Deepak Shukla: Ranking No.1 In Life & On Google | E16

Deepak Shukla: Ranking No.1 In Life & On Google | E16

#16: Ranking No.1 In Life & On Google with Deepak Shukla

Do you even SEO? Still playing by rules you heard 5 years ago? Well, ya better step it up because all the #youngandprofiters are doing it! In this episode we chat with Deepak Shukla, career coach and founder of the award-winning SEO agency Pearl Lemon. Deepak has lived a lot of life in his short 33-years. He was an up-and-coming rapper, started several businesses, trained as a British soldier, backpacked through over 50 countries and the list of his extraordinary experiences go and on! Tune in to find out why randomness is your best strength and hear Deepak’s best personal lessons and SEO tips to rank number one in life and on Google, Youtube and more!

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[00:00:44] You are listening to YAP, Young and Profiting podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit.

[00:00:51] I'm your host, Hala Taha, and today we're speaking with Deepak Shula, founder of the award-winning SEO agency, Pearl Lemon, and a [00:01:00] career coach who helps his clients achieve their goals to design a life they love. Deepak has lived a lot of life in his short 33 years. He was an up and coming rapper, started several businesses.

[00:01:11] He's a trained British soldier, a marathon runner went backpacking through over 50 countries and the list of his extraordinary experiences go on and on. Tune in to this episode to find out why randomness is your best strength and hear Deepak's best personal lessons and SEO tips to rank number one. In life and on Google.

[00:01:37] Hey Deepak, thanks for joining Young and Profiting podcast.

[00:01:40] Deepak Shukla: Hala, I'm really excited to be here. 

[00:01:42] Hala Taha: You're based in the UK, right? 

[00:01:44] Deepak Shukla: Correct. I am in London in a little place called Fullham, which is zone two London for anyone who is in the UK, that's listening. 

[00:01:51] Hala Taha: Very cool. I have a ton of listeners out in the UK, so you better represent

[00:01:56] Deepak Shukla: Absolutely. Worried . 

[00:01:59] Hala Taha: All right. I actually [00:02:00] think it's gonna be an awesome conversation because you have one of the most unique stories I've ever heard of, which is why I brought you on the show. Seems like you've squeezed every bit of excitement out of life, and I can't wait to get into all that, your story, your background. But first, let's start from this point in time.

[00:02:16] Deepak Shukla: Okay. 

[00:02:16] Hala Taha: Tell us about who you are today. 

[00:02:19] Deepak Shukla: Brilliant. Great question and amazing introduction. I'm worried . My name is Deepak. I feel like I'm getting on a blind date now. I run a company called Pearl Lemon. We are we're fast becoming a media group, so we started as a SEO agency and we are now expanding aggressively.

[00:02:37] So that's what I do in work. In life I have a cat called Jenny and my wonderful partner Daniela, we live here in Fulham and that's what I do today. 

[00:02:46] Hala Taha: Awesome. One of the ways that we found you was through a TED Talk where you proposed that randomness is a person's best strength. So I thought this would be a great introduction about you and your philosophy about life. So tell [00:03:00] us about this concept. How did you come to this realization? 

[00:03:03] Deepak Shukla: Diversity is, I think, at the core of every human being to the same extent that one can love, one can hate and love in the same moment. And we sometimes, because of perhaps the world that we're coming from, perhaps the industrial age, we seek to pigeonhole people and to use a frame to define someone.

[00:03:21] And that doesn't serve all of the amazing things that a lot of people do that they never speak of. And it also does not serve all of the amazing things that you could do, that you don't because of this need to be a particular type of person. I think the embracing the spontaneity, the opportunity of whatever kind of comes into your life or wherever you reach out and grab, actually can help you become that much more of really a dominant force in wherever you choose or wherever you [00:04:00] choose to ultimately live out your power.

[00:04:01] If you are going to decide to go on a journey of being a host of an amazing podcast. Then all of the things that you've done up to that moment, whether it's been travels to Indonesia, whether it's been doing field work in Somalia, whether it's been helping your mom in her software update for Skype on her phone, so you can talk to her.

[00:04:24] All of these things are part of the amazing randomness that I think we should embrace and actually helps us become that much more powerful when we go and do the thing that we love. 

[00:04:34] Hala Taha: Yeah, that's really powerful. That's really interesting stuff. So before we deep dive into your entrepreneurship adventures and get all the insight about, best practices for SEO, because I definitely wanna get into that.

[00:04:46] Deepak Shukla: Yeah. 

[00:04:46] Hala Taha: Let's talk about your specific randomness. What makes Deepak special and maybe some of the life lessons that you learned from each one of 'em. One thing that caught my attention, because we stalk our guests and [00:05:00] do an enormous amount of research, is that you are a rapper and you went under stage names like MC Bionic and Deep Impact.

