Well, if you are reading this then you must be either doing business in UAE or trying to rank a business that is based in UAE. Don’t worry, this is your only holistic guide that focuses on local SEO in UAE. Learn how to do local SEO in UAE and leverage it to improve your ROI.
First Thing First
Before we get to the details about how SEO can help local businesses in UAE or Dubai, let’s learn a little about local SEO in UAE and how it is relevant to your business.
We all know about search engine optimization (SEO) and why it is important for bringing traffic to your website. But now that mobiles have become an essential part of our lives, and Google is the most widely used search engines, we search for almost anything on Google.
Same goes for the shops in our proximity. We search about them on Google and then visit them in person. This brings us to our next question:
Now, just like the early days of internet, those businesses that have already optimized them for SEO are more likely to be seen on searches then those that aren’t optimized for searches.
Getting optimized on google searches means more sales and more brand awareness. People who didn’t knew initially that your business is in their area will know that you exist.
It is as simple as that. Now that we are done with that, let’s find out how much benefit can these businesses get through local SEO. And, finally the question that most business owners want to know upfront: is it a viable option?
First step for starting local SEO for your business is through on-page SEO. But unlike the SEO you do for your business website, more focus will be on using local keywords to make search engines understand the intent of your content and website. And, then make visitors visit the store in person.
Local businesses have only recently become digital-savvy and it will take them some time to understand the search localization process. But there are a few ways that can give these businesses an edge in local searches. These are:
Adding locally searched keywords to meta titles and meta descriptions is one way to start showing up in local searches. For example, if you are a dry cleaner in one area of Dubai, then simply use that in the meta title of your website.
Think about what the user will type in to search for a dry cleaner in his area.
Most probably he will write something like this: Dry Cleaner, STREET NAME, AREA NAME, CITY NAME. This is a perfect example of how you can show up in Google searches for local searches.
Dry Cleaner, Jumeirah Village, Dubai
Ice Cream Parlor, Street 1, Jumeirah Village, Dubai
Beauty Parlor, Tulip Street, Motor City, Dubai
Now add these same keywords in the meta description of your website.
For the dry cleaner service, the keyword should be:
Worry-free, low-cost dry cleaning service in the heart of Orchid Street, Jumeirah Village, Dubai. Feel free to Call XXX-XXXXXXX, Or visit between 12PM – 10PM
Similarly, you can add different keywords in the description to let the users know about your services.
Note: You only have 160 character limit. So make sure that your description is succinct, comprehendible and action-oriented.
You also need to use local keywords in heading tags. Google and other search engines give importance to pages that are properly optimized for searches. The best way to find keywords that you can add to the headings tag is through autocomplete suggestions.
Now use similar headings in H1 and H2 tags.
If you fear that having more keywords in h1 and h2 tags of your content will lead it to become spam-filled, then go for LSI or semantic keywords.
An example of Burwood Dental Centre. See how it is using he LSI keywords in headings and content.
And finally, don’t forget the rich code snippet. These snippets allow search engines – especially Google, since it has 70 percent of the market share – to rank your website higher.
This is an example of rich code snippet that you can add to your website. Make sure to match this data as closely as possible with your Google My Business listings. Select the JSON‐LD format and select enter.
You can also use the Google Structured Data Tool to check if your website has rich snippets set up.
Tip: If you have multiple pages, use the rich snippet tool on each page.
Next thing you should do on your website to improve local SEO is NAP. For those who don’t know about NAP, it means Name, Address, Phone Number.
It is a rule of thumb that NAP should be available on every page of your website and should be easily visible.
A good practice is to add NAP to the top menu bar and the footer menu. This way user can easily scroll to search for the address or phone number. It also reduces bounce rate of local businesses because when the number is on display, there are lower chances of people not calling. NAP is also a ranking factor in local searches
Now that we know what local SEO is, let’s find some local keywords that can help you rank higher in local searches.
Local keywords are all those that have a geographical presence. These can be city names, landmarks, important places, events, and more.
For example, New York is a city and you can easily use it for your services. SEO services in New York is one keyword that you can use to market. Similarly, Opera House is a landmark. Hotels near Opera House, Sydney is a keyword that hotels in that area can use to market themselves.
Similarly, you can use events to market your business. For example, New Year’s Eve at Burj ul Dubai is one event. If your service is related to it then you can use this keyword to do local SEO.
In fact, you can use local keywords through keyword finding tools like KWfinder and various others.
While finding keywords is easy for websites, it is a completely different game when you start searching for local keywords. Nonetheless, there are always some ways to make the work easier. For local keywords, here is how you can do the same.
First of all, use modifiers. You can use terms like ‘best’, ‘one-day delivery’, ‘At your doorstep’ and similar others to find keywords that others in your industry are not using. Or, you can go even one step further by using terms that only your customers use when referring to your services.
For example, one-day cake delivery in Jumeirah Village. A customer can search for this service. If you have it added in your content, then Google will show your website at the post – possible leading to a conversion.
