Deepak Shukla is the founder and CEO of Pearl Lemon – an award-winning SEO agency that outranks bigger, better-funded competitors. He’s a leader in helping people grow their businesses and cultivate online reputations, and his work has been featured in TedX talks, as well as on SEMRush, the Huffington Post, UpWork, and Woorank.
However, his journey to get there will surprise you – and includes the British equivalent of an Ivy League education, time spent as a tax consultant at Deloitte, pursuing a career as a rapper that led to him opening for legendary London rap crew Roll Deep, and creating tutoring companies and online education marketplaces.
Today, Deepak joins the podcast to dive deep into meaningful SEO strategies that won’t get you penalized by Google, the power of influencer marketing, how to make it easier than ever for your best possible clients to find you – no matter what industry you’re in.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
You can visit Deepak here. If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to rate and review, and send us all your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org – it may become the topic of an upcoming episode!
[00:00:38] Andrew: Welcome back, friends, to 2018’s final episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. I’m your host, Andrew Rafal, and I can’t believe we are through 2018. The podcast has been growing. The guests we’ve had on has been tremendous and I appreciate each and every one of you for all of your feedback. Today’s show feels like we’re going to end this year with a bang. I’ve got on a fantastic guest who’s going to talk all things digital marketing. His name is Deepak Shukla. He’s not only the founder of Pearl Lemon which is an SEO agency based in London but this serial entrepreneur has had businesses since his teenage years. In fact, what you’ll learn about in the show, he actually built a music recording studio aimed at one of his passions which is rappers inside of his parents’ house right next to the kitchen. Beyond that, the guy’s done two Ironmans, 24 marathons. Does he do it all? He might.
But here’s the deal is that in today’s episode we’re going to go through some of the tips and strategies that you can take away to help position your business and your brand within Google, why YouTube is so important to have videos, what proper content looks like and how you can reach your target audience, your ideal avatar client. We banter back and forth. This is a passion of mine, this digital space, and it’s one that I think you’re going to get a lot of great nuggets from here. So, without further ado, my episode with Deepak Shukla on the Your Wealth & Beyond podcast.
[00:02:18] Andrew: Welcome, Deepak, to an episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. We are super excited to have you on board. How are you today?
[00:02:24] Deepak: Andrew, I’m good and I’m happy to be here, dude.
[00:02:28] Andrew: How are things going in London?
[00:02:30] Deepak: You know what, I guess, winter’s finally arrived, so to speak and the weather’s become a little bit miserable but we can’t complain although that’s what we do best. London is well. We’ve had a good long summer and now, you know, Christmas is coming, but yeah, I’m well and so is London.
[00:02:47] Andrew: Beautiful. If you see a little bit of sunshine, just even half-hour or so, you’ll run out there and enjoy it.
[00:02:53] Deepak: Exactly. Exactly, sir.
[00:02:56] Andrew: So, Deepak, as we get in today and I’m really excited to go through not just your background and your history as an entrepreneur, but really how you delved into and dived feet first into the SEO side of things, but really what I want to start off with is what gets you excited, right? Getting out of bed and working the amount of hours that you do, what is it that makes you do what you do?
[00:03:17] Deepak: Wow. What an amazing question. I think it’s really important in all what has become important is finding something at which I enjoy the process of doing it. So, an example of something that I’ve done historically that I never really enjoyed the process of was training, for example, an Ironman event. So, when I did these long-distance triathlons, I didn’t enjoy cycling particularly. I didn’t enjoy swimming but I did do it because I felt that I wanted to kind of get some level of achievement. So, that meant that the results correspondingly were never really that fantastic. They were nothing to speak about. The difference with doing what I do today is, one, I enjoy the process of building a business and the thrill that comes or the thrill that comes from the hustle. And then the secondary thing I think is, well, I’m 32 now so my interests or my goals are perhaps a little bit more centered and I’ve got a family that I want to work for and I’ve got people that I want to get back to, again, family. And these things really drive me to get up every day to stay excited and also to keep motivated when you get to the business equipment of training for an Ironman swim which is horrible.
[00:04:33] Andrew: Yeah. I mean, definitely a lot of correlation there between building a business and training for an Ironman. I think you got to be crazy, number one, to be both. I mean, I’ve never come close to touching an Ironman. I’ve got some friends out here in Arizona that have done it and it’s just a tremendous feat and takes a lot of time and dedication which of course building a business does as well. But have you always been an entrepreneur? How did you get into the space? I know you’re more of a serial entrepreneur with a couple of things that just started, but how did you transform from growing up in running the businesses that you have today?
[00:05:09] Deepak: Yeah. Definitely. Great question. I think that there’s always been a sense of wanting to poke at things or question the status quo. I think that initially began probably at 14, 15 years old. I wanted to be a rapper then and the way that that kind of unfolded was ultimately going to local shopping centers once I got a demo put together and getting thrown out of shopping centers, ultimately, because you couldn’t really sell on their premises without licenses and I didn’t really know that at the time. So, then what I do is come back the next day with a clipboard and pen to pose as a research student and just promptly start trying to resell my CDs until kind of they caught on that it was the same dude. And then I come back to the bigger shopping centers and go on to a different floor and try and time it so that it be a different security guard to make sure that I could really reap the best return from the same shopping center. So, I think that’s really where my journey began.
[00:06:11] Andrew: Well, let’s hold on a little bit here. So, were you rapping at the time when you were trying to sell the CD or did you just have a boombox with your tracks going on and trying to sell it that way?
[00:06:22] Deepak: Yeah. Exactly. So, I would have a boombox. I would, depending upon where a security guard was and/or the request that was made from a potential customer, I would do some combination of both. So, sometimes there’d be people that want you to freestyle. Other times there’d be people that wanted to hear the song and sometimes you would rap along quietly to the song so that people realize that it actually was you because I’m a kind of – well, I was then also a gawky Indian kid that people would sometimes raise an eyebrow and say, “Dude, is that really you?”
[00:06:58] Andrew: That’s odd. And millennials, the younger ones, we’re going to have in the show notes a link to what a boombox is so you’ll be able to get in there and you’re not going to feel so confused on that. So, that was your first foray in really selling you, in that case. That takes a lot of guts, determination, and smarts trying to outsmart the security guards and not getting arrested and all of those things. I assume you never got really, never gotten true trouble, just had to kind of bolt and run.
