If you are looking to take advantage of business opportunities in Dubai by increasing your visibility in search engines then this Dubai SEO guide is for you. Although there are many similarities in how SEO is done in different cities around the world, this guide goes into detail about various aspects of SEO in Dubai that may be helpful for both self-employed marketers and those who want to get an idea. The competitive landscape of online search in this city.
SEO awareness in Dubai in 2022 is higher than most cities in the Middle East. This is due to many factors. Indian technology has a large presence in Dubai, and given the popularity of SEO in India, it has increased the awareness of SEO in the region. Dubai is also a tech hub in the region and even has areas of the city that are completely focused on the Internet. Despite the awareness of SEO, there is a huge misunderstanding about the best practices and the difference between black hat and white hat (Google approved) SEO.
Factors to consider before trying to rank in Dubai
Before we discuss how to rank well in Dubai’s search engines. We want to talk about whether it is worth trying to rank in Dubai. Here are some factors that you should look at before you decide whether it is worth optimizing your site to rank well in Dubai.
- You have a significant audience for your products or services in Dubai
- Your audience in Dubai is large enough to warrant an investment in SEO
- Dubai is a great place to sell your products or services
- You either have a presence in Dubai or you can source your products or services to Dubai
- You are committed to a long-term SEO investment. Good SEO results take time and won’t happen overnight.
Search engines in Dubai
Google is the dominant search engine in Dubai. Yahoo and Bing make up less than 5% of the total search market so Dubai marketers should focus on optimizing for Google first and then optimizing for Yahoo and Bing if it makes sense.
Find the language
As a multilingual city, Google considers it important to offer their search engine in multiple languages in Dubai.
Considering the fact that Dubai is a center of the Middle East and is controlled by a large Arab population, Arabic is clearly an important language to explore. Although Emiratis are only a small part of the population there are also many other Arab people and families from other Arab nations who live in Dubai. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait also come to Dubai on vacation every year. Arabic is the mother tongue of all these people so for marketers to be really effective in Dubai they must learn to be good at Arabic SEO.
Due to the fact that Dubai is a multicultural city, English is probably the most widely spoken language within the city limits. English is a business language that allows people of all different nationalities living in Dubai to communicate effectively with each other. English is also one of the official languages of Dubai and most advertisements within the emirate. If you are considering targeting any expats who live in Dubai, English is probably your first choice when it comes to your SEO efforts. In addition, English is also the most widely used language among tourists in the country of Dubai. So if you are considering targeting tourists who come to Dubai, you need to use English.
The largest ethnicity in Dubai is actually Indian, despite the fact that it is an Arab city. This makes it so that you should consider optimizing your website in Hindi in addition to English if you want to effectively target the country’s largest expatriate population. With that said, depending on the type of product or service, offering Hindi may not be worth your time and effort. This is why many upper-class Indians speak English well and conduct business mostly in English.
On the other hand, those who prefer to use the Internet in Hindi may be less likely to be affluent or from the upper middle class. Many of the people who are using the Internet mostly in Hindi are mostly migrant workers working in low-paying jobs such as construction or other manual labor positions. Nevertheless, if you really want to take advantage of all the opportunities that Dubai has to offer in terms of marketing your products and services online, you should consider targeting Hindi speakers as they are the population. There are a lot of them and they have a lot of them. Purchasing power as a group.
Dubai is just across the Gulf from Iran. Due to its proximity to this Persian-speaking country, many Persians live in Dubai. To add to that, Persian had a great influence in building what is now modern Dubai. Many Persians play an important role in business throughout Dubai in the UAE. Due to this fact they are still very influential in the business community in Dubai. Although many of these Persians are used to conducting business in English and sometimes in Arabic, Persian is their mother tongue, so if you are trying to reach this segment, Persian may be preferable.
Many reasons we have mentioned for Hindi. With that said, if you plan to market to Urdu speakers in Dubai, understand that most Urdu speakers are Muslims so your message may vary in some cases.
Basics of getting your site ranked in Google in Dubai?
