Glen Dimandaal joins Derek to share his expertise in SEO [Search Engine Optimization] and its relevance in the outsourcing industry.
He is the founder and CEO of GDI SEO Company, and SEO provider and search marketing agency that offers world-class digital marketing services to both local and international clients.
- Glen has been working in the SEO industry for over ten years now. He has worked a few years in the US mostly with Fortune 500 companies, the latest of which before he returned to the Philippines, was with Emerson Electric.
- GDI currently takes care of 60 websites for about 20 clients, of which 70% are either US or UK clients, and 30% are Asian countries including the Philippines. According to Glen the companies including SMEs in local market and in the Asia Pacific region is replicating the US trajectory in terms of owning a website or establishing digital presence.
- According to Glen there’s an opportunity in Asian markets like the Philippines for free website building and website services for small business owners who tend to be hesitant to put up funds for digital presence. Instead of asking for fees, providers of free web and SEO services earn commissions from sales generated through the website.
- He likens the role of the SEO specialist to that of a lawyer who makes and wins the case in court. The SEO specialist creates strategies that will bring the organization’s digital presence or website on the first page of Google search and be highly visible to prospective customers and clients.
- According to Glen there are SEO agencies in the Philippines which provide high quality SEO services at half the price of some US agencies as what he had seen while he was still working in the US. These SEO agencies also excel in terms of highly effective communication and relationship channels.
- Search Engine Optimization [SEO] is one field of specialization that can offer to clients or businesses with digital presence.
- Effective communication is important for a strong working relationship with clients and for a successful SEO service engagement.
- The internet is crowded with millions of websites and it is the role of the SEO specialist to keep the company’s website on the first page or on top of Google search.
Hi, and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. This is Episode No. 200 and my name of course is Derek Gallimore. So today, I am joined by Glen Dimandaal of GDI. This is an SEO, web optimization agency here in the Philippines, and full disclosure, we do actually used him ourselves at Outsource Accelerator. So, I can certainly vouch for him and his company, but we explore the opportunities of not only outsourcing and staffing but outsourcing to the Philippines for your agency solutions as well. So, I do really have a good chat with Glen and we depth into sort of SEO and web site optimization a little bit here, which we normally don’t talk about on this podcast. So, it’s certainly a nice change. Enjoy this podcast, and if you want any of the show notes, go to outsourceaccelerator.com/200.
Hi, and welcome back everybody. Today, I am joined by Glen Dimandaal of GDI. Hi Glen, how are you?
Glen: Good. Thank you for inviting me.
Derek: So, full disclosure. Glen actually, we worked together. Glen is in-charge or certainly advices in terms of the SEO and web development for Outsource Accelerator. So, I really backed what GDI do, and Glen himself. But this isn’t an infomercial, this is all about basically exploring the world of SEO and web optimization, which is so important for everyone now, and then within the context of outsourcing. And getting it done or considering getting it done in the Philippines as opposed to potentially more expensive and potentially less effective home markets. So, great to have you on board Glen. And I supposed initially, your far better doing it yourself, but do you want to give a brief introduction to yourself?
Glen: Sure. My name is Glen Dimandaal. I have been working in the SEO industry for ten years now. I started in August of 2008. I worked the majority of my career in Fortune 500 companies. The most recent being a company called Emerson Electric. So, I worked a few years in the US, and I decided to come back to the Philippines because of the good outsourcing opportunity over here especially as far as digital marketing is concerned. So, five years ago, we started our agency, and three years ago, I quit my job totally and went full on with my company. And here we are. Right now, the company is taking care of about 60 websites for about 20 clients. It’s been growing so far, and we hope to sustain that growth in the coming years.
Derek: Fantastic, fantastic! And, you know, I’m trying to suggest to everyone that they outsource. And these roles that are very commonly outsourced within a business, like accounting, and very commonly SEO and things like that. But it’s still quite rare for people to consider really looking further afield into the Philippines because it’s as you probably realized when you are in the US, SEO, web management is probably one of the most, kind of online remote working friendly job in the world, isn’t it? Websites are everywhere, and they can be mange from anywhere. Yes, it’s certainly an advantage. Do you work with, what is the sort of distribution of local clients versus international clients for you?
Glen: Initially it was a 100% US just because my former colleague in the US were sending me smaller tasks which grew and grew. So initially it was a 100% but the local market has awakened in the past two years, and so now it’s a 70/30% split. So, 70% US and UK, and then 30% would be the Philippines and the few other Asian countries.
Derek: Right, right. And, how do you see the kind of web development thing going? Are there any differences between the Philippines and the US or the West? It’s probably kind of the most agnostic[?] kind of sector, in which everything is standardized because it’s basically everything kind of conforms with Google requirements basically.