[00:07:29] Deepak: Exactly.
[00:07:30] Andrew: So, so that passion for music then, it led to one of your first companies then?
[00:07:36] Deepak: Exactly.
[00:07:37] Andrew: What was it…
[00:07:39] Deepak: Yeah. So, I mean, that was at 14. Music never left me. I guess that became a big kind of framing moment if you will when, as I continued with my music journey, there was this question of a lot of my friends I was doing music with. And academically, not a lot was going on and academically, I was doing pretty good in school so the sensible thing at that time was to go to university and that’s exactly what I went and did. And there was definitely kind of I’d say a fade or a kind of step back from music per se. I kind of returned to it at the back end of University when I discovered, you know, I ran into a different set of academic, well, a different set of problems at university academically because I just wasn’t engaged. I managed to kind of pull through. I went to our version in the UK of an Ivy League university if you will, at Warwick and I went and got a kind of corporate job, which is as a kind of tax consultant on one of the graduate programs.
This was like in 2008 or 2009 and honestly, I still remember going to Matthew Ellis was his name. He’s like a 5’1” chap who was the highest earning tax partner I remember across the across the Big 4. That was the gossip around the office and he earned maybe £750,000 salary and apparently like a £1.5 million bonus. Of course, it was big money then. It’s still big money now. And I still remember, Andrew, going into his office and asking, you know, handing in my resignation and he said, “Well, Deepak, what are you going to do?” And I told him, “I’m going to be a rapper, Matthew.” And that was the restart or the rekindling of that journey at 22 years old.
[00:09:30 Deepak: And I think what I thought was sensible as to how I should begin this journey was, well, maybe it’d be sensible if I had my own recording equipment because then not only can I record my own music, I could also bring in musicians to record their music and I could use it as a means of networking and kind of vertical integration or whatever the technical term for it is. I was an art student. I didn’t really understand the true business terms of what I was doing. I thought, “Okay. Great. Let’s do that.” And that was a really interesting journey in of itself because I think I had about £3,000 left in kind of money, so to speak, after everything was said and done and I call up a couple of studios that I googled and asked them, “What can I do with £3,000 in a room that’s maybe let’s say, well, I own a 6 meters x 6 meters squared?” And they were like, “You can’t do anything with that budget.” So, then it really was a journey of saying, “Well, I need kind of a mic booth to record music but apparently, I need soundproofing.” So, then I was googling what’s soundproofing made of and I discovered it was made of carbon fiberglass.
And then I quickly discovered that carbon fiberglass was what you find in loft insulation and then I went and googled loft insulation and found that I could buy it from my local DIY store for about $5. So, then I was like, “Aha! This is what I’m going to do.” So, between going to my DIY store, which is where I then also discovered that, well, I could probably buy some wood and have it kind of cut out and turned into a little recording booth, just enough space for me to stand and kind of swivel my hips, move one step out so maybe one square meter let’s say, enough basically to record some music if you stood perfectly still. And then there was the problem, of course, for what I do with this loft insulation. Well, I probably need like a stapler maybe to staple it to the actual inside of that wooden-framed recording studio that I was building. So, then I also got that at the DIY store like a wood stapling gun. I then went to a charity store to get some kind of old quilts or I bought fabric rather, sorry, to staple the actual carbon fiberglass to the wall.
[00:11:42] Deepak: And slowly kind of in a bric-a-brac fashion, I began to build my studio and then it came to marketing questions like, “Well, how am I going to get someone?” and what I haven’t told you was that this studio is built in my mom’s house, right? And I’m British Indian and my parents are from India. So, the studio was in the room next to my mom’s kitchen and to get to the kitchen, I didn’t want people to come through the front door through kind of the hallway into the kitchen. So, everyone would come around through the back entrance, but to get into the studio, you need to go into my kitchen, where there still are the sweet smells of India. So, my mom would be there cooking lentils, cooking rice, and chapattis and ultimately, I’ve had these musicians coming in. And to first get them there, I thought, “Well, it’s got to look the part.”
So, what I then decided was well what if now that I’ve got the outside of this wooden frame, well, what if I hang up some kind of records there and I can make it a little bit with the right frame and crop, I can make it look like I’m in a recording studio? So, again, I discovered whilst I was browsing the local charity store that had all of these old records, U2, Bee Gees, old Michael Jackson records, whatever there was I could get my hands on. So, I spent about $20 and I got maybe 20 vinyls and I literally nailed them to the wall just so it fit enough of a frame that if you stuck your head in front of it like you’re in a recording studio, and then I got all of my mates to come over. I’m going to need a white kid, I’m going to need an Indian kid, I’m going to need a Chinese kid, I’m going to need black dude, I’m going to need a girl, I’m going to need a guy, I’m going to need a young kid. So, I gathered basically anybody, everybody, and I just stuck them up against this wall, slapped to my logo in the picture using, again, some free tool from the Internet. And this really was a story of how I journeyed on with that business of what was my first business that you could still find online today if you googled Deep Impakt Recordings.
[00:13:44] Andrew: Amazing. Talk about bootstrapping from the ground up. The innovation, you know, I just imagined the family dynamic of your mom thinking, “What is he doing? Spent all this money in university. He had a great job at the loot. He was climbing or starting to climb the corporate ladder,” and now you are creating out a studio within the house itself and having people come. Man, I wish we had that on film. That have had been interesting.
[00:14:11] Deepak: Yeah. It was quite a journey and a lot of these guys would come. There would be a lot of rappers have come and a lot of rappers, well, maybe not a lot of rappers but some rappers smoke weed, and it was always interesting. My mom would say, “What’s that funny smell?” because she didn’t know what that smell was and it quickly came the case of me telling all of the musician, “Right. If you’re smoking, smoke at the bottom of the garden. You don’t smoke in the house. You don’t smoke near the kitchen door.”
[00:14:42] Andrew: Did you grow up in Central London or in London Proper itself?
