SEO Philippines: A Quick Look At The Philippine Digital Marketing Landscape
You may have noticed that everything seems to have gone digital in recent years, from the way we communicate with each other to the way we shop for the things we need and want. Even the way men woo the women they find attractive has gone digital, with courtships increasingly being done via SMS and social media. As a semi-traditional woman, I don’t really agree with this kind of courtship, but that’s beside the point. Like it or not, almost everything significant that’s happening these days is happening in the digital world.
If you’re currently looking for work or feeling the need for a career shift, you may be wondering if it’s a good idea to start building a career in the digital marketing industry. If you’re a business-minded individual, you may be wondering if it is indeed a smart move to start marketing your business online. Are digital marketing solutions indeed a wise investment? Let’s find out.
A Little Background
The Philippines’ digital landscape has been growing in recent years and things really started to get exciting in 2013. Tigercub Digital even described the country as “the perfect digital storm,” owing to its amazing economic growth, favorable demographics, and the increasingly digital lifestyle of its people. The country is also lauded for having Southeast Asia’s highest level of brand engagement across all online platforms. At 25.6%, its brand engagement level even exceeds the global average.
As a result of the country’s growing awareness as regards the value of digital marketing, the demand for education, training, and community-building in the digital arena has also increased. In fact, if you look close enough at the digital trends in the Philippines in recent years, you’ll see there has been a significant increase in the number of events related to SEM, SEO, and digital marketing since 2012.
It has also been observed that from 2013 to 2014, the number of Philippine businesses that went digital either by starting to promote their brands online via social media or by actually bringing their business into the online arena by building e-commerce websites has significantly increased. As a result, the demand for SEO services also rose exponentially. The country’s SEO market has, in fact, risen by more than 500% in 2014 and just kept on growing throughout 2015.
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The Current Landscape
According to Internet Marketing, Inc. Vice President for SEO Benj Arriola, the major players in the Philippine digital marketing industry are mature enough to have learned all the ins and outs of the industry, even on a global scale. In fact, it is no secret that the projects most SEO Philippines companies are working on are for foreign clients, particularly for businesses based in the US, the UK, and Australia. Experts agree that there is a need to strengthen the local SEO sector in the country. The good news is that more and more service providers are focusing on specializing in local SEO services. At the same time, more and more local businesses are recognizing the value of SEO.
Aside from recognizing the importance of SEO, however, there is still a need to further educate businesses on how digital marketing can have a huge impact on their bottom line. There is also a need to provide businesses with a clearer understanding of what digital marketing is all about, as many of them are still trying to shake off the traditional marketing mindset and struggling to shift to digital mode. They need to understand that digital marketing is more than just getting as many Facebook Likes and Twitter followers as possible. They also need to understand that SEO, a large part of digital marketing, is more than just about getting top search engine rankings.
Where talent is concerned, the Philippines certainly isn’t lacking. Our best digital marketing and SEO practitioners can definitely hold their own on the global arena, and that is despite the lack of quality educational institutions that provide formal training on digital marketing. In fact, the availability of raw, world-class talent is perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the popularity of the Philippines among foreign businesses looking to outsource their digital marketing needs. Perhaps another important factor is the fact that practically every Filipino has “gone social.” We understand how social media works and our digital marketing experts know how these platforms can best help businesses, and foreign brands are cashing in on this fact.
Considering the current state of the Philippine digital marketing landscape, it is safe to say that the industry will continue to grow in the coming years, as local businesses are finally able to adopt a digital mindset and more education and training are provided to optimize the raw talent we already have. More Philippines digital marketers could finally offer specialized services for local businesses and continue to provide their clients with personalized experiences.
And as the competition for content become even tougher, businesses are expected to invest more in social media content, as it will become a lot more difficult to reach target audiences through organic means. Of course, this doesn’t mean digital marketers and their client businesses will (or should) start neglecting organic methods of connecting, just that there will be more focus on social engagement. It is also expected that there will be efforts to dramatically improve user experience on mobile gadgets.
Advice to Businesses
If you’re a business owner and you still haven’t started taking advantage of digital marketing but are seriously thinking of doing so, you will need to learn how to analyze the data that have an impact on how your business is performing. You will also need to learn to make decisions that are driven by the data available to you. Unless you learn the numbers and make decision based on those numbers, you’ll find it difficult to improve your bottom line through digital marketing. At the very least, you won’t be able to determine whether you are earning money from your digital marketing efforts or not.
Furthermore, you need to understand that digital marketing for your business is an investment, which means you have to expect returns. For this reason, your KPIs should not only be the number of Facebook Likes, the number of page views, search rankings, and similar factors. Rather, your digital marketing efforts should bring you closer to the fulfillment of your business goals. Therefore, before you even discuss your digital marketing goals with your chosen service provider, you should already have reviewed your business goals. A thorough review of your goals will help ensure that your digital marketing strategies are properly aligned with those goals and will bring your business where you want it to go.
Remember as well that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in digital marketing. What worked well for one company may not necessarily work well for you, and vice versa. So rather than looking for what the best solution is based on the testimonies of other business owners, you should work on creating the best solution for your business, with the help of your digital marketing service provider. Get a clear understanding of what sets your business apart so you can tailor-fit the solutions you’re going to apply.
Identify your target customers; create personas for each target, if possible. Learn what type of websites they regularly visit, what devices they typically use to access the Internet, what kind of approach appeals to them, and what kind of messages they relate with, among other things. Create a digital marketing strategy based on the kind of profile you’ve built on your target customers. As you begin to implement your strategy, be patient. Understand that you may need to test and adjust your strategies a few times before it is perfected. Digital marketing is an on-going process, and your strategies will need to constantly evolve with the trends.
The Philippine digital marketing industry is indeed on the rise. Philippine digital marketers in a wide variety of specializations—social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, web development—continue to gain popularity all over the world. And all signs point to the fact that we definitely have the capacity and capability to win the global digital marketing competition. But there is a lot to be done for us to achieve that, and every sector has to do their part—the government, the business sector, the digital marketers, and educational institutions. And we have to act NOW.
The Philippines has a bright future in digital marketing. There is no denying that. And it is true for both digital marketing practitioners and local businesses. The country’s digital marketing landscape even offers a bright future to the economy as a whole. As long as our practitioners continue to adhere to ethical practices and maintain a high quality of service, as long as local businesses are continually made aware of the benefits of digital marketing, and as long as the government improve the support given to the industry, there is no reason why the Philippines won’t soon be known as the world’s top digital marketing destination.