SEO marketing goes beyond knowing what makes the world’s search engines tick. Since the technical facts behind it are available to just about any business that wants to go digital, you’ll have to do more than perfect the fundamentals of SEO to keep a sharp competitive edge.
Today, the secret to achieving maximum ROI for your SEO marketing investment lies in market and competitive intelligence: a firm understanding of your customers, your competitors, and the cultural features of the locations you serve.
For instance, tracking Google’s changes to its search platform will help you keep up with best practices, but knowing that Google builds its search engine around human behavior will allow you to lead the pack.
In this article, we’ll be going over the SEO best practices in the Middle East. Pairing these strategies with a strong command of the fundamentals of search engine optimization will help your business outrank your competitors on search pages and, more importantly, boost your click-through and conversion rates.
Invest in Local Search
Because the internet is a global tool, ranking for short- or medium-tailed keywords is inherently difficult. Optimizing your web pages for local search is a reliable way of overcoming the barrier, because Google Search is designed to show results based on its users’ activities and locations.
To put it simply, local search involves building a website that’s relevant and convenient to searchers near you. Some steps include making sure your NAP data is up-to-date and consistent across the internet, setting up a Google My Business Profile, tracking your map pack rankings, and creating content with a local angle.
Improving your local search performance will make your business more likely to rank high for nearby users—including those who didn’t use location-specific keywords in their queries. Unless you happen to run a business with a global audience, you’ll want the visibility and customers this brings to your SEO marketing.
We’ve covered local search in our Guide to Local SEO in the UAE in greater detail.
Study Your Market’s Search Intent
Most guides will recommend that you perform keyword research when improving your SEO marketing. They aren’t wrong—a neat and data-driven list of keywords will go a long way. But while most focus on volume, it’s important to know how search intent (also known as audience intent) can affect your strategies.
Search users fall into one of the two categories: those looking for general information, and those looking for more specific answers. Keep the level of information your searchers are after in mind when building campaigns, choosing keywords, and planning content.
General searches mean the user is likely in the awareness or familiarity stage of the buyer’s journey (i.e. they know they have a problem, but might not have a solution in mind). Specific searches indicate a lead might be closer to consideration or even purchase (i.e. comparing goods or looking for a specific type of service or product to spend on.
A well-rounded SEO marketing plan takes audience intent into account and offers search users an easy way to access the information they’re after.
Focus on Content Marketing
Following up on our last point, we strongly recommend leveraging content marketing both as an SEO strategy and as a means of boosting your brand’s equity.
Content is essential to SEO marketing for two reasons. First, it gives you room to deploy and rank for more keywords: the more topics you write about, the more likely you’ll be to hit valuable search terms. Second, Google prioritizes web pages that can offer clear, concise answers to users’ queries — writing quality content is a great way of providing those answers.
Better still, it also allows you to build your brand’s reputation along the way. By growing your website into a useful resource, you raise your profile among both search engines and your customer base as well.
When done properly, the benefits of content marketing go from merely catching people’s attention to processing leads into paying customers. The trick is to create content that converts: using SEO ,marketing practices in tandem with powerful copywriting and strategic topic selection to catch your users’ eyes and then win over their hearts and minds.
Build for Multiple Languages
If you’re running SEO marketing for a business in the Middle East, it only makes sense to cater to search users using the local language. Beyond the fact that having an Arabic version of your website makes your content and services more trustworthy to local audiences, it allows you to rank for searches made using the language.
Even more compelling is the fact that one in every five searches on Google’s app was made using voice back in 2016 (five whole years ago!). Search engines have become ingrained in our everyday lives, and you can be sure that users are asking questions in their language of choice.
The more languages you can integrate the better. Because the Middle East features people from all walks of life, you can use the cosmopolitan character of many of the region’s cities (ex. Doha, Dubai) to your advantage and position your business as a reliable, globally-minded solution.
SEO marketing in the Middle East is a competitive space that demands more than just technical know-how. Your business needs to be strategic, well-informed, and driven by a firm understanding of how people in your target market think and shop.
Of course, it’s no easy feat to juggle market intelligence with technical expertise and a strong awareness of local dynamics. Both homegrown businesses and international ventures have a difficult time mastering SEO marketing in the region—there’s simply a staggering number of points to consider.
We at Igloo have decades of combined experience in solving our clients’ digital needs, from branding and design to marketing-ready web development. Our approach to service is rooted in both a strong connection to marketing trends in the Middle East and countless hours spent studying the fundamentals of how search engines work.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and see how our solutions can take your marketing to the next level.