[00:14:45] Deepak: So, I live – yes or no. So, my parents lived near Heathrow Airport. A lot of British, well, a lot of Indian migrants came over there, came there in the 60s and 70s because as the runways were being built, there was a lot of work for migrant Indians. So, there’s this kind of saying or something or rather seeing if you come to London or for those listeners also that have been to London, you’ll find the Indians built the actual airport so worked a lot of the airports. So, Bangladeshis helped build the docks, the Irish were involved in a lot of the buildings, and the actual Africans and Caribbeans work on the underground and that’s really been the spread for a lot of the kind of migrants here today.
[00:15:29] Andrew: Yeah. As I was telling you earlier, I had spent about seven months in London back in the 90s, ‘97 it was, and I lived in Central London and I’m doing this more for my daughter. She’s 12 and she always jokes with me about, “I was on Tottenham Court Road right at the British Museum,” so I had to get that out here. Yeah. I give you a story. I was actually about three months in there and we knew where – the traffic goes different than America and it was a little bit after – I was at the pub and I had a couple drinks, but I was going to see a friend and I was going across the street or trying to hail a cab and I walked out and literally got hit by one of the red double-decker buses. I have not told this on the podcast before.
[00:16:10] Deepak: Oh, wow.
[00:16:12] Andrew: Fortunately, it wasn’t going very fast, but fast enough that I got hit and thrown and I remember to this day that thankfully it didn’t hit my head. I get up and my first thought was, “I got to go apologize.” So, I walked into the bus and he’s looking at me he’s shocked but everybody on the bus was, and I apologized to him. And he looked at me and he goes, “You stay put.” He had to call police and I was freaking out because I thought it was my fault and I ran back to my flat and get all these college kids then I tell them the story. Nobody first believes me but then they see me all cut up and at the end of the day when they say, “Hey, I felt like I got hit by a bus.” The next morning guess what? I felt like I got hit by a bus and it’s one of those things we were back a couple years ago, and I just get a little trepidation every time I see the red double-decker buses, but I did survive it. Very fortunate because I know that that story could’ve ended a lot a differently. But anyway, I regress. I just thought that just…
[00:17:09] Deepak: Oh, it’s a great story.
[00:17:11] Andrew: And as I assume as you started building the music recording business, you at that point you started looking at marketing, right? How do I get people to know and I know you just want to your story of making you seem bigger than you are, but is that where some of the education and the passion came for what you’re doing now, which is becoming a leader in helping companies position themselves using search engine optimization and really the formation of your company, Pearl Lemon?
[00:17:41] Deepak: Great question, Andrew. Really, I didn’t know it then, but of course, yes, because the question was really a visibility and the question was the kind of positioning gain. The question was online reputation and how was it I could, number one, initially get people to come to my studio so initially, I was looking at, you know, the equivalent of what tags were there then socially, I would try and use the right hashtags, I would try then also engage in some improvements in marketing by thinking, well, if I can get this guy and this guy, at that time it would’ve been a musician called like Nasty Jack, it would’ve been a musician called Storming. These were rappers that had a lot of credibility in the underground scene. I thought, well, if I can try and connect with these guys on Facebook and build up a conversation, they’ll come and record and then they’ll tweet out or link out to the music that they produce with me or I can use one of their soundbites and some of my future marketing materials.
So, these were some of the things I really began doing kind of unknowingly without formally understanding what they were alongside, of course, then thinking that, “Well, hey, maybe I should also put all of this music perhaps onto YouTube. Maybe I should for the musicians that record remixes make sure that I put that content out faster because remix content tends to be searched more and I saw this correlation between, well, these guys that are doing remixes of songs that have been leaked before a public release or about to come out, have got the same end goal that my studio has which is visibility. So, then it really began with some combination of influencer marketing, looking at YouTube search, getting and gathering customer kind of testimonials via videos, tagging people on Facebook as aggressively as I could every time they came to my studio.
[00:19:30] Deepak: And then making sure that I inserted once I got some of this content online, hashtags that I thought would help bring people that didn’t know these fans or rather these musicians initially and this was maybe like 2008, 2009 and this was where as you rightly said, but without really realizing, I began to understand the fundamentals of trying to market a business.
[00:20:03] Andrew: And so, were you able to like, I mean, Nasty Jack and Storm and Grindboy like those two, were you able to bring them in and start leveraging that and start getting your target audience who you are looking to build a relationship with?
[00:20:20] Deepak: Absolutely. So, Nasty Jack and Storming were the two of about maybe five or ten people that I reached out to. Nasty Jack, Storming, and there was one other guy I think that came. Actually, that’s it. Actually, YSS. So, that was it. So, actually, Nasty Jack and Storming were all interesting characters. Nasty Jack and Storming were part of one community and actually, it was part of another. Actually, it was part of the kind of Somalian music community and they have a very kind of tight and active social media presence. So, those guys came. I produced everything for free for them. I produced, I put that content out, and then I’ve used that and leverage that in terms of looking at other videos that they’d already produced online trying to target fans of their music at large, as well as using it in my own promotional pieces and seeing really Deep Impakt Recording as a consequence of some of these things start to gain leverage.
Because, of course, music when it comes to social sharing and underground music is a great platform to try and build search engine optimization upon because it’s in every musician’s toolbox to try and promote and push their music out anyway. So, it’s really a case of trying to leverage those things that you just outlined and, yeah, some of these guys as I said did come and that really ultimately led to one studio becoming two within that year and then me facing bigger problems of, “Okay. Well, how do I keep run a business that’s bigger than just myself which its own shit show if you will own together?”
[00:21:57] Andrew: Before we go further, I know a lot of the listeners are wanting to know this. Well, how nasty is Nasty Jack?
[00:22:06] Deepak: Gosh, no. He’s a really interesting character. I’ve still got their videos from my studio. I think they’re up on YouTube. I’ll dig them out and stuff. Yeah. Absolutely. It was you learn a lot about pressure, comfort in the face of, you know, I have maybe ten guys come in to the studio basically running my mom’s house to watch one person perform. And you have all of them just around you, around the mixing desks because you’re trying to turn the mix together and everyone wants everything yesterday which is not chained. So, it definitely was an experience and a half.
[00:22:42] Andrew: And so, Pearl Lemon, when did you move and position into building the company around the digital marketing? When was that, and also where did you come up with the name? I always loved to know how you started branding yourself, where that came from.