[00:05:08] Deepak Shukla: Oh wow.

[00:05:08] Hala Taha: And you had a very long and serious rap career. So tell us about that experience. And we actually have a lot in common with this . 

[00:05:17] Deepak Shukla: Oh wow. Thank you first of all for having spotted that and the bionic, wow, you brought back memories. Hala, I love music. I always have. I remember grabbing one of my mom's cassettes that had her, like Bollywood Budgeons they're called, or like Indian songs, recording right over that stuff and just having dj like an MC on repeat.

[00:05:37] That graduated to me discovering that, I think it's Michael Jackson's beat it. That has an instrumental section literally about for the first 60 seconds, and I recall just literally running to the cassette player. Playing those 45 seconds trying to write something down, it, running out, and Michael Jackson coming in, which was [00:06:00] beautiful, but then me being like, no, damn you, Michael. And then stopping the tape and rewinding it and that was the genesis. 

[00:06:07] Hala Taha: That's awesome. So tell us about what you went on to do as a rapper. Like how serious did you get about it and what did you learn from the experience. 

[00:06:14] Deepak Shukla: So I ended up joining a group, so Dark Side Soldiers or the Dark Side Family. We were a group of MCs based outta some states in Acton in West London.

[00:06:25] We ended up getting involved in rap battles, running out back doors cuz people were coming to the front door to try and beat us up and stuff. We hosted our own parties, performed at several lovers and I was part of our own little crew and gang if you will, that developed into beginning to perform on stages at university, releasing my first kind of cd, unseen and unknown, getting nominated as a West Midlands Artist of the month being on BBC TV, us trying to push onto television and then [00:07:00] radio, me leaving that behind a little bit because academia took precedent but then also returning to it post university. I went and got a corporate job, hated that corporate job. Left that corporate job to start a recording studio, deep impact recordings to then renew my rap career once again. And yeah, Hala, it's been an amazing journey actually. Just music within itself from really 14 up till about 24. It was. A significant part of my life.

[00:07:28] Hala Taha: Wow. And we have a lot in common, so I used to wanna be a singer, and I actually worked at Hot 97. Oh. I was Angie Martinez's assistant for at least three years. And yeah, I had this whole singing passion and I recorded a whole album. One thing that I learned from being a singer is being a good public speaker.

[00:07:46] Did it help you get over your stage fright and make you just always willing to be the center of attention? 

[00:07:51] Deepak Shukla: Absolutely. I think music really teaches you the art of improv. Especially rapping, so [00:08:00] stage presence and the ability to being able to think on my feet. When people ask me challenging questions like what you don't know, is that before I was talking to you, I've launched a second agency with a guy who was on a training program that, that I built called Pearl Lemon Leads.

[00:08:17] He was in a board meeting with a business that I've got no idea about. He was struggling a little bit and I said, put me on speaker, just call me now. And they started asking all kinds of questions that I had no preparation for, but actually it's been the whole rap thing. It's given me my preparation. It's been getting into these rap battles, going onto stages or recording 150 songs by myself because I wanted to record and that whole creative process, as so well, Hala, it's amazing and it really does set you up for conversation, presentation, improvisation.

[00:08:53] So it's really been such an amazing asset as I've moved forward, which I didn't really know at the time that I was doing [00:09:00] it. 

[00:09:00] Hala Taha: Yeah. Another wild thing you did was live homeless for one week.

[00:09:05] Deepak Shukla: Oh yeah. 

[00:09:05] Hala Taha: That must have been really life changing. Tell us about that. 

[00:09:08] Deepak Shukla: You know what, I was at a difficult stage over my life.

[00:09:11] That was the stage at which I was leaving music a little bit. I'd got into a relationship damaging one with a musician within the industry, and she was violent towards me. I got into marathon running, which is something you probably can ask me about in a while and I remember the day that I left to go and live homelessly was the day after I came back from the Oslo Marathon in Norway, and I went away for six nights, seven days to experience what it was like to be homeless. It's touched my family. My uncle has been selling something called the big issue and has been homeless on and off and in various types of institutional housing for a long time, and my family, having come from [00:10:00] rural India and been born in villages and stuff, it's something that because of that as well as perhaps me trying to seek some meaning led me onto this journey of being homeless and wow.

[00:10:13] Hala Taha: What'd you learn?

[00:10:14] Deepak Shukla: I learned how easy it is to become ignorant of all of the pain and suffering that stands in front of you. I have also learned why in some instances, it's just the only way to survive. Because you've got your own world, you've got your own problems and equally, I think on the streets, I just saw this other world ,Hala. And it really upset me. I saw people shooting up in the streets. I met people who had massive addictions of abuse or gambling or drugs as, as well as meeting people that had established careers. And I think that, the biggest single learning that I took away from that is it taught me to appreciate what I have.

