The Lowdown on Arabic SEO

Over the last few years, SEO services in the Arab world has grown steadily. Many English SEO companies have ventured into the Arabic SEO space, partly because there is huge untapped potential in the Arab market. There’s huge opportunity to leverage SEO knowledge and apply it to the arabic industry. With barely any competition, opportunities are ripe for the taking!

Ranking a website in the arab version of Google is like ranking a site in the English version of Google five years ago.

English SEO agencies typically use a translator or a very basic free translating service, such as Google Translate. One of the issues becoming apparent with these English SEO agencies taking on Arabic work is that their translations aren’t 100% accurate.

Relying on Google Translate for your content is never a good idea. Best practice would be to hire a native Arabic speaker who is also an SEO expert.

This type of translating is resulting in businesses targeting the wrong keywords.

Paying For Agency Errors

One SEO agency that claims to be one of the best in the world, handles the search marketing for a large automotive brand in the Middle East. They’re currently spending more than $30,000 a month bidding on negative keywords like “العاب السيارات” and “ا لعاب سونيك”. This directly translates into “Car Games” and “Sonic Games”. You’ll find plenty of similar mistakes when it comes to English agencies taking on Arabic SEO work.

Agencies can easily lose big clients when they realise how much money they’re losing because of basic mistakes like this.

Of course, there’s always native Arabic SEO companies. WebQuest SEO is one such SEO agency, based in Dubai. They provide all manner of SEO services to clients in the Middle East. On average, they will provide a much better service compared to English SEO agencies that dabble in Arabic SEO. Native Arabic SEO agencies also have a much better understanding of how SEO works in the Arabic language. There are many subtle but significant differences in the way the Google algorithm works for Arabic compared to English.

In contrast, an agency such Bubblelocal, provides SEO services in Bournemouth. This is an example of an agency that shouldn’t do Arabic SEO because they’re native English speakers and probably wouldn’t do the best job in the Arabic SEO space.

Let’s clarify all aspects of SEO and optimisation for the Arabic language:

Keyword Research

Keyword research enables is absolutely essential to finding ripe opportunities for targeted traffic to a client’s website. This is something that should be done on a fairly regular basis to maintain a content marketing plan that stays relevant and exploits low-hanging fruit.

It’s important to consider the conversion goals of the client. Do they sell products or services within a certain area or do they provide a global service?

Having this information will change the way you do your keyword research as you’ll either be focused on local search query data or global.

Keyword research for Arabic SEO is largely the same process as English, albeit with the Arabic language!

Keyword Variations

Some English words simply cannot be translated into Arabic. Translating certain words directly sometimes results in more than one word in Arabic. In some cases, the meaning can be completely different. Finding keyword variations can result in thousands of extra people on your client’s website. So it’s important to experiment and discover all permutations of a particular keyword, or you could be missing out on some great traffic opportunities.

The Bottom Line

With almost 150 million Arabic users on the internet, the opportunities for SEO services are huge. That said, if agencies are taking on work they aren’t really qualified to do, clients end up getting a bad service and throwing money down the drain. Especially when it comes to things like paid search marketing.

To mitigate this risk, clients need to do their own research before taking on any agency. Do they provide native Arabic SEO services or are they going to translate your work into a watered down, ineffective version of the original?


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