Transcript: Swim University Loses Massive Traffic from HCU, Part 1- DS502

Doug: Hey, what’s going on. Welcome to the Doug show. My name is Doug Cunnington. And I wanted to pop in before I send it to the interview with Matt Giovannese. We talk about swim university. That’s Matt’s website. He’s been running it for like 15, 16 years, something like that. And his site was hit by the helpful content update.

So we talk about what it was like going through that. We talk about some of the details of the helpful content update. We talk about his plan to recover the site and a little bit more. It was a long episode, Matt and I are friends. He actually lives like a couple of miles away. So we go on a couple of tangents.

But the thing is, it’s a pretty long episode and I wanted to test something. I divided this long, like an hour and 40 minute conversation into three episodes. I’m going to release them all on the same day, but I wanted to divide them up just to see what happens. So there’s like three different segments and this is part one.

The other parts are available. Just be sure to download them. Or if you’re watching on YouTube, be sure to Check the link in the description and watch the other videos. The other thing is I want to announce my new podcast. I’m finally able to share the name of it, Ranking Revolution.

I’ll put a link in the description and show notes so you can check it out. I’m not sure if a lot of episodes will be available when you go check it out. But I will leave you the link and you could sign up for the email list so that I can send you information and My my plan and I’ll cover this in some other episodes but basically I was planning on having like a fairly large splash when I launch and Release a lot of episodes maybe like 20 or 30 episodes all at once and then that would boost downloads and hopefully From an algorithmic perspective in any of the directories, that would be a positive thing, but I decided to do things a little bit different and to make it interesting, I will share that in the other intro for part two of the conversation with Matt.

So the other thing to note is that Matt and I recorded this episode a few weeks ago. It was before the March core update started to roll out and we didn’t know it was going to come out, right? We, we knew some update was going to happen in the future, but we didn’t know it was going to be this very comprehensive March update.

Core update in 2024. So we didn’t talk about that in part of recording a podcast and having travel plans and other obligations and such. Sometimes I work fairly far ahead in this is the case here. So I have travel coming up. I unfortunately got sick in the last couple of weeks. So I worked far enough ahead where I didn’t have any major issues or scheduling issues or anything like that.

But the thing is I recorded several episodes, like six, eight weeks ahead of time because of travel and upcoming travel that I haven’t even gone on yet, like coming up in April and beyond. So anyway, it’s. Something we didn’t talk about at all. Cause we didn’t know it. Hopefully soon I’ll have Matt back on and we can talk about what happened after the core update.

At the time that I’m recording this right now, uh, we’re only like one week into the core update. So again, I’m working ahead. I just have to do this from a scheduling standpoint, but when there’s like things happening, like each week, it makes it a little more complicated. So anyway, this is part one, be sure to check out parts two and three, and Check out Ranking Revolution.

Music Intro

Doug: Hey, what’s going on and welcome to the Doug show. My name is Doug Cunnington. And today we are still following along with the carnage behind the Helpful content update and I have my good friend Matt Giovannese founder of swim university founder of money lab He’s created many things over the years and today we’re going to talk about how his site was impacted.

We’re going to talk about Kind of emotionally what you’ve gone through because it’s been a roller coaster. I know. Yeah, and the plan to recover as well as money lab the podcast which has been rebooted secret So yeah people haven’t uh, you haven’t talked about it too much, but i’ve been listening a little bit So we’re gonna get into all those details matt.

How’s it going today?

Matt: Good. I’m good.

Doug: Thanks for coming over

Matt: Yeah. Thanks for having me

Doug: People that aren’t watching on YouTube, Matt’s actually a neighbor. About a mile away. So it’s cool to have an in person interview. For the people that, that don’t know you at all, can you give a brief intro about sort of your history, how long you’ve been working online?

And then we’ll start talking about Swim University as an intro of where it was say about a year ago. But yeah, who are you?

Matt: I am, I’ve, I’ve been doing online, I’ve been running an online business since 2006 full time since 2011. And that business has been swing university. com where I teach people how to take care of their pools and hot tubs.