[00:23:01] Deepak: Good question. So, Deep Impakt Recordings in terms of timeline that was like 2009 to maybe 2012, 2013. Those things that I did in terms of understanding like maybe tagging, looking at search, and also building up a brand name as quickly as I could and inserting a link back in any musician’s content, like for example then the music saying Deep Impakt Recordings where and when I could it linked back to me and there’s a visual way, an audio way, or perhaps a literal way if it was actually written content. They were things that I took in and built into everything else I did moving forward and Deep Impakt Recording I think in our first year we did maybe like $30,000. That’s £24,000 I think it was around that. The second business that I had a go at was Gobsmackers which is a tutoring agency. That got to a stage where it was doing maybe around £100,000 to £120,000.
And what really began to happen was I began to understand the marketing aspect of it first and then aligning that to what it was I was trying to position. And the consistent theme within all of these businesses and as I’m new for example, the tutoring agency where I found SEO and searched work incredibly well was when I began to put up listings on like classified ad sites. So, for example, like on Craigslist you have in the States of course. We have that here, but Gumtree is bigger. You probably know it anyway. And I quickly realized that, well hang on, if I put an advert out as an English tutor, if I look at the other best-performing adverts on Gumtree, they got such a simple algorithm. If I change some of the keywords and included English personal statements, CBN interview expert into the description, as well as the actual title and include it like a really nice smiley image like you guys have on the Bayntree side as you there next to Chris Ronzio, the one that I saw I think just before we got on the call, I discovered that I would literally 3X or 4X my return.
[00:25:03] Deepak: And that really began to extend then to, well, how does this work on Google as well? So, that was kind of the journey in transition and Pearl Lemon today, how did I get the name? You know what, lemon has been something that my partners introduced. We moved away from balsamic vinegar to lemon. She uses lemon for all of her dressings so that’s where the lemon came from. And then pearl was just like random. I knew that I wanted to have lemon in it and it was literally a case of, “Okay. What could I use with lemon? Lemon’s quite a bit of what would be an antonym to that?” and then just beginning to google things that were quite precious and valuable and then trying to stick them together. That’s where Pearl Lemon came from. And then I just, of course, love the, as you said, I got hit or felt like I got hit by a bus. Pearl Lemon for when life gives you lemonade and I just thought, “Okay. Cool. This is it. Screw it. Let’s do it.”
And that was done over the course of about a day of just kind of the keyword lemon and then just random googling based upon a rough idea in my head to find out what worked and what was available.
[00:26:10] Andrew: Love it. Yeah. It just flows together really nicely. Love the logo. It’s refreshing and memorable which is what you’re looking for. So, as we jump into a little bit as we dig deeper today on giving some high-level tips and strategies for the business owner and SEO. What are some of the things that you worked with businesses both large and small? What are some of the things that you see businesses fail at when it comes to their digital marketing at this point as they’re growing their business?
[00:26:38] Deepak: Great question. I think that businesses that build in an easy ability to document, so when I say document, what I mean specifically is recording opportunities. When I say recording, whether that’s via video, whether that’s via a podcast like this, whether that’s in any form, this opportunity to produce content. SEO requires content to use as leverage to then build links, to build to get features, to get recognition, to do all of these things. And I don’t see business owners enough produce content and it’s a lot easier than you think. The act of pressing record and talking to you like I am now. We’re using Zencastr to this. Lots of different things that a business owner could use. And really, it’s a case of just getting started. I think a lot of people want things to be overengineered, overproduced, or worry. And in the beginning, I think it’s really just about taking action.
If people went to the Pearl Lemon site today, some of my videos that have got me the best returns were when inspiration hit me and I just loaded up Facetime on my Mac and I started recording in a kind of noisy café with my hat on and a jacket talking about SEO and people have come back to me and said, “Deepak, those videos are so raw and authentic I really got a sense of authenticity and the energy in what you do and it felt way less overengineered than kind of a boardroom video.”
[00:28:06] Andrew: Right. And we’ve seen that too on our end where we’ve shot professional videos and then we shoot the impromptu just in the office or a quick thank you to a client and I think it’s similar to social media posting where you get the most interaction is exactly as you said, the video or the content that’s the most real, the most real brings that in. I mean, I just was listening in one of your podcasts and I think like you said, the inspiration took you and you were waiting for the tube and you just started recording a couple minute podcast and I can hear the train humming through. So, that obviously, some will look at that and cringe of quality, but I look at that and says, “Wow. He’s got something he needs to share and let’s get it out there and that doesn’t need to be perfect.”
[00:28:52] Deepak: Yeah. Absolutely. And we can all improve as we go, and I think that once you kind of get on the train, so to speak, Woody Allen says 80% of life is about showing up. So, just get in the game and the game is really whatever the game means for anybody, and a lot of these things that whether it’s content, whether it’s, for example, online reputation management. That’s the other thing that I see a lot of people fail upon. We live in an age where we don’t go anywhere without looking up a review before we go to the cinema before we purchase a product on Amazon, before we decide what restaurant we’re going to go to, and we need to mirror that in kind of the business community and appreciate that everyone’s going to before making a commercial decision, people are going to quickly at some stage of their buying cycle probably look up what others have had to say about you. And so, the act I think of getting reviews as well as producing content are two, you know, it’s simpler than you think, and they do lead to great returns over time.
[00:29:50] Andrew: Right. When you think about content, right, content is king and we call it in a sense pre-suading before in our world before a client will call us or come in. We want to pre-suade as we are the professionals and that we are the experts in our industry and so when we look at content and we look at all the different ways in how you can get content out there, let’s talk about some of them. I know we’ve got blogs and what you had mentioned earlier and, on your website, you know, YouTube and video, which I think the evolution of where we’re going are these videos and if I’m not mistaken is in YouTube, the second most popular search engine out there. So, let’s talk a little bit about what business owners can do to get content out there. It doesn’t have to be perfect but what can they do today to start building, curating, and becoming that expert that’s going to help them drive traffic and get their most ideal client to come find them, hold them in, one would say?
