Benj Arriola, everyone love this smiling, super accommodating and super friendly man whose name will forever be attached to Search Engine Optimization, SEO Philippines in particular. This is my first interview on my SEO blog, so I am thrilled to be able to ask Sir Benj Arriola for an interview.
Background Info & Some Notes About Who Is Benj Arriola
Well my career started as a Chemist, worked in the industry and academe while taking my master’s degree in chemistry. With 36 units and I thesis away to finish the course, I decided to run my own business, and went into PC Sales and Rentals by building my own brand of computers. The business didn’t go well for a number of reasons but had a side-service of web design and development, and the business evolved more into a web design & development company. This was all back in 1997 to 2003.
How did you start your career in Search Engine Optimization?
As a natural progression of web design & development, once you make the site, you want the traffic going to it otherwise it is useless. SEO sparked my interest. So I went into this area.
Out of curiosity, is there any story behind your logo, profile pic – the blue, orange, white circle?
It is an old logo of my own company that I have started in 2001. Since then I just wanted to be consistent with it so people recognize it.
I know that you’re a guy who know more technical stuffs when it comes to SEO’ing websites. If you can give 3 tips that you can share exclusively for the readers of this interview. What are they?
1. The technical stuff in the future will no longer be a problem if you are using some of the popular CMS’ of today. Most of which are SEO friendly out of the box. Once you are using some of the popular CMS of today, do not re-invent the wheel. Do some research and look for the right plugins, add-ons, extensions, modules to make it better for SEO.
2. Making your own custom-built CMS is a different story, this is where you need to know everything.
3. Out of everything I do on-page, the largest benefits seem to come from Title and Heading tags, proper code order, good information architecture, and some algorithmic optimization for very large sites.
You have won different SEO contests, can you share some SEO contest success stories. How fun to be on the top of Search Engine Optimization contests?
SEO World Championship
Why I liked this, the prize was big. It was a brand new car. So this motivates you to really get the first prize. It had a good promotion so several people heard about it so it is good to promote yourself as well. It seemed to have a good topic focus which was Global Warming Awareness. In this contest, content was really king. Interestingly I did not get #1 in Google, nor Yahoo nor Bing. But this a contest of who gets the highest in all 3 search engines. And my entry was within the top 5 places in all 3 search engines while the rest were all over the place. Only doing good in 1 engine.
UK Webmaster World SEO Contest 2008
This was an SEO contest by the UK Webmaster World forum. It was not much of a favorable contest for me, since I am tired of SEO related keywords. It so difficult to target. Since getting relevant links from good SEO websites would always be a challenge. I just got 2nd place here, still was good enough for me. Some people say design does not affect SEO. And I would agree there is no direct effect. But there is an indirect effect. If you have a good better pleasing design, it increases your success rate in getting people to link to you. Nobody wants to link to some spammy site anyway.
Branders, Promote your Business SEO Contest
This was one of the contest I loved simply because of the challenge. Again I didn’t win, but got second overall. I love the rules. Like out of the 4 words in the keyword phrase, you cannot use more than 2 in your domain name. No use of any CMS or blogs. Just use static HTML. There were special prizes also for most traffic, most sales of their affiliate product, and for having W3C valid code.
Now you ask about the fun… I would say in any competition winning is fun. But the real value to me, whenever I join a contest, win or lose. Is the knowledge you gain from it. There is always a new lesson learned in the process. And another thing is I like how contest get to motivate me to work on my own personal sites, that even if I lose, it does not matter because the site is already making a positive income.
In this current contest by Sheeriodiz, Make It Your Ring Diamond Engagement Rings, my site http://www.miyr.us/ is not even close to winning. And I barely have the time to work on it. But the nice thing is it got me moving to work on a site that has passive income. Currently the site is a resource of jewelry shops all over the US with a lit of more than 50,000 diamond engagement ring shops with address, phone number, etc (Diamond engagement rings NY). The traffic has increased overtime and makes more than $100 in revenue from advertising. Ok I know $100 is small for the probloggers and expert affiliate marketers and arbitrage ad publishers, but that is not my cup of tea anyway. And passive income is always good no matter what the price is, as long as it is passive. Imagine, doing nothing, but money just goes to the back. My website may not win, but with a long term investment, by website is already a winner for me.
How do you see Search Engine Optimization, the internet marketing as a whole 5 years from now?
SEO is generally classified as onpage and offpage SEO. For onpage, all the CMS packages are getting better and search engine friendly. Aside from that Google is getting smarter and smarter deciphering code. HTML5 adds a lot of dynamic elements that used to be limited to Flash & AJAX alone. So there will come a time that onpage SEO is not even a problem. As for offpage, links will be devalued as long as link spammers exist. With the recent Panda update, links were not really devalued, but the source of the link is devalued, affecting the link in the process. More updates like this will happen in the future and and one day, nothing will work except good natural links. So the masters would be the real marketers. The ones with marketing talent that does not need any manipulation of any kind. The buzz makers will be the experts. Having said that, SEO will never die, as long as search engines exist. But it will be closely integrated with traditional marketing.
Where can people find you or follow you? Website, Twitter, Blog, Forum or any?
Follow me on twitter @benjarriola, linkedin and facebook. Blogs: None personal ones worth following at the moment. Probably the best would be the company blog (Internet Marketing Inc Blog) on http://www.internetmarketinginc.com/blog/ and I am not always the author of the blog post, but the whole SEO team always brainstorms on the topics and we assign it internally who will write the blog post.
Thank you so much Sir Benj for allowing me to do the interview…Super!
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