I recently took the time to reach out to an agency to get some insights into search engine optimization (SEO) in Taiwan.
For the uninitiated, SEO can be simplified down to being the ‘process of getting organic traffic from search results on search engines.’ Essentially, SEO strategies can help businesses to rank their website on Google’s results pages and see more traffic from users that might be interested in buying their products or service.
The stats also back up the demand and effectiveness for SEO strategies. It’s no surprise then that 61% of marketers say improving their SEO is their top inbound marketing priority, or that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to the close rate 1.7% from print advertisements.
SEO in Taiwan
I was curious to find out more information about what SEO practices are being used in Taiwan, what markets their content SEO strategies are focusing on, and what insights agencies have about Taiwanese clients.
I was fortunate enough to have an interview with Julien from Pineapple Web, a digital marketing agency based in Taipei, Taiwan.
Pineapple Web began as a venture between a digital marketing specialist and a skilled web developer. They’re both French nationals and have 6 and 8 years of experience in their respective industries. They decided to combine their skills to open a digital agency in 2017.
Pineapple Web’s Services
They help clients to increase their company’s visibility on the web with a variety of services including:
- Web design: Web animations/Responsive web design/User experience
- Technical SEO
- Online advertising
- Web analytics
Why did you choose to start a digital marketing agency in Taipei?
We decided to open our digital agency mainly because we could identify there was great potential in this market (Taiwan). There are many entrepreneurs that opened their factories 50 years ago and supply goods mostly to Europe and North America. That generation of entrepreneurs had the wind at their back for many years and never cared, invested or even understood the value of marketing.
But that generation is getting older, and they’re transferring their business to the young generation who is familiar with both marketing and the online world.
Considering these companies mostly target the foreign markets, we figured out we could sell our understanding of the Western world’s expectations, habits, and behavior.
Are most of your clientele Taiwanese?
Our clientele is 50% Taiwanese, 25% other Asian countries and 25% European
Which industry do you work with the most in Taiwan?
Since we opened the agency, we’ve been able to identify 3 industries that are very dynamic on their online presence:
- Language teaching on and offline
- Technological devices
What are the main markets for your clients’ SEO content strategies?
No strong trend on that point. We have Taiwanese clients hiring us to help them to gain visibility for targeted countries in Europe.
We have Taiwanese clients hiring us for the local market and we also have foreign companies that hire us to do SEO in the Taiwanese market.
From your experience, what level of understanding do most Taiwanese companies have of what an SEO strategy is?
SEO is hard to sell in Taiwan. Or I should say it is hard to sell the way we sell it. Because many don’t have a good understanding of the ins and outs of SEO, clients often contact us saying that they are looking for a company that can rank them first on Google on a list of keywords and that they want it to happen as soon as possible. If you are familiar with SEO, you know that:
- It’s wrong to guarantee a ranking
- The keywords selection should be the agency’s responsibility
- The implementation of a consistent SEO strategy shows results 6 to 12 months after it starts
Clients don’t like to hear any of this, and we are often in competition with agencies that give them the answers they’re expecting. The truth is that those agencies often don’t do what they say they will, or they’ll use black hat SEO practices to reach the client expectation.
What do Taiwanese companies get wrong about how SEO?
I feel like clients often think there is a “magic trick” to be ranked well on search engines and that we, as an agency, know that “trick”. Fortunately, there ain’t no tricks to run a performing SEO strategy but just a substantial amount of work and expertise.
Moreover, SEO requires several skills that can generally not be found in one person. A major part of SEO focuses on code and technical set up, the second part concerns the content creation and copywriting, and the third one is about commercial and sales when it comes to finding backlinks or doing some local SEO.
At Pineapple Web, we only provide technical SEO and commercial SEO. Sometimes clients hardly understand that we don’t wish to involve in the creative part because it is not our expertise.
What advice do you have for companies in Taiwan that are interested in an SEO strategy?
I would advise them to challenge the things they read about SEO on their Facebook newsfeed or in the online ads they get to see so that they don’t approach SEO the wrong way.
Also, companies receive a dozen of spammy prospection e-mails with e-mail subject such as “Want to rank first on Google?” daily and these e-mails promise to rank their keywords for $20USD per keyword.
It’s never a good idea to work with these companies, and it’s wrong to compare these services and the rates with the services and rates from a serious agency.
Finally, a good SEO agency should have a good ranking on search engines under keywords such as “SEO agency + location”. That is the best proof of the expertise of the agency in this field.