Middle East Search Engines – What you need to know

middle east search engines

When seeking to target any region of the world online it is a good idea to have an understanding of which regional search engines you need to target. This is no different when targeting countries in the Middle East. On a whole, the region has an internet penetration rate of over 65%, whereas countries in the Gulf tend to have much higher rates averaging around 92%. These rates are growing each year, as countries continue taking strides in expanding network infrastructure and access.

Unlike many other regions in the world the Middle East does not have an alternative to Google that dominates the region. Despite this there are some important observations to make about Middle East Search Engines that we will go into more detail about here.



The Arab American Marketing Guide You Can’t Ignore

Arab American Marketing Guide

Arab Americans and other multicultural consumers compose a disproportionate share in the United States market. Arab Americans move across the world, carrying parts of their cultural identity with them while assimilating to the host country’s culture. Molding marketing messages to tackle multicultural or bicultural groups in society allows companies to tap into this lucrative market niche. Knowledge of the Arab American culture and ethnic backgrounds is essential to understand how to craft marketing messages to them as an audience, whilst avoiding points of conflict.



LinkedIn Arabic Advertising – The time to start is now!


LinkedIn might not be at the top of your list when choosing social media platforms for advertising, but don’t write it off! LinkedIn is massively popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa for professionals and businesses looking to network.
Arabic Linkedin
LinkedIn is a great choice for advertising because the platform has done an excellent job in optimizing it for Arabic-language use. Arabic LinkedIn’s popularity goes hand in hand with the extremely high social media usage rates in the region. Social media penetration rates are on the rise throughout the entire Middle East, led by the Gulf region countries which are all approaching social media penetration rates of nearly 100%. LinkedIn always ranks among the top platforms for usage in Middle Eastern countries, though it is often discounted in advertising campaigns in favor of Facebook or Instagram. Keep reading to learn more about why Arabic LinkedIn is so important and how it can help boost your reach in the region.

SEO in Saudi Arabia in 2024

seo in saudi arabia

With the biggest e-commerce market in Middle East region, Saudi Arabia holds vast opportunities for those looking to market their products and services in the region. This article will discuss some facets of reaching a Saudi Arabian audience with your search engine optimization efforts. Of course, one article cannot sum up all the strategies for reaching an audience in the KSA, but here we will reveal eight keys to effective SEO in Saudi Arabia.

Google Saudi Arabia



English to Arabic Glossary of SEO terms

english to arabic glossary of seo terms

In light of the fact that we have found it difficult to find an online resource that provides multi-lingual Internet marketers with Arabic translations of commonly used SEO terms we created such a glossary in this blog post.  Since the Arabic SEO industry is still relatively young in the Middle East some who read this post may use other SEO jargon not listed here or may have alternate Arabic translations or definitions for the vocabulary below.  This list is a work in progress, so your suggestions are welcome in the comment section below in English or in Arabic.  Also, new jargon comes into use on at least a yearly basis, so if you see a new term missing from this list, be sure to post and let us know. (more…)

The Ultimate Ramadan Marketing Guide 2024

Ramadan just like Christmas has become a season of increased consumerism and attention to shopping. With Ramadan sales predicted to reach record levels of USD $66 Billion this year, marketers need to understand how to effectively market during this season and take advantage of many of the opportunities it offers. This article will tell you all you need to know about Ramadan marketing, as well as give an overview of common Ramadan marketing mistakes that could be costly. We cover the various aspects of Ramadan marketing to help you be more successful with your seasonal marketing efforts in Muslim regions.

Image credit: Mai Shaheen


Saudi Arabia Founding Day Marketing

Saudi Arabia Founding Day Marketing Header Image


Founding Day – A new opportunity to Market in Saudi


Saudi Arabia Founding Day Marketing image

Founding Day is a day to celebrate the rich heritage and history of the first establishment of modern-day Saudi Arabia. It also has created a new opportunity for marketers to launch holiday promotions in the Kingdom. Given that there are relatively few holidays celebrated in Saudi Arabia, Founding Day is a great and welcome time to branch into the Saudi market and take advantage of the shopping booms that happen around special occasions like this. If you are eager to learn more about this new holiday, read on to get an idea of the history of Founding Day, typical traditions for the holiday, and marketing guidelines and ideas for your campaign.


Saudi Arabia Founding Day: What and When

This holiday may be only two years old, but it celebrates a centuries-long history: instituted in 2022, Saudi Founding Day is a new national holiday that celebrates the enthronement of Muhammad Bin Saud as the emir of the oasis town of Diriyah in 1727, marking the creation of the First Saudi State. Celebrated annually on February 22nd, this is a legal national holiday in Saudi Arabia and is only one of two non-religious holidays.


