Google Arabic – The Complete Guide
This article is an in-depth guide to Google Arabic. To start with its important to note that there is not just one version of Google Arabic. There are at least 25 versions of Google Arabic for various countries where Arabic is an official language.
Countries with a version of Google Arabic
Google Arabic is available in the following countries. Note that these are not the same versions of Google Arabic but are unique to each country. Each search engine will give you different results depending on how people search in different countries.
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
There is a purely Arabic version of Google that is not associated with a specific country. We provide the link to this below.
Countries where Arabic isn’t the primary language that have a Google Arabic version.
Arabic Speaking Countries without a Google Arabic version
What’s the reason these countries don’t have their own version of Google? We looked into this and we couldn’t find an official answer but we believe there are a few potential reasons for the lack of an Arabic Google in these countries.
- Many of these countries have trade embargoes against them
- Many of these countries are at war or were at war recently
- These countries are among the poorest in the Arab world
Countries that Google reports trends on in the Arab World
Google’s annual report on search trends across the world covers just 3 Arabic speaking countries.
We list some of the popular search terms in those countries for the previous year in our online marketing country profiles for each of those countries listed above.
Arabic versions of Google that have been banned from advertising on
According to Google’s Adwords help website there are two countries in the Arab world in which it is forbidden to advertise on Google.
Regardless of the language you try to advertise in Google Adwords is forbidden from showing your ads in these countries due to US sanctions. As noted above, neither Syria nor Sudan have a local country specific version of Google Arabic.
Difficulties with Arabic in Google
Due to the way Arabic is written there are several issues with Arabic search engines including Google Arabic that can cause your results to vary slightly despite the intent of the search query being the same.
- Arabic is a language that connects pronouns to the beginning and the end of words depending on the location of the word in a phrase or a sentence. In some cases writing an Arabic word with a pronoun connected to it can cause you to see different results than you would get if there wasn’t a pronoun connected.
- Arabic can be written in a more formal/classical way that includes short vowel marks that aren’t usually included in less formal writing. When these short vowels are included it often results in entirely different search results, though the search intent was the same. Though most Arabic speakers won’t use these vowels when they type in a search sometimes they will copy words from a more formal site and then paste them into Google with the short vowels not knowing this will produce different results than a query without short vowels.
Google does appear to be improving upon these issues as they continue to invest more in the Arabic language.
The Arabic spelling of Google in different countries around the world
Another interesting fact about Google in Arabic is that there are several ways to spell Google depending on your dialect. There doesn’t appear to be one official spelling of Google in Arabic although the official Google Arabic blog uses the English spelling of the Google instead of any of the Arabic variants.
The version of Google above is probably they most accurate to the sound of the word Google in formal Arabic. At the time of writing this post this version had 90,500 monthly searches on Google.
Many Gulf Arabs pronounce the letter Qaf ق with a G sound so Google is often spelled the way above in those lands. At the time of writing this post this version had 1,500,000 monthly searches on Google.
Egyptians pronounce the jeem ج as a G sound so they prefer to write Google using two jeems. At the time of writing this post this version had 2,740,000 monthly searches on Google.
Given the confusion between different spellings of the word Google most of the statistics about how often the word Google and its variants are searched are often incomplete. As you can see the 3rd version of the keyword is the most popular but this is just because Egypt has the largest population in the region and they prefer use that spelling of the keyword.
PPC on Google Arabic
Pay per click advertising on Google Arabic is similar to PPC in English most of the same standards and rules apply. That said, one of the great advantages that Google Arabic ads have over English ads on Google is that there is far less competition in almost all industries for ad space. In many cases there are anywhere from zero to 5 advertisers for Arabic ads but there are 10 positions in total. This typically means the cost per click on Google Adwords is lower, making it far cheaper to advertise in Arabic than it is in English.
SEO on Google Arabic
Optimizing your website for Google Arabic is mostly the same as optimizing it in English but of course the optimization is taking place in Arabic. As with PPC we find there is far less competition in Arabic SEO than there is in English to be able to rank well in organic search. Please note the difficulties we mentioned above in regards to Arabic keyword spelling when optimizing your website in Arabic.
