Generating Organic SEO Traffic in the Middle East
A paradigm shift is occurring in the middle-east and the now the most cost-effective way of generating organic traffic is Arabic SEO across the region.
Looking at long-term organic outreach is the foundation for marketing strategies, and now Arabic SEO will be the significant factor to the online acquisition.
Across the region, we are looking at around 145-150 million Internet users who are of course native speakers of their respective languages, who commonly search as everyone in other parts of the world do for local services and products.
While geographic key terms have seen fierce competition in English optimization for respective websites, the Arabic SEO market is under matured and represents vast opportunities.
We have seen recent trends in the region focusing mainly on social media traffic with their digital marketing budgets and not understanding the relevance and importance of SEO.
Through 2018 we have seen a new Facebook update for business pages, whereby it has taken us to a point where getting back to search engines as the main priority to source and generate organic leads is the way forward.
This article looks to outline what best practices to use to help expand your outreach and drive organic traffic towards you.
Building a result driven Arabic SEO Strategy
Step 1 – Getting to know the Arab consumer: Harvard Business Review made a very bold but accurate statement recently where it outlined where companies that play down the importance between culture and religion are lowering their chances of success in the region due to the Arab consumer being unique with their search habits. These habits are influenced continuously and impacted by culture and religion.
Step 2 – Do Research on the Local Market: I cannot stress enough about the separation of regions and defining the market you are looking to optimize for. If your target market is Kuwait, you need to research what keywords are prevalent t in that market and match them. The smart advice is to use an SEO Agency in Kuwait, likewise for Dubai and so on.
Step 3. – Awareness of the Culture and Language: Of course this sounds obvious but so do so many other things in business that are strangely overlooked.
Optimize your website for the audience you are outreaching to while considering their habits based on local traditions and cultures to assess what impact your marketing could have in both a positive or negative way. Remember the Arabic language uses slang and abbreviates now too, so be aware of these trends and how to use the language.
Step 4 – Research you’re Competition: Extensive research on your competition is essential to analyze what keywords are working for them, what domain authority they have and look at where they are generating their backlinks. This way you can see where there may be gaps in their content and plan an approach to supersede them. If this is something you are unsure of doing yourself again hire a native SEO company.
Market Research of Arabic SEO strategy
Optimizing Native Arabic Keywords
Step 1- Keyword Research: The best place to start is at the advanced search stage to find the most relevant keywords. Merely looking at the highest monthly volume is not the answer.
Collecting data based upon relevant terms that are used by offline clients and sales team are a good idea to add to your final search list.
Ensure you filter your findings into sections for your final search here are some ideas:
Plus more of course.
Step 2. Arabic Keywords Localisation: The number 1 rule – DO NOT TRY OR EVEN SUCCEED IN TRANSLATING KEYWORDS.
It is too easy to end up with ineffective terms. When companies tend to translate from English into Arabic, the loss of significant traffic can be heavy.
Here is an example:
In English the word ‘Hospitality’ translates to ‘Generosity’ in Arabic culture so as you can see you will end up with your brand message getting very confused and in some cases, there is no translation for a certain term, leaving it down more down to the consumers interpretation than an actual structured message, presenting a significant problem,
So by localizing your Arabic Keywords, you are ahead of the game but be sure to familiarise yourself as I mentioned before with the slang of each region and each county. Make sure your keywords are relevant to your target market.
Fully Optimising Your Arabic Website Content
Step 1 – On-Page Optimization in Arabic: Although overheads are always a consideration to any business it’s worthwhile employing a native SEO copywriter as you must be sure to get correct translating of your Meta Data.
By inheriting your Meta Tags into properly localized keywords and HTML leaving the English structure behind will benefit you greatly in the short and long-term.
For top ranking with Google Images Search, you also need to look to Arabic alt descriptions, including videos.
For any e-commerce businesses, this is especially prevalent. A description like ‘Shopping Cart’ or ‘Product Description’ could not be more important to make sure there is nothing lost in translation, even more so when a potential consumer has got that far on your site.
STEP 2 – On-Site Optimization in Arabic: Ensure you use correct language tags for a multilingual site. In reality, it is not so important to translate the URLs, but avoiding duplicating content is. Also, double and triple check the sitemap of your website and for broken links to prevent re-directions to the English content.
STEP 3 – Obtaining a Local Domain: Obtaining a Local domain will play a significant role in your rankings and SERPs. So, for example, in Kuwait looking for a site with .kw or with .eg for Egypt and so on. This is to capitalize on the local searches in the target region(s).
Developing an Arabic Content Marketing Strategy
Step 1 – Creating Specified Content for Targeted Keywords: Long-term content strategy is your best place to start. Fully optimized with Arabic content, reliance on local landing pages and the like to help build content for growth in ranking is not reliable.
Step 2 – Find Arabic FAQ’s and Answer Them: This is effective in Arabic SEO. Look to extract as many relevant commonly asked questions you find in various search queries and on social media platforms and provide the answers.
Longtail keywords will play a vital role in your conversion rates and building organic traffic in the region due to the gap in the market and lack of technical information available in the native languages.
Local Business Verification
Google My Business (GMB) should be your first step to putting you on the path to a thriving local SEO strategy. By verifying your business, your chances of appearing in local searches increases dramatically and on Google Maps.
Arabic SEO Tools – The Set-up
Step 1 – Regional Tracking: Setting up Google Analytics and SEO tools separately is a good idea for the most effective tracking.
Many SEO tools tend to provide analysis on domains and keyword differently.
Step 2 – Using Local Metrics: With each region displaying behavioral differentials, different metrics are required to track KPI’s effectively. So be sure to test to customize your metrics taking into account regional factors, so you enhance your knowledge to assist your marketing Strategy.
I would not have been writing this article just five years ago, but there is a considerable shift in the Middle East. This has created a gap in the market that can be filled with a new approach. Changing focus away from paid searches and social media advertising will pay dividends. Arabic SEO is the key to gaining stronger, longer lasting organic growth for your business in the region. In reality, it will also be more cost-effective for you to begin with for your digital marketing budget. Factor into your initial spend an SEO Company in Kuwait or whatever country you are localizing your business in and take full advantage as competition is not high due to misinterpretation, so for those who get in now and invest little will end up gaining a lot.
Author Bio Sandy Bennington is an experienced tech blogger with an interest in business affairs, she loves eating out and is quite decent in the kitchen herself. She is associated with SEO Kuwait who is a premium digital marketing and SEO company Kuwait.