[00:10:56] Because there's always a new bottom. When [00:11:00] you think you're at the bottom of the barrel, there's people out there that will make what you have looked like the most amazing thing in the world. And that has taught me really to just appreciate the opportunities that I'm given with this life that we have.

[00:11:13] Hala Taha: Not many people would go ahead and put themselves in that situation, and it just shows how much, like you're just willing to make yourself uncomfortable to experience things. Cool.

[00:11:23] Deepak Shukla: Thank you.

[00:11:24] Hala Taha: So you've done so many other random things that we actually don't even have time to cover. You've backed packed through 50 different countries. You've lived in, I think nine different countries. You're a British Army reservist. You've started so many different companies. You're still so young, but you've done so much. So often I hear people saying that they just don't have enough time. Oh, I don't have time.

[00:11:46] What's your advice to those who feel like they don't have enough time? Because you're not even 35, I think, and you've done so much already in your life. So what's your advice to those kind of people? 

[00:11:55] Deepak Shukla: I think that the only way that you can put yourself into a [00:12:00] place of expansion is you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

[00:12:06] It's literally the only way you need to live by that as a rule and as a means of moving forward. A lot of these things that have happened have come from places of, I feel overwhelmed, I feel anxious, I feel scared. I feel worried. And I think that for anybody who wants to try and find time.

[00:12:27] It's really, it's about creating anchors. It's about creating anchors. I think Hala that the real way to get something done is to get out your credit card, find a reason that will move you to actually living outside of your comfort zone. For me, a pivotal moment was going to a self-development conference and coming out of that and in my moment of madness, you know those moments where we feel excited, we feel inspired.

[00:12:58] We maybe heard someone say [00:13:00] something on a YouTube clip or something, somewhere on a podcast or a conversation. Use that moment. That's the moment where you attach an anchor to whatever it is that you've dreamed of, and it doesn't even matter if you don't fulfill it, right? This is the thing that people that I find crazy, okay, I've run marathons, but I've also failed many more.

[00:13:20] I've done Iron Man, but I've also screwed up a lot. I'm a British Army reservist, but ultimately, I didn't succeed in my application to the British Special Forces, and it's not about being successful. It's really just about the act of going out there and doing something that you're afraid of. And I think that when you put your credit card down, when you use something like money as an incentive, then I think everything else can follow. 

[00:13:44] Hala Taha: I actually talked to this with Ben Hardy on episode number seven, all about investing. Investing in your dreams, and that kind of commitment just makes you take that extra step forward. It's all about just taking action, like you said, getting over your fears.

[00:13:58] That's very important to keep in [00:14:00] mind. Progressing in life. 

[00:14:02] Deepak Shukla: Yeah, agreed. 

[00:14:03] Hala Taha: You mentioned earlier that you quit your first proper job right after university, I think it was at Deloitte. Just months into the job. Why did you decide that corporate life was not for you, and how did you know that your destiny was entrepreneurship?

[00:14:17] Deepak Shukla: I knew that corporate life wasn't for me because I remember meeting an associate partner at a networking event. He was who I could become seven years into the future. He had quite kind of sunken eyes. He was a man of few words and Hala I looked at him and I thought, fuck, this is not where I wanna be . This is not what I want for my life in seven years from now.

[00:14:47] And you know what, here's the interesting part. It's not that I even wanted to be an entrepreneur in my twenties, I don't think I've been an entrepreneur in my twenties. I think that what I really wanted was just [00:15:00] adventure, exploration, and discovery. I think that a lot of people get told of two paths ultimately right now. They get told of a corporate gig. They get told of, don't do a corporate gig. You can either do some form of being an entrepreneur, whether it's vis-a-vis digital nomading, or whether it's start a tech company. These really are the three routes. And you know what? I just knew that I didn't want to be a consultant.

[00:15:27] I knew that I loved music, and that's a big part of why my twenties were filled with randomness, because I was really just exploring. Seeing what was out there. 

[00:15:40] Hala Taha: Yeah. I think it's so important for people to realize that like in your twenties, it's so important to just get experience. Just take the experiences, follow your dreams.

[00:15:48] It sounds so cliche, but just take the time, like you're still young in your twenties, . Some people feel old when they're 20 already, and it's just just can't believe it. , 

[00:15:57] Deepak Shukla: I completely 100% agree with you that people get old too [00:16:00] fast and it's wow. This life is beautiful.

[00:16:01] Travel and transport has never been cheaper. Learning how to do anything that you want exists for you on YouTube. , it's just about prompting action in your life and learning one practical skill. There's one skill that's not that hard that everyone needs to figure out, right? The, there's one skill I believe that will set you free.