Google Arabic Usage
The usage of Google Arabic varies slightly from the usage of Google English. Arabic is spoken by nearly 420 million people across the world but despite this there is still a relatively small amount of Arabic content online. Due to this many Arabic search queries produce poor results with limited information. In light of this many Arabic speakers search Google in Arabic first and if they don’t find a good result they translate their search query into English and then search in English. More on this topic here.
Google Arabic on Mobile
Mobile internet usage in many Arab countries is said to be much greater than desktop usage. In our experience 90-95% of website traffic in Arabic is mobile devices (see statistics below from one of our websites). In light of this you can assume that a great number of Arabic speaking internet users will find your website using a mobile device. Optimizing the Arabic version of your website for mobile traffic is key. Below is an example of a mobile search result on Google Arabic.
How to type Arabic characters on Google search
If your computer isn’t enabled to write Arabic characters you can easily go to your computer’s language section and add an Arabic keyboard as one of your keyboard options.
Here’s how to do this on a Windows computer
Here’s how to do this on a Mac
Once you’ve added an Arabic keyboard to your computer you can go to any version of Google Arabic and type in your search query.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of adding Arabic to your computer as a keyboard language you can also use a tool called Yamli to convert Arabic words written in Latin letters into Arabic.
Google Arabic During Holidays
As in other regions of the world Google makes a strong effort to foster goodwill through creating special seasonal content around holidays. For Google Arabic the most significant of these seasonal content times is the month of Ramadan. Google provides helpful information during Ramadan each year on a special microsite that included things like prayer times, recipes, and info on Ramadan events.
Google Arabic focuses on famous Arab People
Google is known for celebrating the birthdays of many famous deceased people from time to time on their homepage on Google.com and other versions of their search engine. What’s not known by many people is that Google localizes many of the birthdays they celebrate on their homepage for different audiences around the world. This means that though an American see’s Google celebrating an American’s birthday on Google’s home page someone in another part of the world might not see this on their version of Google. Since the Arab World shares a common history and culture many of the birthday’s and other events that are celebrated on the home page of Google Arabic feature famous Arabs or Muslims that may not show up in other regions of the world. Below are some examples of this.
Google’s Arabic Blog
Since 2009 Google has had a dedicated blog for the Arab World. Unlike their blogs for other regions in the world Google Arabia is available in both Arabic and English. It appears that some posts are uniquely written by Arabs for Arabic speakers, while other posts appear to be translations of posts that were written for the English language blog. Below is the link to the Google Arabia Blog.
How to change the language of Google pages into Arabic
Google uses a consistent system across many of their websites to change a page’s language from one language to another. In essence if you are looking to change an English page on one of Google’s online properties just search for the “?hl=en” in the URL and change the “en” (English) part of it to “ar” (for Arabic) making it “?hl=ar”. If an Arabic version of the page exists once you change the URL and click enter you will get the Arabic version of the Google page in many cases. Here is an example:
Google Arabic Direction and Location of page elements
An important thing to note is that due to the fact that Arabic is a right to left language, Arabic pages on Google typically have their content aligned to the right side of the page. You can get Arabic to show up on the left side of the search engine results page but this typically means that you are getting Arabic results on Google English instead of getting Arabic results on the Arabic version of Google. See the difference below.
Google Arabic Competitors
There currently aren’t any real competitors to Google Arabic. There have been many attempts by other companies to create a superior Arabic search engine but sadly none have succeeded. Google owns between 95-97% of the Arabic search engine market and almost all of the search advertising market. Yahoo and Bing make up a small portion of the market but with Google having such a dominant lead in the region it’s hard to consider them as real competitors.
Different Types of Google Arabic results
Below we provide snapshots of different types of search results in Arabic. Please note that Google is constantly experimenting with changes to the search results page so these may change over time.
Google Knowledge Graph in Arabic
Google News Results
Google Local Listing 3-Pack in Arabic
Google Recipes Listing in Arabic
Google Video Results
As you can probably see now Google Arabic has much of the same functionality and features that Google provides in other languages. That said there are many unique aspects of Google Arabic that distinguish it from other the other language versions of Google. If you’re planning to market products or services using Google Arabic it essential to understand makes it unique from other versions of Google.