­The Importance of SEO for E-Commerce Businesses in the Middle East

Mar 28 · 4 min read

So, you’ve set up an e-commerce shop. Now what? You can’t just expect people to find you. That would be like setting up a shop in the middle of the desert. What you need is e-commerce SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Is SEO really that important for e-commerce stores? Many businesses in the Middle East focus their efforts and marketing budget on social media, but that means they’re missing out on all the potential traffic from search engines such as Google.

The fact that many e-commerce businesses in the GCC are not using SEO gives you the upper hand because you can beat the competition. There’s just one question left: How do you do this? A Middle Eastern SEO strategy is a little different from an SEO strategy for a business outside the GCC. Check out our six best pieces of advice below.

1. Understand Your Audience

Much of the advice you’ll find about creating an SEO website is written from a Western perspective and doesn’t always have the Middle Eastern consumer in mind. Consider factors such as culture and religion when choosing what kind of content to post and when to post it. For example, check out our other post about some of the hottest e-commerce products right now in the UAE.

2. Include Keywords Everywhere

For the best e-commerce SEO, you must include keywords in much more than just on-page content. For instance, terms also should be present in image alt text, page meta tags, and page names. Everywhere you can add those keywords, do it.

3. Run Keyword Research in the Right Language

If you need Arabic SEO, you must do research on keywords in Arabic. It is useless to research in English and then translate terms because some of the words will not be what users are searching for. If you’re going to use multiple languages for content, do separate research for each one.

If you want to expand your audience base, create content in English, but make sure you do it well. Poor spelling, grammar mistakes, or just sounding “off” can cause a lower SEO ranking over time.

4. Use Local SEO

If you’re operating in a particular area, shipping to a number of places within the GCC, for example, then local SEO is a must.

Local SEO involves much more than just researching and using keywords from a particular place. To help you speak to your audience, write content in the particular dialect of Arabic in the area. You also should conduct market research for the location — find out what types of content interests users. Determining what products sell the best in that location is a good start.

5. Research the Competition

Find out what other e-commerce businesses in the Middle East are doing. Focus on stores that offer products similar to yours or operate in your area. Find out what keywords they are using and who is linking to their sites — there are tools for both of these.[L1]

6. Pick the Right Domain

If you still haven’t decided on a domain name for your website, don’t worry! Read our recommendations to help get the most SEO potential:

A. Make your domain name as close to your business name as possible: Avoid using other keywords, numbers, and special characters (this doesn’t help SEO, or your users).

B. Choose the right extension: If you are targeting just one country in the Middle East, use its top-level domain (for example, the in the UAE it is .ae). Otherwise, just stick with the usual .com.

C. Only create one domain, even if your business is in multiple countries: On the main page allow users to select their country, which also allows them to see content in their native language.

Final Advice

It’s important to stay on top of new SEO developments so your e-commerce store always is visible to the maximum number of people. Since you’re targeting users in the Middle East, stay up to date with changing ranking factors for popular Arabic-language search engines, such as Yamli and Yoolki, not just what’s going on with Google.

We are Fetchr; a company specialized in e-fulfillment. We help e-commerce entrepreneurs grow their business in the Middle East. Let’s make it happen! One box at a time. Learn more here.

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This blog is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered business or legal advice. MENA 360 DWC-LLC (Fetchr) will not be held liable for the use, non-use or misapplication of this information, lost profits, personal or business interruption, or any other loss.


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We’re on a mission to build the next generation of e-commerce entrepreneurs. Let’s make it happen. One box at a time!

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