[00:16:18] The one skill is learning how you can make three to $4,000 a month working 15 to 20 hours a month. If you can figure out how to do that, you can buy your freedom for your entire twenties. That's one consulting gig where you check in two hours a week, for example, and they pay you $3,000 a month. You could live on that. You could go abroad, you could live in Malta, you could go to the say shells, you could scuba dive, you could bungee jump, you could learn a language. One, one gig. It's all that you need and everybody's in this rush. To start a company and it's dude, I went to Iron Man, right?

[00:16:56] Considered to be the hardest. One day I see 70 year olds doing [00:17:00] Iron Man, blew my mind. It blew my mind. And that changed everything for me when I realized, wow, Deepak, everybody's in a rush, but life is long. You can start a company in your fifties Yeah. And become a billionaire by the time you're 68. Why the rush?

[00:17:15] Why the hurry? 

[00:17:16] Hala Taha: Yeah, I'm on the same page. Everybody needs to just slow down and take their experiences because just getting those skills are gonna make you better later on. I started a blog site when I was like 24. I'm in a corporate now, but literally everything that I learned and why I was so successful entering corporate later in life is because I could web design, I could social media, I can write, I can lead, I can, . All these things that I just learned because I was forced to, and you've gotta just put yourself in the position where you're forced to learn things that other people, your age or whatever it is, wouldn't necessarily learn so. 

[00:17:50] Deepak Shukla: I completely agree that randomness that you built in with that journey makes you formidable when you go into the corporate workplace because you've got a resource that you can draw [00:18:00] upon that no one else has. It's like your superpower. 

[00:18:02] Hala Taha: Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about your work life. So you did all these cool things, but you also sustained yourself in the process.

[00:18:11] So give us a snapshot of all the different adventures that you did, your startups, your failures, and how you got up to what you do now at Pearl Lemon. 

[00:18:19] Deepak Shukla: Definitely. So I left Deloitte. I before Deloitte was a literature major, like an arts major at university. So I spent my time learning reading Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Chabert, Flaubert, all of this stuff.

[00:18:32] Then I went to Deloitte and I was a tax consultant. What I knew leaving when I handed in my resignation was like, Deepak, you don't have one clue about how to make money. And then what I did, was two things. One, what I do have is I'm British Indian, right? My parents grew up in, in India and came here to give us a better life.

[00:18:51] So what that gave me, was work ethic. That was the first thing that I knew that I had. The second thing that I knew that I had was that I [00:19:00] could read, because I was a literature major, I was like, I can read and I can out read, maybe the best of them . So I took to Amazon, I went to Google, I went to the bestsellers, and I bought the first 10 books on the list at that time.

[00:19:13] The Four hour work week, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The a hundred dollars startup, whatever it might have been and that was really the beginnings of my education that taught me a lot of things. I then began to implement, so my first business was Deep and Pat Recordings, that was my recording studio.

[00:19:30] It was in a spare room at my mom's house. Musicians would come in via our backdoor into the kitchen where my mom was making chapatis and lentils and Indian food. They'd come through the kitchen into the studio where they'd record music. The studio was built from wood from my local carpenter's shop, and the soundproofing was from my local maintenance store where I bought, carbon fiberglass, which is used in loft insulation that transitioned into a couple of studios. [00:20:00] I had the green, so the red room and the blue room. I learned about hiring. I learned about how to hire really badly. I learn about a cash-based business and how that's just horrendous for accounting. I did all of these things that business shut down and really what followed Hala was a series of ventures.

[00:20:18] All founded upon okay, I need to make some money . So the studio shut down and I remember a friend of mine said, Deepak, you're an English graduate. Why don't you teach English as a tutor? So I said, okay, I'll do that. So I signed up to an agency. I discovered that they were paying me 18 pounds per hour and the client, the parents were paying 36. I thought, hang on, I can do this. This isn't that hard. So I figured out how to use Wick, the website builder . I built my own site. I found out where you could order flyers from. I did some really basic design. I then looked up, which tells you where all of the car parks in London are.

[00:20:55] And then I started hitting up car parks with all of my flyer. I was then getting [00:21:00] thrown out of car parks removed by security from shopping centers, , but I was only targeting the cars with baby seats in them, or the five door estates that I thought would have parents that ultimately got me up to five to maybe 10,000 pounds per month.

[00:21:14] I then discovered online listings because I thought I don't wanna just always go out and fly. I wanna do something online. So I put my first classified add up that was on Gumtree. That helped the business take a significant revenue bump because I discovered this world of students who studied psychology that did not realize that psychology had a statistical module in the course.

