We honestly believe that SEO is something that can be self-taught, and compared to years before, there’s now a wealth of knowledge about search engine optimization that’s free to access and easily understood by the wider public. By that logic, everyone has access to the kind of foundation that could possibly jumpstart their career in SEO. However, we also believe that something special distinguishes the legit Pinoy SEO from the snake oil salesmen who promise miracles for search engine results and never really deliver.
What should you do if you want to become the former and steer clear of the likes of the latter? Here are our tips for becoming a legitimate Filipino SEO who can practice their skills with both confidence and competence.
Build Your Knowledge and Skills in SEO-Adjacent Fields
First, realize that becoming an SEO that’s worth their salt isn’t just a matter of learning SEO and nothing else. It’s actually good to accumulate background knowledge and skills from fields outside of SEO that will nonetheless be very useful to your future SEO practice.
Offhand, here are just some examples of areas of competencies that can ease you into life as an SEO specialist:
- Basic HTML. Go back to the markup language that was taught to you as early as in your grade school or high school computer classes. When you start doing SEO, this knowledge will give you a better grasp of the code that makes up the web pages you’ll handle for your clients. It will also help you articulate what SEO changes you need to implement for your client when you work with web developers or designers.
- Basic computer science concepts. SEO does not require you to be a programming whiz, but it definitely helps for you to brush up on foundational computer science concepts like hosting, domain names, and how to retrieve data from a host file system. Among other things, these concepts will allow you to understand Google’s crawl process and what the search engine looks for when it ranks websites.
- Basic knowledge of statistics. The technical nature of SEO makes it a good career for those who’ve taken up statistics in their coursework or those who are passionate about sports statistics or the stock market. If you’re already into statistics, then SEO may be a good fit for you.
- Basic knowledge of how to use MS Excel. If you want to go far in the SEO life, you have to get over any fear of using spreadsheets. Knowledge of how to manage spreadsheets, how to implement different Excel formulas, and how to collate data will serve you well for SEO tasks like analytics, link building, and compiling SEO audits.
Do Some Self-Study on Foundational SEO Principles
After deepening your skills and knowledge in SEO-adjacent fields, you should next immerse yourself in the nitty-gritty of search engine optimization itself. Below is a “cheat sheet” of sorts for basic SEO principles that you need to master to become a legit SEO professional:
- How websites work. You should master concepts like the taxonomy of websites, the relationship of hosting to the files you upload, and how to generate HTML files.
- How search engines work. Knowledge of how search engines work is, of course, the core of this whole profession. Read up on how Google surveys all the pages on the internet, what factors into a website’s ranking, and how Google saves pages and links pages with each other. On top of learning concepts that still apply from when SEO took off in the 1990s, you should be up to date on the most recent developments that affect all SEO practitioners—for example, updates to Google’s algorithms.
- The basic principles of web content. Learn about the different types of content (textual, video, audio), what the most relevant and most popular forms of web content are, and the relationship of SEO practices to web content, i.e. how web content drives backlinking and off-page SEO elements.
- How backlinks work. Understand how other websites outside of your client’s domain contribute to your client’s search engine visibility either by linking to their pages or citing them.
- Basic web analytics principles. Lastly, read up on basic concepts involved in web analytics such as users, sessions, conversions, and bounce rate. These form the most basic metrics that you need to take note of when you compile SEO reports, as well as when you formulate decisions to improve your client’s ranking.
Find the Right Sources for Learning About SEO
Sometimes the sheer amount of SEO-related content that’s available is actually a double-edged sword. A legit Pinoy SEO should be able to filter out the learning resources of actual value from the sources that don’t contribute much to the modern-day practice of the profession.
Here are some starting points for self-study for someone who aims to become a legit Pinoy SEO:
- Moz. Moz is one of the most popular reference websites that also contain a substantial amount of resources for SEO practice. The great thing about Moz’s website is that it shares lots of content that’s easy for even beginner-level SEOs to digest. We recommend Moz’s beginner’s guide to SEO, followed by the main guide which details more advanced-level techniques for optimization.
- Search Engine Land. Search Engine Land is the largest news site for SEO industry developments, and it also shares news about related fields like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, web design, and coding. It’s important to keep the pulse on the latest developments in the industry, and you can do so by checking a site like Search Engine Land daily.
- Search Engine Roundtable. You’ll be able to find additional news on highly specialized SEO topics from SE Roundtable. What’s especially helpful about SE Roundtable is that it regularly publishes news and analyses from leaders in the SEO industry.