Many industries have some specific jargons that customers rarely use.
But google’s algorithms are built in a way that they will easily understand what customers are referring to when your websites are optimized for certain keywords that trigger local SEO.
For example, bubble car wash [area name].
Many car washers offer bubble car wash service. But if you have it as your name (bubble car wash service in AREA), or it is your USP in the area – highlighted by a local service page, then you can market it online.
This way, those who don’t know you will also know that you offer a specific bubble car wash service in a specific area.
Yes, you need to copy competitors to rank well. Search for paid adverts of your competitors and use those to rank higher for local searches.
In this screengrab, the first result has ‘Dubai’ as the keyword. The second service also uses the same keyword, while third one hasn’t added ‘Dubai’ in its meta description. You can use the same titles – with a little variation – for your results. Make sure to repeat Dubai in both meta titles and descriptions. Also, make sure to add another local keyword to rank higher.
Make sure to add more value through your content. Otherwise your content won’t rank higher than those that are already ranking for the keyword. There is a good rule of thumb to add value.
If there is something already published, think what questions the user will ask next, and add that with the same content and publish it on your website. This way, you will be one-step further.
Google really value reviews of a service. It considers them authentic portrayal of users thinking. Yelp, Trust Pilot, BBB portal, and many other services collect user reviews about various local and ecommerce services.
These are then shown with the service on Google.
This is the ranking of Booking.com. As you can see almost 2000 users have reviewed the service, so it is pretty authentic.
But, Google also considers reviews from its own business directory. It calls it the ‘my business listings’ page. Service providers can create their own pages and then users can review them through these pages after trying them.
The results are shown in the searches as well.
Both are great ways to show authenticity about the service. In most cases, Google also shows price, timings, and special amenities service providers offer. Like they have offered a free Wifi in this screengrab.
You can see that both review websites have more than 2000 reviews. These matter significantly when someone is making a purchase decision.
Now that we have set up on-page SEO, it is time to get our hands dirty with off-page local SEO.
Off-page SEO allows you to rank the website higher through external factors such as link building, citations, business listings, and directory submissions. Most of these resources don’t work for website SEO, but they are still of high relevance for local SEO.
One way to give more weightage to your local business through online media is by leveraging business directories. There are tons of business directories available in the market.
But when it comes to adding your link, prefer only those that have a domain authority of 30+. You should also check that there spam score on Moz is less than two.
Also, you need to make sure that these business directories are not paid. This means you should not be adding link to these directories by paying for it.
Here is an example of a business directory for Off-page SEO.
This is a business directory of dentists in Australia. You can submit a website and your complete address to let users know that you exist.
This is just one way of adding links to your business on other business directories. But while making a submission, make sure that the directory is active and has the specifications that we have already discussed above.
Why people prefer Google my business page for local SEO? Because that’s the only way to get more space in search engines. How? Look below.
This is a search for a local dentist in Australia. Look how he has optimized the search page. The dental surgeon has his own space. This is because he has his own Google my business page that has been optimized for local searches.
This is what a Google my business page looks like:
You need to fill it completely to get your own space in search engines.
When Google has its own my business listing page, how could have Bing stayed behind? Bing Places is the official mapping platform of Bing.
But you should know that Bing places will only work on Bing search engines and not on any other search engine. At this time, Bing only has 20 percent market share.
Getting your business listed on Bing places is pretty easy. Simply sign into the business account on Bing and claim your listing.
Social media websites now also offers companies and brands to get their NAPs on the social media pages. The result is that most of the NAPs available on social media show up in search engine searches.
Let’s see how you can optimize these social media pages and how can the pages help your website gain higher rankings in local searches.
Facebook offers a basic step-by-step process to create business pages in minutes.
Similarly, Instagram also offers a business page for its users. This allows business users to create Instagram accounts with their business instead of their personal profiles.
The purpose of getting a business account is that the users can see the daily statistics of their account.
SEO has many benefits. We have already defined some of them but ecommerce is one segment that we didn’t discuss. So, let’s see how SEO can benefit ecommerce businesses catering to the local market.
Similar to ecommerce, local SEO has multiple benefits for online businesses in UAE. We have highlighted a few of them below.
Local SEO can’t be properly tracked through analysis tools. There are many local SEO tools available in the market such as Bright Local, Whitespark, AuthorityLabs, but they can’t guarantee that a phone call, or a in-person visit came through online searches or not.
That’s why businesses create their own indicators for doing the same. For example, calls from customers by advertising on digital media, or visits from people who saw the ads on search engines.
This also shows that local SEO industry itself needs a lot of improvements, and one of those if to focus on creating analytics tool that provide precise insights about visits and conversions.
Source: Google Local SEO
Once you have properly optimized your website for local SEO i.e. done on-page and off-page SEO to improve rankings, next is to move to monitoring the changes.
But if you can’t do these optimizations yourself because they usually require multiple days to properly set up, then simply higher a team of experts that are already doing this kind of local SEO in UAE.