[00:21:34] And that scuffed, a lot of these students and a lot of these students happened to be international students who had money and stuff. So as soon as I got a call from someone saying, Hey, I'm at my dad's office in Regent Street and I'm struggling, bloody blah blah. And I was like, oh yeah, it's 60 pounds an hour.

[00:21:48] And they're like, fantastic. When can you come? I did the first couple of lessons discovered that there was this whole world of students pivoted and ended up transforming my tutoring agency and then it transitioned to me trying startups. [00:22:00] I raised some money. I took the money abroad and spent it partying, got in a lot of trouble.

[00:22:05] The investors were not happy, but I was partying, so I was happy slash unhappy. Yeah, there's been this kind of whirlwind of events, Hala, and what happened that brings me to today, to answer your question. At 30, and as you said, this was all in and amongst, like living in Lisbon, fighting Thai kickboxing in Rio or whatever the, whatever I was doing and wherever I was doing it, I at 30 decided that I wanted to come home. And, I began to, as really Jack Ma talks about with his growth about Alibaba. He says that in your twenties it's all about experience and in your thirties it's really about beginning to grow something and do something that you could maybe look to achieve legacy from. And I didn't really know it at the time, but I did know at 30, when I launched Pearl Lemon, October, 2016, I realized that, okay, I want to grow some roots [00:23:00] now.

[00:23:00] I wanna do something that, or I wanna build a business that I can be proud of and still is around in a couple of years because I had a track record of starting something, getting bored, things happening, and not sticking around and kicking out and that's where I am today, and we've got an SEO agency.

[00:23:16] We're okay. We did maybe 300,000 pounds in the last year. That's, I don't know, that's maybe $400,000 or whatever it might be. That's been a wild journey because we bootstrapped, . I was, again, back at my mom's house, I had no cash. I'd ran outta money. I'd come back from the Army and I was like, all right, I need to make some money.

[00:23:32] What do I know? I'm good at marketing. Okay, let's go with that. And now, yeah, we've got a couple of companies that we set up. The meeting that was on just before was for the new business. It's again, another whirlwind. But I enjoy the madness, I enjoy the chaos, and that's where I am at today. 

[00:23:47] Hala Taha: Yeah, so at what point did you learn SEO, that's what I don't understand. Like you had all these experience. At what point were you learning SEO or is this something you just took on and learned everything about and then started this company? 

[00:23:59] Deepak Shukla: So I [00:24:00] knew a lot of different strands of digital marketing simply cause I'd had to, when you raise money, , you have to wear many different hats.

[00:24:08] And the experiences I had at Deeper Pat recordings when I learned just about the process of tagging people on Facebook back in 2008 and what that meant about then someone appearing in someone else's newsfeed, then that moved onto, for example, Gumtree, the classified ad site I told you about, I discovered that if I keyword stuffed a title, I would literally make an extra 1500 pounds that month because I would appear in many more searches.

[00:24:33] That then transitioned into trying tech startup meet my tutor and trying to list our site on all of these different directories, startup ranking. And then when I started my agency, I looked at what I perceived to be a space that was technical enough for a business to want to outsource. That was interesting to me.

[00:24:51] And that would lead to retainer income, meaning that what is it that people pay for that if they find a good provider they'll stick with for years? And I thought SEO. So [00:25:00] then what followed was aggressive learning, if you will, that happened in the same process as I just described before.

[00:25:06] I bought a couple of books. I also went onto YouTube. I also went onto Udemy. I also paid for, Brian Dean's Backlinko, his paid program. So I spent about $5,000 in paid programs and then I spent about a hundred hours maybe learning over the course of a couple of weeks. And I then realized that already put me into, a certain finite percentile of people that knew enough about SEO to do a pretty good job and then off and away. And it was just from there really Hala. 

[00:25:33] Hala Taha: You hit exactly the right point, which I wanted you to, is that you weren't an SEO expert, but you had learned it, and you had used it. And it's not just for like marketing and tech geeks. Anybody can use seo and it just part of life now, like the internet is life and the doorway to the internet is search. And so you better know how to make yourself visible and searchable and noticeable. 

[00:25:56] Deepak Shukla: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. 

[00:25:58] Hala Taha: You chose to have a global and [00:26:00] remote team. How do you manage that type of a team and why did you choose that model? 

[00:26:05] Deepak Shukla: I chose the model because it's what I know. I am used to being by myself a lot of the time, day to day, and that meant that I didn't wanna have to have a team next to me every day.

[00:26:15] So I just naturally began hiring remotely. So that was why. As to how it works, a lot of it is about letting go of control and accepting the, you need to empower people. And trusting them to do great work and accept also that a lot of the time they won't. But what hiring globally does give you is a global economy to draw upon.

