January 3, 2019
Glen Dimandaal – Inception of GDI SEO Company
January 3, 2019
Glen Dimandaal, CEO of GDI SEO Company, rejoins me to deep dive into the services his company offers in the outsourcing market.
Glen has been doing SEO since 2008 and was working with Fortune 500 companies before leaving the corporate world in 2015 to focus on GDI.
Hi, and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name of course is Derek Gallimore, and this is Episode No. 206. So today, we are joined by Glen Dimandaal of GDI. We were previously joined by Glen in Episode 200 where he discussed more of his urging[?] story, his personal experience and journey in SEO web development, and of course his experience in the US. So, it’s an interesting episode and in this episode we deep dive a little bit more to GDI itself. And I think this is a lot to learn here for business owners in the West, the opportunity for using Philippine based agencies as well as staff outsourcing. So, I certainly learn a lot, and I hope you will, too. If you want any of the show notes then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/206. Enjoy!
Derek: Hi, and welcome back everybody. Today, again I’m happy to be joined by Glen Dimandaal. Hi Glen, how are you?
Glen: Doing great. How are you?
Derek: Fantastic, fantastic. Thanks for joining us again. Look Glen, we’ve had you on the podcast previously to discuss SEO. You know, despite now being such an absolutely critical piece in almost any business we surprisingly speak very little about SEO on this podcast. We focus obviously on outsourcing. I really do think that SEO web development, content, and also sort of graphics and video creative content, all of that is probably the best sector that can be outsource and it’s probably one of the sort of go to areas to be outsource. So, I’m really glad to have you on board. I supposed initially for those that haven’t listen to the previous podcast we did ago, do you want to just introduce yourself and GDI?
Glen: Yes. I’m Glen Dimandaal. I’ve been doing SEO for a decade now, since 2008. I’ve spent the better part of my career working for Fortune 500 company in the US. So, Emerson Electric was the last one before I went full on with my own agency. We founded GDI in 2013 and I left the corporate world in 2015 for good, to focus on my own business. So far so good. We handle about 60 websites for 20 different clients, 70% of which are from the UK and the US, and 30% of which are from the Philippines and other countries in the Asia Pacific.
Derek: Fantastic. And yes, you know, so I suggest everyone outsources. And there’s two kind of outsourcing approaches. One of them is outsourcing the jobs that isn’t core to your company. Commonly done things like accounting, and also SEO and web development and the very kind of technical aspects of your business. Then there is staff outsourcing which is more core to your business, and you actually basically keep them as a part of your business. And then fondly enough we talk more about staff outsourcing, but really it’s an absolute hidden gem the sort of opportunity to find standard sort of agencies in the Philippines that can outperform your local agencies. And of course, most likely far more cost effective as well. So, it’s probably a topic that I should spend more time on.
And Glen, you have a blend of clients from the US, overseas and the Philippines, how do you attract your clients? Is it kind of online, is everything through SEO and Google searches now or is it still the relationship based aspect to building your client book?
Glen: Well, the cornerstone of our company in particular has always been relationships. So, if your listeners got me on the last podcast, I mentioned that we started this company as basically side projects that were given to me by my fellow managers in the US at that time. And it grew to such an extent that I started enlisting some help, and that was kind of the seed of our company and our identity has not changed since we have always been big believers in doing good work for our clients. And when you will do good work for clients, they tend to refer you to other people. So, I would say the majority of the clients that we do take in come from referrals. Although we do have, we are an SEO agency, so it would look totally bad for us to not be ranking for SEO related keywords in the Philippines. It’s like being a carpenter without your own house, so we put some effort into that. So, if you Google things like SEO Philippines or SEO agency Philippines, or SEO company Philippines, we do rank on the first page and that drives some of our clients. Even for more piecemeal tasks like copywriting in the Philippines or link building in the Philippines, I think we rank very near the top of that. So, that one’s as much for show as it is a lead generation tool. But I would say that the best clients we have, the more lasting relationships are driven by referrals from existing clients.
Derek: Fantastic. And I can’t stress this enough to our listeners to people overseas. If you are sitting in, let’s say New York or you’re sitting in London or wherever you are in the world, there is now very little benefit, very little upside and very little reason to look for agencies that are sitting locally to you. I really do think that the primary motivations or justification for getting an agency is competency and skill, but then also value for money. And without doubt there’s greater value for money here in the Philippines. And I think that there’s some of the best practitioners in the world here and especially with things like SEO with web development, it is now such an internationalized skill. And you might be able to speak to this grand, the kind of the younger generation. They’re all growing up. They’re all learning all these skills from exactly the same sources as the people sitting in Silicon Valley. They’re all learning online in the coding academies, on YouTube, is that right? Like, do you sort of see the kind of the young, the king kind of hackers, they’re all just kind of learning in their own online ecosystems now?
