SEO in the Philippines: An exclusive interview with GDI CEO Glen Dimaandal

Image Credit: Glen Dimaandal

For those who are old enough to experience the early days of the internet, they may recall the frustrations they’ve had with searching for things that interest them. The search result during that time was cluttered, leaving a majority of users confused and disappointed.

To combat this issue, much more streamlined search engines emerged, which in a way, made the daunting task of rummaging through irrelevant search result bearable. However, there is still the underlying idea that things could get better. Enter two PhD students from Stanford University, who started what could arguably be said as the most recognizable brand in the world, Google.

The birth of the Google search engine brought along with it an algorithm that became the very standard that other companies look into when it comes to online searchablity. The resurgence of the need for competitive online presence spawned what people now know as search engine optimization (SEO), and along with it, the SEO experts.

One of the Philippines’ leading SEO experts and founder of the GDI SEO Company, Glen Dimaandal has been at the forefront of SEO innovations in the Philippines since 2008. Getting his start as a professional blogger and melding the art of SEO in his works, and later on, becoming a certified Google AdWords practitioner.

I was fortunate enough to get a few words from Glenn regarding the current state of SEO universally and know a bit more about him.

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Sarah Tejares: When were you first introduced to the SEO industry? And did you ever think that the concept of SEO could grow and branch out to different types of internet marketing?

Glen Dimaandal: I was introduced to it on my first job as a creative writer for a video game blog. Initially, what I knew about SEO revolved only on inserting keywords in titles, paragraphs and link anchor text. In my old JobStreet profile, I listed SEO as a skill and not long after that, I got a call from another company to work as an SEO. It was in that company where I learned SEO in earnest. New skills like technical SEO, on-page SEO and link building were added to my arsenal.

I always thought that the industry would expand. As a writer, I knew I was one of the first in the Philippines to have the job that I had. I always thought that when the Internet gets bigger in the Philippines, I’d be well positioned through this career path.

Sarah: What would be the most significant changes you noticed in SEO at present time?

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Glenn: Google seems to be much better at identifying entities (nouns) and what they’re all about. It also has gotten much better at understanding the nuances of various languages. These two changes make the search results feel more natural and Google is able to find what you’re looking for more often than not.

Another big change is Google’s renewed focus on mobile Internet. The company has stated in the past that it now processes more mobile searches than desktop ones. This will set the tone on everything Google does moving forward.

Sarah: With all the changes that the SEO industry has undergone over the years, at what point in your career did you feel that SEO is a completely different landscape than when you started?

Glenn: In 2011, after Panda and Penguin were introduced. These updates busted a lot of the old, spammy practices and gave rise to a more white hat SEO playing field. I was able to compete better after this since I wasn’t a user of very cheap link building tactics.

Sarah: You have been really great in keeping in touch and communicating with your audience, were you always comfortable with interacting with people?

Glenn: Not really. If anything, I’m a very introverted person and I’ve never been the most likeable character. However, I discovered that as long as you have valuable information to share and you’re willing to exchange ideas with people, you will naturally expand your circles. It’s a cliché, but I really do act like my normal self around my audience. I tell lots of jokes, I’m opinionated and I’m not afraid to say things that other people may not agree with. I believe people are tired of the marketer-types who hype themselves consistently and give off a phony feel. I learned that keeping things real is more attractive to most people.

Glen is one of the anticipating speakers at MORCon, an SEO event in the Philippines. I also asked him about MORCon 2017. He confirmed the event is set for November, but did not give the exact date.

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I will give you more update about the event. Probably, the exclusive coverage of MORCon 2017. So you better keep your tabs on TechnoChops.

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