The Philippines has one of the most robust search marketing industries in the world. Tracing its roots to about a decade ago, Philippine SEO started with web developers implementing basic on-page optimization techniques requested by their clients. As the demand for outsourced work grew in the US, the UK and Australia, SEO in the Philippines started to take on a life of its own. The practice soon distinguished itself from web development and gave birth to a small but passionate community of practitioners.
To date, there are tens of thousands of Filipinos who work digital marketing-related jobs. Most of them serve foreign clients but local enterprises have started to see the potential of successful inbound marketing as well. The future is looking very bright as the quality of Philippine SEO gets collectively better, warranting more investments from businesses around the world.
A Rich Labor Market
As a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people, the Philippines is one of the world’s premier labor markets. The country produces some 500,000 college graduates annually, creating a competitive environment teeming with young talents who are eager to prove themselves. The competition for jobs and the low cost of living in the emerging Philippine economy also translates into very low labor costs without the sacrifice of quality.
From SMEs to billion-dollar multinationals, companies around the world have started to realize the value proposition of investing in the Philippines. Initially, only call center jobs were outsourced by Western economies to the country. In just a few years, investors realized the country’s potential for back office-type of jobs. Slowly but surely, development, design and marketing work found its way to the Philippine shores. The pioneers of digital marketing services in the country proved that they’re worth more investments as they delivered great results at a minimal cost.
These days, any work that can be done online is being done in the Philippines by qualified professionals. This is a testament to the Philippines’ mastery of the English language, its Internet savvy and the infrastructure in place to support the growing dependence of foreign countries on Filipino work.
SEO in the Philippines has come a long way in the recent years. Once reputed for spammy tactics, the Philippine SEO scene is rapidly evolving with its adoption of more sophisticated white hat methods to help websites gain better online visibility. In Google’s modern era, Filipino SEOs continue to thrive because of their innate writing skills, creativity and passion for excellence.
The Value Proposition of Outsourced SEO
Outsourcing SEO to the Philippines brings a lot of distinct business advantages to the table. Companies around the globe either hire digital marketing agencies or set up their own offices in the country to derive maximum value from their investments. This allows them to do more with less, giving them the financial leeway they need to grow their businesses like never before.
Here are the key reasons why businesses of all sizes go to the Philippines for SEO services:
- Minimal Labor Costs – With a competitive job market and lower costs of living, Filipino SEOs can earn a fraction of what their US, UK and Australian counterparts do. Despite that, most of them still live very well because outsourced work pays significantly better than what local employers do. If the average SEO manager in the US earns $7,000 a month, someone of the same caliber can be hired for that position in the Philippines for about $2,000. If junior-level SEOs in America earn $4,000 a month minimum, SEO trainees in the Philippines can be paid as little as $400.
That would mean you can hire an entire team of SEOs in the Philippines for the same amount it costs to get one experienced SEO specialist in the US. This allows you to do more with literally less money without sacrificing the quality of output.
- Little to no overhead costs – If you’re sourcing SEO work from the Philippines via an agency, you’ll only have to pay the retainer or contracted fees you agreed on. SEO service packages from the Philippines usually go around at $1,000-$2,000 per month depending on the scale of the project. You won’t have to worry about things like electric bills, rent, employee benefits, etc. Agency work is a turnkey solution to all your SEO needs.
For companies who want to save more over the long haul, building an office in the Philippines and starting their own team is an option. This allows you to put the agency out of the equation, cutting their margins and just paying your own employees directly without a middleman. The drawback to this is having to shoulder overhead costs yourself. Thankfully, rent, electricity, Internet bills and employee benefits are much cheaper in the Philippines than they are in industrialized nations.
- Fewer Risks – In any business endeavor, there’s always the possibility that your investments won’t pay off., Outsourcing minimizes the risks due to the lower costs involved. Most companies who’ve tried to invest in Philippine SEO but didn’t achieve the results they desired were able to contain the losses and live to fight another day. Unlike in the US, setting up a business in the Philippines is not an all-or-nothing affair with life-changing ramifications.
- Competitive Advantage – Minimizing costs and risks with outsourced work gives you a distinct competitive advantage. For one, you can start lowering the costs of your own products and services to set yourself apart from competing businesses. If you don’t want to lower your prices, you can still operate the way you do – with a much higher profit margin.
Not all SEOs in the Philippines are Equal
As far as the Philippines has come as a SEO hotbed, it has flaws that have to be overcome. For one thing, Filipino SEOs have a black hat stigma attached to them. A few years ago when web spam could still be used to manipulate the SERPs, SEOs in the Philippines did their fair share of shady work. The work of a few opportunistic practitioners earned the entire local industry a negative tag that the community is still trying to get rid of to this day.
Fortunately, Filipino SEOs have started opening their eyes to the fact that white hat SEO is the only way to go if we want to achieve more than what we already have. More and more, we see the old spammers go away and we’re seeing an equal number of ethical SEOs rising through the ranks and getting some recognition.
The next time you do a search for the keyword “SEO Philippines” and its variants, take a long, hard look at the vendors you see. Are they legitimate brands? Are they offering service packages that are too good to be true? Do they have the thought leadership cache and the reputation that comes along with being a legitimate practitioner?
Outsourcing is meant to make SEO more affordable, not inhumanely cheap. If a site is charging $300 a month for a full service package, ask yourself how they’re supposed to hire quality personnel who’ll help you climb the rankings in a safe and ethical way.
The quality of the SEO work you get from the Philippines is a matter of choice. Choose shady companies with dubious methods and you’ll likely do more harm than good to your site. With ethical SEO companies, you spend a little bit more but you’ll be happier over the long haul. The decision is yours.