That is my business. It is, it started as a, what I guess the audience would call a niche site or an authority site. And it is, I feel like it’s kind of surpassed that a little bit, but then I don’t really have a name to call that. We are a, uh, Digital education company or a digital media company, depending on who you talk to or who’s interested.

And I’ve started a bunch of other like little niche things along the way, just out of, as a person who needs to express their creative energy into things. So I guess that’s the gist. Perfect.

Doug: Yeah. And I think nowadays we look at the stuff we’re doing, we’re like, yeah, this is a media company you have A YouTube channel. You have a podcast. Yeah. Like you’ve done a lot of things. You had one of the early personal finance podcasts. Mm-Hmm. And you were at places like FinCon, which you don’t typically attend these days, but now I’m going. Right, right. And yeah, it’s interesting, all the different projects you’ve started, I know.

What percentage would you say have been successful versus. Sort of unsuccessful defined, however.

Matt: Oh yeah. So I I would say all of my media projects, the ones where it was, I was building a brand around the product of doing content have all been successful. The software companies that I’ve started have all been failures.

And I think that’s just, that speaks to my strengths and weaknesses. Like my strength is a hundred percent content. My weakness is software. I don’t, I don’t, I know how to code, but I’m not a coder. You know,

Doug: it’s interesting. Yeah. When I look back at this stuff that I have been working on and what I’m trying to create now, like I’m starting a new podcast that we’ve talked about before and.

The thing is, I never viewed myself as like a, a creative type even, but now like literally I’m just like creating things and pulling ideas from here and there. And it’s super interesting because I didn’t think that was a strength of mine, but it turns out it is one of the things I can do. Maybe I just like it better than some other stuff

Matt: And that’s, yeah, maybe, yeah. That’s how I feel. I just like it more.

Doug: So, you started Swim University in something like 2006. It’s almost 20 years old

Matt: I know. Right. I mean, I bought the domain name in 2004. That’s crazy. I know.

Doug: In a couple minutes, obviously we can go super in-depth. There’s been many different approaches.

You didn’t know what you were doing back then. SEO has changed. Blah, blah, blah, right? But can you sort of give us a accelerated story of Swim University? And you can maybe focus on kind of the tail end. So you, you know, the first 10 years like pretty quick.

Matt: Yeah. So go ahead. The first seven years was part-time so I was working at a pool company.

So it’s it’s the only job I’ve ever known, right? I’ve been in pools my whole life didn’t go to college. That’s all I’ve ever done I just I did some university and It was I would work all day in the pool company and then I would come home and work on my pool company And it was it was back then it was crap.

I was I’m not a good writer Didn’t I failed every English class in high school. So like not my thing But that’s what I ended up doing because I, I wanted to do have a website. So yeah, early days was creating a bunch of crappy content really fast, as fast as I possibly could taking that content putting it through.

What I guess would back then be the equivalent of chat GPT called article spinning where it would just rearrange sentences and then I would submit those articles to directories to get backlinks because that’s what I was told to do and So over time I built that up and then one day I switched to I think it was 2008 I switched to or maybe even later like 2009 I switched to just Oh, I’m going to write really great articles.

And then all of a sudden it started to take, take off for me. And by 2011, I had lost my job, use that time and freedom and money to essentially work on it full time and was able to make, I think like 40 grand for the first time in one year in like 2012 or 2013. So I was like, Oh, it’s this, you know, and then, you know, meanwhile to supplement cause I wasn’t making 40 grand.

I was doing website design. I had client work, so I moved. I did that, and it was really all articles. So all I was doing is I had a WordPress site. Before that, I didn’t even have a WordPress. I did everything by hand, so I had individual HTML pages for every article. But then I, but then would just do articles focused 100 percent on Google, like Espresso traffic.

And then I got into video. YouTube specifically in 20, I, my video, my first video might be 2011. And I focused on that for a few years and then that’s when I started to do other things. That’s when List of Money Matters came up and I sort of, you know, stopped working on Zoom University. It was making money, still.

