How To Make Your Mark As An SEO Specialist: Interview with Fervil Von Tripoli

[Interview Series] I’m back with another wisdom-filled interview with one of Philippines’ finest SEO experts, Fervil Von Tripoli. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a hot topic in internet marketing nowadays. It is described by Moz as:

The process of increasing the number of visitors to a website by achieving high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a website ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site.

Consequently, it has become an in demand profession among freelancers. I’ve been approached a couple of times by people wanting to start a career in SEO. But what’s all the buzz about SEO? I’ll let the main man take you through his amazing journey from freelancing to owning his SEO outsourcing site.

1. Can you give us a background of your freelance career? When did it start and what triggered it?

Hi Cath, first off I’d like to thank you for this interview and I really wish I could give justice to this interview by answering all of these amazing questions. ☺

To give your audience a little background about me and my online career, I started working as freelancer in late 2010 when I built online profiles in job sites like elance,, and oDesk. It was in 2011 when I had decent hourly contracts running in oDesk.

I could never explain the sensation whenever I see a “contract started” notice in my oDesk account, you know. Winning a contract is like winning a “yes” from a girl you are courting. Haha.

Richard Branson

When I began my online journey, I didn’t have much attention from offshore clients and was very gullible to scams (yes that part there happened too). I was also vehement in sending cover letters to job postings keeping an eye on every new post hoping to be in the first of the line of applicants.

I was quite inexperienced back then and my oDesk account was relatively new. Hence, I was more enthusiastic in gaining new knowledge and experience than earning some good cash. This mindset helped me a lot to be in the online business up to the time I built my SEO outsourcing site.

What triggered it? Well, I actually went as a protégé from a good friend who started working online few months before I did. This led to experiencing more random online stuff but most of which are related to online marketing and SEO so that’s where I grew my knowledge a lot.

2. What is it like to be a freelancer living in General Santos. Any insight on how widespread freelancing is in your area?

I travel a lot from end to end of Mindanao. So it’s safe to say that I live both in GenSan and in Iligan City. Lol. ☺

With this I could share some good insights about freelancing from both places.

In GenSan: I personally think there are not much people doing freelancing services compared to Iligan City but freelancing here is also growing. I’ve known some people who work as content specialists, VA’s and even online marketing consultants from General Santos City. There are amazing bloggers in this place too! As to the question if they do online freelancing that I’m not certain of.

What I’m actually seeing in the city is the growth of BPO companies and call center agencies offering multiple online services. Most of the people here who are looking for jobs tend to become in-house agents in BPO companies.

In Iligan: this is where I first learned about SEO and link building. There are TONS of freelancers within my immediate community and I’m pretty sure that freelancing plays a major role when it comes to employment of the city. By just browsing at profiles in Facebook and in oDesk, you might have a little idea of what I’m saying.

If we would talk about advantages of freelancing, it would be hefty. One of which I think I’m enjoying is to work anywhere I want (as long as Internet lives). There are also times when I have the luxury to pick what hours I’d start/pause working. ☺

3. Not everyone is aware of what an SEO specialist does. Could you briefly describe what your daily routine is?

SEO is very broad Cath. By just learning more about the industry, you could apply for many jobs or even create your own. You could:

  • Be an SEO consultant – work on advising clients how to improve their websites and gain more organic traffic.Be a link builder – draw a good strategy in ranking keywords by becoming a remarkable link builder.
  • Be a link builder – draw a good strategy in ranking keywords by becoming a remarkable link builder.Be an SEO manager – be the overseer of the SEO campaign of your client’s sites.
  • Be an SEO manager – be the overseer of the SEO campaign of your client’s sites.Be an SEO evangelist – this is pretty much undermined career, but you can actually create
  • Be an SEO evangelist – this is pretty much undermined career, but you can actually create seminars/webinars/trainings and give out some SEO tutorials.Be an affiliate marketer – SEO is a tool of marketing. Why not use it in your own blog/website?
  • Be an affiliate marketer – SEO is a tool of marketing. Why not use it in your own blog/website?
  • Be the boss and build your own agency/company – this may sound surreal but it can happen, given the right process, and a good budget to start your own agency.

