In our time working on SEO for UAE businesses, we’ve noticed a number of common mistakes.
The fact that they’re still occurring says a lot about the state of SEO in the UAE.
We put that down to lack of education and cowboy operators who are in it for the money and little else. BOO!
But here at Jambread, we’re all about making a difference, educating business owners and perhaps making a bit of coin while we’re at it.
When you work with Jambread, you will always know what is happening and why – and we break it down so it’s jargon-free. Simple and sweet, like our jam sandwiches.
So let’s get to it – these are 8 of the most common SEO mistakes that UAE businesses make – and how to fix them.
- Not securing their .ae domain
Get a .com, sure but don’t neglect the .ae domain. Even if your target market is global, get the .ae. Last thing you want is someone to register it, squat on it then demand a fat ransom. You can then comfortably operate from your .com without worrying about anyone stealing your .ae.
- Using UAE in the domain even though it ends with .ae
CompanyNameUAE.ae is redundant. If you can’t get YourCompany.ae, find another way around. This is not a huge issue but it happens often enough for us to mention it. The issue comes about when people enter in your website address incorrectly, omitting the added UAE thinking it’s a mistake. Don’t risk it.
- Failing to provide an Arabic version
Not every site actually needs an Arabic version because in the UAE, English is widely spoken and is perhaps more popular than Arabic. But that still shouldn’t stop a website from investing in getting an Arabic version setup. (Jambread is in the process of getting an Arabic version of the site done up – we’re just picky about the quality of translation work, hence the delay. Don’t judge us.)
- Using Google Translate, instead of a human translator
When you use Google Translate, you’re saving time for sure, but you’re doing your brand a disservice. You run the risk of getting things wrong, and potentially offending your Arabic speaking audience. Also, a human being knows all of the nuance that is associated with Arabic, which has many dialects. Although most written Arabic is done in classical Arabic (aka fus-ha), there are lots of localisation considerations that only a human can work out. Google Translate is smart, but it just isn’t there yet. Get a human to help out instead.
- Using a translation widget to provide multilingual versions
This is different to simply copying and pasting what Google Translate gives you. There are widgets that will do a 1:1 translation of your site in any language. But as raised in #4 above, this creates issues because of a lack of context and accuracy. It’s not great for humans and not great for SEO.
- Mixing languages on pages / incomplete translations
Simply put: the Arabic version of your site should have Arabic only, not English (there are some exceptions). Similarly, the English version should have English, not Arabic. We see too many sites mix languages on pages or sometimes fail to properly translate content. This is a terrible user experience.
- Not providing 1:1 translated content when switching languages
This is a pet peeve of ours. A user should be able to see the same content in an alternative language when they switch languages. Too many sites fail to provide this option due to laziness. Yes, you will need to write content in both English and Arabic (sometimes involving 2 people) but that is what is required for a harmonious online presence that caters to both Arabic and English speaking
audiences. Just do it.
- Not implementing proper URL structures and hreflang tags
When you have a multilingual site, you need to use a proper URL structure to easily differentiate between languages and you also need to use the correct hreflang tags to tell search engines which language to serve based on a users query. It’s frustrating landing on a page in a different language than you expected, right?
So there you have it folks – some of the most common SEO mistakes that UAE businesses make.
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