website.

So when they click, they watch the Amazon shoppable video, they make the purchase, I received the commission. It seems to be working pretty well.

Doug: Do you think there’s any. SEO benefit to put the Amazon video in there, or it just sends traffic over to Amazon for you?

Tony: I think it just sends traffic to Amazon.

I think from an SEO perspective, they just look at it as an affiliate link. Just like if I use the button or something else. Um, but for me, I’m experimenting just to see if I get that 30 second watch time. On the Amazon platform. And if that’s enough for that person to complete the purchase, I don’t have enough data.

I don’t. I can’t make an educated guess or decision, but I can make a guess. And my guess is, I, I think it’s a good way to do it.

Doug: I was chatting with a friend the other day and his wife has been focusing on the influencer program for about the same time that you have and. You know, they started just like you with, uh, products they had in their house.

They covered everything they could. Then they started ordering stuff just to do those videos. And I think they got up to say four to 5,000 per month. And I think it has just like most people have seen has declined. And he speculated as well that it could just be people are buying a little bit less stuff.

The economy isn’t as good that that sort of thing. So yeah, it remains to be seen, but. If it’s a volume situation and you know, make some more videos, right? You’re going to get some more traffic. Now, do you have any strategies to prevent burnout? So you don’t run into the same issue.

Tony: I, I wish I did. Um, my strategy for managing burnout is just having multiple irons in the fire.

There really is, you know. So I’ll work on this for a while. I’ll get bored with it. I’ll go over there. I’ll work on that for a while. I’ll get bored with it. I’ll go over here. Um, I probably could be far more successful on any single project if I had the personality to just focus and dedicate myself to it, but that’s not me and I go back to, I might’ve said it on your show before, you know, this is all fun for me, it’s all a learning experience, like I’ve got my stable income, I’m protecting that, that’s not going anywhere.

So the rest of this stuff I share publicly on my Facebook feed. Um, it’s an income report. I know a lot of bloggers used to do income reports. And so basically what I did was I said, Hey, my community of therapists, I said, I’m going to show you. From January going through every month, the money I make from Amazon, the money I make from digital courses, the money I make from YouTube and the money I make from ad revenue on display ads.

And consistently since January, 2023, every single month I post those numbers. Um, and just, you know, spoiler alert. It’s been anywhere as high as 14, 000 a month, as low as 8, 000. The last two months have been in the 8,000s, but if you average over an expected 12 month period, it’s 130,000. That is side income.

That is money that comes from these various digital sources that I’m not depending on, it’s not my livelihood. It’s just, you know, my experimentation. It’s like, I go in the shop, I build something, I sell it. Cool. Like that’s income that’s there. Um, and I really do think while anybody could do it, I will say, you know, it took years for me to build the skills to be able to do it now, so it’s not hard.

Um, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. It’s just a lot of trial and error for me to get to where I am.

Doug: You emphasized it well. That’s on the side. And that’s a great income for probably , 90 percent of the U.S. Right? Like there’s some areas that are really expensive to live in, but this is a really, I mean, that’s a.

That’s a great salary and it’s just on the side and you have your own, your own practice and office. Okay. Now, before

Tony: we go ahead real quick and every part of that, it’s just me tapping into the knowledge and the experience that I already have. You know, if I make a digital course, it’s, it’s me teaching other people the things that I’ve done.

I’m, I’ve never claimed to be an expert. I’m not at the highest level of anything. I’m just a little bit ahead of a new person, but that gives me the ability to relate to that person. So there’s nothing special that I’m doing. I am just sharing my knowledge and my experience that every single viewer has in their own way.

Doug: So I’m going to transition a little bit here before we move over and talk a little bit about your ChatGPT strategy. Yeah. I’m going to derail the whole conversation. Is your dog flipped over on its back behind you? I love it when dogs do that.

Tony: He is. So it’s a doodle thing. He’s just hanging out there waiting for a belly rubs.

Doug: I love it when they do that. My dog, uh, sleeps next to me on the floor. And, uh, each night she’ll like lay down normal, you know, Turn in a circle a little bit and then after a few minutes, she’ll flip over on her back and it’s just amazing. I don’t know why I love it so much, but. So for the people that are just listening, just imagine a dog showing his belly on his back and I just can’t get enough of it.

So, all right, let’s, let’s move into the ChatGPT. set up and system that you use and , we’ll go through everything, , very specifically. So lay it out for us. , how did you train the, the chat bot? What do you do? What are the steps? Yeah.

Tony: So basically this is something that, you know, I, I borrowed principles.