Glen: It is correct. I believed that the trajectory that both countries are following are pretty much the same wherein the bigger companies kind of blaze the trail in terms of owning a website and establishing a digital presence, but the smaller companies tend to see that value later on and then they follow suit. It happened in the US, 10 or 20 years ago, and it’s happening all over the Asia Pacific Region right now wherein initially it was just the blue-chip type of companies in the Philippines doing digital marketing and now even in my home town, which is outside of Metro Manila, the local service providers are getting to the action. So, we’re getting there, slowly but surely.
Derek: Right. Because you know obviously, building a website is one thing and that’s becoming easier and easier now, in which we have a website up within an hour but the actual key to it is optimizing it, so that it gets notice, so that it gets traffic, how do you compare the two markets like the US versus the Philippines with that? Are people kind of buying online in the Philippines yet? Are they searching online or is it more sort of a door to door function in the Philippines?
Glen: Great question. In the US, I think were more or less familiar. So, I wouldn’t really focus on it that much. But in the Philippines, as I said, it’s following the same trajectory. So, websites like Lazada, will be your Amazon here. Credit card penetration in the Philippines isn’t as universal as it is in the US and other Western countries, but we kind of work around it in the same way that the Chinese market did. Whereas the Chinese didn’t use credit card so much, but they use a lot of transactions via their Smart phones. In the Philippines, it’s not so much the Smart phones but we do like paying cash on delivery. But you know, the credit card penetration here is increasing, plus mobile transactions are popping up left and right, plus logistics companies have been getting started in the country. So, the future looks bright in terms of ecommerce. And in terms of uptake, as far as you know, not the consumers, but the business owners are concerned, everyone wants to get into it. What we see happening right now is that most businesses kind of tend to start with Facebook because Facebook is massive here and people think that establishing yourself in a Facebook page might be helpful but quickly, they tend to realize that its really not enough. You need the formal business presence on the Internet in order to look trustworthy so, that’s when they tend to realize and you might see to it that they really need the website and that’s when guys like us tend to get approached by the local business people.
Derek: Right. And is that a standard thing across the world like Facebook penetration here is massive, isn’t it? Essentially the 7th biggest market for Facebook is the Philippines like everyone is on Facebook, which is fantastic. But then, I think Facebook is also trying to con the market and basically the businesses start on Facebook. But as you say there’s probably a maturation curve where people go, “now we’re ready to kind of professionalized and go online but in terms of Western businesses, do you see that they are any further ahead because if you’re an ecommerce company of course you got a website and you’re online but what do you think about hairdressers, about plumbers, about a parlor or restaurant, do they really need to be online?
Glen: They have to be online, at least to, at a very least at a small degree. Like if you are a barber or a plumber and you don’t necessarily have the money to put a website, you can consider starting a bit smaller. For most of the people here, if you’re a service provider, you can probably afford about $500-600 worth of web development work to have a very basic website going on. The problem I see with local practitioners is that aside from the funding problem, they have a management problem. And what I mean by that is that once they get the website, they really don’t have the bandwidth and the patience to learn the back end of the website, to really mange it and take the leads. So that’s kind of the bottle neck that I see among locals. So, in that case, if you’re part of that camp, which doesn’t have the time to manage and is hesitating to put out the initial investment for things like web development and SEO, you should at least get on Google My Business. It doesn’t really require you to have your website. You can just do your listing and start appearing in local searches for say, if you live in San Fernando, like I do, if someone’s looking for an accountant in San Fernando, if you just have your Google My Business listing which takes five minutes to set-up, you stand a good chance of appearing in the local map back and getting some leads, whereas if you don’t do anything then other people are going to take those leads for you. So that’s kind of how it works.
Derek: Right, right. I think people the world over because if you are in the Internet game there’s kind of a high-level appreciation but a lot of these other industries like kind of just see the website as a necessary evil and probably don’t realize quite how much ongoing work there is in terms of optimizing and getting it ranked, and then kind of getting the information out the backend like the leads, and things like that. What do you say?
Glen: That is super true. And now that you bring it up, like you know, it’s some kind of necessary evil. I just have this experience this week, wherein I kind of got some ideas on how to let the system on its head. Because as I said, people tend to kind of hesitate to put out that initial funding and they don’t have the time to manage it. Just like this week, a group of engineers approached me, and they want a website and they’re proposing that they don’t have the time or the money to allocate into this, and instead of paying me upfront the service charges, what these guys want is for us to develop their website for free and optimize it. We would tend to make money on a commission basis. So maybe there’s an opportunity in Asian markets like the Philippines for someone with enough resources to put out that kind of service, make it free for this kind of service providers who are kind of hesitating to et into the act and then change the business model. Instead of collecting retainers, you might collect commissions if you can make it worth tracking wise from a technology standpoint. I can see that working for you.