Glen: Yeah. Well the great thing about the Internet and social media these days is that in previous generations, the degree of skill you have in your particular field dependent on the kind of schools and companies that got into, but the internet kind of change that for all of us. Because now, everyone has access to the same material and a lot of it isn’t just text based. There’s a lot of graphics in there, there’s lot of video. So, the quality of training across the world has kind of been leveled as a playing field. So, you got a lot of international SEO selling much like people in the US do. As a matter of fact, I can give you a personal experience of mine. When I started in SEO in 2008, I’ve been reading training materials from Moz and all the big Internet SEO websites in the world like search engine land. And I would always see promotions in there for their big conferences, like the biggest of which will be SMS West, which is in Silicon Valley every year. So, if you told me in 2008, that’s when you just started in SEO and in seven years you will be speaking in SMS West in Silicon Valley. I would tell you to stop, to layoff the weed, because that’s never going to happen. Like with the old me sitting here in the Philippines is never…
Derek: Let’s talk about that. How did that, how did that come to pass then?
Glen: Well, when I started blogging in 2013 people tended to take notice. I don’t realized it, but I happen to have insights on SEO, that we’re a little bit unique not just to Filipinos, but also to people in the West. And when they opened up the speaker slots for SMS West in 2015, I said, what the hell If I get rejected, no one will ever find out about it. But in a couple of weeks they emailed me, and they said they love for me to speak in SMS West, and yes, the rest was history. After that I have spoken a couple more US conferences and speaking alongside some of the top SEO celebrities in the US, if you can call it that, like the people who spoke in Bitcoin. It was such a humbling experience, but at the same time it’s so empowering because even if you are halfway across the world doing your own thing, studying this by yourself, you can actually compete with some of the best that the industry has to offer. So, yes.
Derek: Yeah. That’s an amazing story and that is really the message I’m trying to get through to everyone on this podcast for people sitting in the West. It’s important for them to know that there’s incredible skills here in the Philippines, but also anywhere in the world and kind of go shopping for skills based on the skills not based on where people are sitting or what school they went to. And then equally for people here in the Philippines that they have an incredible opportunity in this online economy. Whereas previously people were limited to the factors of the businesses in their hometown, but now they really can be the best people in the world.
Glen: Yes. For sure.
Derek: Fantastic. And then so, GDI then, what do you do? And I suppose people aren’t really into this whole SEO and optimization world. What is GDI do and what are, I suppose some kind of keys to getting your website recognized?
Glen: All right. So basically, GDI does search engine optimization. So that means it’s our job to make you appear on Google when you’re target customers enter keywords that are related to your business. So, if they enter search terms that describe your products or services, you should appear in the first few results of Google in order for you to stand the best chance of being clicked on and entertaining that lead. So that’s our responsibility.
So GDI does full SEO campaigns, and what that means is that we take care of everything from the technical aspects to the publicity aspects plus the on page aspects of your SEO campaign. Everything from content creation to link building we take care of. But we’ve also discovered that there are opportunities for piece meal types of services wherein we only create content for one particular client and we only build links for another particular client. So, that’s also something that we do. As a matter of fact, I can’t name them, but some of the top agencies in the US, in Hong Kong and in Singapore actually source the work to GDI. So, you’ll be paying crazy amounts of money for these big agencies, but the work is actually being done here right in my office in the Philippines.
Derek: Yes, that’s cool to know. Because it is, we’ve mentioned this previously and in theory a lot of it is, well, it’s all about, a lot of the work is quite sort of highly repetitive. There’s a huge amount of technical knowledge and skill required, but then also there’s quite a lot of man hours involved in building these big sites and going through all the processes in building the links of reaching out to people. It’s actually quite a time intensive industry, isn’t it?
Glen: It is. Circling back to the last point that you made. What does it take for a website to rank well on Google? It’s, as you said, the combination of a lot of things. There are technical aspects to it which basically boiled down to your website being stable, being callable to Google, being quick loading. And then there’s the content aspect of it because it’s hard for Google to trust and endorse a website that doesn’t have a lot of really good content in it. So, if you think about websites like Wikipedia, those are just super comprehensive content pieces on just about anything you can think of, so that’s kind of the model. You don’t have to be Wikipedia but as long as you behave like an online authority in your field, then that will be good for your SEO. And then another aspect of it would be the promotion or the publicity aspect because it’s not just what you do on your website that matters to Google, it’s also what the other websites on the web say about you. And if you want to get votes of confidence from other websites, you have to get mentioned and linked to because that’s the kind of signal that Google is looking to, for it to come to the conclusion that this is the website that other people always talk about, why don’t I put this ahead of the others because it seems to be the hot topic all the time on all these online discussions. So that’s kind of SEO and its elements in a nutshell.
Derek: Right. Fantastic. And if people, I mean it’s kind of a loaded and silly question, but if people are little bit worried about outsourcing to the Philippines, is there any difference between engaging GDI versus any sort of local SEO agency?