[00:30:49] Deepak: Absolutely. It’s a great question. So, let’s go through. I’ll just kind of give you and the audience can cherry pick. Number one, anytime you have a client or even anyone you give, for example, free advice to, at any point of that kind of conversation or transaction cycle where or when they say, “Great. Amazing. Thank you,” name your synonym, jump in with a timely that, “Thank you for those words. Could you leave exactly what you just said in an online review?” And then link them to your Facebook review page or Google business review page of Trustpilot or whatever it is. That’s number one. Definitely, do that. Number two, get used to documenting. So, I use a tool called Screencast-O-Matic. So, I was just preparing, for example, an end-of-month YouTube SEO report for one of our clients, and I noticed that their month-to-month growth from YouTube search independently has grown by 2,500 minutes. So, I was in the middle of writing this and I thought, “Hang on.”
I opened up Screencast-O-Matic and I started recording literally a very quick three-minute video showing the email trail, the report that I was preparing, and then jumping into YouTube search and showing that. And then I quickly titled it “YouTube SEO case study 2,500 additional minutes viewed in 28 days with Pearl Lemon” and then I did a one-click upload to YouTube. That’s number two. That’s the second thing that you could do instantly. And then number three in terms, of course, the other opportunities, you know, it’s really just the case of if you have a team that you can build content infrastructure for then you can do lots of things with that or, number three, because we’ve done of course video now, video and audio transition together quite well, then number three would be like literally kind of what I call bullet point content like anyone is a business owner or anyone who works in marketing has had some of the advice that they can give. So, jump onto Quora.
[00:32:45] Deepak: When inspiration strikes you and you think, “I want to share this about entrepreneurship,” then you can share it and pick your format and as you just demonstrated with looking at my last podcast, I’ve won business deals that I never expected to come as a consequence of people reaching out and saying, “Deepak, I like the casual candor of your podcast.” I’ve won business deals through Trustpilot because people have specifically said, “Deepak, I was looking at companies that were reviewed on Trustpilot and I found Pearl Lemon. So, you don’t know where your wins will come from and they’ll often come from places that sometimes you least expect when you begin just producing and taking opportunities as they come up in front of you.
[00:33:26] Andrew: Now, a lot of the listeners may not know that much about Quora. Can you go through that real quickly, what the benefit there is?
[00:33:32] Deepak: Absolutely. So, Quora is a Q&A platform. It’s founded in Silicon Valley. It was started by one of the former Google software engineers and you in its early days, it was and still is seen as a place for trusted answers. So, you have the Yahoo Q&A forums, you’ve got questions that you’ll type into Google and you’ll see kind of a little answer box at the top like a snippet from perhaps a larger website. Think of Quora. Now, Quora works really well in the place of what I call kind of influence of content meaning the core is built for individuals that work within businesses or individuals within their own right. So, whether me, Deepak Shukla or you, Joe, blogs or whoever it may be, you can literally jump onto Quora and start answering questions related to your niche. And people that are specifically searching for something related to financial wealth management or related to search engine optimization, whatever it may be, could find your answers and you can build your own community and following.
And then from a service perspective, it generated a ton of referral traffic. I built a list in excess of 20,000 people from Quora independently if anything else, and it can and should be an integral part of what you do in terms of content marketing and therefore, of course, correspondingly search.
[00:36:50] Andrew: And so, the one other strategy that you talk about in your seven-step process is the benefit of linking back and forth between relevant sites and sites that are a little bit more looked on as powerful in the eyes of Google. So, can you talk us through that and what are some of the ways in which a business owner can try to obtain that in a manner that not like the old days, right back in the early 2000s where we had the dummy pages, we trying to trick Google? We were linked the factories one would say that will get you for sure banned or push all the way down to the 25th page. So, walk us through what link strategy looks like in today’s world as we enter 2019?
[00:35:33] Deepak: Good question. Great question. So, I think that influencer marketing and link building strategies can often go hand-in-hand. So, I would say that you can kill multiple birds with one stone. So, number one, if you’re for example producing or getting onto content, getting onto podcast, then it is easier for you to build links as a consequence of this podcast. Andrew is going to of course link back to something that you know exists about Deepak Shukla and Pearl Lemon online. So, do what Andrew does and then correspondingly if Andrew say, “Hey, could you socially share the podcast or could you link to it?” I’m going to – it’s not something that I’ve even discussed with Andrew but I’ve got my own YouTube playlist that relates to any podcast I’ve appeared on and where and when business owners or podcast owners don’t have, for example, they’re on YouTube channel, I will then upload the video to my own channel, I put it into one of my own playlists. So, the links that you can earn which is as a consequence of being on the podcast, there’s links that just come to you as a consequence of me telling Andrew about our process.
He didn’t know that I’m going to do until I rebuild it just right now live. And then there’s links that you can ask for when Andrew, of course, says, “Deepak, would you mind sharing it?” So, earning links through podcast is a huge strategy that you can do and should do today. It’s one of the kind of reasons that Google was introducing their own kind of podcasting actual platform and is going to be a huge component of what they’re going to be doing with search in 2019. So, that is definitely one way, a really good way to do it. And then the second thing that I’d say in terms of, “Well, Deepak, I’m not going to start a podcast. I’m not going to do those things.” So, what then in that case, in this kind of simple housekeeping that really does make sense. So, Andrew quite rightly mentioned about the way that you build links. So, one of the things inside of internal links is think about where your money pages are. So, your money page is, of course, would be Contact Us page, would be a Services page.
[00:37:33] Deepak: Let’s just say your Contact Us page in your Services page, so where and when you have blank content linking back intermittently with an appropriate keyword that relates to a services page does make sense. That’s one thing that you should be doing on a regular basis. So, if you’re a business that specializes in SEO like me, you’ll go to our blog content and you’ll find that on the blog post that relate to SEO, we do have links back to specific service pages. And then correspondingly, when you’re linking out, link out to respected journals and respected content that is also online. You know, at Bayntree.com if they got a particular podcast that really resonates with something that you’re trying to demonstrate then link out to it. Google also does not just look at your internal linking structure but also looks at the links that you actually or rather the companies that you link out to. So, there are things that you can do in terms of housekeeping.
And that podcast approach I’ve just described even if you’re not doing a podcast, as long as you’re doing some level of reach out and there’s a meaningful reason to either ask for a link or you produce an excellent content, then these things do take time, but once you get on the road, there’s so much value and having something in terms of content or inviting someone to appear on content that you can use really to leverage.
