If you found our video or this post using the search term “SEO prices in the Philippines” there is a very high chance that you’re from outside the country. This makes sense as the Philippines is a major player in the low-cost, high-value segment for business process outsourcing (BPO), including search engine optimization services. Here, we’ll discuss typical asking rates and salaries for a range of SEO services and professionals.
As with most other BPO services, the going rates for SEO services in the Philippines can differ on a case-to-case basis. The information here is not based on market research but, rather, our 15 years of experience performing SEO campaigns in a country with a very small pool of SEO-focused digital marketing agencies and professionals.
There are only a handful of high-level SEO experts in the Philippines and there is a high degree of interaction and cooperation between freelancers, agency professionals, and SEO-focused employees of locally-based in-house digital marketing departments. Given our experiences, we’re confident that we can offer a good picture of how much SEOs are paid in the Philippines, discounting a few major anomalies here and there.
Whether you’re a marketing manager looking for a cost-effective way to run an SEO campaign or want to start an SEO practice in the Philippines, we hope the information we’ll be presenting here will be of use to you.
What Kinds of SEO Services Can You Get in the Philippines?
Asking rates for SEO services can fluctuate depending on the setup of the service.
Most services can be included in one of the three categories below.
SEO agencies are digital marketing companies that primarily offer SEO solutions. The scope and scale of the services offered by agencies can vary, with some being more focused on specific areas of SEO, such as link building or technical SEO.
Despite their differences, one thing agencies have in common is that they tend to employ a variety of specialists that focus on just one or a few key areas of SEO or digital marketing. Agencies can have SEO specialists, paid search specialists, developers, designers, content creators, and other professionals needed to execute the campaigns the agency specializes in.
Benefits of Hiring SEO Agencies
The great thing about dealing with agencies is that most of them are registered and comply with local business requirements and standards. You can be sure that their employees are being paid proper wages and have professional work setups. More importantly, you can be confident that most agencies and the people working for them are known entities, and can ultimately be made accountable.
Hiring a reputable agency can greatly reduce the risk that your SEO campaign will fail. Agencies tend to hire only qualified individuals that can quickly readjust to the needs of different clients. And because agencies are registered with the local authorities and took all the trouble to file the necessary paperwork, they’re incentivized to perform at a professional level.
Because they handle a range of clients, agencies also tend to invest more in their tools and processes so that they can facilitate everyone’s needs efficiently. This also benefits clients as they can expect faster turnaround times, fewer errors, and more conscientious service.
Drawbacks of Hiring SEO Agencies
Of course, the better performance and lower risk offered by SEO agencies come at a price. However, it should be kept in mind that not all agencies are equal in terms of experience, management, reputation, and service scope.
Another thing to keep in mind is that SEO agencies don’t typically enter into staff-leasing agreements. In most cases, agency employees will be answerable to their employers and not to the client. This means you cannot make immediate demands of agency employees like you would someone on your own payroll. In most cases, agencies will have you sign contracts with predetermined deliverables with little or no room to go beyond that scope.
Philippine SEO Agency Price Points:
- Low-end agencies ($200-$900 a month). These are newly registered businesses that have only been around for a couple of years. In our opinion, low-end Philippine SEO agencies may be where the best value lies. The people who form the nucleus of these companies tend to be very talented, eager to please (which is why they charge low rates), and highly creative.
However, because of their tight overheads, they probably won’t have all the tools and resources to prosecute a major campaign and they may need help in this area. They may also lack financial stability and they may not have a complete set of repeatable processes in place.
- Mid-tier agencies ($900-$1,200 a month). These agencies have been around for at least 3 years, giving most of them enough resources and experience to effectively run SEO campaigns. These agencies are a good place to start if you want to run SEO campaigns that don’t break the bank and are relatively free of risk.
- Top-tier agencies (starts at $1,200 a month, can be much more). The best Philippine SEO agencies tend to have years if not decades of experience in the bag. If you have the cash to spare, these agencies provide the best possible performance and risk reduction for most SEO campaigns. Top-tier Philippine agencies tend to have established processes, an achievement-driven culture, and talent pools that will not be out of place in any of the world’s major finance and tech centers. That said, you’d have to pay more for engagements with these companies. Chances are, however, that you will still pay much less compared to even a comparable or even less capable agency located in North America or Western Europe.
Digital marketing agencies are not the only ones offering SEO services in the Philippines. If you’re not yet ready to pay the typical rates asked by SEO agencies, you can choose to go with an SEO freelancer. SEO freelancers are independent contractors that offer their expertise to one or more clients at a time.
