The Rising Digital Storm: SEO and Online Marketing in the Philippines
Back in 2012, local online marketing expert Jason Acidre predicted that the Philippines “will have toppled off all other countries in the worldwide SEO landscape” in 2014. As we approach the end of the Q1 2014, I think he was right on target.
Overall Economic Growth in 2013 and Beyond
The Philippines has been outdoing itself in terms of economic growth. In early 2013, Philippine GDP grew by 7.6%, which went beyond the government’s target of 6-7% for the whole year.
Rappler reports that the Philippines still grew by 6.5% in Q4 2013 and 7.2% throughout the entire year, even with the devastation brought by Typhoon Haiyan in November.
In 2013, The World Bank also upgraded its 2014 economic growth forecast for the country from 6.1% to 6.4%, and predicted that private consumption, sustained remittances, and the expansion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry will continue to drive overall growth.
The Nation is Going Digital
The local digital landscape has been growing fast. A report by Tigercub Digital describes the Philippines as “the perfect digital storm” because of its favorable demographics, economic growth, and its population’s digital lifestyle.
The Philippines also has the highest level of brand engagement across all online content channels in Southeast Asia (25.6%), which exceeds the global average for online brand engagement.
The Philippines’ increasing awareness about the importance of digital has also increased the demand for training, education, and community building. Looking at the website for Fiera de Manila, a professional congress organizer, you can see the number of events related to SEO, SEM, and digital marketing has increased starting 2012.
The Rise of SEO in 2014
The digital revolution is going to take the Philippines by storm this year. With all these businesses going digital, it’s only natural for the demand for SEO services to rise. Based on our own clientele, we’ve seen the local SEO market grow by over 500% in the past 12 months, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
We’ve been dealing with local and international clients since we first started offering our services, and many local businesses have only just begun discovering the need for proper SEO. There are those who are still relying on old SEO techniques (if they do SEO at all), or are missing key elements of a well-rounded SEO strategy. To me, this is a strange trend given that there are so many local SEO providers offering services to international businesses and brands.
A Call to Action for Local SEOs
The Philippines has a lot of potential in the digital arena, but there are too few SEO providers specializing in services for local businesses (One of which is SEO Hacker – check out their list of SEO services). All this time we’ve been concentrating on servicing and educating foreign brands in need of better SEO – it’s about time we shifted our focus to local businesses in need of SEO and digital marketing.
While outsourcing services to international brands is still important to keep the economy growing, we have to remember that local brands need an online presence to grow and fully realize their business potential. 2014 is the start of a new digital age in the Philippines, and it’s up to us to lead the way.