Manila, August 15, 2012 - “Come 2014, the Philippines will have toppled off all other countries in the worldwide SEO landscape. That’s a given.” Xight Interactive CEO Jason Acidre, author of popular online marketing blog Kaiser the Sage, asserts that with the Filipino SEO practitioners’ inherent traits and skills in their craft, becoming THE hub for search engine optimization (SEO) outsourcing in the world isn’t that much of a stretch.
Bold, creative and intelligent as they are, Filipinos do have the knack for SEO and online marketing, noted Acidre. It is no wonder that more and more companies are flocking in to tap the Filipinos’ skills and acumen to climb up search engines’ rankings. In May alone, Acidre’s Internet start-up company received $150,000 worth of offers – a remarkable record, as his brainchild, Xight Interactive, was officially established only in September 2011.
Based on local forums, offline events, and SEO companies based in the Philippines, there are already thousands of Filipino SEO practitioners. Some are freelancers, while some opt to work for companies.
“I believe that the number [of Filipino SEO practitioners] will continuously grow, given that the service is going to be in demand for the next few years,” Acidre said.
Filipino SEOs: A Combination of Skills and Strong Work Ethics
According to SEO Consultant Mark Acsay, the upward trend for hiring more Filipino SEO practitioners began in 2003 to 2004. Clients around the world trusted Filipinos, due to their world-class skills and strong work ethics.
“The mature market demographics in the Internet are usually English speaking, and that’s where Filipinos are stronger than other sought-after outsourced countries like India,” Acsay said. “In this industry, excellent English communication skills, writing and speaking, are very important.”
Moreover, the high literacy rate of Filipinos—86.4% (functional literacy) and 93.4% (basic literacy)—also gave them the edge in the SEO industry.
According to Acidre, the literacy rate “can somehow justify why most online professionals based in the Philippines have impressive learning curves.” As of today, he further added, the Philippines is “on top of mind” compared with other non-English speaking countries in Asia, as reflected in Global English Business English Index. An accompanying infograph also shows that only the Philippines got a score of above 7.0, a score which “indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks.”
More than just their skills, Filipinos also showed a strong sense of conscientiousness in their work, in order to meet all the clients’ demands.
“Filipinos are internationally known for their work ethics and culture, wherein most are focused on giving quality work and meeting their clients’ expectations when it comes to volume,” Acidre said.
Lastly, outsourcing SEO work to Filipinos is also more economical, regardless of the size of the business.
“If you outsource your SEO in the Philippines… it’s economical. I didn’t say ‘cheap,’ as some may think when they outsource in the Philippines,” Acsay said. “It’s economical because it suits the budget of small to large companies and you get the quality service.”
The Lure of SEO
The practice of SEO—enhancing the visibility of the website or a web page on a search engine’s results page (SERP)—requires a constant update of a practitioner’s skills, if he/she wants to adapt to the constantly evolving nature of the Internet.
According to Acsay, “Local or foreign businesses that do not take advantage of online marketing cannot thrive in this information age.” He further added that Top Fortune 500 companies, celebrities and politicians are already benefitting from establishing a strong online presence.
The practice of SEO is apparently not limited to any educational or professional background.
Acsay was a professional badminton coach before studying the fundamentals of SEO. For almost five years, the competitiveness of the industry proved to be the selling point for him. He currently handles clients from Australia, USA, Eastern Europe and China.
“One thing I love most in SEO industry is it’s not static. I hear some who clamor every time there is an algorithm change in the search engines, but I consider it as another opportunity to top in the game,” Acsay said.
Acidre, on the other hand, has only been in the industry for two years, but has already established his reputation as one of the authorities in the SEO industry.
“I’ve been in the SEO industry for the past 2 years. In that short period of time spent working as a full-time SEO, I have been able to work with some of the biggest names and brands on the web, become a speaker to local industry conferences, and be featured on several reputable industry sites like SEOmoz, Search Engine Land and Technorati,” Acidre recounted.
Surviving the Penguin Update
On April 24, search engine giant Google released its most recent algorithm change called Google Penguin. Aimed to penalize web spam tactics, Penguin devastated a large number of websites by bringing down their SERP rankings. By affecting at least 3.1 percent of English search queries, the update caused a lot of webmasters and SEO practitioners to rethink their online campaigns.
However, what may have spelled the doom for millions of website owners gave the right opportunity for Filipino SEO practitioners to gain more clients and to update their skills.
“For our company, the update was good news, since new offers and prospective clients started pouring in right after the Penguin update,” Acidre said. “Also, most of our clients’ competitors were hit by this update, making most of [our client’s] sites’ major keywords rank better on Google’s search results.”
Furthermore, the Penguin update also gave Filipino SEO practitioners the avenue to “become more open in sharing their thoughts, opinions and advices on how to recover from this update.”
Additionally, Acsay believes that SEO companies need to adjust their strategies, in order to recover their clients’ traffic and rankings. Most of all, they need to “shy away from shady, short-term strategies,” he said.
“The Penguin update is a wake-up call to many SEO practitioners here in the Philippines,” Acsay stressed.
On to the Future
Both Acidre and Acsay believe that the Philippines will be the next prime destination for SEO outsourcing, both in Asia and the world.
In order to introduce the practice of SEO to the general Filipino public, education is important. According to Acsay, “the SEO Organization of the Philippines is doing its best to reach out to both companies and wannabe practitioners in this industry through seminars and trainings without unaffordable registration fees.”
Considering the constant algorithm updates of major commercial search engines, the SEO industry will continue to grow in the Philippines.
“With the drastic changes being constantly implemented on Google’s search algorithm these past few months… it’s kind of certain that the growth of this practice—as an industry—in the Philippines will be amplified as well due to the increase of the demand,” Acidre said.
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