Interview with Aditya Soni – Journey of the Pioneer in SEO
So Thursday night, I was just chatting with my friend Aditya Soni and we suddenly made up the plan to interview him. We got on Skype and had a 2 hours long chat about his life, blogging career, SEO strategies and much more.
For those of you who don’t know him, he is a top notch SEO who can rank high calibre keywords with much ease, thanks to his years of experience in SEO and experimenting different techniques one after another! He is about to cross the $100k mark in revenue this year (in just 6-7 months) and planning to gift a new house to his parents. So let’s get started.
Gaurav Jaggi: Hey Aditya. How are you doing? Enjoying SEO?
Aditya Soni: Well I am doing good, Enjoying? Yeah it’s like having foreplay with Google 😉
Gaurav Jaggi: Haha cool! Would you like to tell our readers about you, how you got into blogging and how SEO has changed your life?
Aditya Soni: It all started when I was struggling to get a job, I had one but I always hated my BOSS. He used to treat us like his bitches and one day I had some arguments with him and left the JOB and at that moment he claimed that I will never be able to get a good career.
After a month I discovered this industry where I was selling content for a month or two. I had a good start as I was one of those who used to sell articles written by native Americans on a real cheap price. Here I met “Krinal Mehta” who gave me some of biggest orders, he introduced me with SEO industry and then I created my first blog – career-leaps.com which was giving $4/day after working for few weeks. It all happened in Nov 2012.
Check this deal on one of my websites two years back.
Gaurav Jaggi: And then?
Aditya Soni: In march I planned to shift my business (content and some SEO services) to Chennai and my partner (don’t want to reveal his name as I have forgiven & forgotten him) who was in Delhi cheated on me, he ran with the whole hard earned money. It wasn’t big but was a last hope for me as during that period I used to work about 18 hours a day just for that money. It was a nightmare for me, I was an MBA pass out who left his field and shifted to a new kind of business, I compromised with everything just to be there.
I barely had a single rupee and I thought it’s all over… but my mumma gave me hope by saying you can do it again. I had my blog career-leaps.com and I sold it on flippa for $2K and here I began my career in IM exactly
Gaurav Jaggi: Wow! So this self-made man’s journey is not as easy or simple! It is a result of multiple ups, downs, and hurdles, getting down and getting up again. So what was your first major breakthrough in SEO?
Aditya Soni: I never had a breakdown exactly all I had was a paradigm shift of time that will be continue till I am trying to learn something new 🙂
I have always believed if you want see the world, you’d have to change. Same was the need of mine
I was doing well with the career blogs. After that, I worked on many and one of them was topjobsite.in which used to give us about $300/day to $800/day…. figure kept changing always. But I saw many people working and making great money without giving 24*7 just to post something new and wait it to go viral and one such was Krishna Parmar. I thought why am I not doing this? Why I am always worried about the content only, as in career and edu blog all you need is fresh content to rank and bank and here I experimented with some event blog (I was doing this last year in feb) and I realized I must get a mentor.
I was lucky to convince the geek and most humble guy… Karan Labra!! I got to learn almost everything from him, I gave my best in research part the only thing I used to get compliments for…. I must say the habit of researching has helped me most.
Gaurav Jaggi: Ok. So what all did you exactly learn from him?
Aditya Soni: it was all about link building, patterns, strategies which work and what should be tried and not tried in SEO. One of the greatest habit I got from Karan is taking risk and keep experimenting, the only reason that today I have about 7 different projects which are well ranked and some are to be ranked sooner or later 🙂
Gaurav Jaggi: So if you don’t mind sharing, what are the link building techniques that you use?
Aditya Soni: I don’t mind this question at all, not even anything other than revealing my niches! Lol
Gaurav Jaggi: Then you are getting some hard questions tonight, my friend!
Aditya Soni: I use a very simple pattern, which combines a number of algorithms – It starts with Keyword Research, where I put my most of the energy- believe it or not I am about to cross $100K just because of working on untapped keywords. To do this research I focus on new things happening around us, some new technologies, new innovations & also the new healthcare products. If I talk about SEO, in my dictionary it’s all about relevancy, authority and variations
Like I told above I love to research and it’s not over just with the keyword thing.
In race of being unique and not getting harmed just because people spy you I managed to get access to more than 100+ authority news and magazine portals of different niches. This is quite expensive but helps ultimately in many things if I count them they are —
1. Your competitors can not just spy and copy you literally they can not.
2. Google gives you value, you are ranked today you’re ranked for the next 1 year or may be more.
3. When it comes to selling such sites, buyer shows confidence and the only reason I always close deals on 18X and more!
Some other things in SEO I would like to add…
Use different algorithms – PR is no more, DA/PA is something everyone uses. Ok! Let’s try ahrefs rank metrics.