1. Vocabulary research
As with any other market, your keyword research is the foundation of your SEO efforts. Using tools like Google Keyword Planner and other paid tools, it is important to find out how your potential customers are searching for your products and services in Dubai. It is not necessary to assume that you target the same keywords that you target in other cities and countries around the world because each market is unique. Since Dubai is a multi-ethnic city you may find that there are a wide variety of ways that potential customers search for your products and services. Because of this many businesses find that it can work well to target different keywords related to your industry to capture traffic from different demographics in Dubai.
A great deal of time and effort should be put into keyword research because if it’s done right, your SEO efforts will go a long way and generate more results than if it’s done poorly and you’re wrong. Choose the word. If you are targeting local keywords you may want to consider adding keyword modifiers to some keywords in your industry to see how people search for them locally. For example, you might search for “restaurants in Dubai” or “Dubai dentists”.
Once you have determined which keywords are best for your website, you then need to determine how to target those keywords on the various pages of your website.
2. Arrange the words on the appropriate pages
With your keyword research complete, you should take your keyword list and determine which keywords to focus on on specific pages of your website. You may already have some existing pages on your site that you can assign to a group of 3 to 4 similar keywords or you may need to create new pages for certain keywords that keyword research has revealed.
3. Use your targeted keywords in the title, URL, and meta description
Use the keywords you assigned to each page in the title, URL, and meta description of the page. Since you are targeting Dubai it may be a good idea to include the name of the city along with other keywords in the page title. If you are targeting a specific part of Dubai, it may be worth including in your title as well.
Content is crucial to achieving SEO results. Google may have a difficult time indexing your website for relevant keywords and variations of those keywords if they are not present in your site’s content. Search engines generally cannot see content that is in images, videos, and various page design elements, so in light of this, they rely heavily on the textual content of a website to determine how relevant it is. A specific topic area or search query.
We are in no way asking you to use your targeted keywords in your content. Modern search engines are very savvy so using keywords is often sufficient. With that being said, using synonyms and keywords related to your target keywords can help Google better understand what your pages and your website are about. As a general rule, it’s good to look at other websites in your industry and aim to have 20% more content on your pages than theirs.
Don’t forget that you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content, but your website visitors will also read this content. In light of this fact, try to make the content engaging, interesting and worth your visitors’ time. You must add value to the website visitor through your content and include the key features and benefits of your services and/or products in the content. If your goal is to get the visitor to take some kind of important action on a page like a sale or sign up, include a call to action to drive the visitor to your desired goal.
5. Local Dubai Links
Getting links from local websites is an indication that your website is relevant to Dubai. In many industries, if you have a presence in Dubai it is actually not that difficult to find opportunities to get links from other websites in the city. Here are some great examples of link types to look for.
- Local business clubs for your industry
- Dubai event sites
- Local niche directory
- Dubai Resource Pages
- Community pages
- Affiliate Sites
- Seller websites
- Local competitors who have websites
- Dubai Job Posts
- and more
6. User Experience for Dubai Tourists
This is probably the most neglected area of SEO that can greatly affect your website’s ranking. Many websites find that they do everything right and they are able to climb to the first position in Google for their targeted keywords, but within a short time, they find that their rankings start to decline again.
It mostly has to do with the user experience on the page. Although all other SEO factors are great, if this one factor is bad it can ruin your ability to rank in the top positions. In essence, this means that when visitors come to your website and don’t find what they’re looking for, they quickly leave the site and return to the search results. This indicates to Google that your website is not relevant for that search query and if this happens enough, Google will start placing other websites above you in the search engine results.
So it’s important to think about your design, the user experience on your website, and how professional your website looks to potential customers from Dubai in addition to other more technical SEO elements.
International destination for Dubai
We have seen that Dubai in general is a hub for Gulf business with many websites set up with .ae domains in the region. Although this indicates to Google that the website is only for the target audience of people who live in the Emirates it can also be considered relevant to the rest of the GCC as Dubai is considered a hub for GCC businesses. If you want to choose a .ae domain name and still want to target GCC countries you should also make sure to either change your Google Webmaster Tools location setting to “Unlisted” or Use the hreflang tag to accomplish this.
How important is getting a .ae domain?