History of the Founding of Saudi Arabia

Imam Muhammad Bin Saud, Emir of DiriyahImam Muhammad Bin Saud, Emir of Diriyah

Muhammad Bin Saud ascended to the throne as the Emir of Diriyah on February 22nd of 1727, paving the way for the establishment Saudi Arabia. Still ruled by the Royal House of Saud, the current Saudi rulers trace the beginning of this legacy to Mohammed bin Saud’s Emirate of Diriyah and thus established Founding Day to commemorate this date. Muhammad Bin Saud had a reputation for being a man of action, known for his bravery, goodness, and ambition. He held great influence amongst the local population.


Emirate of Diriyah MapMap: The Emirate of Diriyah


Muhammad Bin Saud’s mission was to overcome tribal disputes in the region and build a strong and unified Arabian state. The Emirate of Diriyah faced challenges from the Ottoman Empire throughout the 19th century, and though it suffered defeats, the strength and influence of Muhammad Bin Saud’s unifying vision ultimately prevailed.

Founding Day Celebrations and Traditions

Though it is a young holiday, Saudi Founding Day is widely celebrated throughout the Kingdom and has many cultural traditions and practices associated with it.



Dress is one of the cornerstones of this holiday, which is celebrated throughout the day and into the night. Many Saudis choose to dress in traditional clothing reminiscent of the origins of the holiday, which is characterized by colorful fabrics, beads, and embroidery. Commonly used for ceremonies and holidays, henna decoration of the hands and feet is typical for the celebration of Founding Day.

Traditional attire worn on Saudi Founding Day

Traditional attire worn on Saudi Founding Day


Food and Drink

Food and drink are an essential part of Founding Day celebrations. Traditional foods include jareesh, which is a dish of meat, cracked wheat, and spices. The quintessential Founding Day treat is Saudi coffee, which is a source of pride amongst Saudi Arabians. Made from roasted coffee beans, cardamon, and saffron, it is served in elegant cups alongside sweet desserts.

Saudi ‘Gahwa’ (Coffee) PreparationSaudi ‘Gahwa’ (Coffee) Preparation


Saudi Arabian Market: Make the Most of the Opportunities

In addition to learning more about this new holiday, you might be wondering why it is important from a marketing perspective. We’ll go over a couple of factors in this section to outline why Founding Day is a great time to launch a marketing campaign in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia’s Strong Economy

With a GDP per capita of USD $59,065 in 2024, Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest countries not only in the Middle East but in the whole world. Though much of Saudi Arabia’s wealth stems from oil reserves, the Kingdom made strides in recent years in terms of diversifying the economy and encouraging foreign investment. This strong economy makes Saudi Arabia an excellent target for international businesses looking to market to a Middle Eastern Audience.


Founding Day: Increased Shopping and Spending

As a national holiday, Saudis throughout the Kingdom are out and about on Founding Day, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the festivities. Shopping culture is very important in the Middle East, and though this usually takes place in person, e-commerce has been thriving over the past years in Saudi Arabia. So while it is expected that brick-and-mortar businesses will see an increase in sales around the holidays, a well-developed online marketing strategy could see great results as well. Saudi businesses have seized the opportunity to launch Founding Day-related promotions, ranging from travel deals to furniture sales to limited-edition gourmet food items. For some examples of Founding Day branding for marketing, keep reading below.


If you are considering a Founding Day marketing campaign, remember that you should plan weeks if not months in advance. Campaigns typically run in the weeks leading up to the holiday, and starting yours on the earlier side will allow you ample time to optimize for the best results.


Founding Day Marketing

So how can you go about designing a successful Founding Day marketing strategy? This next section will detail the best ways to set yourself up for success.


Founding Day Logo and Symbols

A solid way to appeal to Saudi customers is by using recognizable imagery associated with the holiday in your promotional materials. Luckily, there is no shortage of symbols to choose from!


The Founding Day Logo

Founding Day Logo

Saudi Founding Day has a specifically designed logo that contains five symbols, as outlined in the graphic above

The flag in the center represents the Saudi Arabian flag and the heroism of the men who first carried it. Next, there is the souq, meaning market, which represents Saudi’s economic diversity and openness to international trade. The palm symbol is a date palm, given that the date is a national Saudi product and a source of pride for the Kingdom, as well as an important food culturally as it symbolizes generosity, growth, and life. The horse represents the Arabian horse, evoking the bravery and chivalry of the Saudi princes. The last symbol is the falcon or the majlis, the Saudi Council, which stands for societal unity and harmony. The text under the emblem reads youm al ta’assis 1727 (Founding Day) and the font was mirrored after writings in manuscripts from the time of the Founding.