When you spy your competitor just do not try to copy every shit he has earned links from. Instead use the DR (domain rank). I have a standard if a link is coming from DR less than 50 then it’s a shit or atleast not worthy enough to give a link to my site
Apart from this when you’re getting such link which is basically from a free resource give a little more second to look at trust flow 🙂
Lets talk about the role of web.20 and profile links
Do they rank a site? – No never. Instead they play a major role in creating a good atmosphere that looks natural to Google and it is created only when you’re using a big number of variations (basically long tail keywords) to your post pages and home page.
Apart from this, your competitors can’t figure out the real meaning why you were building those links. Make sure to use naked URL same as the ratio of Primary keywords (it looks natural and realistic)
Gaurav Jaggi: Say, if I have a client who wants a post on lifehack, how would u go about it, what will be your strategy… Given that lifehack is not among your already-contacted list of blogs.. How would you do this from scratch?
Aditya Soni: It’s all about finding a good vendor, I have tried over 300 authority sites to sign up, I tried to pitch them in every possible way but 90% of them hate Indians, atleast people named Aditya 😛
Instead of giving up I started to contact writers on these sites and money bought a way to me ;). I have access to lifehack.org very same way
Gaurav Jaggi: Ok. So it’s pretty much contact based. And you have made these contacts somehow. How much do you invest in these authority links generally for a single website / project of yours? And how many authority links do you target to get and at what intervals for a new website?
Aditya Soni: You wouldn’t believe – it’s never less than $4K for a site and in a new project we are supposed to invest up to $20K for same (thanks to the VC)
Gaurav Jaggi: VC?
Aditya Soni: Venture capitalist – We are funded by a Russian investor for that thing.
Gaurav Jaggi: wow how did you get that investor?
Aditya Soni: It’s all about client relationships 🙂 I don’t only sell sites but I give my best to keep the buyers happy. They can take any amount of time any day at any point out of my schedule!
Gaurav Jaggi: That is awesome. So some real secrets opening up now…
Just for a change: What is your style of working? How many times in a day do you work, and how do you keep yourself committed to your goals and to your websites? Because when someone has so much money to spend, and a pretty girlfriend, it is difficult to get back to work haha!
Aditya Soni: Ha ha! you’re making sure no female blogger fall in love with me 😛
Gaurav Jaggi: haha !! I will skip the term girlfriend lol
Aditya Soni: lol no not at all. Well these days I am busy in building some muscles that seems impossible to me but the only way that’s left for me to keep my status “in a relationship” :-p
I hate to wake up early but I am into this habit nowadays, I work with concentration one thing at a time, this is strange but while I am working and you try talking to me you literally talk to walls.
I give a big cut of time and it flows with the sites ranks. Those which are about to rank take the most cut of my energy and rest goes with others.
One thing I would like to advise never try to do too many things at a same time, I am occupied by 15 projects and in last 6 months I hardly managed to work on all I think the only reason only 7 out of them showed positive remarks.
Gaurav Jaggi: That is interesting.. A follow up question on that – what are your goals and dreams? (in terms of money and things you wanna do)
Aditya Soni: I am from a family where we used to run our whole family in INR 2K/month, my father invested every single penny he earned just to raise and educate all of us.
It’s time to return the favour I don’t have dreams or goals in terms of money… all I have are the dreams which my parents compromised.
I still remember when I used to sleep near by my father and look at the sky and he showed us airpale and said “One day you will take us to that plane”
I am going to gift a house in couple of months to my father and then other such small piece of dreams need to frame in real pictures.
If a talk about business I am working hard to setup an offline business by the end of this year – may be some local restaurant.
Gaurav Jaggi: that probably sums it up all, your dreams and goals!! Lets get back to SEO. Let’s say I have a fully functional site with the entire on page etc done…what will be your strategy to build links to this site, which has good competition from scratch?
Aditya Soni: I will start with competitor analysis basically why they are ranked (age, quality of SEO, other factors if any)
When this is done, I will follow the same strategy which I told earlier which include my pattern and combination of competitors link strategy.
Best way to rank your site is to know the reason why others are ranked, once you figure out this then you’re done with all research.
One thing I would like to add – most people forget to document things they do while building a site, start practicing this it saves hell lot of time, you always have your link resource saved in a file. Also keep documenting the action and reactions, today I am well aware what works for me and what not, eg: I never go for sitewide links, wiki’s article submission, social bookmarking etc.
Gaurav Jaggi: and what are the link building techniques you do go for, except authority links, web 2.0s and profiles? Just a small list for our readers…
Aditya Soni: Anything which is relevant that includes PBN, Forum, Guest Posts bla bla bla..