I mean, you’ve interviewed people that talk about how they use the AI systems. Um, I’ve listened to other podcasts and YouTube videos. So basically I know that I’m in a health related niche, so I want to bring the best possible content. I want to make sure that chat isn’t hallucinating and saying crazy stuff.

So at the most basic level. I do my keyword research first. I do that myself because the AIs do a terrible job with keyword research. I look at a topic. I look at the keywords available for that topic. I look at the search volumes. I try to get an idea of can I be competitive in this area? How specific do I need to go?

Great example. The other day I was writing about dumbbell workouts. I’m like, I’m never going to rank an article about dumbbell workouts. My site DR is 19. Not going to happen. So then I go a layer deeper. I’m like, well, dumbbell workouts for men, eh, still not going to rank. I go a layer deeper dumbbell workouts for men over 50.

Okay. Now I hit an area that I could start to rank for. Um, so I do my keyword research. I look through everything. And then once I have my topic, I’m going to write about this. I’m going to create a silo. This is going to be my pillar post, and I’m going to have these supporting elements. And all of this comes from Kyle Roof.

But the idea is. Now, I’m ready to go to chat, but before I do, I want to go to PubMed. I want to go to Medline. I want to see what are the published peer reviewed articles that no layperson wants to read or maybe even can’t even understand, but I know as a professional in healthcare, okay, this is a good article.

This is well written. It’s well researched. This has got the information I need. So I go to PubMed. I go to Medline. I go to any professional publication like that. I grab a list of links, then I go to Google. I type in my target keyword and I see what’s ranking right now organically in search. And I get a sense for what they’re talking about because we don’t want to completely reiterate what they’re talking about.

But I do want to borrow elements to be like, oh, well, they’re talking about this and they’re talking about that. But they didn’t mention this third component. And me as the therapist, I think this third component is really important. So I take that information, I get into ChatGPT, I start a new chat, I basically go through my prompts and it’s simply said, I want to write a new article.

Sometimes I will tell chat, I want you to be a ghostwriter, I want you to be a journalist, I want you to interview me for this article. I want you to read these professional journal resources and I’ll post the domains in the chat. I have ChatGPT4, the paid version for 20. I have WebPilot enabled so it can go in and it can read the journal articles.

I’ll say, I’m going to train you first on this topic. This is the target keyword we’re going to write about. I want you to read these three journal articles. Just tell me if you understand and have processed the information. Yes or no? So it reads it, process, reads it, process, reads it, process. Okay now, I want you to create an article outline for this topic.

Only give me the outline. Don’t give me any other information. It generates the outline. I might tweak one or two of the elements. I don’t want to talk about what you said in item six. Let’s change that to this. I think this is an important element. Let’s include that. Okay. Now create using HTML code, create a table of contents with jump links on the page.

Okay. Does that for me. Now I want you to write one section at a time. And I know your people have talked about this too. One section at a time. I want each section to be approximately 200 words. It could be more or less. I want you to include, and I might include bullet points, I might include a numbered list, I might include a table, some sort of media rich element.

I want you to include this element in this content. I want you to ask me one question related to this content. Cut content for this particular section of the article and use my response in the article. And that, that’s what happens. So then it asks me a question. Now, sometimes I’ll grab my mic, I’ll open a Word doc, uh, Google doc, and I’ll just speak into the mic and use the word to text from Google doc to transcribe what I said.

I’ll grab that transcription, throw it into the chat, and then Chad will write that section. I have it write everything using HTML code, using H2s, um, occasionally I’ll feed it links, but I’ll usually do internal linking myself after the article has been written, before it’s been published. But I go section by section.

And so I curate and kind of cultivate what I want each section to look at that maintains my voice, that it maintains my ideas, but it’s backed by the clinical research. I’ll do my citations. I’ll include external links to those references. I’ll include internal links to other related content. If I’m building a silo, obviously that’s going to be very easy to do.

And then, you know, I like to review my content by listening to it. So once I’ve got it done, I, I embed, I go to Google or I go to YouTube. If I haven’t recorded the video myself, I’ll find a related video. I’ll embed a YouTube video. I’ll probably grab a Canva stock photo for the featured image, but then I will go into my clinic and I’ll snap photos with my iPhone to have original images.

Um, I check all the SEO boxes, you know, I’ll, I’ll make sure the alt tag in the image is, it does what an alt tag is supposed to do, but if possible, I will try to also get the keywords in there or relate it in some way, um, and you know, then from there, I’ll listen to it, I’ll have one of the readers read me the article so I can hear it and hear how it sounds as it goes through everything and then once I’m happy with it, I’ll go ahead and hit publish.