Stopped working on that, did the other stuff. And from basically that time till even last year. It was always the main project, but a side project. And there was only really, the first seven years was the most I ever worked on it. And then I worked on it again really hard in like 2016, 2017 between projects.

And then now I’m back, you know, doing it 100%. And I’ve had a myriad of different employees and subcontractors work on the site over time. And I’ve expanded into. Video and what have you. And so, yeah, now it’s a media company. We do all the things we sell our own products, physical and digital. And I’ve decided to focus a hundred percent of my business effort.

I’ll say on that brand because it is just. The only one that has worked this entire time.

Doug: It’s crazy how well like a side project can go because you were scattered and doing a bunch of others. I mean, it’s fun. Like we like to start new things.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But it still bothers me that I’m like that.

Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes, you know, it’s like I still, even to this day, even today or yesterday, I’m like, I want to do something. I want to do something else. You know, and it’s like, you gotta just focus, Matt, just bring it, rein it in.

Doug: And the funny thing is like with my new podcast, I was pretty pumped about it.

Like we chatted over beers once and you were like, actually sounds kind of cool. Started running with it. You know, you’re exciting at the, you’re excited at the beginning and then like. Now that I’m sort of in the middle of the beginning. I’m like

Matt: now it’s a slog. Fuck. Yeah

Doug: Yeah, I’m like I could be doing like whatever nothing I could be taking a nap Yeah, is that a better choice?

But I mean at the end of the day, it will be cool

Matt: building things from nothing Is the fun part. Maintaining them once they’re built is the hard part. That’s how I feel. Yeah.

Doug: And the one thing, and then we’ll start talking about you again, but the one thing that I have built in to my new podcast is like, I’m planning on selling it.

Yeah. And. So it’s like an exit strategy, like from the beginning. And we only know to do that now that we’ve started several things that we didn’t have an exit strategy. So now I’m like looking at it and I see like, I see who could buy it now. I see like software companies, companies that are like. I don’t know, like Semrush, like I think Ahrefs is supposed to be starting a podcast and there’s, people are trying to do it and I could just have a turnkey thing like, here are the keys, take this thing, I’ll help you transition it, but just take it and you got it and it’ll grow into something huge, but I don’t want to do that.

Matt: Right. And I, and I know a lot of businesses, they really only make money on the exit. They earn revenue that whole time and they take some of it as a salary. Sure. But the business doesn’t actually make money until it’s sold. And I’m like, Oh, that’s learn that late in life.

Doug: Okay. So back on track here, things were going pretty good and swim university was earning.

More and more like the last couple of years you were able to expand Essentially into physical products, which makes it feel even more real one one thing to go back on is Well, actually, let’s talk about that So some University probably pulled in like more the last three years than like a lot of the other years combined So what was that like because at that point?

You know, you’re, you’re a simple man. We’re, we’re simple people, right? Humble backgrounds. So you’re like earning more money in like top line revenue than like, you probably thought you could earn over like a decade or something. So what was that like mentally?

Matt: Oh man, like just making more money. So pandemic was really hard.

Uh, for everyone. For me, I was going through horribleness, like on top of the pandemic. So there was family tragedy and then pandemic, and then that’s when I bet my business did the best. But during the pan, during the pandemic, I wasn’t working on it. And it was the best money it’s ever been. I was working on a software thing again.

So it was like, uh, and then I had, I, you know, brew cabin was, was working. I was doing YouTube videos for that. I was doing money lab stuff. I was trying to actually pivot away from some university to do money lab full time thinking that’s the, that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. And ironically, the, the three years.

Where everyone had to stay home the pool industry itself like huge boom So like the traffic was insane The sales were insane and I was trying to get out of it Like it’s like and and so many people were trying to get in it at the time at that time and are now in it And now it’s down and I don’t know what they’re gonna do.

But here we are But but yeah, I don’t The money part is interesting. I don’t feel any different. I also don’t feel like I make a lot of money. I, my business does, but, and I have a salary and my wife has a salary and my brother has a salary, but uh, and which is, which by the way is the entire company is the three of us.

