Ilman Akbar— RevoU Instructor | Digital Marketing Lead at Pashouses (Ex-Traveloka)
Ilman Akbar has been in the digital marketing world for more than 7 years. most of it spent contributing to the success of Traveloka. Now, he's the Digital Marketing Lead at Pashouses, a platform for homeownership in Indonesia.
Ilman has been deep diving in the performance/digital marketing world for more than 7 years.
The majority of his time working in the industry is spent contributing to the success of Traveloka, one of the six unicorn startups in Indonesia. Ilman was the Head of SEO (2014-2018) and then became the Product Manager (2018-2020).
One of his best achievements in the company is attain rank #1 in Indonesia for targeted keywords around flight, hotel, train, and bus within 1 to 2 years after launch, by applying enterprise-level on-page & off-page SEO.
Ilman also built SEO teams in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines office by becoming the hiring manager and establishing HQ international collaboration workflows.
He was also the Digital Marketing Lead at Glints (2020-2021), where he led both the performance marketing and SEO Team. Another great accomplishment, they managed to double the SEO traffic for the job portal while also increasing the sign-up by 67% within 6 months.
Recently, Ilman created and launched his new blog, named DailySEO ID, to inform & educate people in Indonesia about how SEO can help deliver business value to the company.
Currently, he is working as Digital Marketing Lead at Pashouses, a platform for homeownership in Indonesia.
With his broad experience and deep understanding of the industry, we believe that Ilman is the best person to be the curriculum creator for the Advance Search Engine Optimization program at RevoU. You will also meet him in class as he is one of the instructors for the program as well.
More on Ilman
Student Testimonials on Ilman
- "Mas Ilman is a good instructor. Ngajarnya santai tapi kontennya berisi"
- "Penjabaran dari instructor, sabar, deep, prakteknya, dan kisah real life nya juga ada"
- "Mas Ilman, walaupun jokes nya kadang garing, tapi itu bisa nyairin suasana kelas yg bikin pusing hahaha tapi mas ilman berhasil menjelaskan materi yang padat dengan waktu yang singkat tp mudah dipahami"
Questions & Answers
#1 Can you explain to us what your typical day looks like at Bukugaji?
I don’t have a typical day, because every day is unique! We’re a small startup (envisioned to be big!), so every day I’m hustling.
However, the day usually starts with prioritizing today’s to-do list. Starting from there, I might check various dashboard to see my KPIs (at Bukugaji I’m running the overall growth engine, not only SEO), I might talk with my team of freelancers or peers at the company, I might write some updates to my co-founders, I might talk with our users to understand them better, I might write a requirement documents for a project I’d like to initiate, and so on! Everyday is an exciting day because I can learn new things to make me a better person!
#2 Biggest myths and misconceptions about working in SEO?
I’d say it’ll be these three: “SEO goal is only to win the rank #1 for the target keyword”, “doing SEO is only about putting keywords in the page”, and “SEO is free/cheap”
It’s three big misconceptions, because in my opinion:
Firstly, the ultimate goal of SEO is to drive business impacts. Imagine you have your target keyword in 1st position on Google already. So what? Does this bring benefits to your business?
Secondly, SEO now is more complex than SEO years ago, as both the search engine & user behaviours keep evolving. SEO becomes a discipline with various skill sets to be mastered, to be able to compete in SERP and drive the business impacts. So it’s not as simple as it was years ago.
Lastly, yes, traffic from organic search is indeed free (once you beat the competitors and being there on top). However, driving the efforts to achieve that result are not free at all! You either need to spend more time and energy, or spend money to save those (by using premium tools, or hire more man-powers, for example), but SEO activities are definitely not cheap, let alone free. That’s why SEO should be able to drive business impacts, because the investment will be paid off by the sustainable & free traffic coming to your business!
#3 Your proudest professional achievement?
In Traveloka, as a SEO team, we scaled up the SEO from Indonesia to 6 countries in Southeast Asia. We learned a lot by building things ground up, from the new technicalities running a multi-region/multi-language website, the differences in user behaviours, to improving the business processes so all the local team can work flawlessly with the HQ team. In the end, I think we nailed it!
In my previous employer Glints, my proudest achievement was when we could show the impact of SEO to the company. Glints’ leadership team never had any doubt about the importance of SEO, but when the team doubled the traffic to the job marketplace within my first 6 months in the role, we were sure we could beat the market leaders from the SEO side!
#4 What drives you to work in your current industry?
I love solving business problems, through technology, through marketing. Those are my 3 core skills.
My current employer (Bukugaji) really focused on solving the problem of Small & Medium Enterprise Owners in managing their human resources, through technology (mobile app), so it’s a great match for me!
#5 Things you wish you could have learned earlier in your career?
I think I’m blessed & privileged with my career progress so far, as I feel I’ve been learning the right thing at the right time throughout my career. But I think I have two things I was very grateful for in my early career I’d like to share:
First one is to have the right mentor to help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, and show you the way to be a better person, both personally & professionally. Your manager/boss matters a lot to your earlier career development (even more than the company itself, IMO), so carefully find the right boss that can be your mentor.
The second one is to try everything! Don’t be picky about your early jobs. At the beginning of your career, you should explore many things, many roles, many projects, etc. Be flexible, be a fast learner, and eventually you’ll find the match between your aspirations, your talent, your skills, and what the industry is looking for.
#6 Books / Online resources you follow to remain on top of the most important industry trends and keep improving in your field (blogs, podcasts, newsletters)?
The websites/blogs in the SEO field that I follow are:
Google’s own blog (obviously), Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Moz Blog, Ahrefs Blog, Backlinko Blog, among others.
Unfortunately I’m not an auditory person so I don’t follow podcasts, but I occasionally watch YouTube. You can try subscribing to The Search Agency, a YouTube channel by one veteran in Indonesian SEO.
#7 Your tips for someone who is interested in starting his career in SEO (aside from applying to RevoU) :)?
Create & manage your own website! Organic channels, like SEO, have the lowest barrier to entry, because creating a website is super cheap. So learning SEO and practicing it on your website is super cheap too! Compare it with learning ads, where you should spend real money to be able to practice it.
#8 The fundamental skills an SEO professional is expected to have?
I’d say two things: the first one will be the problem solving skill, and the second one is definitely the hard skills of SEO.
There’s a lot of black box or unknown things in doing SEO. Any SEO professional should be able to have a data-driven (or at least educated guess) answer to these problems, not only using feeling.
SEOs should be able to structurally deconstruct that big problem, and find the answer one by one using our SEO hard skills. It’s like having tools in our toolbox. The more tools/skills we have, the easier we can solve the problems.
#9 What distinguishes a good SEO person from a great one?
Great SEO persons speak business.
They are able to help any company achieve its business goals through their SEO strategy & executions. Good SEO persons only drive SEO strategy & executions and achieve good results (i.e. ranking). However, they might not know about the business, the customers, and the competitors they’re working with.
Learn from Ilman and other great instructors by applying to RevoU Advanced SEO Program
Looking to accelerate your career in SEO but don’t know how? Apply to RevoU Advanced SEO program.
How RevoU works:
✓ Live daily interactive online classes for 7 weeks (7–9pm WIB)
✓ Learn from the best instructors in the industry (such as Ilman)
✓ Working on real projects mentored by the experts
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