I’ll see what Google does with it in the next couple hours. And then I might go in and revise it. You know, I might, if Google’s putting it on page six, I might go in and be like, what did I miss? What, you know, maybe I’ll have chat, analyze it for me and compare it to the top ranking articles. Maybe I’ll just do it, but I’ll start tweaking it and playing with it.

And then, you know, let it go and move on to the next one. It sounds like a lot, but I’ve been doing this for a year. I can do all of that, produce a 1,500 to 2,000 word article in about 60 minutes. Including the YouTube video embeds, including the images, including everything that needs to be done. A fully finished, formatted, ready to go article in about 60 minutes by myself.

About how many words would that be? 1,500 to 2,000 words on average.

Doug: One cool thing that I haven’t heard anyone talk about in the step by step is to have ChatGPT ask you questions, to have real quotes and, you know, your own, your own thoughts right in there. So… About how much of the 1,500 to 2,000 words would you say are your own thoughts from a response?

Tony: So sometimes it’ll give me specific quotes and it’ll put the HTML code as a back quote in there and it’ll be like a call out. Um, when it does that, it’s like one or two sentences in multiple sections. Um, but I would realistically say it’s probably 20 to 25 percent, um, my words, my things that I’ve contributed, things from me.

Another cool kind of little hack with that is if it’s a topic that I’ve recorded a video on. I’ve already uploaded the video. I’ll go to YouTube. I’ll look at the transcript that YouTube created for that video. I’ll copy that transcript, pull it into ChatGPT. I’ll have Chat read that transcript and incorporate elements from my YouTube video into the content creation process.

Everything I do, I try to include those elements. And then of course, there are times where I’m just like, I just need to go in here and reword and rewrite some things. I noticed it uses a lot of the same kind of. Three or four words at the beginning of intros. It says in conclusion. We’re so I get rid of in conclusion Like I clean that little stuff up But I usually don’t do that until i’ve tested it and seen where google is going to index and rank that content Um, if it’s it’s ranking at seventh, you know I’m gonna go in and pay extra attention and make it even better try and move it up The three or four, but if it’s, if it’s on, you know, 50, I’m not even going to mess with it.

And I’m going to give it some time to let it kind of ruminate before I come back to it. Right now I’m spending about 50 percent of my time updating old content and then creating new content.

Doug: What do you do to improve the content? If it ranks at seven really quickly, what steps do you take there?

Tony: So same thing.

I look, I look at the headings that I have in my content. I look at the headings that are in. One, two, three, uh, organic ranking. And I just look for what is the unique perspective that I can bring in. Is there a different video I can embed? Is there a graphic, a picture that says it better than the words?

And then of course, since I do have completely unrelated domains. I might go and write a similar article on a different website of mine and then link to that So I will get a couple back links that way real quick. And then I’ll reach out to my community and I’ll just say hey, you know 7 000 therapists that are here I just wrote this article on this topic.

If you guys have anything related, share a link with me. I’d love to see what you guys have. And then I start the communication that way to say, okay, you’ve got this and I’ve got this, they’re topically related. Let’s see if we can come together and exchange links, not against Google’s policy, but in a way that adds to the quality of both of our articles.

Doug: Everything’s against Google’s policy. Come on. They don’t want us to have anything. They went out, they went links, but they don’t want us to ask for them. Okay. Just kidding around. So you mentioned web pilot. I think that’s what it was. Web pilot. So that’s in ChatGPT. Can you describe that? What is that?

That’s like new functionality, right?

Tony: Yeah, it’s, it’s relatively new. It’s, it’s a plugin inside of ChatGPT that allows ChatGPT to go in real time and review and access websites. So if I wanted to go and, you know, take a look at the, this article that’s published somewhere, I can post the link in and it will go in real time, read and consume that content.

And then give me a summary of whatever that content was.

Doug: And is that included with, uh, you know, plus, um, payment, uh, or the plugins free any other costs?

Tony: Yeah. There’s no additional cost to it. There’s, there’s a list, um, I’m going to say 50, uh, plugins that are available that you can turn on or off. Um, I’ve played with some of them.

That’s the main one that I use. There’s another one for Google, for YouTube videos that’ll go and kind of process the video, but I think it just looks at the transcript mainly. It didn’t really add any value for me. So I, I don’t use that one. Um, most recently the ChatGPT four has integrated with DALL-E, the newest version of DALL-E.