And so we, we get paid more than most people I would say, but like not, not, no, not 1 percent money, you know? So like, uh, The business, if I didn’t spend on the business, we could take a lot more, but again, like we’re still doing, you know, like this year, I don’t know what’s going to happen this year because it’s a much lower and it is making me a little bit nervous, but that’s, I’m more, I’m not nervous about like us being okay.

I’m just more worried about like the business, just the business stuff in general. Yeah. I don’t feel sometimes emotionally it’s, it’s isolating if that makes any sense. Of being like somebody who owns a business, makes money, and then can’t really explain to other people how that’s, how that’s possible.

Doug: And we’re in a good area for this actually, cause like we know each other

Matt: Yeah. Oh yeah, back in Jersey, nobody. I was really, really alone.

Doug: They think we’re uh, just like independently wealthy or something like that.

Matt: My friend, I just had a conversation with him last night, grew up with him. And he was like, I know you have Swim University, like I know that’s your business.

But I actually have no idea how you make money. And I told him how, and he was like, man, I did not know that. That’s impressive. I was like, could ask me it’s been 30, 40 years, you know, but it’s, I’m surprised that like, yeah, it’s, it is, it’s weird. Cause I, I honestly, besides you in my personal life. No, I got like two other people like know exactly what I do and how I make money and they also do that thing.

And it’s like, okay, like I can just kind of relax. And not have to explain everything. Although I’m explaining it now to you as if you don’t know. But yeah.

Doug: It’s more meta. We’re talking about the thing. But the other part is like, we do have a lot of friends that are early retirees. They’re roughly our age and they’re very wealthy.

But, and we like, dress like we do. Yeah. And just look like, I mean, we look,

Matt: I still don’t even feel that way. I don’t feel wealthy at all. I feel like I’m still living paycheck to paycheck. Right. And I may not be, I mean, I’m not, but I have that mentality of like, yeah, I don’t know when it’s, it’s gonna, it’s gonna end someday.

Yeah. You know, I have that sort of like constant fire of, and not financial independence, retire early. I am definitely a fire, fire because everyone would, I’ve, I’ve been told by other people that like, I am fire, like that I have achieved that. And I’m like, Okay, but I don’t feel that way. And again, I think if I was even fire, like if all my money was coming from the stock market, I would feel even worse.

Like I would feel even more anxiety because I’m like, Oh, I have no control over the, you know, at least I have control over. I sent an email and I could make some quick cash. You know what I mean?

Doug: That’s something you’ll have to figure out. Cause at some point. You will have enough and then even you will have that.

Matt: Yeah.

Doug: But yeah, this is a different conversation.

Matt: I don’t know though. I don’t know.

Doug: My wife and I have the same struggle ’cause I’m like, Hey, like you, you just kind of chill out a little bit. Yeah. You just, you can just chill. Um, and she’s, she’s finally come around, but she, her, her level of security is much higher than mine

Matt: That’s Steph’s. Yeah. For me. Mm-Hmm.

Doug: and. As an entrepreneur or someone who likes to start things, like we’re like, Oh, if we needed to earn more money, it’d actually be a little bit of fun to figure it out

Matt: I do have an, I do have an existential issue with that in recent, you know, I don’t know if this is a whole, this is a sidebar,

Doug: but tell me what it is and then we’ll skip it and we’ll talk about it

Matt: later.

Everything I’ve ever learned in life. All the skills that I thought, if ever I were to lose my position at some university or some university would die. I have enough skills that I’ve built over, you know, 30 years that I could transition into any other job, consulting, whatever. AI can do all of those things.

I just picked the skills that AI is good at, and so I need to come up with another skill that AI can’t do. I know. That’s interesting. Yeah, it is interesting.

Doug: The one, the one thing you can do, although you have gotten away from it, and then I promise we will move on. We have questions from the audience as well.

You can speak and you are entertaining. So there is a So can AI. Not in a live room in the same way people will connect with your personality for some reason. I don’t know why Matt. I don’t know either. Crazy. Um, but, but yes, it could, it could write your talks for you or whatever. But like your charisma and personality, like people until

Matt: it can do that.

