On an international scale, most prominent companies and online businesses have developed specific SEO strategies, either in-house or through agencies.
However, in Vietnam, KNOK STUDIOS’ expertise in the field suggests that this is not yet the prevailing trend, and there are several reasons behind this phenomenon.
What is a Good SEO Strategy?
Let’s start by a quick reminder:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in enhancing your brand’s visibility on search engines, particularly Google. However, it’s important to note that SEO is not an exact science, as the algorithm behind search engines remains undisclosed and undergoes frequent updates.
Nonetheless, experts have identified various factors that positively or negatively impact a website’s ranking. Some notable examples include:
- On-site factors: These encompass elements such as site speed, title formatting, and the presence of security certificates (such as HTTPS).
- Off-site factors: These involve the quality and quantity of external links pointing to your website.
Please note that the examples provided above are only a small fraction of the factors at play. For a more comprehensive understanding of SEO, we recommend exploring our detailed guide: How to rank your website on Google?
Less SEO Competition: A Prime Opportunity in Vietnam
The age of a website holds significant importance in Google’s ranking algorithm. Many niches are dominated by “untouchable” sites that have been present on the web for numerous years. These websites have built a formidable reputation with Google, making it nearly impossible to surpass them unless they make substantial mistakes. Additionally, these sites often employ dedicated internal SEO teams who work tirelessly to maintain their top positions.
Vietnam’s Unique Landscape
In Vietnam, the SEO landscape presents a distinct advantage: there is currently less competition compared to more “mature” markets. Many of your competitors in the Vietnamese market have yet to implement robust SEO strategies. By carefully studying your competition or seeking assistance from specialized agencies like KNOK STUDIOS, you will likely discover that a significant portion of your competitors’ websites are relatively new and lack a comprehensive SEO approach.
A quick example: a member of our team ranked reached the Top 10 of Google Search with a brand new website and one backlink on the highly competitive keyword “Whiskey Sour”. This would have been impossible in any “mature” online market where the competition on recipe related keywords is extremely tough.
The Dominance of Social Networks in Digital Marketing Strategies in Vietnam
Vietnam: Social Media 1st, SEO 2nd
The relatively limited popularity of SEO in Vietnam can be attributed, in part, to the overwhelming dominance of social networks in digital marketing strategies. Over the past years, the number of Facebook and TikTok users in Vietnam has skyrocketed exponentially. Many companies have found it incredibly effortless to reach a vast audience through these networks, even with a modest budget.
According to the data from Decision Lab over 95% of the Vietnamese are currently connected on Facebook.
Social Media: Short-term Success, Long-term Limitations
However, it is crucial to recognize that relying solely on social networks is not a sustainable long-term strategy. Once a social network reaches a certain level of “maturity,” its primary focus shifts from seeking new content to monetizing its audience. Consequently, the budgets required to appear prominently on users’ feeds steadily increase, posing a threat to the profitability thresholds of advertising campaigns.
Turning to SEO as an Alternative
It is precisely at this juncture that companies begin to explore alternative marketing avenues, such as SEO. Unlike social networks, which increasingly demand higher budgets for visibility, SEO provides a more cost-effective and long-lasting solution for driving organic traffic to websites. By investing in SEO strategies, businesses can establish a strong online presence that is independent of the fluctuating algorithms and rising costs associated with social network advertising.
At KNOK we always explain to our customers that SEO efforts have a cumulative effect, generating long-term value and sustainable results.
SEO Skills Scarcity: A Challenge in Vietnam
Limited Availability of SEO Profiles
The scarcity of proficient SEO professionals in Vietnam contributes to the relatively weak competition in the field. Specialized training opportunities in SEO are rare, and web-related roles are in high demand, making it difficult for local companies to find qualified individuals for SEO missions.
The Skill Gap Challenge
A successful SEO strategy relies on two distinct skill sets:
- Content Production: Writing Skills + Creativity
Creating engaging and optimized content requires good writing skills and creative thinking. It involves understanding keyword research, on-page optimization, and delivering valuable information to the target audience.
- Technical Expertise: Web Developer Skills Technical
SEO involves optimizing websites, improving site performance, and resolving technical issues. It requires proficiency in web development languages and familiarity with SEO tools.
Companies in Vietnam face challenges in finding SEO experts who possess both content creation and technical skills. The scarcity of professionals with this combination of expertise hinders the execution of long-term SEO strategies.
The difficulty to find talent in the whole IT industry is more generally speaking a recurring problem in Vietnam. Top Dev polled in 2022 2,5000 employers. Six out of 10 (64%) planned to expand their IT team with more hiring.
What does it mean for your business?
If you manage to put in motion an efficient SEO with the help of a specialized agency like KNOK for example, your competitors will have a hard time catching up with you.
Black Hat vs White Hat Unethical SEO Practices in Vietnam
Black Hat SEO in Vietnam
In Vietnam, a significant number of companies have resorted to prohibited SEO strategies known as Black Hat and Gray Hat. This can be explained by bad recommendations by local consultants or short-term views.
These tactics, including link purchasing on low-reputation websites and mass content generation, may temporarily deceive search engines.
Although these companies may appear to have solid rankings, they should not be considered genuine competitors. Their reliance on deceptive tactics puts them at constant risk of penalties and loss of search engine visibility.
Prioritizing Ethical SEO for Long-Term Success
To establish a strong online presence in Vietnam, businesses must prioritize ethical SEO. This involves creating high-quality content, improving website user experience, and earning organic backlinks. At our agency, we have always recommended and practiced a White Hat approach with our customers.
We firmly believe that ethical SEO strategies are the foundation for long-term success in the digital landscape and that this is especially true in Vietnam where a lot of companies have adopted a different approach.