[00:38:48] Andrew: Yeah. In a lot of times you don’t even really, by doing all these things, you don’t really know or say what drove an ideal prospect to reach out to you. It could’ve been a multitude of things. Say for your sake, they could’ve seen your YouTube or one of the podcasts that you did or one of you where you’re a guest on it, some of the writing that you’ve done. You just don’t know. So, ultimately, it’s hard from a standpoint of that somebody comes to us and says, “Hey, what’s my return? What can I expect?” As you know, Deepak, you can’t really just put in a number on it. It’s one of those areas just like with radio ads. It’s frequency. It’s getting yourself out there and enough times people see you, and enough platforms, they’re going to look at you feel trusted and say, “You know what, I got to talk to this guy or I got to talk to this team because they know what they’re doing.” Am I thinking the right way there?
[00:39:39] Deepak: 100%. I think omnipresence, everybody, you do need to make sure that you have some level of feature upon the platforms that your customers are on. Because if you’re not doing it, your competitors are. If you are not doing it, there’s people like Andrew Rafal at Bayntree Wealth Advisors who are of course is competing in the wealth management space against many other independent financial advisors and many other financial advisors of various kinds, but Andrew is on iTunes. He’s on Stitcher, he’s on Overcast. He has got enough of a presence online that Adena or my team reached out to Andrew because he thought, “Wow. This podcast looks good.” There’s a story that will resonate with all of us here. I’ve listened to a couple of the podcast. Deepak checked that one out with Chris which is why I looked into that of course because it was about kind of the whole business and growth experience, and this is where we are today.
So, me being here today kind of is proof that it does work and you don’t even know how in many cases a lead will come from. And if you’re not in the game then is certainly the case that you’re going to ultimately beaten that down when it comes to comparing what the opposition is and if your opposition on doing it is going to be some guy somewhere in a bedroom who is doing it right.
[00:40:55] Andrew: There’s no doubt, no doubt at all. And when you think about you finding me or your Adena was, what can you, I mean, what are some of the things you can do if you’re trying to bootstrap it and you don’t have a lot of employees, what have you done to curate some of the professionals that can help you as you earn the clients find and do the work but then like for instance with Adena finding me and our Your Wealth & Beyond, how do you go about doing that in that scope because if somebody doesn’t want to do a podcast or doesn’t have the time, there’s no easier way to say, “Hey, listen, let me be a guest on your podcast and then we get it all the time. We get people that want to be on our show and then I’ll have my team do the due diligence, do the research, and they literally will come back to me and say yay or nay and then I take it from there. But how did you guys in a sense find our podcast? I know you mentioned the Ronzio show that we just did, but how did Adena come out and find Your Wealth & Beyond?
[00:41:50] Deepak: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s a great question. So, Adena knows of course as a business we’re trying to get some exposure, but also exposure and always meaningful, right? And meaningful i.e. the we’re a fit for a show and a show that fits for us and vice versa. And one of the things Adena will go out and do is show look ultimately at iTunes, she’ll look also at Stitcher. They’re the two platforms I think that Adena begin some of the searches on and then she’ll begin identifying podcast through an example of an initial sweep so one of the things that she’ll do initially as we began to learn is that we don’t want to be on a podcast, for example, that’s inactive. So, this relates to your kind of consistency and frequency thing, right? Your last podcast was on 15th of November and Adena will look at kind of the frequency and say, “This is a podcast is actually active.” So, you’ve been one or two podcasts before that kind of ultimately were soon stopped after we went on it or they restarted with us two years out. So, that was the first filter.
The second filter that Adena will look at that’s also to look at then once she identify a couple of podcasts, just start opening up and kind of clicking through and being in that, “Well, what is a content like? What is the audience and the speaker like?” And one of the things that was really interesting about your show was that you are easily searchable that if I look at your content, you use the word, for example, the modify “how to” a lot, “everything you need to know”, “five strategies to.” I was like, “Right. These guys clearly are in the actual search game because they’re doing some of these things right.” So, Adena will use those to look outs, ping it over to me initially to say, “What do you think kind of looked fill and fit on your initial kind of overview?” I’ll be like, “Yeah. This looks good. Let’s just ask. We’ll make the ask.” And then Adena will do a little bit of a thorough research to run a quick kind of SEO lookup and be like, “Okay. These guys, in this case, Bayntree are doing a good job with the search game,” which tells me that you’re serious about what you do. Your podcast is active. I listen to a decent amount of the Chris Ronzio one.
[00:43:50] Deepak: Adena have listened to a couple of bit before. We make the reach out and then figure out or see if it’s going to be a yay or nay and thankfully, in this case, because I didn’t want to come on and try to spend some time with you guys. It was, “Okay. Let’s do this.”
[00:44:03] Andrew: Awesome. Yeah. And I unappreciated it and this has been great. So, let’s talk high level for the business owner when we look at social strategy and how that ties into SEO and what if, again, we don’t want a business owner to think they’ve got to do everything at once. But what are you seeing as trends and what somebody as a business owner should be doing on the social platforms right now?
[00:44:25] Deepak: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s a good question. So, we repeated the point that the video is big and audio is big and they’re only going to grow. That’s a fact. I haven’t looked up the recent podcast growth statistics, but you know it’s absolutely humongous and video is beginning to become accepted by absolutely everybody and as you rightly said it’s the second-biggest search engine in the world. It also ranks really well of course in Google within itself if you look up. And then also when people do kind of brand searches, meaning if I’m going to make a transactional decision about Bayntree because maybe let’s just say you or one of your team reached out to me as a business owner on LinkedIn, I’ll immediately quickly google you guys and I will gravitate toward the video to be like, “Well, who the heck is this guy?” So, I think that in terms of a hierarchy, I would absolutely say as business owners that video has the most repurposing opportunities. So, if you are on video, you can then reengineer that to produce lots of different kinds of content.
And I can definitely see how once I’ve settled all these things, it does feel overwhelming but that process that I just identified before when if you’re in the middle of something, whether it’s teaching someone internally or it’s preparing the client report, whether it’s some level of positive result then document it. Documenting it via video and then even storing it somewhere allows you down the line as your company and your content develops to actually begin to leverage that in terms of applying the appropriate tags to the YouTube if you upload it appropriately naming the video. And what I just outlined, guys, when I was starting and I still do it today, I have a moment of inspiration. I whack open my Android. I’ve got like $150 phone. I don’t have an expensive phone. I will record a selfie video and then that would automatically upload to Google photos and then maybe after a week when I’ve got maybe five or 10 videos, I will share those photos directly with Kizar in my team who will then rename them, upload them to YouTube, and then begin adding titles and tags, and then we’ll begin embedding them into actual blog content.