That’s what I’m saying. It’s like, I keep thinking of like, yeah, now it can’t do that until it can. And that’s, and I think it’s the same anxiety of like. Yeah, now we’re making money until we don’t and that’s just maybe that’s a maybe that’s a defense mechanism or a survival tactic Yeah. Perhaps.

Doug: Okay. Yeah.

We will move on. Okay. So right, right here. Those are good thoughts though. Cause that’s a good debate to have. Yeah. All right. I remember before you and I met, before I moved to this area, I remember listening to an interview you did with Nick Loper, Side Hustle Nation. And I think you were talking about one of your other projects, Brew Cabin.

And you were talking about brewing. And actually, podcasts are great. Because I remember where I was at. I was walking in Bozeman. It was a snowy day. I was walking my old dog that day. And you were like Talking about brewing. I’m a home brewer. I was like, oh, shit. This is so cool. And you were talking about like a brew kettle and you were talking about how to write that article and make that article the best It can be and you were do you remember this a little bit?

No. Okay, that’s fine And you were talking about the specific kettle And all the features and you were just walking through how to create content. And you were like, if you create the best content, you will rank the highest. And even then, this was like 26 or 2017, 2018, I was like. That’s not 100 percent true because I know that I have written some content and it was better and I’m like I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to write the best content you can but there’s far too many exceptions for one to say Just do the best you can yeah, it’s gonna come through

Matt: also.

It’s it’s so subjective right and most people I would say 99. 9 percent of people think they’re good and they’re terrible. And that’s the other

Doug: thing. So I know that people, people would say like, the content’s good. I wrote it myself and I’m like a friend.

Matt: However,

Doug: there are some, I’m not saying I’m the greatest writer, but I had a huge amount of specific knowledge for an industry.

I had a lot of research and at some point, you know, the skyscraper method was super popular. So you ended up with a lot of pretty much. Yeah. Level. It was the same level of really good content. Anyway.

Matt: Or one upsmanship. And it was just, and it was based on metrics and not specific. So like, I have 12, 000 words and you have two, you know, it’s like, I have nine tips instead of eight tips.

And it’s like, that’s not, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Yeah. You know, but it’s, it is, it’s, unfortunately it’s like incredibly hard to Right. Give that advice. And I, and the only thing I think, if I could amend that Is, I ca it’s, again, this is amorphous and whatever, it’s like, but I care more about the content that I’m creating than you, whoever the you is, in that statement.

Yes, you are right. You can write the best thing in real life, and you will rank number two. And I have one specific, uh, there’s one specific article that I wrote. And it is, I did a real world thing, and I made the, and I, I, I approached the project knowing that I was going to write the article, like the definitive article on it.

And it is the best article, hands down. I can’t, and there’s somebody who’s beating me, and it fucking drives me nuts. Because I’m like, but mine’s better. The, every, in every way, in every metric. And, uh, I do believe though, had I, there is another level. There’s the. Okay, sure. You wrote the best thing. I bet you, you could go in there and do some like trickery, some like SEO trickery, and there’s some more interesting things that you could do to outrank.

You know, whether it’s backlinks, uh, you know, just driving more traffic to it, uh, you know, rearranging the article to, to hit a little bit better studying that art or other article and, and seeing why they rank over yours. And I, I, yeah, there is more to it than just giving a shit and making the best. And

Doug: so that, that aside, so yes, there’s other details and all that stuff.

When, when you put in all the time and you cared more, you did this for years, you obviously, you know, worked on Swim University for a long time. So in September of 2023, helpful content came through. Up until that point, I’m pretty sure we talked and I’m like, Hey, any of the updates hit you, anything? And you’re like, I don’t think so.

Maybe there was like a little dip in growth or something like nothing.

Matt: Basically. Yeah. I didn’t see it till. End of October or November? Okay. Yeah. And again, I might, and just to be clear Seasonal business. So that’s September is when it does drop.