Benefits of Hiring SEO Freelancers
Freelancers can be open to negotiating their work arrangements, and you’ll find some being paid by the hour, some being paid fixed rates, some being put on retainer, and others being paid per unit of output.
Another advantage of choosing freelancers is that you can keep your engagement with them for as long or as short as your campaign needs. This can give you flexibility in your labor inputs, allowing you to quickly ramp your manpower up or down as needed to save costs.
Of course, the main advantage of hiring a Philippine-based freelancer is their comparatively low asking rates. You’ll find plenty of takers for jobs costing as low as $240 a month.
Drawbacks of Hiring SEO Freelancers
The skills of freelancers can vary widely. While there are some very talented SEO freelancers out there, the ones who offer low asking rates also tend to be the ones with the least skills and experience. SEO freelancers also tend to have much fewer resources at their disposal, which means clients may need to pay for tools and other things needed to run a campaign.
Philippine SEO Freelancer Price Points:
- Novice ($240-$800 a month). Generally, you only want to hire the lowest-end freelancers for brute-force tasks that are low-risk and require minimal critical thinking. If you need an SEO freelancer to manage a critical asset, you have to be prepared to pay more.
- Mid-tier ($800-$1,200 a month). With 3-5 years of experience, SEO professionals at this level are probably qualified to be managers at in-house departments and digital marketing agencies. If you want to run a campaign without breaking the bank, freelancers at this level can offer very good value.
- Top-tier ($1,200-$2,500 a month). These are cream-of-the-crop performers who are probably qualified to work as marketing directors or run their own agencies, if not for their desire to maintain maximum flexibility. If you can find them, these rock-star performers offer extremely high value for money. However, by our estimates, there are probably less than 30 Philippine-based SEO professionals who qualify for this tier and hundreds more who just claim they belong here. In any case, make sure to interview these freelancers carefully to get a better feel for their capabilities.
3) In-House Staff
SEO professionals that fall under this category are directly hired as formal employees. To have in-house staff based in the Philippines, your business will have to be registered locally and comply with local laws, including those related to labor, social security, taxes, and so forth.
Benefits of Hiring In-House Staff
Hiring an in-house SEO team may be the best choice for larger businesses with very specific processes and long-term goals. If they’re pursuing a long-term campaign or have very specific marketing and branding guidelines that they readily cannot entrust to freelancers or agencies, hiring in-house may be the best choice.
Drawbacks of Hiring In-House Staff
Hiring in-house carries a lot of hidden costs. Apart from all the legal red tape, you have to contend with local hiring issues, paying for fringe benefits, outfitting all employees with equipment, holiday pay, insurance, and other associated costs. By our estimates, businesses need to allocate at least 15% of the cost of salaries to pay for these expenses.
Price points of Philippine-Based In-House SEO Staff:
- SEO Trainee ($300-$600 a month for Metro Manila, $250-$400 in the provinces). SEO trainees are, of course, just learning the ropes of SEO. The good thing about hiring in-house trainees is that you can develop them in a way that suits your company’s system and its approach to digital marketing.
- SEO Specialist ($500-$700 a month). Specialists are the lifeblood of your SEO campaign, performing most of the small but necessary tasks needed to run an SEO campaign. Employees in this tier have around 3 years of experience and minimal need for supervision. When they are at this point they may show the leadership skills needed to become a manager or pursue an advanced technical career track.
- SEO Manager ($700-$2,400 a month). These individuals generally have expert SEO knowledge as well as people and leadership skills. Hiring SEO managers can be a mixed bag because people can arrive at management positions for a whole range of different reasons. Some may have become managers because of talent while others became managers through seniority, office politics, or attrition of other managers. This can make it difficult to find qualified people to fill these positions.
- SEO Director / VP for SEO ($2,400-$6,000 or higher). These individuals have to be measured in terms of the overall value they bring to a business. Professionals at this level should be able to understand big-picture marketing goals and lead their teams to drive organic traffic, conversions, customer acquisition, business growth, as well as brand development, among many other areas. These professionals report to a CMO, senior vice president, president, or some other top-tier leader.
Unless you have very specific goals, agencies are often the best option for most businesses that want Philippine-based SEO services.
Of the three options available, agencies tend to offer the right mix of transparency, experience, performance, risk reduction, and cost needed to confidently run an SEO campaign. Hiring an in-house team or freelancers does have some benefits but these are too specific for most businesses that are interested in outsourcing their SEO activities to the Philippines.
If you’re interested in working with the most respected SEO company in the Philippines, feel get in touch with our team to schedule a meeting.