Published on: March 17, 2024

How To Hire An Affordable SEO Specialist In The Philippines: Read This Before You Hire!

Yesh Quijano

Founder/owner

Utilizing SEO to grow your business might seem intimidating at first, but it becomes simpler when you get the right help. 

From who, you might ask? From SEO Specialists, who are at the core of boosting your online presence. 

In the Philippines, there's an increasing market of skilled SEO professionals who provide cost-effective services without compromising on quality.

Hiring from the Philippines could mean access to services that sync perfectly with your business needs while also being gentle on your wallet.

Yesh Says:

The affordability of SEO specialists in the Philippines doesn't imply lower standards or lower skill ceilings. Quite the contrary, you can find individuals with a high level of expertise, especially when you know where to look. The most affordable SEO Specialists can be found in OnlineJobs.ph, but you can also check out my services page to see if they fit your budget.

Typically an SEO Specialist will have an hourly rate of ranging from $5/hour to $25/hour, depending on expertise.


Before you take the leap, it’s important to consider your budget but remember to weigh it against the expertise and results that you expect. The adage "pay peanuts, get monkeys", ring true in this situation.

It also pays to be cautious and avoid common hiring mistakes by being clear about your goals, expectations, and the specifics of your SEO needs.

What Are SEO Specialists?

SEO specialists are the professionals you turn to when you need your website to climb higher on the search results page. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to making sure your online content gets the attention it deserves. 

Think of an SEO specialist as a guide that helps your website get more traffic.

Their job includes analyzing and adjusting your website to improve its performance on search engines. They focus on understanding the factors that search engines like Google use to rank pages.

These pros will look at your site's technical setup, the use of keywords, the quality of content, and more. They'll also assess how your site links to other websites.

SEO Work

Detail

Technical SEO

Any SEO done on the website, except the content.

On-Page SEO

Any SEO done on the content of the website

Off-Page SEO

Any SEO done on outside the website

Why is SEO so important? 

SEO is important because it helps your site show up to your audience right when they need it. Your business thrives on being visible in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

For example: If you’re selling laptops, SEO makes it such that your website is shown only to people looking to buy laptops.

An SEO specialist plays a critical part in this process.

Why Hire From The  Philippines?

When you’re planning to outsource an SEO Specialist, the Philippines should be at the top of your list.

Affordable (Not Cheap!)

Affordability is a clear advantage because your budget simply stretches further with Filipino talent. You get high-quality services at a cost that won't blow your financial plan.

Strong Communication Skills

You'll also appreciate the strong command of English. Communication barriers are less of an issue, as most Filipinos are fluent in the language, making interactions smoother and more productive.

Their ability to understand and employ nuanced language ensures your SEO needs are met with clarity.

Familiarity With Western Culture

Beyond language, the Philippines has a deep familiarity with Western culture. This insight is invaluable for crafting SEO strategies that resonate with your target demographic. 

Whether you're looking to engage with audiences in the U.S., Europe, or other English-speaking regions, this cultural insight can help shape effective campaigns.

Preference & Commitment To Remote Work

work preference vs family responsibilities

Filipinos are family-oriented and would rather work from home rather than the office. Having one of the world’s worst traffic in a metro area does not help either.

In fact, according to our internal survey on why Filipinos want to become SEO Specialists, 12.77% answered work preference, citing WFH or remote work opportunities. Another 6.02% answered family responsibilities, citing their need to take care of their kids and family.

work preference

The result? You benefit from a workforce adapted to remote work. Your projects advance with efficiency, regardless of the physical distance.

Diligent & Adaptable

Filipino SEO professionals are known for their diligence and adaptability.

Contracting with them means enlisting a proactive workforce that stays on top of trends and algorithm changes, ensuring your SEO strategy remains current and competitive.

Where To Find Affordable SEO Specialists In The Philippines

The Philippines offers a vast pool of talented SEO service providers at competitive rates. Here are some places online where you can find them.

OnlineJobs.ph

Yesh's OLJ profile.