Doug: So, and you’re comparing year over year of what you have tons of data.

So what happened, how much of a hit did you take?

Matt: 50%,

Doug: 50%. And we’re like, whatever, four months later from when you had the hit three months later from when you had the drop, are you still down? Have you

Matt: seen any, uh, yeah, a little bit in February. We’re up about, we’re up. We’re not as we’re not down 50. We’re, we’re down 40.

But we, we’ve gone down, like January was the worst month, uh, where we were down 50 percent and that is just traffic in general, like that is just the traffic number from Google analytics or I guess, what do you call it now? Yeah. Google analytics four. So I lost all my back data, you know, cause we switched, but I do have.

A spreadsheet with every monthly big fat number, you know, dating back to 2011.

Doug: Huge amount of data. Yeah. Alright,

Matt: so Oh, by the way, just to be This is the other, I think, context that’s required here. I am comparing it year over year. Well, I mentioned that the pandemic was huge for the pool industry. So I am still comparing it to the boom of the industry.

If I compare those numbers to pre 2020, they’re, they’re not, they’re, we’re not down, we’re up. You know what I mean? But I still consider that a huge loss. And I’ve, because again, like I look at, I use SEMrush and um, and I’ve switched from Ahrefs, because people probably know that I use Ahrefs. But I, we still rank for all our like major keywords.

And I think we talked about, I lost all of the long tail. It’s crazy. I know.

Doug: And okay. So you weren’t hit for several years. We were, we were all blessed by the pandemic, of course. Yeah. Greatest thing to come through. Just for online business. Yeah. Just kidding folks. It was horrible, but it made people stay home and they did things at home.

Yeah. And a lot of online businesses flourish because of that. A hundred percent. So you. Saw the traffic drop. You heard other people talking about it and you like many other updates. You were like, I’m in the clear I’ve been doing a really good job. Mm hmm, and I haven’t been building backlinks. No weird shit high quality content So when you first noticed the traffic was down, what were you think was it like a dry like one day?

It was just like down. No percent or


Matt: like a dive. It’s no It’s I’m it’s always year over year So I’m never seeing it like, we’re not going up every month, you know, so then I would, I would see a huge drop. The reason I think I didn’t even notice it is because I’m like, well, this is when we drop, but there was no cliff.

It was a, it was. It was a slow decline and then only until, uh, I think the first month when I compared it to the previous month, I was like, that’s bad. And it was like, I think it was either November or December where I’m like, we’re down 35 percent from the previous December or November, whatever it was.

And I was like, oh, you know, like it again, like each month is totally different and it depends on the seasonality for us. Cause like, for example, if we. This year we’ll have an early spring, according to the Groundhog. Uh, so, and it’s been warm, right? So. I think the pool season is going to start in April this year.

Last year it was a late season, so it started in May. So really comparing month over month even doesn’t work then, because a whole month could be, if the whole country has terrible weather, and again, we’re having nice weather here, but the east coast is getting pummeled with snow and ice and, you know, whatever, so, and that’s where most of the pools are in America.

So, uh, You know, for us, I kind of feel like it’s really even hard to compare month over month, and I’m only comparing traffic. Like the actual traffic number, which we get traffic from YouTube. We get traffic from social media. We get traffic from ads that we run. Like there’s traffic sources. There’s Pinterest.

There’s all these like different sources that come in. And so, uh, but when I look at specifically Google and when I look at SEMrush and sort of just like look and compare, yeah, we lost, we lost long tail keywords for sure.

Doug: So how did you, again, another emotional question here. So how did you feel when you were like, Oh shit.

And, and then like, I’m sure you looked at the data, you know, there’s going to be a bit of a decline and then you’re like, okay, there’s all these caveats. However, after you look for probably about a week or so, you’re like, this is legitimately down. This is down. Yeah. Yeah. So what was that like? Did you, what was it like talking to Steph and your brother and

Matt: stuff like, um, it, it is what it is.