Gaurav Jaggi: Oh! That means you do have a PBN. How big?
Aditya Soni: As I work in untapped market so for me a small PBN is enough but if the competition is high than we need a big PBN.
Gaurav Jaggi: Awesome. Do you think it is easy or difficult to replicate your success for someone? why/why not.
Aditya Soni: nothing is possible even a piece of cake make you break your ramzan fast 😛
Gaurav Jaggi: haha! What is the age of link building left according to you, as Google is really hitting hard on links?
Aditya Soni: We are on edge the only reason I am focused to get in to some offline business, in a digital market you never know what is next.
Gaurav Jaggi: I see!! Let’s hope we can accumulate as much as we can on this edge period. So which are your competitors in SEO? 😉 People you follow, you learn from, you get envy with…
Aditya Soni: I hate that ass only, you better know what I mean!! haha
I learn from your blog, you, internet, people like karan, Krishna, krinal, siddhant and I think I can’t thank enough by naming people but I’d like to thank everyone who is here for me 🙂
Gaurav Jaggi: What is the maximum income you made in a month? And tell us about that kickass project in detail
Aditya Soni: Best months of my life are three – in Dec 2014 when I sold a site for $26K + $4K adsense income , in May 2015 when again I sold a site for $36500+ $6K adsense income and this month which is to be closed on $65K (adsense + site sale which is in progress + some affiliate income).
Gaurav Jaggi: Have you made partnerships in your blogging career? Why do they fail so often in blogoshere and how to keep them strong?
Aditya Soni: Yes! I failed with first three, one of them was the one when my the partner ran off during my Chennai visit, second was with a friend of mine whom I found talking shit about me between girls (girls only) and last one was with a guy who had argument just because we did not clear everything in the very beginning and today I have 14 partnership projects and none of them going to face the failure as I have learned a lot with the things happened in past.
1 – Never mix your emotions into business if you do you gonna fail.
2 – Never put your family, parents or friends in projects just because they are your friend.
3 – Keep everything legally documented and divide the powers, make rules go with partnership deeds and clear everything why there will be a breach of contract.
4- Never give power of money to someone who is learning from you, or not professional try to keep in your hand, keep all figures clear and documented
5- If your partner is not working talk to him, go for a breach of contract like i said never mix your emotions in business.
For me even if my girlfriend build a site with me I go for a legal contract and make sure she give the same cut of time as mine.
Gaurav Jaggi: wow 14 out of 17 projects in partnerships!! Man!!!
Why don’t you work alone? What makes you work in so many partnerships? Do you make your partners work and you manage it all with ease?
Aditya Soni: It’s because I can not do everything, we divide responsibilities I do the toughest part and they follow my instructions, and if the other person is enough competition or deserve to be my boss in that case I never mind taking his orders (ego kills many things it should never come between your business). In 2015 I have made all money from my partnership projects 🙂
Gaurav Jaggi: awesome! So in a way you are doing social service by making other people earn as well 😉
Aditya Soni: It’s not social service at all, they work hard with me and I think more than me, I just use my experience, resources and techniques.
Gaurav Jaggi: So in future, would you like to do a webinar on blogwithjags?
Aditya Soni: Sure we will. Just make the PPT for me :-p
Gaurav Jaggi: HAHA!! Partying words for the readers reading this interview from your side?
Aditya Soni: I have a story to tell. I studied from UP board as we never had money to get admission in convent, I used to come last in the class and one day my school principal warned my father you child gonna ruin you name one day.
Later I had to take admission in BBA and a college which had a good reputation disqualified me as they asked me to make some sentences and I failed to make any of them he even asked tell me something about your hometown but I was unable to speak out.
Luckily I got admission in a newly started college, I was from UP board and passed + just because of the cheating i did… I never studied in those years but just after 6 months of taking admission in BBA I was the one who used to communicate most of the time in English, I used to be counted as best students since that year till MBA.
All I was lacking inspiration that I got due to the negative energy and I love it when I meet those people who said I can not.
Recently I was chief guest in same college, which disqualified me 🙂
Gaurav Jaggi: and this suggests that irrespective of the failure one might get, luck can turn upside down at any moment, and one can make it big… Just don’t give up and keep your eyes on your goal. Right?
Aditya Soni: yep
Gaurav Jaggi: Awesome thank you so much for the interview.
So what did you take up from this interview? Comment below and let us know.
Keep visiting Blog with Jags for more such awesomeness!!
About the Author
Gaurav Jaggi is a professional digital marketer, SEO consultant & a realtime guide for aspiring bloggers.