The logo and the five symbols are closely linked to Founding Day and are found in many marketing materials. Additionally, many Founding Day ads appear with the same color scheme, comprising hues of earthy colors like green, beige, red-brown, and off-white.


Instagram ad for Dana Beach ResortInstagram ad for Dana Beach Resort makes use of both the Founding Day logo as well as palm imagery


Birkenstock website banner showsBirkenstock website banner shows a stylized photo of men on horseback


Desert Landscapes and Diriyah

Another theme commonly noticed in Founding Day ads is Diriyah and desert imagery, granted the city’s importance to the history of Founding Day. Diriyah is characterized by the old ruins of the city and the Saud Palace. The city is officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Instagram ad from Diet World

Instagram ad from Diet World shows a graphic design of old Diriyah

Honda ad shows a photograph of the Diriyah desert oasis and palm symbols

Honda ad shows a photograph of the Diriyah desert oasis and palm symbols from the Founding Day Logo


Coffee Cup

More than just a drink, coffee preparation is an important traditional ritual in Saudi Arabia and drinking coffee is a national pastime that is cherished. The coffee cup symbol represents hospitality and the richness of Saudi culture, and it is commonly found in Founding Day ads for food and drink


Instagram story from Babkia Bakery Instagram story from Babkia Bakery offers special deals for Founding Day, with coffee cup and palm images in the background


Starbucks KSA Instagram postStarbucks KSA Instagram post


Instagram ad from Al Jeed Restaurant

Instagram ad from Al Jeed Restaurant features the coffee cup symbol


Saudi Arabian Flag

Given that it is a National Holiday, patriotism is important to Founding Day celebrations. The Saudi flag and its vibrant green and white colors, rooted in Islamic tradition, are an important symbol of this day. Including the Saudi flag in marketing materials is a great way to show respect and appreciation for Saudi national culture.


Instagram ad from Your Works Consultants shows men holding the Saudi flag above the clockInstagram ad from Your Works Consultants shows men holding the Saudi flag above the clock


Instagram ad from Outies KSA Instagram ad from Outies KSA


SEO and Language Use

Another important factor to consider with a marketing campaign launched around Founding Day is carefully designing your approach to optimize results. As with any SEO campaign, keyword choice can make or break your campaign. Given how new this holiday is, there is good potential to rank highly on natural Google search results with keywords that include Founding Day, such as Founding Day Sale or Founding Day Promo.

You will want to consider your target audience, as well as research keywords in English and Arabic – rather than just directly translating over your English keywords. Saudi Arabians speak Arabic, both dialectal Saudi Arabian Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic for formal contexts. Many Saudis also speak English, given its importance in the international arena. Saudi Arabia is also home to a very large amount of foreign nationals, making up nearly 40% of the population. Many foreigners speak English or other languages based on their national origin.


Cultural Sensitivity and Censorship

If you’re considering launching a marketing campaign for Saudi Founding Day, it’s important to remember that your ads or promotional materials must be culturally appropriate and respectful. As a fairly conservative Muslim country, any clothing or activities shown in images should be modest, in line with Saudi standards. Also, you should not advertise anything that goes against Muslim practices, such as alcohol or pork products. Keeping cultural sensitivity in mind is key: not only will inappropriate ads displease potential customers, but they will likely be censored online.


For more ideas about marketing for Saudi Founding Day or to learn more about Saudi Arabia online marketing in general, contact us today!

Written by: Luisa Bocconcell

Arabic PPC in 2024 – What you need to know


Arabic PPC in 2024

Pay per click marketing is changing at a pace we haven’t seen before in the Arab world. Below we will explore some of the key changes taking place in the world of Arabic pay per click advertising.


More Competition

When I first launched an Arabic digital marketing agency nearly 12 years ago, there was almost non-existent competition for Arabic keywords in Google paid search. At the time, even the most competitive industries didn’t have Arabic ads on the first page of a Google result for a specific keyword. Much has changed since then. Many industries and verticals now have Arabic keywords that trigger a full page of Arabic ads, and there will be far more in 2024 as the market has awoken to the opportunity. (more…)

10 Best Middle East Cities To Do Business

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

10 best middle east cities to do business

Situated on the Persian Gulf, next to the Gulf of Oman, the city of Dubai is a renowned global city whose importance to the global economy is almost unparalleled. Because of its strategic position, actively-diversifying economy, and excellent trade relations and prestige, Dubai is an excellent location for any businesses looking to expand or invest, especially into Middle Eastern, North African, and Central and South Asian markets, or anyone looking to do business in the Middle East region.