[00:26:38] Hala Taha: Yeah. I personally think that this is the way, the future, this is the most cost effective way. You don't have to pay for a headquarters. The value of money across different countries is so drastic that you can really get somebody talented in like India or the Philippines or something for unheard of rates, and it's great for them.

[00:26:57] And it's just the way of the future. Like even for YAP,[00:27:00] a small podcast. I have eight people on my team. One of them is from Canada, one of thems from Estonia. 

[00:27:05] Deepak Shukla: Brilliant. That's awesome. 

[00:27:06] Hala Taha: That's just the way of life now. So let's get into SEO. Let's pick your brain about all the different things that you know about that area. So how do you define it? 

[00:27:16] Deepak Shukla: Yeah, sure. SEO is ultimately the game of visibility. It's you appearing first or close to first when someone runs a search. And that search doesn't need to be limited to Google. There's LinkedIn search. There's, Instagram search, there's search on Twitter. So, it is the game of optimizing any profile that you've got to make sure that you rank favorably when someone looks up a particular term on that platform.

[00:27:48] Hala Taha: And so like SEO 10 years ago, from what I know, was pretty much like a manipulative and repetitive marketing tactic. But nowadays, algorithms have really turned it into an art form, and it includes [00:28:00] things like branding and content creation and so on. Can you talk about some of the once revered SEO tactics that really don't work anymore?

[00:28:08] Deepak Shukla: Yeah, sure. It's a great question. So keyword stuffing is one thing that we made reference to before and it doesn't work today. Keyword stuffing is really just designed to manipulate search engines, but search engines have become smarter enough to understand that it doesn't mimic the way that people actually read content, so that's one thing that doesn't work anymore.

[00:28:30] The second thing that doesn't work anymore is it's almost like it's stuffing keyword on your actual homepage at the bottom, what often you'd sometimes see is, and you still see it on maybe, LinkedIn sometimes .You'll see lots of different keywords stuffed into either the HTML. So there's also the way of these keywords are presented, so it doesn't just relate to content, like in terms of blog articles.

[00:28:56] It also relates to keywords actually at the bottom of, [00:29:00] for example, a homepage. And that's seen as being quite spammy. Third thing that doesn't work. People still use it. So arguably then it still works. We'll talk about it anyway. So building private blog networks. So private blog networks are ultimately designed to, of course, manipulate Google's rankings.

[00:29:18] It's ultimately a link exchange take into an art form. So in a private blog network, we might have you, we might have me and we might have our friend, Frank. You, me and Frank will all exchange links between our sites to particular pages with the intent that we all, as a consequence, increase our domain authority, increase our actual trust flow, and what we will do is do our best to not reveal to Google exactly how these links have been built, and therefore the network that you build once you put in any link into that network.

[00:29:53] The link becomes a lot more powerful. It's a consequence of the strength of the network. . So then when Google becomes [00:30:00] savvy to what's going on, the PBNs that the whole network basically collapses, including any site that's attached to it. And we do deal with sites in this space that suffer from problems like that.

[00:30:12] Today, we're dealing with a couple of businesses at the moment. Typical industries where people will build, that would be gambling, would be the adult space, would be CBD is a good one. Right now that's quite popular. The reasons that people build links like that is because, a lot of websites won't accept links from gambling sites. They won't accept links from, I don't know, like a lingerie site. They won't accept links from these kinds of sites. So that's like a third strategy that's can work, but it can also end horribly. 

[00:30:39] Hala Taha: And so let's talk about what does work in the ethical way to go about it. So you don't actually get shut down. I know that there's, with SEO, there's like a right way and a wrong way to do things, and let's start with Google rankings, because 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and I read that the first page of Google receives 95% [00:31:00] of web traffic. What are some SEO tactics for Google Rank that will give us some bang for a buck?

[00:31:05] Deepak Shukla: So PR and SEO work together and they merge. So if you are listening guys and you could look at being even on podcasts for example, because what happens is that you get a chance to share your brand's story. You get access to an audience who could reach out to you of course, or socially share your story, which sends social signals to Google, cuz then Google learns it.

[00:31:27] People are actually socially sharing, this podcast, which means that it's a podcast of importance. You also, for example, get maybe a link back cuz it's normal when you're on a podcast or when you present a podcast, you're link back to the website. That's one thing that you can do. Audio is still in its very early stages.

[00:31:45] If video is here, podcast is still early stage. When you compare, basically, long form technical blog content had its heyday. It's still there, but everything is moving towards video now. Facebook are trying to compete with Youtube. Audio is still [00:32:00] at the early enough stage. If you get in, you could do some really interesting stuff with it.

[00:32:04] So that's one space that people don't truly appreciate the power of podcasting and all it can offer in terms of SEO as well as PR and how they work together. The second thing that we could look at are really making sure that you've crossed your T's and dotted your i when it comes to your website's infrastructure.