And that’s kind of the approach was like, And the reason I think why is because I saw it coming. I was for as soon as chat GPT specifically that product of AI came out. Cause like Jasper was out before that and I was like, this is great, but not, you know, when I saw that you could chat, I thought, I was like, Oh, search is dead.

This is it. And there, and, and, and I was out there. And people think I was like crying wolf, essentially, because it’s like I’m out there going like, you know, you don’t understand if there’s anything that I’ve understood about Google and writing content is that their entire business model is to get you, the searcher, your answer as fast as possible, the faster that they can get you an answer, the more valuable their services.

Plain and simple. End of the day. So, when your content isn’t relevant, and you’re ranking, that’s a bad product for Google. Just simple as that. Now If you have a question that’s like, uh, what, what bromine level should my hot to be at? You don’t need to search the yellow page listings of clickable things.

Like that’s just every, all of that is just more time. It just spits out the answer. We saw it with featured snippets. That’s what that is, right? It was taking our content. out of context and just giving people the answer. And then the SEOs of the world were all like, well, now we want to win that because that’s the top result.

But now the AI is just going to tell you what it is. Now, whether that’s right or not, that’s the, that’s the, the, the problem. But when I saw that, I’m like, Oh, now people told me, that’s crazy, Matt, because that would kill their entire business model of ads. And I thought, They can still run ads. Like it’s still, like, if you use ChatGPT for free, there could be ads running.

Like you wouldn’t even notice it. You know, like, there’s ads on YouTube, and you still use that the same way. So, when I, so when I saw that, I was like, I immediately started to think, we have to diversify right now. And that’s when we started doing other things. Like we used to do other things and I was like, no, no, no.

That the other things are the future. Google, it’s going to struggle. And then of course, helpful content update came out and I was like, told you and, and myself included. So not worried, just okay. It’s it’s happened and here we are now. Yeah, that’s, that’s ultimately. The conversation, which was like, okay.

And then we thought, what do we do with that? Like, how do we combat let’s assume, and this is what I do all the time. Like, let’s assume that’s dead. It’s like, and I, I write articles like this. It’s like affiliate marketing is dead. And I just like to assume that so that it forces me. It creates the constraint, which forces me to think outside the box.

And this is, I don’t think it’s outside the box, but we were like, all right. Doubling down on video. And that’s when I started. Going on camera as a person, because I’m like, it’s going to be a long time before a I can generate what you were saying earlier about whatever. So I’m like, okay, way more trust.

And that’s the thing. And you can’t, it’s hard to measure that. Yeah. You know, it’s like, I can measure if someone clicks a video and buys a product. What I can’t measure is they clicked an article. They didn’t buy a product, but then they were on Facebook and they saw my video and they’re like, and then they saw another video and they saw 10 more videos.

And then they came back to my website later. Cause they looked up something and they’re like, Oh fuck. I like this guy and bought it. And it’s like, all right, my overall conversion rate kind of across the board is probably going to increase simply by me being on camera. Assuming people trust me.

Doug: Yeah. Well, and it’s a bit self selecting too.

So for the people that, uh, you know, they, they don’t like the cut of your jib, then they won’t watch anymore and it wouldn’t help anyway, but for the people that stick around and they watch, then it works,

Matt: it’s all about asset allocation. So it’s like. We, you know, any, at this point we know that anyone can write.

It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter what you, you know, what you do. The barrier to entry is like super low. And so we’re like, okay, yeah, that’s, we we’re, it’s going to get harder and harder to compete there. Espec and now with ChatGBT it’s like, now we’re in the flood, the flood of. I call it the flood of shit of like the mudslide of horrible content is just going to get, you know, Google’s figuring that out in it right now, and I do believe that we are in a course correction period, like an overcorrection, so I do think.

I do hope also that we, things will come back, not as strong as they were in the pandemic, but they will come back and it’s not going to be as dire, like we’re not going to have read it as the number one result in Google, because across the board, everyone’s like this is now a bad product. I’m going. To chat GPT or I’m going somewhere else and Google knows that they’re not stupid and they are fixing that and just figuring out how, you know, yeah.