We looked at 10 competing search queries in Dubai and counted the number of .ae websites that showed up on the first page of Google results for those search queries. Google’s first page of results for .ae websites was blank in about half of the cases. One or maybe two .ae websites appeared in the top 10 in the remaining cases. On Google’s first page, we found four .ae websites in only one instance.
The information above shows that having an .ae domain is not necessary to be able to rank well for most keywords. With that said it has been shown in many cases that country code top level domains such as .ae have been shown to give a website a slight advantage, all other factors being equal, in that it ranks well in Google. be able to the country. Maybe because of the relevance of this domain extension very few companies have invested in it. But this may change over time.
What may be of additional interest is the fact that we found that in many cases Google paid search results showed more .ae domains than organic search results for most search queries. This may have to do with the fact that paid advertisers are more internet savvy than many websites that naturally show up in organic search.
Another interesting note is that when Amazon entered the Middle East market and purchased Souq.com they decided to go with Amazon.ae as their main domain for the UAE even though Souq.com did not use the .ae domain. Amazon took a similar approach with a country-specific domain in Saudi Arabia when they launched Amazon.sa in June of 2020.
IstiZada Recommendation: If your main focus is Dubai and you are very motivated to rank quickly we recommend buying a .ae domain. However, if you already have a website or your primary focus is not Dubai, or the UAE for that matter, it’s probably not worth the effort to buy and use a .ae domain at this time.
Local Dubai website hosting
Local website hosting is available in Dubai from many different providers. It is actually one of the few cities in the region with reliable locally located servers. In theory, this should help improve the local and regional rankings of websites that are hosted on local servers, but given that hosting websites on servers is more common than we have in other countries around the world. There is no definitive data to prove this is true. For Dubai. If you are thinking of doing local SEO both for SEO and to improve page load speed we strongly advise you to make sure that your hosting provider actually has servers in the UAE and not Only a reseller of hosting services with servers outside the country.
Google Maps optimization
Another term for local SEO is Google Maps Optimization. Those companies in Dubai with physical locations can benefit from this type of optimization. Maps optimization centers on a few key elements.
- Finding local businesses with the Google My Business page
- Consistent business name, address, and phone number on sites where your business is listed
- Google real reviews and review sites
- Getting some links from other high quality Dubai websites
- Include important local keywords with your local listings and web pages
- Of course, there are other things that can help with local rankings, but the top 5 are probably the most important and we don’t have the space here to get too in-depth in this area.
Ways to get local exposure when you don’t have a local presence in 2021
If you have an international company but you want to rank better in Google’s local search results in Dubai, you can target local keywords on some pages of your website, or a part of your website. Which is dedicated only to Dubai. Google is going to look for the most locally relevant results in your industry, but it also looks at options and your website’s relevance to the industry topic you’re targeting.
In light of this if you can provide highly relevant informative and valuable content related to a topic related to Dubai you can also rank for this keyword. If you don’t have an office in Dubai, you might want to rank for the keyword “Dubai Investments.”. However, you offer Dubai-related investments. You could write a comprehensive guide to the best investment opportunities in Dubai, and if it’s also valuable to your target audience, you might find that you can end up ranking for the keyword “Dubai investment”.
Another option for businesses that want to appear in search engines in Dubai is getting an address in Dubai in local search results. Many companies that are just starting up in Dubai use the services of Regus or SERVCORP to get a local virtual office in Dubai even though they have a presence elsewhere.
Local SEO in Dubai – Dentists, Lawyers, Restaurants, Hotels
Below we will review some local SEO results in Dubai for both Arabic and English.
Let’s start with the dental comparison field. Using the example below, we search for “Dentist in Dubai”, probably the most popular keyword in this industry.
In the above results we see Google showing a 3-pack of local results. Surprisingly, all three results have a significant number of quality reviews to get the stars to appear before them. It is also worth noting that businesses that are not selected to compete in terms of SEO ranking in English face tough competition for paid ad positions on this results page. All ad spots are filled on the first page of Google so this keyword is the most competitive term for PPC.