If you're hiring an SEO service provider in the Philippines, consider signing up for OnlineJobs.ph. This local job board features a plethora of candidates versed in SEO practices. A simple search on the site can yield a diverse range of digital marketing professionals.

Pros

Cons

  • An extremely large pool of job-seekers
  • Small monthly fee of $69 to $99/month, and you can post up to 10 job listings
  • The extremely large pool of job-seekers means you will be bombarded with dozens upon dozens of applications, turning the hiring process into a big chore.

LinkedIn

Yesh's LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is another valuable resource brimming with skilled individuals. Make use of the search bar with filters to narrow down your hunt based on experience and specific SEO skills.

UpWork

For those who prefer a global platform, head over to Upwork. It's a marketplace teeming with freelance SEO Specialists from the Philippines.

Here, you can review profiles, previous work, and client reviews to inform your choice.

Disclaimer: I have no experience with Upwork

Pros

Cons

  • The extremely large pool of job seekers from various countries usually results in a price war, which is good for those seeking affordable SEO services.
  • Due to the sheer number of freelancers using Upwork, it might take a while to sift through bids and applications.

Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Don't overlook word-of-mouth referrals either.

90% of my clients come from referrals.

Reach out to your network or join relevant social media groups. Often, recommendations from within the industry can lead you to dependable specialists.

While browsing these platforms, keep an eye out for:

  • Ratings and Feedback: Look for specialists with positive reviews or testimonials from current and past clients.
  • Proven Track Record: Seek out candidates with a track record of successful SEO projects. Plus points if they have a portfolio website. Even more points if they rank for relevant keywords.
  • Communication Skills: Ensure that the specialist can effectively collaborate with you. This means having a certain level of English communication skills. OnlineJobs.ph uses the CEFR standard (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Yours truly is a Level C2 (Proficiency) - the highest attainable level in CEFR.

Cost Considerations

SEO Specialist Pay

  • Entry-Level: Fresh faces may charge less but could require more guidance and training on your part. Entry-level specialists usually know the terminologies but have a hard time incorporating them into a strategy. For example, an entry-level SEO Specialist might know what on-page optimization is but have a hard time optimizing individual pages.
  • Mid-Level: With a bit of experience, expect a moderate increase in rates.
  • Expert: Seasoned pros come with a heftier price tag, reflecting their deep skill set. They can usually be left on their own to work independently.
average SEO Specialist salary 2024

According to Indeed, the average SEO Specialist salary in the Philippines is ₱35,497/month. This does not include benefits such as SSS, Pag-ibig, and bonuses such as a 13th month pay.

You can gain more insights about SEO salaries in the Philippines here.

On a side note, the average salaries of SEO Specialists in the country for 2024 has roughly remained the same from 2024.

Hire Through An Agency or Hire Directly?

Hiring via an agency might bump up costs, accounting for their markup and other operating costs.

On the flip side, directly hiring a freelancer often results in lower costs. However, this also means an increased management burden on your part.

For example, the responsibility of finding or creating the appropriate SEO training program and ensuring that they have the appropriate technology (i.e., computer, internet connection) will now rest on your shoulders.

Types of Employment

You can hire Filipino SEO Specialists in three ways:

  • Full-Time: Steady work equals a consistent salary.
  • Part-Time: SMEs often employ part-timers for two main reasons: first is to save costs, and second is because their businesses don’t need a full-time SEO Specialist just yet.
  • Contract-Based: The flexible nature of this employment type could reduce costs but may vary with project demands.

I would say that Filipino freelancers’ work preferences are split evenly between full-time and contract-based positions, with part-time work taking a small minority.

My tip on saving costs: Contract-based employees will save you the most money. Hiring part-time and full-time employees certainly have their benefits, but you also run the risk of reduced productivity if you operate without proper management guidelines and work allocation. Read up on Parkinson’s Law for more information.

Negotiating Know-How

Finding an SEO Specialist that fits within your budget can also be determined through an honest conversation:

  • Chat about goals: Clarify what you're after and see if their skills align with your business goals.
  • Do your homework: Know the typical rates to engage in an informed haggle.
  • Aim for a win-win: Good negotiation lands a fair price without skimping on quality.

