Bahrain SEO Guide
Looking to strategically position your country in the most business-friendly country in the Middle East? Look no further. This detailed guide walks you through the necessary Bahrain SEO steps to ensure your website is perfectly positioned to rank highly.
Why Bahrain is worth targeting with your SEO efforts
Bahrain is one of the Middle East’s most liberal countries with ample opportunities for women, less strict clothing expectations, and vast availability of Western goods. As a result, many business people have chosen this archipelago country to conduct commerce. Expats and business people credit low culture shock, high quality of life, and accessibility of markets. Look no further than Amazon Web Services, choosing this specific country as their Middle Eastern base. Additionally, it is an attractive second home and vacation destination for those across the region. Each weekend, an influx of visitors from more conservative Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar come to Bahrain to enjoy life here. This is even easier with the 25-kilometer bridge that connects Saudi Al Khobar to Bahrain. Thus, the archipelago country is a confluence of locals, expats, GCC members, and business people who enjoy the delights of leisure, business, and everyday life. If you want to target wealthy Gulf nationals online, it can often make sense to target Bahrain because, at various times during the year, these Arab tourists will be there.
What makes Bahrain’s online presence so perfect for business?
As of 2023, 99% of the population is connected to the internet, making this Gulf Country one of the world’s top 5 most internet-friendly countries and the most tech-savvy country in the entire Middle East. Additionally, mobile connectivity through various networks combines to reach 100% of the country with 131% of the population connected. These strong trends carry over to specific usage habits as well with skyrocketing numbers of social media and search engine users. Notably, nearly half of the population participates in e-commerce.
Keys to ranking in Bahrain
1. Keyword research
To make content Bahrainis will read, you first need to determine what topics they are interested in. Making content that is in line with highly searched topics is an excellent way to rank almost immediately. There are many online tools to aid you in your identification of these main keywords such as Wordtracker, Wordstream, and Google Ads: Keyword Planner. These helpful resources are all free!
2. Assigning keywords to the proper pages
Now that you have done your research, you should have a sense of general topics that pique Bahraini interest. So now take these words, phrases, and questions and incorporate them into your site. You have to be strategic as to where to place these keywords within your site so that it appears organic and professional. Most times, this will involve creating new pages to best incorporate the new topics and themes. This could also mean restructuring the flow of your site to better prioritize the keywords.
3. Use your target keywords in the Title, URL, and Meta Description
For each page, take the most important keywords you have identified and place them prominently in the DNA of your article: in the title, the URL, and the meta description. When you use any search engine, these are the three things that will come up first for any surfer. As you understand from your own searches, when a keyword is that front and center, it is clear that the content of the page directly relates to that topic.
You now have perfectly completed the foundational steps and it is now time to get into the meat… the content. What exactly is it that you want to rank in a search? Whether it is a blog post, an informational article, or a recipe, you need to build out professional material that is engaging to read. The content should build upon the keywords and be completely relevant while being engaging and audience-appropriate. If there are competitors regarding the topic, ensure that yours is longer and more detailed.
5. Local Bahraini backlinks
An excellent and easy way to ensure your content is competitive is to build connections with other local businesses and pages that will link directly to pages on your site. These links, especially from prominent business people, express explicit validation of your content. Local people are likely to click on these links, thus boosting your page views. Additionally, the Google algorithm will note these increased links and automatically place your page higher in search results.
6. User experience for Bahrain website visitors
Even if steps 1-5 are done perfectly, you have to pay attention to the layout and experience of your site. You may have quality content, but the visitors will immediately lose interest if they do not like the layout and graphics on your page. Thus, you have to work hard to ensure that your site is navigable, clear, culturally responsive, and accommodating of the variety of languages used in the country.
Other important factors for SEO in Bahrain
The Arabic Language
Impressively, over half of the country’s population is made up of non-Bahrainis, so there is a wide diversity of languages spoken. However, as similar to most of the Middle East, Arabic is both the official language and the most common language spoken. The government operates nearly entirely in Arabic, but to accommodate the large number of foreign nationals, the de-facto language used for business is English. Therefore, if you plan on using English, you can be fairly sure it will be received well. However, if you want to target Bahrainis and other Arabs with your marketing in Bahrain, using Arabic on your website is essential.
.bh is the Internet country code top-level domain for Bahrain regulated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. However, to use it, you must be a registered business in Bahrain and have a Bahrain telephone number and account where the registration and certification can be billed. If you are a registered business in Bahrain already, it could be worth considering adopting a .bh domain. However, analyzing the top-ranking sites currently in Bahrain shows that less than 15% of top sites have this. From that, we can infer it is not necessary for success to use a .bh domain to have success in Bahrain.
Lucky for your business, Bahrain is currently the only country in the Middle East to offer hosting servers physically in-country. In 2019, Amazon Web Services made the momentous announcement to open their one and only Middle Eastern headquarters here, which has benefited the whole Middle East and Africa with its proximity and accelerated hosting speeds. Trying to rank in Bahrain with this service has never been easier! The following image shows how significant this decision was.
Seasonal Search Engine Opportunities
During National Holidays, the whole country of Bahrain celebrates with time off work. This time away from the office directly transitions into their internet habits: searching for holiday deals, connecting with friends/ family, and catching up on web browsing. Additionally, as previously mentioned, due to its less strict culture, many visitors from all around the Gulf holiday here as well. Accordingly, the following are periods of higher internet traffic.
- Kuwait National Day
- Eid Al Adha
- Arafat Day
- Eid Al Fitr
- Hijri New Year
Geo-targeting parts of Bahrain
Though Bahrain is a small island, there are still 1.5 million diverse people living here. To reach and impact certain populations, businesses should focus on targeting specific cities, districts, and neighborhoods of Bahrain with SEO attempts, enabling them to rank across a broader spectrum of people and searches. The following should be your main considerations:
Manama: Capital of Bahrain and also the biggest city. It is also home of most of the country’s expatriates. The ocean city is home to the country’s biggest port and airport and accommodates most of Bahrain’s visitors. Within this enormous city are diverse neighborhoods such as Adliya (a lively melting pot), Juffair (home of the US military base), and Amwaj Island (man-made residential island and one of the most luxurious parts of the country).
Riffa: Home to most of the ruling family (including the King), ministers, and business investors, Bahrain’s second-largest city is actually the largest city in terms of area. Mostly residential, there is significant wealth concentrated here, and a superior place to target for businesses.
Al Muharraq: Bahrain’s former capital, this city is close to Manama but is famous for its continued use of traditional buildings for residences and businesses. The population is still above 100,000.
Amazon Web Services, the world’s most profitable web services company, specifically chose Bahrain for its Middle Eastern base because of the breadth of opportunity on this tiny island nation. We encourage you to follow suit using the detailed steps for SEO in Bahrain above. In no time, you too can reap all the benefits of being reputable in this business-savvy country.
Do you need help getting started with ranking in Bahrain? For help from Middle East business professionals with your SEO for Bahrain, contact us today.