[00:46:33] Deepak: So, it’s incredible what you can actually do once you got the asset and the actual production of the asset as Andrew just recently said that the post that you guys got most engagement for has been those videos will be like, “What’s up, guys? This is just us in the office doing our thing and more and more, especially because I’m 32 years old and I am of the age of a decision-maker within a company whether you’re approaching a corporate or whether you’re looking an entrepreneur, we’ve grown up with YouTube. We’ve grown up with WhatsApp. We’ve grown up with BSRadars are very well developed. So, I think the ghetto, doing it ghetto is no longer a problem. It’s almost appreciated.
[00:47:11] Andrew: Yeah. No doubt at all. And that’s something that you have to resonate to your audience and when you think about from our standpoint local search is so important. What I tried to do is put myself in the mind of my ideal client. What are they looking for? What are some of their concerns? What do they need help with? And with that, building and curating content, whether get the video or blogging, but that was one area where we don’t want to, I don’t want to have them find just financial advisor. I want Phoenix financial advisor or who can help me in Scottsdale regarding my retirement. So, one of the things that I did is I look at all my competitors and I looked and said, “Okay. What are the ones that are positioned? What are they doing? And then we also used a software called an SEOrush I think it is. Is that…
[00:48:04] Deepak: SEMrush. Brilliant. Yeah.
[00:48:06] Andrew: What that did is allowed me to see the keywords that’s out there of what my ideal client is – what are they typing in? What are my competitors utilizing to get up there? What is the most trafficked website or the most trafficked keyword to bring them in? And what happened then is we started building content around that and we continue to do that. So, when we think about local search, why is that so critical? Because the majority of businesses are not national. They’re not global. I would say 90% of businesses are small businesses that want to work with people within 20 miles of their office. So, what can they do?
[00:48:39] Deepak: Absolutely. Great question. So, if you’re a local business, now I think it’s as close as 15% of your local ranking factors determined by your reviews. So, we mentioned it previously. It’s growing. So, the more reviews you have with Google My Business which is if you type in carwash Arizona or carwash whatever your local town is and you see what appears in Google Maps which is that part immediately, that leads to in I think something like 70% of cases. When someone runs a local search, it leads to an actual offline transaction, it’s incredibly powerful. So, the commercial intent attached to local search is way higher than anything else that you’ll see. People tend to search whether if you think about it, a restaurant, in our club, a carwash, an auto mechanic, it leads to some kind of transaction online or off. That’s the first thing. The second thing is make sure as we said that you capture those actual reviews that you get from customers but you can also get reviews from partners. Don’t forget.
After this, another thing that you guys that we do as part of our internal strategy is I’ll go away now and if I’m not already connected with Andrew on LinkedIn I will connect with them and I’ll write a recommendation as to my experience of working with Andrew. And then it’s quite probable that Andrew might reciprocate. So, think about anybody that you actually partner and work with. It doesn’t need to just be someone who’s involved in a commercial transaction so that’s a great way to leverage reviews. The second thing is think about all of the actual towns within your locale or all of the suburbs, districts, counties, whatever you want to call it and produce content that’s relevant to the actual area and produce individual pages. So, if you’re a local carwash so let’s extended that analogy and I’m based in London. Of course, London is based of many suburbs, towns, and districts. So, if I’m in West London building a page for London at large, probably is an ideal. No one is realistically going to come to a carwash 10 miles across the city.
[00:50:40] Deepak: So, I would then break down all of the local towns that are relevant to me and I’ll begin producing individual pages that relate to those areas. So, I would produce, for example, a page that relates to carwash, Notting Hill. Right. Everybody maybe heard or seen the movie, Notting Hill, with Hugh Grant so we use as an example. So, not only would I produce a page of Carwash Notting Hill, I probably also produce a video talking about your carwash in Notting Hill so that is a really simple way, a granular level. And then you can link out to while you’re stopping at our carwash, why not pick up a doughnut from our local café, for example, and then you could begin rolling out a strategy like that and it really begin to help you with your local search.
[00:51:23] Andrew: Right. And that then it comes down to as you had mentioned prior, it comes onto tracking, right? So, if you’re doing all these things, but you’re not tracking, what is working, then you’re just kind of blindly going after. It’s one of the things that that we do is look at Google Analytics and we look to see what pages are people going to? When they go to that page, are they going to another page? Are they utilizing the call to action or are they bouncing? So, one of the things we’ve seen is that back to just the videos of the most, what drives the most interaction? The real videos, well, guess where they’re going on our site? And I assume like your client is probably the majority. They’re not going to my service page. They don’t care. They’re going to our About Us page, they’re looking at The Team page, they’re looking at Our Story. They’re looking at maybe our podcast does get a lot of traffic in that regard, but walk through if somebody’s not using a consulting a professional team, why Google Analytics is so helpful and just some of the things that they can do kind of real quick high level so that they can understand what pages are working and then build the right calls to action, the right harnessing that in trying to get the contact information from that prospect that’s on that page.
[00:52:38] Deepak: Yeah. Absolutely. Great question. So, the first thing that you could do as Andrew rightly pointed out is recognize the pages that people care about. People care about usually about meet the team. They’ll be like, “Right. Who are the guys?” Who are the people that are doing it? So, About page is big. That’s the first thing and then, of course, your homepage right, the calls to action. So, once you recognize that these are the pages, this is where you want to put kind of the stuff that’s kind of no BS, i.e., this is the team, this is really what goes on, and this is how we deliver. That’s the firs thing. The second thing is of course tracking is everything. So, once you have put love into the pages that you think commercially makes sense in terms of what your clients or potential prospects really want to know and really are look at then you can begin looking. And regardless of the level of your site, you can look into Google Analytics and look at, for example, bounce rates, which are the pages that people come on to and there seems to be a high bounce rate.