By starting as an SEO specialist, you could eventually become any person I mentioned above. ☺

As to my day-to-day routine, I wake up 8:30 am to start everything and end up 5:00 (more likely a dayjob huh). There are short breaks during this time though.

After some few hours, I’d go online maybe around 10:00 pm until 12:00 midnight. On weekends, I’m a free man! Now, I might not be too religious on following my daily schedule but I think it sums it all. Hahaha.

I cover a lot of tasks. Most of it would be within but not limited to: relaying tasks to assistants, talking to clients, compiling reports and do first-hand work on websites’ SEO including my own.

*Ready to take your online career to the next level? Join our How To Be An SEO Specialist Webinar on Nov 22, 2014 with guest speaker Fervil Von Tripoli. Sign up here.

4. At what point in your career did you think it was time for you to put up your own SEO agency?

In 2014, came a good demand for SEO services and outsourcing. It came to happen that I wasn’t enough to do the ground works on all of my contracts so there was a need for me to hire and train staffs about SEO and link building, giving them their roles and tasks.

I’m still on the process of developing my cute little team, but we could tend to a good number of clients. ☺

5. This comment is a little controversial. What are your thoughts on people claiming that there’s no such thing as an SEO expert given Google’s ever-changing algorithm?

The idea that there’s no such thing as an SEO expert is a bluff. I’ve personally met some amazing individuals in the Philippine SEO industry and I myself consider them experts. It may be true that some of the ideas were just learned and applied but given the fact that these guys know their craft too well makes them experts.

To name a few, we should be proud to have Jason Acidre, Gary Viray, Glen Dimaandal, Ben Francia, Sean Si, Benj Arriola and Venchito Tampon. ☺

Google’s algorithm doesn’t totally change. What Google does is update their algorithm to intensify their search engine vs. spam and poor sites. Algorithm updates doesn’t end the life of SEO either. Otherwise, some prominent SEO sites like Moz, SEJournal and SEWatch would become meaningless.

6. Any advice for our SEO freelancers and those who are planning to pursue a career in SEO?

Fervil Von TripoliSEO, like any other careers out there, needs strong commitment, passion and willingness to learn. There’s also a need for you to become more competent if you desire to be taken seriously by your prospective clienteles.

If you are just starting out and you like to be in the field a little bit longer, then you should read A LOT. It’s part of your “leveling up” stage in SEO. You need to keep growing and become more resilient.

Catching up what Google wants is also perplexing, so you need to be great in finding good resources about SEO and link building strategies.

There will come a time when you will be dealing with writing some good stuff and testing a lot of things about SEO, processes and results. That part there is fun. It kinda makes you some sort of a scientist. Deal with it. ☺

7. Bonus: I’m a Game Of Thrones addict myself. If I’m Kaleesi, you are?

Hahah. Well this question rings a bell. I could be Jaqen H’ghar. “Valar Morghulis.”

8. Optional (only if you’re willing!): Can you share your rate when you started as a freelancer and your current hourly rate?

I guess there’s no point in not telling it to your audience. This is also a good idea for them to learn about quoting clients for their services. ☺

As to my understanding and based on my personal experience, aspiring SEO freelancers can begin with the rate of $3 per hour. It’s a good deal and with that price, there’s a good chance of attracting clients even with little knowledge and experience in SEO. When you are knowledgeable enough, you could double your rate depending on your skills in SEO, your experience and the task required.

For monthly contracts and fix rates, it really depends on the longevity of the project and the scale of work needed in the project. You need to weigh these things as well as the overhead costs for the campaign.

Piece of advice: NEVER be afraid of jacking up your rate. You always know your value. The more proficient you will be, the higher your chance of landing some decent contracts. *thumbs up*

Ready to take your online career to the next level? Join our How To Be An SEO Specialist  Webinar on Nov 22, 2014 with guest speaker Fervil Von Tripoli. Sign up here.


Fervil Von Tripoli is a freelance SEO and Internet Marketing Consultant. He is the owner of FervilVon SEO Philippines. He’s a Game Of Thrones and One Piece addict.

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