Avoid These Hiring Mistakes!

When you're on the lookout for an affordable SEO specialist in the Philippines, steer clear of these common pitfalls:

  • Dismissing communication skills: Don't overlook the importance of clear dialogue. A good specialist should be able to explain SEO strategies in terms you understand.
  • Ignoring portfolio evidence: Proof of successful past work is crucial. Ask to see case studies or examples of improved search rankings.
  • Not setting clear goals: Be upfront about your expectations and desired results. This helps in selecting a professional who can align with your objectives.
  • Hiring a Yes Man: The right SEO is always open to discussion (and sometimes even disagreements). A person who agrees to everything you say without considering time, budget, feasibility, and other requirements to complete the job is often a red flag.

Find The Balance Between Cost and Quality

Set a budget, but remain flexible. Seek out talent by considering both their fees and proven results.

On the other hand, if an “okay” writer is asking for $375/month, it might be a good idea to compare multiple providers first.  Don't snap up the first affordable option; assess several specialists to find the best value.

For example:

Let’s say monthly budget for content is $400/month. You found a great writer that resonates with all of your requirements, has a history of tangible results, and has great knowledge of current best practices.

However, she’s asking for $500/month. In this case, it might be worth negotiating her rate to $450/month (meet halfway), or simply bite the bullet and pay $500/month. After all, her content is an investment and can drive leads to your website for many years to come.

On the other hand, if an “okay” writer is asking for $375/month, it might be a good idea to compare multiple providers first. Don't snap up the first affordable option; assess several specialists to find the best value.

Legal And Contractual Considerations

When you're scouting for an affordable SEO specialist in the Philippines, don't forget that there you and your freelancers are still bound by laws.

A transparent contract is your safety net. It defines what you and the specialist will deliver in this deal. Keep it simple but detailed—outline services, deliverables, payment terms, timeframes, and what happens when the contract is broken.

On the legal side of things, the Philippine Labor Code will apply to employees. 

Wrapping Up

Paying wages that are substantially lower than the standard rates in your country could result in considerable budget relief. 

My take: if you're investing 30-40% less than what you would have paid if you hired a local SEO specialist in your country, you're doing great.

However, be wary of scraping the bottom of the price barrel - you'll find nothing but missed deadlines and subpar work.

FAQs

When looking into SEO services within the Philippines, you'll likely have a handful of questions regarding costs and legalities. This FAQ covers the essentials you need to find a trusted SEO Specialist.

Am I required to provide employee benefits?

In the Philippines, full-time employee benefits include social security, health insurance through PhilHealth, and home development fund contributions known as Pag-IBIG Fund. If you're employing someone full-time, these are benefits you're expected - but not required - to cover.

Is a 13th-month pay or a Christmas bonus necessary?

Yes, the 13th-month pay is mandatory in the Philippines for employees who have worked for at least one month during the calendar year.

A Christmas bonus, however, is discretionary and depends on your company's policy or performance.

My potential hire is asking above the Philippine average salary for SEO Specialists. Is that okay/legal? What should I do?

Most SEO Specialists in the Philippines work with foreign businesses because of the potentially higher-than-average salary, so expect any freelancer to ask for more than the average wage. 

It is legal to agree to a salary higher than the average if it aligns with your budget and the candidate's expertise.

You might want to evaluate the candidate's skill set and experience level to determine if the higher salary is justified.

Do I need to provide internet and gadget allowance?

While not mandatory, providing an internet or gadget allowance can be a strong incentive for remote or freelance SEO specialists.

This makes your offer more attractive compared to others.

Personally, I have friends and family whose employers provide them with gadget allowance. These lucky people are now sporting M2 Macbooks instead of their old mid-range Lenovo laptops.

Can you recommend strategies for small businesses seeking affordable SEO services in the Philippines?

Small businesses can explore hiring freelance SEO specialists who may offer more flexible rates. They can also consider SEO service packages from local agencies known for competitive pricing. Always check the specialist's track record and client testimonials before deciding.

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