SEO is a weird beast, continually changing and evolving and one of the most essential elements of your online marketing strategy. SEO in the Middle East is particularly pertinent as the market is continuously intensifying, and businesses are looking for new ways to poke their head above the massive pack.
While relatively young in terms of world markets, the Middle Eastern e-commerce market is projected to be worth $49 billion by 2021. So let’s consider some of the SEO predictions for 2019 that you should start to incorporate into your digital strategies now, to get ahead of the pack.
1. Local SEO
This under-appreciated discipline will rise to prominence in digital marketing for 2019 and beyond, and with the Middle Eastern market growing, management and optimization of your local business content and reviews is intrinsically linked to finding new business and consumer spending.
Search, reviews and social recommendations are enormous influences on consumers and their purchase decision-making. Add to this the fact that mobile search volumes dominate the search stats and it is easy to see why local SEO and its impact on lower-funnel consumers is growing in 2019.
Google is also building the capabilities of local search and Google My Business (GMB), and the capacity to transact directly with sites like Yelp means that reviews and local content are vital. Basically, it would be best if you were putting a significant focus on your own backyard.
2. Informing Google
The more information about your business, products, and services that you can provide to Google, the better. The more Google understands you and your relevance or involvement in the Middle Eastern market, the better it will position your business.
Provide as much information as you can via GMB and other local listings, and structure your site, content, and schema to be as clear and relative as possible.
3. Real-time local inventory
As the online marketplace grows, so does consumer expectation of how immediate everything is. A perfect example of this point is Pointy who have hit the one percent adoption threshold for all U.S. retail businesses, and you can be sure this will trickle down to the rest of the world including the Middle East.
4. Sustainable local business practices
Make no mistake about it, sustainability is a hot topic, and so it should be. As we watch the planet shift and change the need for greater environmental practices from the reduction of carbon footprints on a business level to things like plant-based diets on a personal level is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Consumers look to support businesses that work to these ideas and being ethical is increasingly influential in consumer decision-making.
You need to green-audit your models and market the improvements that you plan to make, showing consumers that you hold the health of the planet in high importance. This assists across all relative components including SEO, SMM and SEM, which are all important tools vital for developing a solid online presence.
5. AMPs and mobile optimization
As we mentioned earlier, it’s a mobile-first world, and the percentage of searches being done from mobile devices is growing. Your SEO needs to have a mobile-driven focus, with desktop playing second fiddle. The Google mobile-first launched in March; last year exemplifies the priority being put on the mobile user experience which will no doubt grow in 2020.
Businesses that have a mobile version of their website needs to ensure it has been optimized for:
- Page speed
- Mobile-friendly design
- Worthwhile content
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are an integral part of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). AMPs feature a stripped-down form of HTML, designed to be very lightweight for quick loading.
6. Video content
If you have read any other prediction articles over the last few years, there is likely a section in them about video. The reason for this has been its gradual increase in popularity; it’s projected to be 80 percent of all online content. So you need to make video part of your SEO and content marketing strategies to significantly boost your organic traffic.
Video is an excellent opportunity for Middle Eastern brands to engage with potential customers; it is easily digestible content that doesn’t require much work on behalf of the user.
Google knows this and will factor the video presence of your business into account, rewarding you with better search engine rankings because your content is in the form that users prefer. Oh and the catch? Your video content better be as professional as possible for it to be effective so you may need to enlist the help of some experts.
7. Voice search
Siri and Alexa have formed a significant aspect of people’s day-to-day lives; they can’t down the amount of time you spend typing to search and let’s be honest, using them feels like using the future! Voice functionality requires content that caters to voice search, so you need to optimize for these elements. This means structured data and conversational long tail keywords.
This is a new idea for the Middle Eastern market who have been slow on the uptake, so it’s a perfect place to get out ahead quickly. Businesses that focus on this change will have a competitive edge.
Need some help?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, SEO is vital to successful online business operations, and this can be tricky if you are not an expert in this field. Perpetual, however, are.
Our full-service agency amalgamates talent, enthusiasm and hard work via a global network that offers flexibility, autonomy, creativity, and customized personal service with experts in the world of SEO optimization and content creation. Our main clients are based in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
We continuously gather information from your business, research best practices and refine our approach. We’ll also finalize project deliverables and timeline, and identify critical roles. It is important to remember that a website is a service, not just a static product. The same applies to your digital marketing strategy. These things need to be monitored, assessed and tweaked to ensure that whatever is working stays and whatever isn’t goes.
Perpetual operate throughout the Middle East, with headquarters in the Kingdom of Bahrain serving businesses throughout the Gulf region. Contact us today to get your SEO optimization in top shape, and ensure that you keep up with the changing trends.