Now, a lot of people will look at that and begin to work on that page and it’s important that you do, but the second thing that’s probably most important is look at the pages that get the most traffic. Look at the pages that had the most time spent on page, because that would tell you as to the quality of the level of traffic and that ultimately is your power page. That is the page where you, if you don’t yet, want to have a pop-up that says, “Hey, we notice you’re looking at, etcetera. Do you want to talk or can we help you?” So, making adjustments based upon where people are spending the most time on your site is definitely one thing that I would immediately do. I would examine the calls to action on that page and I have a look at what I can do to actually make them more explicit and I’d also look at the pages with the highest bounce rate, and the pages with the highest bounce might be because you’re running an ad or because you put up a loaded Twililinks and the quality of the traffic coming to that page might be poor.
[00:54:34] Deepak: So, what you would do or what you can do once you run some data analysis is one that a page-specific exit intent pop-up. That’s something else that we’ve seen generate really good results initially that people do bounce because maybe they didn’t like the page but then they like the offer that you made before they leave the page. So, there’s two things out of the gate that I definitely look at and examine and think about as you begin delving it to Google Analytics.
[00:54:59] Andrew: And when you do this calls to action, whether it be the pop-up, and a lot of different technologies out there, whether it be Sumo and Leadpages, etcetera, but what do you see as the best result? Is it your first and last name email? Is it just first name and email? What drives the most bang for the buck in that regard of just obtaining that that which we want is just the email address?
[00:55:21] Deepak: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s a good question. So, what we’ve seen most recently, and you can see it right now if you go actually onto the Pearl Lemon site, you can generate kind of click to calls up automatically open up in people’s email accounts. So, one of the things that we’ve been testing recently on our site is that we have forms, for example, put your name, put your first name, and email. And the differential was really become important when you’re running a high-traffic site. So, if you’re on a high-traffic site and you can AV test and that you can run meaningful AV test meeting that I’m Deepak, I’m getting 100,000 hits per month then AB testing using whatever you want to use, Data Studio. As you said, Leadpages allows me to AB test. There’s a couple of things, then there’s a lot of rationale the less, for example, opt in options, the better because you get more leads but then maybe as a lower quality content. What we’ve seen for anyone who is a service provider like Pearl Lemon are. We’re a search engine optimization agency, we actually have a click to call.
And when you click on our click to call, it’ll automatically open in a Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook account and it will have a prewritten ultimately template that people can fill in. So, it would say, “Can you order at my website?” And then you can insert your website name that says, “Hi, Deepak. Can you audit my site, please?” Out of competitors are. So, we’ve seen that as being something that’s really interesting because again it’s no-frills, it’s very simple to use, and it opens up into the place where your customers are probably already living, which is that email account.
[00:56:32] Andrew: And so, you’ve seen better success with that than an actual pop-up or a form that they’d have to go in and fill out?
[00:56:58] Deepak: Yeah. I’ve seen this because it takes people back into their email account and it just asks the things, that are really simple and we’ve seen better results with that in terms of the quality of the feedback that we get versus a form. But you know if people are using forms as you said then really, to be honest with you, it’s literally just a case of testing, I have seen more opt-ins from when it’s just the email. Then sometimes people will just – it’s kind of put your email in and then people don’t follow up or people don’t respond. So, it really depends upon what you’re trying to sell and the deal size and if you’re trying to sell a complex service, I would argue that it’s better to actually just get everybody’s contact details and accept the lower level of lead conversion if you’re getting a higher quality of leads.
[00:57:50] Andrew: Right. And then the key is and this would be a whole another show but once you obtain that that contact information then it’s getting them into the client journey whether it be utilizing an email campaign and there’s lots of different softwares. We’ll use whether it be we use Autopilot, but there’s many other ones that tie into your CRM but the key is you’ve got to then continually back to that frequency is to give these individuals good content. You don’t want to overload them. Otherwise, they’re going to opt out or they’re going to put you in spam but having the client journey is so important again that the whole another show but it’s not just obtaining the contact info. It’s what you do afterwards.
[00:58:28] Deepak: Absolutely. And this is where guys to go back that all of that value stuff at the beginning comes from. if you have any level of educational informational content then that’s some of the stuff you want to include as part of your drip campaigns or your follow-up campaigns that don’t just hit our clients with an ask.
[00:58:44] Andrew: Yeah. You got to give. In today’s world, you got to give, and you got to give good stuff and it doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be professional. You just got to give good content that is targeting your dream client. That’s what it comes down to. So, well, wow we’ve gone through a lot today. Let’s do a quick summary. We’ve learned about your background of how you became a serial entrepreneur. We learned about Nasty Jack and you know what a menace to society he was in that case of his rapping critiques and so forth and with mom cooking and you bring in people in just the bootstrapping of a business from the ground up, and then obviously from that understanding that we got to drive people and we got to drive prospects in the digital marketing side. So, as we end today, Deepak, is there anything that you want to share as we close the show today?
[00:59:37] Deepak: Thank you for that fine summary. Guys, if you’re listening, the opportunities are there in front of you. The tools are 95% free. The opportunities are massive and the quicker that you get into the space of just taking action, I promise you if you commit to consistent action, things will begin to follow.
[01:00:00] Andrew: Awesome. And in the show notes, if you listeners do want to have a consultation with Deepak and his team, I believe you run a nice second opinion of here’s where you are, here’s where you want to be and some of the things that that can be done. They’ll be in the show notes a way that you can get in touch with Deepak and his team. There’ll be also a couple of case studies that you’ll be able to download, and the key is whether doing on your own or you bring in a consultant, do something and focus on building your brand, curating your expertise, and understanding the power of digital marketing. So, Deepak, this has been awesome. I really enjoyed it. Listeners, thanks for the time and stay tuned for later this month for a brand-new episode of Your Wealth & Beyond, Deepak, have a wonderful rest of the week in London.
[01:00:50] Deepak: Andrew, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
[01:00:52] Andrew: Awesome. Thank you, sir. Bye.
Thank you for joining me for today’s episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. To get access to all the resources mentioned during today’s podcast, please visit Bayntree.com/Podcast, and be sure to tune in later this month for another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond.
Investment advice is offered through Bayntree Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Insurance and annuity products are offered separately through Bayntree Planning Group, LLC. Bayntree is not permitted to offer and no statement made during the show shall constitute legal or tax advice. You should talk to a qualified professional before making any decisions about your personal situation.