And I think,

Doug: you know, we’ll, we’ll transition in a second to what you are doing. We have a few questions from the audience that hit that area. Um, a couple of quick observations, like a few. I can’t remember. I have so many videos out. I’ve said so much stuff. But basically at some point in the past, I was like, we’re all focusing on Google.

This was like five years ago or something. And I’m like, there could be a scenario, right? Yahoo was huge. MySpace, like fill in the blank. Huge dominant companies fall off. Like something happens. It could be an external force. They could crumble from within, but like shit happens and Apple could come out with their search engine to be default on the phones, right?

Huge, right? That will take a pretty giant chunk. Let’s say open AI has their search engine of some kind or. Something that replaces Google. All of a sudden you go from like whatever, 90 to 95% saturation in the search engine market to like 50%. Mm-Hmm. . Then it’s splintered. Mm-Hmm. . Then someone can make their whole business where they’re like, I do Apple, SEO, I do that.

Yeah. And it doesn’t, like, people back then thought it was like crazy. But the thing is like, there’s just too many examples of dominant companies. Yeah. They’re like lost

Matt: touch. Well, that’s, I mean, you could, I, I learned that lesson, uh, back in 20. 18 or 2016 when Amazon was like, we’re going to just going to cut your affiliate stuff.

And I’m like 2017 and 2020. Yeah. And I’m like, Oh, so right. And then I had this saying where I was like, you’re basing your entire business on a, on a, and it’s being run by a board and you don’t have a seat. Right. So it’s like, You’re just like, I’m, I hope that the board gets together and says, we like affiliate marketing.

Let’s pay them more, but they’re not. And you can’t, you have no say. And so you’re going to base your entire, it’s like, you know, it’s the, it’s the ad apocalypse on YouTube. It’s like, I mean, they make all our money from YouTube ads. And it’s like, until you don’t, and, and it doesn’t even, it’s not even like they just cut it and you’re, it’s gone.

Sometimes I feel like that would sometimes be better, right? Where it’s like, no, no, no. We’re just going to cut it like in half a little bit. Yeah. Or like 25%. And you’re like, And if you, and I, look, uh, I. I think a lot of businesses fail because of bad accounting. I would say that like, that is the, the, the Achilles heel of most businesses.

And that’s just an observation because I’m in the pool industry. We had to learn, or we I’ve always known how to manage money in the ups and downs because we have them every year. It’s like it happens it’s so it’s like. We know that come September, which is exactly when they just, you know, the, the helpful content update came out, we know start hoarding because, or like all that money you made over the summer, it’s got to last for the next six months because we don’t start making money until like the end of May.

And then it, and then, so we’re making good money in September because we’re still collecting from the previous month or whatever. And so, or you know, we’re, we’re not, and then we’re not buying inventory anymore. So it’s, it’s all ca it’s all cash flow. Mm-Hmm. . I believe that that mentality, thinking that way and knowing when to hold essentially and stop and lower spending and just keep control of spending has saved me, has saved my ass so many times in all of these ups and downs.

When it, when Amazon got hit, when this, this HSE or whatever it’s called. Or hc, what is it called? Help, H-C-U-H-C-U happened. Uh, and something else will inevitably happen at some point, you know? Uh, so yeah, I, I feel like having that muscle built has been, has served me well.

Doug: It, um, and just to clarify. The accounting issue is essentially like people not managing cashflow.

They’re like, Oh, holy shit, I made like 15, 000. And they don’t realize like a third of that is taxes.


Doug: So that wraps up part one of this interview with Matt Giovinissi. There are two other parts, so be sure to check those out on your podcast player or over on YouTube. And please check out Ranking Revolution. Again, you can sign up for the email list if you are, if the episodes aren’t available yet, you just sign up for the email list, but should be very obvious if you follow the link and it should be out pretty soon.

I’m not a hundred percent sure when I’m launching, so that’s why it’s a little bit vague, but thanks a lot for checking out this episode and check out Matt’s stuff. He’s publishing podcast over on money lab.