Glen: Well, it’s easier to sue your local SEO agency, that’s for sure because you have disputes. That’s the recourse that you can take. But other than that, and people don’t really like, suing each other, all that much. If you outsource in the Philippines, the upside is that even if you have a dispute, the rates are so small compared to what it is in the US or in the UK, that it’s probably going to be negligible anyway. But other than that, there’s a huge upside to working in the Philippines as long as long as you choose the right practitioners whether that’s a freelancer or that’s an agency. You just have to put in the work to inform yourself on who the legitimate players are and if you, and from there as long as you know who the legit ones are, it’s just a matter of preference in which ones you like to talk to the best, which ones have specialized in the right areas that are relevant to your business and that kind of stuff.
Derek: Right. And where do you see this going in the next 10, 20 years? Do you see like a major shift to everyone sourcing in the Philippines? Do you see a major shift in what kind of SEO is in itself? How do you see this whole industry is shaping up over the next 10, 20 years?
Glen: Good question. I don’t think search is going anywhere, like it’s going to evolve for sure. Like, people right now are evolving to a point wherein they search with their mouths rather than their fingers, and I’m talking about voice search as opposed to regular typing. Some big shifts have already happened actually. Mobile searches have taken the majority of the search volume in that Google processes everyday over regular desktop searches. So that’s not in the future, that’s already happening today. So mobile is going to be king for the next decade or so. Voice search is going to be one of the keys as far as SEO is concerned.
Glen: And the bar point about the Philippines and the future of the local industry, I can see it still working out for the next 10 years. But the Philippines, what made the Philippines boom in terms of outsourcing from the beginning, whether it’s called numbers or digital marketing or other stuff like that is that, it’s a developing country with lower costs of living. So, aside from that, it also had a population that basically knew how to speak English or at least very basic English. That’s been our edge over a lot of other developing countries where services are outsourced. But, and this is a big but, every year the Philippine economy grows by about 6.5%. And in a decade, that’s 65% GDP growth. Good things are going to happen economically for the Philippines, but when the economy gets better, so that’s, the cost of living kind of rises with it. So, I’m not sure in ten years if things are going to be quite as cheap, I do believe that Filipinos will find a way to make the prices still competitive, relative to the West and other countries. But I do see that being something of a puzzle that we have to solve. And I’m optimistic that we can.
Derek: It’s an irony, isn’t it? Because of course the Philippines doesn’t want to be a developing country forever and it’s good to be more affluent, but then it kind of loses that edge, that brought to the affluence, which is the kind of cost effective human resource here.
Glen: Yeah. I think it’s similar to what’s happening to China wherein before, everyone was below the poverty line and now the middle classes, the majority and they want to get paid more. So, some factories are moving to Vietnam. So, I hope that doesn’t happen with the service trend in the Philippines. As I said, I think were flexible to price changes, so I’m sure we can make it work. That’s what I’m saying.
Derek: Yes, absolutely. And there’s still incredible growth in Philippines in terms of population out there’s like about a half a million university graduates every year and as you say there’s generally incredible levels of English everywhere. Very young population in the Philippines I think that has a lot of good demographics going for it. So, Glen, if people are interested in GDI or knowing more about SEO, or knowing more about how to outsource their SEO, how do they generally engage with you or is it sort of you take a look of websites and give them an idea or is it like a menu of services?
Glen: Well, they can just go to my website, glendemands.com, or Google my name. I’m sure, I’ll pop up on social media, and my own website. And from there, they can just send me a message, tell me what their goals are, tell me what their minutes are if they are already aware of what specific services they need. And from there, what we do is provide you a free audit of your website to see what’s working for you and what’s not, and what needs to be done. So, all of our quotes are custom, so we only charge for the services that you really need. That’s one of our advantages because other agencies here in the Philippines try to give you this blanket package with all the bells and whistles of which you [inaudible 00:20:42]. We as an agency make an effort to provide the best value for money, so what we recommend is only the stuff that you really need to have. And then we base the quote out of that.
Derek: Fantastic. I really do encourage everyone out there to consider GDI but also just consider outsourcing to the Philippines because there’s an incredibly capable people over here and at great prices. And if people just want to get contact with you, is that the best website, or what’s the best way?
Glen: Yes, that’s the best way. And you can just Google like SEO Philippines, SEO company Philippines, I’ll come up there for sure.
Derek: Fantastic! And of course, all of that will be in the show notes. Thank you so much Glen.
Glen: Thank you so much Derek. Happy to have spoken to your audience and it was a great experience being on your podcast.
Derek: Absolutely. And I appreciate your time.
Okay, that was Glen Dimandaal of GDI. If you want to get in touch with Glen or know any more about this episode then go to our show notes which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/206. And of course, if you want to ask us anything then just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time!