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OUR favorite Carl Ocab is no longer 13 and the @kidblogger:
he is himself. And he wants to share the lessons he learned.

Ocab was a first-year high-school student when he started
his business at the age of 13. As the number of clients grew, he hired people
after he graduated from college in 2015. Today, he employs a team of web
designers, a team of web-site developers and a team of content writers.

Carl Ocab, founder of Carl Ocab Digital Marketing, during an interview in Alabang Hills.

A self-taught computer programmer who had been making money already for years before he set foot in college, he took and finished Psychology at San Beda College Alabang.

Cited by Forbes as one of the top young innovators and
leaders in Asia in 2017, Ocab pointed to clear messaging and quality web-site
performance as the main factors that helped his online marketing business to

Direction clarity

AN enterprise’s web site should offer the customer an
eye-catching, clear and easily executable direction right on the home­page,
said Ocab, who made it to Forbes magazine’s top 30 young leaders in the region
in the magazine’s “media, marketing and advertising” category.

“If you are a coffee shop, the customers expect to see your
location, contact details, products and sometimes the prices once they arrive
at your web site,” he said.

Based on his years of experience, Ocab said that some
enterprises offer no clear message and direction on their homepage. Usually,
the customer does not know what to do.

“Without a clear direction, the customer cannot move further
after arriving at your web site,” he said. “In a way, you have to be a shepherd
for your web site’s visitors.”

The customer should instantly be provided an idea about what
are being offered; otherwise, he may get bored and leave the web site unhappy,
he added.

The message and purpose should be clearly established first
prior to designing and developing the web site, Ocab noted. The design and user
interface should follow said message and purpose.

A good web site can be easily navigated by all ages under
different circumstances.

“Your web site should be foolproof, so that even a fool can
use it,” he said.

The web site should be result-driven, not just looks, he

Identifying industry

PEOPLE are more impatient when dealing with an enterprise
online than when in an eye-to-eye situation due to many available options, Ocab
pointed out.

The 23-year-old digital marketing services provider also
attributed strong online marketing to quality web-site performance.

Customers are not happy about a web site that loads pages at
a snail’s pace, which is disastrous for a business, Ocab said.

People usually choose to abort from accessing the web site
after three seconds when the page is slowly loading: “They hit the back

Ocab raises the fingers on his left hand to tick off the
basics of digital marketing: clear message, fast-loading, right design and the
usability of the web site.

“The web site should also be mobile device-friendly.”

About 60 percent of customers today use smartphones in
accessing web sites to look for products and services, he added.

But web-site visitors depend on the industry of the
enterprise, he explained.

Most people use the smartphone when looking for a place to
eat or have coffee. According to Ocab, desktop computers are still used by
people in the offices.

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“It pays to know which industry you are. But your web site
should work with all devices: desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and

Getting updated

SINCE technology is updated every now and then, sometimes in
a blink of an eye, enterprises should update their web site regularly to keep
it relevant, he explained.

Ocab had clients before whose existing web site was not
optimized for mobile devices and accessible to users of computers only.

“Ten years ago, there were no smartphones yet,” he said.
“People use computers to access the Internet during that time.”

Some of his clients’ web sites had obsolete web designs,
which was bad for the reputation of the enterprise, he pointed out.

“Your web site reflects your image, especially if you are a
tech company,” Ocab said, adding the site should be updated every two or three

An “un-updated” web site may also load its pages slowly due
to an old code, he added.

“Code, like design, should be updated regularly due to new
technology and fresh programming languages.”

He added the server should be fixed, if not optimized, for
the web site, noting that an un-updated web site is attractive to hackers.
Threat actors may put on the pages a content that is not from the site owner.

“Usually, hackers post on compromised web sites casino and
pornographic site links,” he said.

Linking a web site to many other web sites can rank that web
site higher on search engine results, he explained.

“An old web site is like an old operating system, which is
susceptible to viruses.”