So you can turn on DALL-E. So the other day I was writing an article and I said, Hey, I need an image of Two people walking a dog in a park next to a lake, and it created a graphic of that for me. Um, the problem is once you start a chat, if you start a chat with the DALL-E plugin enabled, you can’t also have the chat with the WebPilot plugin enabled.

So, you know, you got to kind of pick and choose ahead of time. And if I’m training a chat. To create multiple articles on one specific topic. I don’t want to have to move through different chats since that information doesn’t go across chat. So, but no, none of the public plugins that I use cost anything extra, just the normal 20 a month fee for open AI.

Doug: I think I’m going to see if it could give me photos of dogs flipped over on their back, showing their belly. I’ll spend all day doing that. My wife will be like, what are you? What are you doing? I thought you were working. You’re just looking at fake dog photos. It’s really odd. I’m not really going to do that, but I’m thinking about it now.

So that’s an amazing system. How many articles have you, uh, published a total on the site? The directory side, of course.

Tony: Right now for me, I’ve created about 532, um, articles and, and this is going back. Pretty much, like I said, the site started October, uh, 24th, but really I started creating content in January of 2023.

So, you know, 520 or 532 articles in what, 11 months, something like that. Crazy. And that’s, that’s just me. No outside, there is user generated content. I’m not counting that. Um, that’s just what I’ve produced.

Doug: and you’re doing about 50 per month as your target.

Tony: Comfortably. I don’t feel burnout. I don’t feel like I’m struggling to get it done.

Most months I’ve finished. I hit my 50 target three or four days before the month is over. Um, but yeah, it’s, it’s a very comfortable schedule for me.

Doug: Is there anything. Lack, the system sounds like it works great. You figured out a way to do it pretty quickly. You’re not burning out. What’s lacking? What are some negatives in the way that you’re doing this that you wish were better?

Tony: I do struggle with internal linking. I mean, that’s hard. So my system right now for internal linking is I write the article. I do maintain a Google sheet that has the topic, the internal, the links on my site that are related to that topic. Um, That doesn’t really help me all that much. Then what I usually do is I just open my site.

I do site colon. And then after my domain, I do, um, quotations and the word that I want to find links to, and then I just grabbed the links that way. Like I have Google do the work to go through my site and find related pages. And then I just paste the URLs in there. It’s not an efficient way to do it.

It’s frustrating way to do it, but. For now, um, you know, something I didn’t mention, um, my directory is not a WordPress site. It’s not using a WordPress plugin. Uh, I don’t even know what the hosting platform is. Um, but I don’t have the same amount of control over my directory site. That I would over a typical WordPress site.

The other unique, interesting kind of mistake that I didn’t realize was as my site was gaining traffic with my host, I didn’t realize I was going to have to upgrade my bandwidth. So I bought a lifetime license. I love my host. I love my site. I’m an affiliate for them. I’m not mentioning who they are, but it really is a great platform.

It’s the best one I found for directories, but I do have to upgrade. And now I just realized based on the traffic that I have right now, I’m going to be spending 100 a month to get the bandwidth to support that traffic. And it’s just going to keep going up from there. So it’s not a huge deal. I’m making well, way more than a hundred dollars a month and just paid ad revenue from display ads.

Um, But still, I wasn’t expecting 1,200 a year in that expense. Right.

Doug: Would there, would you have, now that you know that, would you have done it differently? Or is that like the best solution for the type of site?

Tony: That’s a good question. I think I would have tried to do it differently. I think it would have been a mistake.

To do it differently because this site and this architecture is just so easy and so stable, you know, if, if I’m sure you’ve had this, when I’ve built WordPress sites in the past, they get infected with malware, they get Viagra ads, you know, embedded in them. It is so hard to keep WordPress sites protected.

Um, I don’t know. This platform is just, it’s got incredible uptime. I’ve never had any issues. If I have a problem, I contact customer service and they do a great job really fast. So I think I would have tried to save the 1, 200 and I think it would have been a major mistake. It’s funny.

Doug: Yeah. And like now, I mean, the thing is we got.

We got really spoiled with extremely cheap hosting, and as time went on, depending on the site, it’s like it wasn’t worth it to have a less expensive host at the sacrifice of uptime or support. The thing is, most of the time everything’s fine when, but when you need support, you probably really, really need it and you can’t wait, and you need to be able to call someone up and ask questions and have them troubleshoot.

With you. So that makes total sense.

Tony: And I passed the core web vitals, like in Google search console. I mean, my numbers are fine. It’s not the fastest site in the world, but it’s fast enough. So I’m happy with it.