The Middle East Arab Consumer Profile

The Arab consumer is unique and needs to be treated differently than consumers in other parts of the world. Below we will examine some of the consumer behavior, traits, characteristics and demographics of a Middle Eastern Arab consumer that set them apart from consumers in other parts of the world. It should be noted that many of these points are broad generalizations with the intent to help inform businesses looking to operate in the region on how they can better reach their target audience. Since these are broad generalizations about Arab consumers there will always be exceptions to these traits that defy the norm.

arab youth shopping



7 Middle East Online Payment Methods

middle east online payment methods

Despite the opulent wealth in many of the Gulf countries, payment methods in the Arab world are still catching up to what they are in many western countries. Many Middle Eastern countries have typically been cash-based societies and the use of credit cards has been a relatively new thing in the region. To add to this laws about interest in the Quran and the Hadith have made it hard for many interest-based payment methods to take hold in the region because they are considered to be against the practices of Islam. In this article I will outline some of the payment methods that are available in the region.


Cash On Delivery

Saudi Cash

Cash on delivery is probably the most popular payment method in the region. Because of the lack of credit cards in the region cash on delivery has gained popularity as an online payment method among locals. Cash on delivery is also a payment method that allows consumers to see the products they buy online before they actually pay for them. Due to this fact many online retailers in the region say that cash on delivery has a return rate much much higher than any other payment methods. We have seen statistics that say anywhere from 12 to 13 times the number of returns happen with cash on delivery when compared to credit cards. Consumers receive the package open it and often times say they don’t want it and return it immediately. As you can imagine this can be very costly for the e-commerce merchant as they have to pay the delivery cost without receiving any type of reimbursement. This issue has made it so some retailers in the region have chosen not to use cash on delivery, especially when the e-commerce merchant is just getting started.


E-Commerce in the Middle East

Ecommerce in the Middle East


The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the entire world. While it is still nowhere near as developed or complex as the markets in the United States or many countries in Europe, the region is experiencing an undeniable boom. It is estimated that online sales in the Middle East currently equal only a meager 4% of total retail revenue, as opposed to 15% in more developed regions. In the Gulf States, E-commerce revenue is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 11% annually between 2023 and 2027, reaching USD $49.78 billion annually by 2027, up from USD $32.85 billion in 2023. E-commerce in the Gulf States alone was estimated to quadruple from the $5 billion in profits seen in 2015 to $20 billion before 2020. There are some analysts that are even reporting estimated profits of $48.8 billion in 2021. Currently, almost 90% of online goods bought in the Middle East are still shipped from outside countries, but this is changing rapidly. As a result, there is huge potential for e-commerce profit during this modern age in the Middle East. (more…)

White Friday Marketing Guide – The Middle East’s Black Friday

Comprehensive Marketing Guide to Middle East White Friday Sale

What is White Friday?

Amazon (formerly Souq) , the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world, first introduced the idea of White Friday as a grand sale to the region in 2014 as a way of increasing internet traffic and, in turn, their sales. Then CEO and co-founder of the company, Ronaldo Mouchawar, attended university in the United States, during which he became acquainted with the wild sales phenomenon that is Black Friday. After witnessing firsthand how Americans seemed to go crazy for the discounts and deals, he decided to bring a similar event to the region with his e-commerce company. However, he decided to put a little spin on it. White Friday takes an American tradition and alters it slightly to be more compatible with the region. To create a successful, new regional phenomenon, Mouchawar had to resonate closely with the culture of the Middle East. (more…)

GCC E-Commerce Statistics – Growth in the GCC

GCC E-Commerce Statistics

In recent years, the global business community has been abuzz with discussions surrounding the potential of the e-commerce market. Notably, one of the most promising regions displaying significant e-commerce growth is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The market size of the e-commerce industry in the GCC in 2021, by country, was as follows:

GCC Market Value Graph

Saudi Arabia Business Practices Guide

Saudi Arabia Business Practices Guide Header Image


As the global business landscape evolves, it beckons enterprises to explore untapped markets and strategically position themselves for future growth. Standing prominently in the vista of opportunities is Saudi Arabia, the desert kingdom that offers a tantalizing mix of rich heritage, booming economy, and economic reforms. This article delves deeply into Saudi business practices, comparing them with other cultures and equipping enterprises with the insights needed to navigate this promising market.