- GSQi. G-Squared Interactive, or GSQi, is the brainchild of global digital marketing expert Glenn Gabe. Here, you’ll find insights on Gabe’s SEO experience that will help you visualize how your own SEO practice will affect your clients.
Other resources aside from SearchWorks’ guide to SEO in the Philippines and the SearchWorks YouTube channel include the ahrefs blog, the Yoast blog, and the blogs of local SEO thought leaders like Jason Acidre or Kaiserthesage.
Frankly, there’s no excuse not to read up on the best SEO resources once you know what they are.
Some More General Tips on Becoming a Legit Pinoy SEO Practitioner
We end this short guide on how to become a legit Pinoy SEO by imparting the following tips to whoever wants to take on the challenge.
- Do more than just absorb SEO knowledge. Take the time to actually practice your SEO skills for yourself. You may be surprised about which SEO techniques will actually work in your situation. In our own experience, sometimes it’s the less publicized techniques that actually do the trick.
When it comes to the work you do for your clients, the most important thing is the result. But how will you be able to learn for yourself what the ideal result is if you haven’t tested things yourself in a concrete situation? As someone who intends to grow in this profession, commit to putting your skills to the test and figuring out ways to improve your results.
- Get hired by a legit agency. Deepen your SEO practice by joining a reputable agency with a client portfolio that can speak for itself. Some people work well in isolation, but most of the time, those who end up excelling in the field of SEO can credit their mentors and teammates for helping them achieve results they wouldn’t be able to pull off alone.
We also recommend working with an agency that truly specializes in the craft if your intention is to build a deep and well-rounded SEO skill set. You may be able to get some good working experience as the SEO of an ecommerce outfit or a media company, for example, but the knowledge and skills that you take away from that type of work will be limited only to those operations.
- Look for an SEO mentor. If joining an agency isn’t an option for you just yet, but you definitely want to nurture your passion for SEO, seek opportunities to learn from an SEO mentor.
SearchWorks’ CEO Glen Dimaandal, for example, credits his own former boss, Jec Gonzales, for modeling what it means to be an SEO mentor to other people—not only in terms of passing on advanced SEO knowledge, but also in motivating himself to get out of his comfort zone to overcome his initial “pain points” in the craft. As the head of one of the Philippines’ top SEO agencies today, Glen believes that it is his responsibility to be a legitimate mentor to those who truly want to make a difference in the field. To that end, he has organized SEO training camps that have yielded some true diamonds in the rough— SEO professionals who are sure to make a major impact in the Philippines’ burgeoning SEO industry.
- Be actively engaged in the Pinoy SEO community. We also recommend that you join Facebook groups like SEO Org Philippines. This will give you the opportunity to talk with your fellow SEOs, as well as to engage with local SEO greats.
We encourage you not to be a passive observer in the community, but to be a go-getter who isn’t shy to ask questions or share their best practices with others. Be an active contributor to the exchange of ideas, and aim to establish friendships and business partnerships with people who are just as dedicated to SEO as you are.
- Join legitimate conferences and SEO events. Another way that you can immerse yourself in the field is by attending SEO conferences and other related events. Just beware of scams that require you to pay PHP10,000 or more only for you to come away with the same info that you would have gotten online.
In the days before the pandemic, SearchWorks launched PeepCon and commissioned the speaking talents of both local and international SEO experts. Though face-to-face conferences may not be a thing in the near future, you should stay tuned for any news of online equivalents that you can join in the safety of your home.
- Sign up for SEO masterclasses. If you’re willing to put up the resources and you would like to attain even more in-depth training, you can also join an SEO masterclass. This will allow you to have an even more focused experience when learning about the ins and outs of SEO and, more importantly, get lessons that are tailored to your current level as a practitioner.
There’s definitely an upside to investing in SEO knowledge as opposed to simply getting it for free. You’ll receive SEO training that branches off from your personal strengths, and you’ll also be more motivated to recoup your investment by doing well in the field.
By now, you should be able to discern the skills, knowledge, and attitude that you truly need in order to make a mark in the Philippine SEO sector. The field is neither for the impatient nor for the fearful of learning curves. However people who can put in the hard work and the commitment should certainly be excited about becoming an SEO specialist.
If you consider yourself a legit Pinoy SEO in the making, SearchWorks is hiring. Apply through our website if you think you have what it takes.