Derek: Yes. Like a sort of a lead-gen arrangement.
Glen: That’s correct. And just to put it in the US and Philippine context, I have a client over in Texas who’s been doing it for years. So, basically all the remodelers, home repair people, and pest control people, so basically, he just built websites for all these guys and every lead that he gets he funnels into them, then he charges them for it. So, he kind of cornered the entire Dallas-Fort Worth market in terms of these home services. So, that’s one possible way to do it in the Philippines if you want to open up the market.
Derek: Wow. And he effectively just has a templated approach. Are they very personalized, or they offer similar websites with their different names?
Glen: I would say, it’s very templated and just for contest, this has been my longest tenured clients. They’ve been with me since October 2013. We’ve been working together for five years. All we do for these guys is content, just be because they have their own custom CMS that just turned out templated websites for all these guys.
Derek: Wow, fascinating. And so, websites getting easier to build and a lot of these everyone says that kind of content is free, social media is free, in sort of essence SEO free but actually it takes a huge amount of time. So, what are your thoughts and insights in terms of, is this whole thing getting harder and harder? Is it getting harder to rank in the ranks because there are just so many people trying to hack the system, trying to optimize their website, and of course there are more and more websites coming online. In your ten years of practice, how do you see things change and evolve?
Glen: Well, the answer to that would be a yes, and a no. Because as you mention in the first part of your statement, there is such a thing as free content, and there is such a thing as free website, free website builders, and then free SEO but the fact of the matter remains that SEO isn’t like web design wherein you do it and then its finished and then you leave it forever. SEO is not a project. SEO is an ongoing competition. It’s not like hiring an engineer to build a house, then once he is done then your relationship is over. SEO is more like hiring a lawyer to kind of make your case and make you win in court. The results are not always guaranteed. The only thing that your lawyer guarantee is he will compete with you in the court of law. The same thing with your SEO specialist. The only thing he can do is put out that work and then see what happens in the search results. So, on that note, you can always take that free route but what would separate you from everyone in the field, right? You’ll just be one of the mediocre websites out there. And that is not the way to rank. If you really want to rank, you still have to do the investment in content. You still have to do your due diligence in finding the right SEO specialist for you because at the end of the day ranking high on Google is all about standing out and how can you stand out if you’re using resources that are free to everyone, right?
Derek: Yeah, absolutely. Your analogy there of the lawyer and the court, that’s amazing. And then if everyone really needs a website and everyone really needs to have as you’re saying like the SEO assistance and the strategy behind it, is there any advantage do you think to having a lot of SEO development agency versus overseas or do you see this as a kind of completely internationalized industry now?
Glen: Well, having worked in the US, I’ve been the person hiring agencies both in the Philippines and in the US. And I can say that it can totally work like having a local SEO in the US, can totally work if you have a close enough relationship with the agency that if you pick up the phone someone answers, or you can go to their office and have frequent brain storming sessions. But if you’re like our company at that time which was based in Huntsville, Alabama and then we hired a Los Angeles based SEO agency, communication wasn’t that great and that smooth either. So, we would have been better off hiring someone in the Philippines because at that time that agency was charging us $5,000 a month for, pardon my French, that was pretty shitty services that they were giving us. It was super basic, hardly any technical SEO. They were giving us four articles a month. They were sending us ten links per month that weren’t even like guest post or from press releases. They were just blog comments on blogs that were remotely related to our industry. So, our suspicion was that these guys weren’t even doing the SEO themselves. They might have an office in LA but there could have been someone really lazy in the other side of the world doing the work anyway for them. So, it would have been better for us to cut the middle man since that was essentially the work that we were getting anyway. That’s exactly what we did, $5,000 of SEO, we cut that down to $2,500 and we were able to hire one of the better agencies here in the Philippines. And that paid dividends for us as opposed to hanging out with those guys for $5,000 a month for almost two years and little to show for. So, you got the idea.
Derek: Yes, yes, yes. That is an incredible illustration, isn’t it? That’s a huge value to be had. Fantastic! Thank you so much Glen. I want to get you back and we can deep dive into GDI and know exactly what you guys do and where the value is, but if anyone wants to get in touch with you in the meantime, how can they do that?
Glen: They can just find us on Google, you can just Google, GDI Online Marketing or you can Google glendemands.com. So, it kind of play on my name but you know a little bit friendlier to non-Filipinos. So, g-l-e-n, then demands.com, pretty easy to remember.
Derek: Fantastic! We will have all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much Glen.
Glen: Thank you so much.
Derek: Okay, that was Glen Dimandaal of GDI. If you want to get in touch with Glen or want to know more about GDI then go to our show notes which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/200.
And if you want to get in touch with us, then just drop us an email at [email protected]. See you next time!