Doug: So I’ve kept you over the scheduled time here and I appreciate your time, Tony. We covered a lot of stuff and.

I want to make sure you have a chance to fill in any gaps. Did I forget to ask you anything, anything else we need to cover? That’s really important.

Tony: No, you know, again, I say this to you every time and I genuinely mean it like you and other people like you that were leaders in, in this. We’re all like, I wouldn’t be where I am.

I couldn’t be doing the things that I’m doing. If I wasn’t watching you five years ago on YouTube and like seeing what was possible. So what I hope that I bring to the conversation, you have a lot of amazing guests that are far more successful than me, but hopefully I can show the person out there that’s like, man, I’ve got a full time job and I’ve got family cause I do.

I’ve got four boys and I’m a coach and I’ve do all these other things. But it’s like you can still squeeze it in Um and not in a way that sacrifices the things that are more important, you know You can do this and for me this is going to help pay for some college expenses for my kids and this is going to pay for other things and It’s just it’s fulfilling for me.

It’s enjoyable for me. It’s a hobby for me that I really enjoy. So thank you For leading the way, for figuring all this stuff out, for helping direct us, because we can learn it quicker because of the things that you guys have all done. And, you know, that’s it. If anybody has any questions, uh, I used to say you can find me on Facebook.

You still can, but LinkedIn is where I’m spending a little more time these days. So you can find me on LinkedIn. You can connect with me or message me or whatever you need, just under my name. Anthony Meritato, I go by Tony.

Doug: So we will, we’ll link up to all this stuff. You’re welcome. And thank you. I appreciate you saying that.

Yeah. When I first started the show, you know, just talking to a microphone by myself. So it’s hard, hard to believe people listen to it or watch the YouTube videos, but they do. So

Tony: start to finish every one. Thanks man.

Doug: So before we leave here and I’ll, I’ll give you a nice plug. You have a couple of courses on number one, starting a directory site and number two on the Amazon influencer program.

If people want to learn more, so I’ll give you a minute or two, just to. Talk about the course. Who’s it for? What are people going to learn in each one of those? And we’ll link up to both of those courses for folks.

Tony: Yeah. So Doug’s an affiliate for the courses, but even if he wasn’t or either way, um, you know, I created the directories.

I’ve grown the directories. I love that for the future of where I’m going. Um, there’s lots of opportunities there and it just, it reduces my platform risk. If Facebook wants to shut me down. I don’t care because I’ve got other options that I could go to. That’s what I love about the directory. Um, so we do have that course.

I kind of take you through everything that I did start to finish. I am planning on launching a new directory. And when I do that, I’m doing live videos and training for that. So you can see how I select a niche, why I chose what I chose and how to build it out. The Amazon Influencer, same thing. So it’s a series of videos showing you some of the background of how to join, how to get your account approved, what I’ve done for strategy specific content on choosing the products, you know, real quick.

I don’t just do review videos. That’s probably the least of what I do. More of what I do are educational videos. This is why I use this product. This is how I use this product. This is what I love about this product for this particular problem that I’m solving. Um, I don’t ever want to feel like I’m selling somebody something they don’t need, but if I create a use video, like, this is how to use this cane when you’re walking down the stairs.

I’m very comfortable with that. So those are the kinds of things that I teach in that Amazon Influencer course. Um, it’s hosted on ThinkFX, you got lifetime access to any of the courses and all of the updates that I produce. So, and then of course, if there’s anything that’s not included, just shoot me an email.

I want to make this a useful tool for whoever is in there. I get an email. I’m happy to produce content and add it to the course.

Doug: Very good. Yep. We’ll link up to it. Like Tony said, I’m an affiliate, so I get a commission if you buy it. But it’s really cool to have, you know, these kind of classic, um, business models with a directory site, right?

Like people talked about those several years ago. I remember seeing directory sites and they lost the, um. Sort of the newness people didn’t pay attention, but there were still directory sites out there and I actually know a couple people who had very big directory sites and it was, it was a different approach that was unique enough that allowed them to diversify their whole whole portfolio and really like be smart about how they were able to network within the niche and really, um, You know, they could attend conferences in that niche because they had a directory site and they could make great in person connections, which I talk about all the time.

You want to, uh, you want to get some good links and have people in the industry, you know, refer to you, like go to an in person event and it’ll, it’ll change everything. So, all right, Tony, thanks a lot. And we’ll catch up soon.

Tony: Thanks, Doug. Thanks for having me.