[00:32:23] Take your url if you're Frank's Coffee Shop, then plug your Frank's Coffee Shop into any free SEO analysis or free SEO audit tool and present those list of problems to a developer. Doesn't matter where the developer's from, find them from India. Find them from, the UK, find them. Just present that list of problems.

[00:32:42] And run a before and off the test pay to have those problems fixed. Run another test. See if your OnPage SEO has improved the process. Can sometimes be, that simple, really Hala, businesses of different kinds will come to us for that process is exactly what happens. You'd find a service provider you'd [00:33:00] comfortable with once you've run a report and you're like I could try and fix these issues, but I don't know what I don't know.

[00:33:04] So the point I'm trying to underline there is don't be afraid to hire someone. 

[00:33:09] Hala Taha: Yeah, definitely. And also, don't be afraid to, if you're tech savvy enough, I know a lot of my listeners are millennials, just learn, read, go on YouTube. Search things like you can, it's okay to know not a lot and start from somewhere and just build your expertise.

[00:33:25] It'll make you a better, more skilled, well-rounded person. Because even if you don't have a business, just being able to optimize your personal brand online is so important. If it's not your area and you'd not interested, hire someone, but don't be afraid to learn. How about YouTube? I had Josh Fetcher. I don't know if you've ever heard of him.

[00:33:44] He's a very well known growth hacker. At the end of the show, he predicted that YouTube would be really hot for 2019 and that B2B businesses would flock to YouTube because it's really unsaturated and it's really easy to still rank for competitive [00:34:00] keywords. Can you tell us about any tips or hacks you have in relation to YouTube SEO?

[00:34:05] Deepak Shukla: Yeah, absolutely. Number one, use the primary keyword at the start of the title. So if you're trying to rank for someone who's looking for entrepreneurship advice, you would want to use the keyword word entrepreneurship advice, or you'd want to think about the semantic search. Semantic search refers to how is it that actually people type in search terms.

[00:34:27] The second thing that you should consider is that 93% of all Google searches are long tail same as YouTube. What that means is that people type in things that are longer than three words. Search is becoming very much more contextual, so you want to consider that with the kind of content that you build.

[00:34:45] So when you are producing content, think about content islands. So if you're producing content, Entrepreneurship, go to Quora, think of the innumerable variations that relate to a singular subject, and then really build for one [00:35:00] keyword with lots of variations in mind, keeping the primary keyword at the front of the actual video. That's the other consideration. 

[00:35:08] Hala Taha: That's awesome. Can you give like a real example with that? 

[00:35:10] Deepak Shukla: Yeah, sure. And this relates to also the next tip. So let's take the example of Entrepreneurship. What ranks in Google tutorial videos do really well? Review videos do really well. Anything that relates to a visual component of search and how does that apply to business?

[00:35:26] So you could really, in trying to rank for entrepreneurial keywords on YouTube, you could produce content around how to start a business, how to start your first business, how to start an online business, how to start an offline business. What is business? And look at all of those variations, and I've just thought of a few in my head, as you've just heard, Google it.

[00:35:49] Find 15 more that are sensible, that focus on a very particular component of how to business and create a bunch of videos that [00:36:00] focus around that particular keyword so that you can gain ownership over it. And then there's the other thing. Make sure that your tags, make sure that your descriptions are in place.

[00:36:08] Make sure that you build some level of interlinking structure between videos so that one video can refer to another. That's also really important. Consider building playlist. That relate to content curation, that's gonna be a big thing probably in 2020, that people are gonna start moving more towards just finding playlists based around particular types of content.

[00:36:29] Have a look at playlists that already exist in your space. See if you can reach out to those playlist owners to see if you can have one of your videos inserted, or try and compete with that playlist by building a better playlist. So there's all of these things that can happen as a consequence of in kind of internal YouTube search.

[00:36:45] Hala Taha: Great advice. I think these are all gems for our listeners. So how about UX experience? So this is user experience for people who are not familiar all about landing page optimization and getting people to take an action. So for example, click on your main button. On [00:37:00] your page. Can you talk about some tips you have for user experience?

[00:37:04] Deepak Shukla: Yes. Yes. Everybody's lazy guys. , everyone's like lazy. Doesn't really wanna read, doesn't want to listen to anything that's hard. Have big buttons, have obvious calls to action. What is the problem that you are solving? right? Think about some of those key tenants. What is the problem that you're solving?

[00:37:25] Is the download now? Join now, click now get this buttoned. Huge. Is it so obvious where it. Is the contrast, right? Are you using clear distinction between colors so the button is so blindingly obvious that the text is so blindingly obvious. Build beautiful things, there's a lot of templates that are beautiful now, so there's not really a reason to have a site that at least meets a minimum standard.