The web site is updated for security reasons, aside from
functionality and looks, Ocab said.

Importance of SEO

SEARCH engine optimization (SEO) is a way of manipulating
the search engine results, Ocab explained.

SEO could serve for an enterprise’s advantage or for the
disadvantage of its competitors, he noted.

But manipulating search engine results to rank the
competitors down is not a good idea, Ocab said. “It’s referred to as negative

An enterprise can rank itself high on Google in an
acceptable way by using on-page SEO and off-page SEO, he explained.

“The on-page SEO is basically how you optimize your code,”
Ocab said. “So, your code is not only optimized to load your pages fast, but
also for Google to consume your content well.”

Google does not see what are on the pages, he added. What
Google sees is the code.

The off-page SEO is basically building links pointing to an
enterprise’s web site, Ocab mentioned.

“Google gets the idea that a web site is authoritative by
counting the number and quality of links pointing to it,” he said. “Not only
the number, but the quality of web sites.”

When Forbes and other well-known and respected web sites
link a web site, the latter’s ranking climbs, he added.

Wikipedia, for one, is an authoritative web site for being
linked and cited by many other web sites as their source, Ocab said.

“When your web site is linked by many other and quality web
sites, you rank higher on Google.”               

Targeting consumers

PEOPLE who visit a web site are looking for a product or a
service that has already interested them, he added. Unlike in social-media
marketing, ads are posted for a general audience who are either interested in
the product or not.

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SEO laser-targets the consumers, while social-media
marketing hits both consumers and non-consumers, Ocab explained.

When people search for a coffee shop on Google, it means
they are already interested in coffee, or lovers of it, he said. So, the
web-site visitors will potentially generate sale.

Once an enterprise ranks high on Google, it requires minimal
effort to stay at the top yet still gets a lot of visitors for that particular
keyword, Ocab said. He cited as example his own company, which settles itself
on the first page of Google search engine when one keywords “SEO Philippines.”

“Keyword research is one of the important aspects in SEO.”

There’s a tool for determining the number of people
searching for a particular keyword per month, he noted.

An enterprise has potentially high ROI when it is at the top
on Google, he noted. The right keyword is the way.

Attaining growth

CARL OCAB Digital Marketing’s first clients were based
overseas since Ocab started to offer digital marketing services in 2008, when
e-commerce in the country was still in its infancy stage. He was 13 years old
at the time and his clients overseas were mostly small businesses.

Today, his clients are both based abroad and in the Philippines.
Most of his local clients are small and medium enterprises. Some are
established, others are start-ups.

Some of Ocab’s clients overseas, on the other hand, are also
digital marketing agencies, like his company.

His company is outsourced by its counterparts abroad since
the costs for web-site development and other services related to digital
marketing in the Philippines are relatively lower, he said.

His company began to provide digital marketing services to
Philippine-based enterprises just three years ago, when local businesses
started to venture in e-commerce, Ocab said.

Lazada example

BUT when an enterprise wishes to quickly reach people and a
broader audience, social-media marketing can do the job, especially when the
product is not one that people are looking for, he explained.

“It especially works when you are marketing a new product,”
he said.

When one has visited a web site, Lazada, for example, he
could be pixel targeted on social media, Ocab pointed out. When the Lazada
web-site visitors view his Facebook page afterward, a Lazada ad is already
posted on his wall.

Social-media marketing has the capability to track accurate
demographics of the target market, he noted.

“We create the ads and do the targeting,” Ocab said.

Ads on social media are sometimes attacked by trolls, he
added. As a service provider, they quickly act for the client to manage the

Social-media marketing is one of the services offered by
Ocab’s company.

Image Credits: Oliver Samson

Oliver Samson

Oliver Samson covers cybersecurity for the Business Mirror as correspondent. He wrote for the Manila Standard and the Philippine Daily Inquirer as correspondent before joining this news outfit in 2013. He publishes Rapid Planet Slashers, a website on cockfighting.

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