Surprisingly, the Arabic results now comprise the standard 3-pack of local results as we see above. But when we looked at the map results, we saw that there were very few optimized business pages in Arabic. This seems to be a great opportunity for businesses that can provide services for Arabic speakers. 1 million tourists come to Dubai every year in Saudi Arabia alone. Many of these Saudi tourists travel to Dubai for its shopping and less stringent laws. This is not to mention all the local Arabs who live in Dubai.
Again we see the 3-pack of local search results but in a slightly different format. There is a large map on the right for directions. The rest of the results that appear below this box are general website search results. Most of the restaurants listed here also have relatively few reviews and the listings don’t look very good for Google searches.
A similar search query in Arabic yielded a very different set of results. See our snapshot of Dubai search results below.
In this case, we see the standard 3-pack with more reviews than surprisingly, and it’s mostly ranking websites, listing sites, and review sites that occupy the top position on the page. Again we see a case where Arabic local search results are far less competitive than English results in Dubai.
It appears that hotels are an industry that gets a lot of reviews in Dubai. Above we see that a hotel also has 2.5k reviews! We also see ads for the first two results followed by other hotel review sites and hotel booking sites.
Dubai mobile search results
Mobile search results in Dubai are very important with such high smartphone penetration in the region. Here is a snapshot of a set of results on an iPhone 13.
It is important to note that from the above snapshot we see that there are literally no organic search results that are displayed above the fold of the page on a large mobile device. This means that for some industries it will be very difficult to compete in the mobile search arena if you are not doing paid search advertising in addition to SEO.
This is not the case for every single industry, but for industries where mobile searches are common and there is a high level of competition, it appears that paid search in Dubai is a must. To add to that if you are not in the top three places, which can be very expensive, your chances of attracting visitors for such a search query are low.
Above we see the results from an Arabic search query for an international. In this case there is only one advertiser, so in this case it makes much more sense to improve organic results. We also searched in English, for which we did not include snapshots. The search revealed that there was also only one advertiser but many organic results displayed with Google’s standard 3-pack and map.
On April 21, 2015, Google launched a mobile update to its algorithm that made websites that are responsive or mobile-friendly more popular in Google search results than non-mobile-friendly websites. Considering the fact that Dubai is a tech-savvy city with a large number of mobile users, most companies cannot afford not to have a mobile-friendly site and now Google has made it a priority. If you intend to get mobile traffic in Dubai, we strongly recommend having a mobile friendly site.
It appears that the results you’ll get on mobile vary based on language and industry. Every company should look at keywords that are relevant to their industry to determine how they can best show up in Google results for relevant search queries. For some industries, this may mean paying Google AdWords to show up in the top positions but for others, it is enough to rank well in organic search results, especially in Arabic where the competition in Dubai is very low.
Seasonal search engine opportunities
Many SEOs think of seasonal opportunities as a great time to take advantage of large spikes in search volume that can be captured around seasonal search queries. There are certain holidays in Dubai where the seasonal search volume for certain goods and services may increase.
- UAE National Day
- memorial day
- Note: Dates for Muslim holidays change every year so be sure to check the most recent dates in 2022.
Dubai News Results
Being accepted into the news results section of Google.ae is equivalent to being accepted into news results outside of Dubai. Here are Google’s news guides. There are a few important things to note about Google News search results in Dubai.
Google will favor local news websites and websites that are popular destinations for locals even if they are outside of Dubai and the UAE.
There is much less competition to show Google news results in Arabic than in English. This is mostly due to the lack of knowledge of optimization by many Arabic publishers, less Arabic publishing, and in many cases not following Google’s quality standards.
Dubai Image Search
Getting images ranked in Google.ae is really no different than getting them ranked anywhere else in the world. Alt texts are important so Google can figure out what the images are about. The ability and relevancy of your website and the content around the images can also help make the images on your website rank higher in Google search results for different keywords. An exception to think about in Dubai is that there are some images that may be censored, but that has little to do with how they are classified.
Impact of social media on Dubai SEO
On the contrary, many people believe that there is no clear evidence that shows. That social media has a direct effect on SEO, although it can have a great indirect effect. It is no different in Dubai. With one of the highest internet usage rates in the world. Many people in Dubai are very active on social media channels. If your website content is popular on social media it can be shared and discovered by other websites. Who can then link to that content resulting in better search engine rankings.
