7 Tips on Choosing Keywords for Google Search in the Middle East
30% of all search queries contain a city, zip code or state. If you have a local presence and want to be found in local search results, local search engine optimization (SEO) can boost your online visibility before audiences in your specific geographical location. There are many ways to go about local SEO, and we have compiled a list of the seven best ways to drive local traffic to your website.
Get search volumes for your location and include long-tail search terms
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to see the search volumes for your location. Say, you are targeting local searches such as ‘audit firms in Doha’. Use additional terms like ‘Doha auditing firms’ or ‘leading audit firms in Doha’. Besides these variations, include long-tail search terms like ‘registered audit firm in Doha’ or if relevant, ‘full-service audit and accounting firm in Doha’. Even if they have a low search volume, these terms are often associated with high conversion ratios. This is particularly true if the searches reveal a strong intent to purchase – for example, ‘Flower shop in Doha with same day delivery’.
Get ideas from your competitors
Check out how the competition is targeting locations. Paste your competitor’s website pages URL into Google’s Keyword Planner tool to view the keywords Google associates with them, and then incorporate the terms into your keyword list. Also review your competitors’ website to see how they are targeting locations. Do they have only a few pages and mention their service areas on the Home Page or Contact Us page? If they serve multiple locations, do they have a page dedicated to a unique area with testimonials from customers in that area? These insights will help you reevaluate or design your website with more search-friendly content and explore ways to include more user-generated content, such as by asking customers in every area you serve for feedback.
Let Google help you
Google tracks user behavior, which means it has a pretty good idea about what you may be looking for, based on the first few words you enter into the search bar. For instance, if a potential customer starts typing ‘car rental Dubai’, Google will present them with many other options, including ‘car rental Dubai airport’, ‘car rental Dubai driver’, ‘car rental Dubai self drive’ and ‘car rental Dubai prices’.
The search engine also provides related searches at the bottom of the page that anyone looking to rent can use to match their needs exactly, such as clicking on ‘luxury car rental Dubai’ or ‘cheap car rental Dubai’. Basically, you can add long-tail keyword ideas to your keyword list with minimal effort and help from Google.
Use variations of ‘services near me’
Your target audience may use search terms like ‘hotels near me’, without adding the location. Google also looks at users’ IP address to serve results specific to their location. You have the opportunity to include keywords that are variations on ‘hotels near me’, such as ‘hotels near Dubai mall’ or ‘hotels close to Dubai Miracle Garden’.
Use SEMrush to assess the organic potential of your keywords
With over 3 million users, SEMrush (and moz.com) is among the most popular tools to do keyword research, gain insights into competitors’ organic content strategy, and choose the best keywords for organic search and AdWords.
If you have created a list of a few hundred keywords, SEMrush can help you determine their potential. The tool offers the trend data on each keyword you enter. You will know which keywords have a positive trend and which ones are trending downwards. The tool also shows you the popularity of each keyword for organic search results, specifically its ‘volume’ – the number of times people are searching for the particular keyword each month.
As it generally takes a few weeks to rank for a keyword, it is worth your while to invest in the best possible mix of keywords and phrases. SEMrush is a useful tool to consolidate and refine your keyword list to ensure that you’re targeting the right phrases that deliver the desired returns.
Step into the shoes of your customer
To know how new customers are likely to find you online, trace the routes they may potentially take. Perform a search for your business on Google: your website, blog or social media page and/or handle will show up. If you have a business listing on Google or a presence on review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor, then expect those related searches to show up too.
Think of keywords that can drive people to each of these owned assets or third-party assets. For instance, a search for ‘places to eat in Dubai Marina’ or ‘best restaurants in the Marina’ will bring up TripAdvisor, TimeOutDubai, Zomato results. On the other hand, searches such as ‘family style menu Dubai Marina’ will bring up your website or blog on the first page of Google search results.
Depending on your SEO strategy, you can choose to increase your Yelp or blog SEO. You can optimize on Yelp by using popular keywords related to your business and the location you’re targeting for, within your business description. If you want to rank for multiple locations, Yelp allows you to add more than one location. Of course, you will also want to increase the number of customer reviews for your Yelp listing. Request your customers to mention the ‘where’ (location) and ‘what’ (service) to ensure that their reviews are organically peppered with the location and service related keywords you need.
Leverage customer behavior and preference
While this is a somewhat controversial tip given the flak that Google has received for recording users’ location history– sometimes even when the location service is disabled – data on the past locations visited by your customers can help you create better location-specific website content and geo-targeted offers. For instance, if you know that someone has visited a popular Indian restaurant a short distance away from your restaurant, you can offer a discount coupon via a geo-targeted text message when they are in your area.
Effective keyword research and location-based targeting involves continuous monitoring and improvements. Early SEO efforts will make your website more search-friendly and contribute significantly to your sales goals.
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