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About Me

I’m Benj Arriola, an SEO Professional. Some like calling themselves, SEO Experts, SEO Gurus or whatever great titles. Somehow I don’t like self-proclaiming myself these titles and I’d rather prefer other people calling me this if they think I deserve it. I prefer calling myself SEO Professional simply because this is my current profession, it’s my career.

Benj Arriola’s SEO Story

Before SEO (circa 1994)


Before getting into SEO, my first career was being a chemist and worked at SGS, then didn’t like working yet right out of college. I decided to teach college level chemistry while pursuing my master’s degree in chemistry at DLSU. Completed all coursework, but didn’t finish my thesis. Decided to teach chemistry for 4 years, and in 1997, I decided to put up my own business selling computers I custom built. Ran a company with some business partners and decided to go into business full-time.

Being a first time business owner, with no business background whatsoever, that computer shop failed, but it evolved into a web design and development company in 1999 and continue to do that up to 2003 with a year also teaching IT subjects at Informatics Computer Institute.

In 2001 being an entrepreneur was good, but as years progressed, competition increased, the market got saturated, the web design and development industry in Metro Manila became saturated, prices went down, project completion time got shorter. It came to a point it didn’t feel comfortable. But if I was single, I’d probably won’t mind still pushing the situation just for the thrill, the happiness of coding, the sense of building something from scratch. But once you have a family, you start thinking of spending more quality family time, and earning more. In a saturated market, the Philippines was concentrated on getting deals outsourced from the US. And in 2004, as a family decision, we believe it was best for me to go to the US and continue my career over there.

Coming to the U.S.

Upon arrival, I came without a job but fearless, since I know I have many options. Each day was sending out resumes and I sent out 30 resumes per week. Apply for the following positions:

  • Chemist
  • General Scientist / Researcher
  • College Professor
  • High School Science Teacher
  • Tutor
  • Web Designer
  • Web Developer
  • Application Developer / Programmer
  • IT Teacher
  • Graphic Artist
  • IT Staff

And I decided before picking and choosing what I want, to avoid any downtime of not working, I will just go for whatever job I am first accepted. Every week I had an interview to go to. I told myself if I still have no job in 30 days, I’ll work at McDonald’s first, and try to be some assistant at a Taekwondo school, or someone that fixes bicycles at a bike shop.

Doing SEO as a Web Designer/Web Developer (2004-2006)

Within my first 30 days, I got a job at Einstein Industries. I was mainly doing frontend HTML/CSS/JavaScript codes and occasionally some backend scripting in PHP/MySQL if needed by a site. Most of the SEO I learned was from the onpage SEO guidance given by the main SEO people there, during those days, they were Andy Waer, Mike hawkins and Derek Ashauer. They were the ones reading about SEO, attending conferences, and I simply just did everything they told me from a coding/designing standpoint. It was Mikhail Tuknov that was pointing out cool SEO stuff that was more than standard practice at Einstein Industries. And it was Camron Deen at pointed me to WebmasterRadio.fm and was addicted to the shows there from 2005 to 2007.

A fan of WebmasterRadio.fm (since 2005)

This is when I got hooked on the show and started to become fans, avid followers of Todd “Oilman” FriesenGreg “Web Guerrilla” Boser, and also Daron SEGuru Babin. And eventually after listening for years, I became fans of more people like Todd “Stuntdubl” Malicoat, Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker, Dave Naylor, Mikkel DeMib, Yoast De Valk, Neil Patel, Vanessa Fox, Barry “Rustybrick” Schwartz, Ben Pfeiffer, Chris Boggs, Danny Sullivan, Tim Mayer, Matt Cutts and many more!

The Transition to SEO as a Career  (2006)

After leaving Einstein Industries and worked briefly as a web designer/developer for Geary Interactive, I wanted to move to the SEO department but there was really no need for a new guy in that department then, I was needed more in the web design/development department, according to them. So the first SEO opportunity that came along, I grabbed it. I ended up working at the defunct company Interactivate as an SEO specialist and mover over to BusinessOnLine in 2007 as an SEO Engineer. In 2010, I joined Internet Marketing Inc. as the SEO Director and was promoted to SEO VP after 3 years, and I was the SEO VP for another 2 years before I decided to depart from the digital agency world that I have learned so much from, and I went in-house SEO with The Control Group starting 2015.

Winning SEO Competitions, Winning a Brand New Car (2007)

I have joined several SEO contest in the past and has won several. In any SEO contest, the general is a keyword phrase is given and a deadline date. And who ever ranks the highest on the deadline date wins. Each contest will add in their own tweaks to rules. And below is my contest winning history:

  • 2009 Sulumits Retsambew SEO Contest by NetBuilders.org – 4th Place
  • 2008 Promote Your Business SEO Contest by Branders.com – 2nd Place
  • 2008 SEOContest2008 by UK Webmaster World – 2nd Place
  • 2007 SEO World Championship by GetUpdated – 1st Place
  • 2006 Vogermilten SEO Contest – 1st Place
  • 2006 Ituloy Angsulong SEO Contest by SEO Philippines – 10th Google
  • 2005 Isulong SEOph SEO Contest by SEO Philippines – 11th Google
Probably the most prestigious worth calling out from the list above, is the 2007 SEO World Championship mainly because it had the largest prize, which was a brand new car. This contest was organized by the Swedish company GetUpdated.

Speaking Engagements, Large and Small

I have spoken at various conferences which include: SMX, PubCon, OMS, IRCE, eMA, EmMeCon, and more and also in the Philippines for SEMCon, MORCon, and at other events of SEO Organization Philippines. For smaller meetup groups I have shared some presentation with the San Diego SEO Meetup Group and with the San Diego Design Group.

More stuff about me…

I’m not yet done with this page… usually work and clients come first and my own stuff are the last thing to work on. But just as a guide for me… I plan on writing here some of the interviews I had in the past, mentions in news publications, other awards,  school life and careers before SEO.


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