In addition to targeting Dubai as a city as a whole. Some types of businesses may find it useful to get. More granular with their targeting to target specific areas of Dubai. That serve their target audience. Below we are able to highlight some of the main areas of Dubai. Businesses that want to target these areas with their SEO efforts should think about using the name of the area. In their website copy or get an address in According. To their website, this is the area in which they operate.
- Dubai Airport Free Zone
- Dubai Cars and Vehicles Zone
- Dubai Healthcare City
- Dubai International Academy City
- Bur Dubai
- Sheikh Zayed Road
- City of Dubai
- Dubai Marina and The Palm
- Dubai Internet City
- Dubai International Financial Center
- Dubai Knowledge Village
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
- Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
- Dubai Silicon Oasis
- International Media Production Zone
- Jebel Ali Free Zone
- Dubai World Central Business Park
As you can see above there are different areas to target within Dubai. As a modern city that was built on the idea of attracting business and international attention. Dubai developed themes for many areas within the city. Below we go into detail about some of the areas that may be important to your business.
Dubai Internet City is home to the majority of internet companies in Dubai. Many businesses that are established in a free zone do not need to pay taxes for the first 50 years. That the company exists and do not need to have a local owner. Businesses looking to target other Internet companies with local offices of giants such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google would. Do well to target this district with their SEO efforts.
Dubai Media City
Dubai Media City has now become the hub of media activity in the region. It is also an independent region and is filled with media companies such as MBC and CNN. If you are looking to reach the media industry. In the Middle East this is an important place to focus your SEO efforts.
Dubai Festival City
City of Dubai Festivals is not an independent area like other themed districts of the city. But the area has a large number of residential buildings, commercial buildings and offices.
Dubai Healthcare City
Websites looking for and getting traffic for medical products. Services and content would be wise to target the Healthcare City in Dubai. This medical district of the city was intended to attract medical tourists from around the world. Today, apart from hospitals, it also includes businesses and educational institutions that are related to the medical industry in Dubai.
The nearby emirate also deserves to be improved
Contrary to popular belief, Dubai is not its own country. It is only 1 of many emirates. If you are considering targeting Dubai with your SEO efforts. You may want to consider targeting the other emirates as Dubai is not the only wealthy emirate in the UAE. Below is a list of other emirates in the United Arab Emirates.
- Abu Dhabi
- Ras Al Khaimah
- Umm Al-Quwain
Dubai search trends 2021
The most common search queries in the UAE for 2021. In Google Zeitgeist’s annual search trends 2021 report are as follows:
- 1) India vs England (Cricket)
- 2) Euro Cup
- 3) Ramadan 2021
- 4) Cyclone Shaheen
- 5) Expo 2020
- 6) iPhone 13
- 7) Platform Alef (Alef Education)
- 8) Squad game
- 9) Olympics 2021
- 10) Emirates Mars Mission
There are cases of online censorship in Dubai. But these are limited to certain types of religious content and online properties that are not suitable for young children. Additionally, Dubai has certain laws that prohibit an online property from encouraging others to engage in acts of public obscenity.
Important note about Dubai SEO companies
Although Dubai is the center of much of the Arab media industry. Most SEO agencies in Dubai are usually staffed by non-Arab speakers. Generally, these agencies are staffed by Indians, Pakistanis and Filipinos. Who have little or no knowledge of Arabic and Arab markets. Very few Dubai SEO agencies have a large number of Arabic speakers on their teams. In light of this, if you are looking to get help reaching Arabs in the region. You may want to search for the agency on LinkedIn and see how many Arabs are actively working for them. If it is two or less, it is possible that their UAE SEO results will be minimal in Arabic.
SEO in Dubai is still not very competitive. If you’ve determined that Dubai is an important market for your business, you should find that by following. Some of the strategies we’ve mentioned in this article, you’ll start ranking better in Google. Please understand that as with other forms of marketing SEO takes ongoing effort and time to see results. Companies that try some of the strategies described above only briefly without following through will have minimal results. If you don’t have the time or expertise to implement these strategies. It’s a good idea to hire an experienced agency to help you get the results you’re looking for.