[00:37:52] Templates exist in abundance done for you. Templates do exist in abundance, so I think that there's a lot of core components with [00:38:00] making buttons obvious that are important. Making sure that the UX experience is as you scroll through a site on a mobile is seamless, making sure that everything loads quickly.

[00:38:11] It's probably the biggest thing that I'd say, actually, to be honest with you, Hala, like your site needs to load quickly. It doesn't matter how good your UX is, if it takes too long to load, 40% of users bounce or rather exit a site after three seconds if it hasn't loaded. That's four in 10 people that will just leave.

[00:38:27] Hala Taha: Wow. 

[00:38:28] Deepak Shukla: Or two in five will just leave if it takes more than three seconds to load the page. 

[00:38:32] Hala Taha: That sounds like an art. And speaking of art, content creation is more important than ever. So what are your tips for going viral and writing stories that pop? 

[00:38:41] Deepak Shukla: Personal stories are probably of the utmost importance. I have had a lot more success by speaking about things that don't relate to SEO than I ever have by talking about SEO. So I think that being a singular sector specialist, that concept is beginning to blur. [00:39:00] People plug into Gary Vaynerchuk because he's an entertainment figure as much as he is a motivational speaker.

[00:39:07] And to be honest with you, those two things don't even relate to what his business does. Vaynerchuk Media, or rather, he's an example of it. So have that in mind when you start producing your stories. People just want to read. It's something that at least I'm beginning to call like edutainment, that you need to be educational, but you need to be entertaining.

[00:39:26] . And if you can find some segue with that, then I think that you'll do really well. We're moving into a world where everything is going, video or audio, and the large proportion of marketers are untrained, right? They know how to produce content, but they're untrained storytellers. So learn the art of storytelling.

[00:39:47] Read the book, get the audio, watch the video, pay for some storytelling training, and I think that will be a huge differentiator if you just get that little bit of training because everybody else out there is. [00:40:00] For the large part, untrained when it comes to telling stories through their education.

[00:40:04] Hala Taha: It's so true. People just don't know how to copyright, they just don't know how to connect with people and that is such an important skill going forward as everything becomes online and you've gotta connect with people virtually. You need to do that through your writing for the most part, or your videos or your audio, but it's all the same thing.

[00:40:22] It's all telling stories. So gimme your pitch as to why SEO is important for the average person. A person who's not necessarily in marketing or in tech. Why is SEO important to think about regardless? 

[00:40:37] Deepak Shukla: Let me ask you, when you want to buy something, where do you run a search? There's probably two places I can tell you that I run a search when I went to buy something or when I went to find something, find my local cafe, buy a t-shirt. I will look on Amazon [00:41:00] search a lot of the time, but even more so I'll Google it, right? Where don't I look when I'm thinking about buying something, I don't search anything on Facebook. I don't search anything on social media. Social media is social and it's huge of course for e-commerce, but actually, I go onto Google search when I'm looking for anything, and I just really want you to think about really is in the name and that hopefully should demonstrate what's possible with SEO if you start using it as it's meant to be used for your business.

[00:41:38] Hala Taha: This was so interesting. Where can our listeners go to learn more about you? 

[00:41:43] Deepak Shukla: Head to You will probably find the link that Hala will attach, but Pearllemon.Com if you're interested in the business aspect. Any of those two places or wherever you wanna find me, I'm on those places.

[00:41:57] Hala Taha: Awesome. Yeah, he's really searchable. [00:42:00] We have a YAP Society on Slack, which is basically a community of listeners for our podcast who are, really into the show, really into buttering themselves. Do you have any resources, I know you've written so many eBooks, any resources that we could share with our group?

[00:42:16] Deepak Shukla: Yeah, definitely. I've got a free 14 days training program that talks about how I built my business up to $20,000 a month. So I can share that link with you guys and go through the free training. It'll give you insights into how I got the business to the stages in today. 

[00:42:33] Hala Taha: Thanks, Deepak. This was amazing. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. 

[00:42:36] Deepak Shukla: Oh, hey, I had an amazing time. Thank you. 

[00:42:40] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to Young and Profiting Podcast. Follow YAP on Instagram, at young and profiting, and check us out at 

[00:42:47] And now you can chat live with us every single day on our new Slack channel. Check out our show notes or for the registration link.

[00:42:54] And if you're already active on YAP society, share the wealths and invite your friends. You can find me on Instagram at [00:43:00] YapwithHala or LinkedIn. Just search runny Hala Taha. And a huge thank you to the team, Tim, Danny,Christian, Steve, Stephanie, Nicholas, Ryan, Kayla, Shiv and Julian. Catch you next time. This is Hala signing off.

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