Oman SEO Guide
This comprehensive guide to SEO in Oman will walk you and your company through the intricacies of ranking in the Gulf’s hidden gem. Many western business people make the mistake of not reaping the tremendous benefits of business in Oman; don’t let that be you!
Why Oman is worth targeting with your SEO efforts
Despite neighboring volatile Yemen, Oman is one of the most stable places in the entire Middle East. Though not a popular household name for many in the West, it frequently ranks at the top of the most business friendly locations in all of North Africa and in the Middle East. In fact, InternationalInvestment.net ranked it the world’s safest place for expats to live and work. Strategically located on the Arabian Peninsula’s Southeast, the Sultanate of Oman is the world’s gateway to the Arabian Gulf. Any sea trade from Dubai, Dammam, Kuwait, Qatar, or Bahrain passes by the shores of this stunning country on their way to the rest of the world. Accordingly, one third of the world’s oil passes by its shores. This advantageous position has made it an internationally reputable trade hub for centuries. Commerce and exchange are ingrained in the identity of this Gulf Country. Additionally, Oman has four “free zones” which are tax-free areas for expats to conduct business. This is extremely attractive for any potential investor.
What makes now the perfect time to digitally expand your business to Oman
Oman’s internet profile is rapidly catching up to the rest of the world, proving that it is a strong player in the digital world. Between 2019 and 2020, internet penetration increased by a whopping 17%. Adjusting to modern needs as well, Oman is rapidly diversifying its industries away from oil and gas. Appropriately, significant other industries have started to gain strong footing in the country. Industries related to travel, technology, hospitality, commodities, medicine, and education have started booming. Additional factors such as highly developed infrastructure, access to a global market network, an educated workforce, and a healthy economy are all additional excellent motivators to consider underrated Oman for business.
Top Keys to ranking in Oman
1. Oman Keyword Research
The most important step before writing any content is to use online resources to determine what Omanis are actually searching for on the internet. You want your content to be found, so you need to give the people what they want. Simple as that!
2. Assigning keywords to the proper pages
After completing the first step, congratulations! You should have a clear picture of what Omanis care about on the internet. You should create maps with these keywords with larger phrases and associated words relating to your previously identified keywords. With these identified keywords and related topics, proceed to spread them throughout the relevant pages on your own site. If you do not have pages that currently match, then you must create new ones in order to ensure your content appears in organic search results.
3. Use your target keywords in the Title, URL, and Meta description
The most prominent places your keywords should go are in the article title, URL, and Meta description. Just like with any other site on the internet, this is what will grab the reader’s attention first in a Google search.
Now that you’ve established a solid foundation comes the heavy lifting, the content! Even if you master steps 1-3, your page won’t get any hits unless you write quality, informational content. If your information is helpful and engaging, Omanis will be more inclined to send it to their friends or post it on their social media channels. More shares and views equals a higher ranking for you. As simple as that!
5. Local Oman backlinks
The business world of Oman is relatively close-knit today, so to really set your business ahead, you will strongly benefit from their business linking to your site. This stamp of approval signifies to local consumers that you are reputable and in line with local standards. It not only has social benefits, but technological benefits as well. If a lot of other sites link towards you, this automatically raises your ranking in search engines. To secure these business relationships, try to make connections either in person or through the internet by looking at local business clubs for your industry.
6. User experience for Oman website visitors
Omanis are just like any other people in the world when it comes to websites: they want quality content! When designing your site and the corresponding pages, ensure that you are adhering to normal professional design standards: clear images, consistent font and colors, and easy to use interface. You can have the world’s most quality content, but people aren’t going to be a fan of your site if they can’t use it.
Below is one of Oman’s most popular websites, Atheer.om. It’s easy to digest and navigate design, colors, font, and widgets have earned it popularity throughout Oman.
Other important parts to Oman SEO
Nearly 45% of Oman’s population are expatriates, so business language is an interesting question. Though Arabic is the official language, English is widely used and understood in commerce and industrial areas. In fact, the road signs are even in both languages. Urdu, Hindi, and Swahili are all commonly spoken as well. Depending on what portion of the population you wish to target, you should learn what their target language is and make content accordingly.
Using the .om Domain
.om is Oman’s country code top level domain solely regulated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority. In an analysis of the top ranking sites in the country, only 25% of them actually have the .om in their website name. The ones that do are focused nearly exclusively in business in Oman with topics such as news, banking, and shopping. From this, we can infer that it is certainly not crucial for you to purchase the .om domain, unless you are focusing exclusively on Oman.
Currently, there are no local hosting services with servers physically in Oman. If your site is smaller, you can choose one of the many hosting companies in Europe and use a content delivery network (CDN) to accelerate loading and browsing times for your base in Oman. However, there is a new option to host with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Bahrain, a fellow Gulf Country. There are pros and cons to both depending on your budget and need for speed.
Geo-targeting parts of Oman
As Oman is fairly large (1.3X bigger than the United Kingdom), it is impossible to generalize the whole country’s interests and internet habits. It is helpful for your content to focus on specific parts of the country, depending on your intended reach. Here is what you need to know to effectively geo-target your content:
Muscat is the capital of Oman and also the largest city with 1.4 million inhabitants. As the central hub of the country, it makes sense to first turn here to execute your SEO strategy. Like any city, Muscat is home to distinctive neighborhoods that each have a different identity and flavor. Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Al Qurum, Al Azaiba, and Shatti Al Qurum are some of the most popular and upscale areas in the city with bountiful options for commerce and dining. If your intent is to target some wealthier populations, this would be an excellent place to start.
On the periphery of greater Muscat are the cities of Seeb and Bawshar, each home to hundreds of thousands in population as well.
Oman’s second largest city is located on the Southernmost coast. This sunny seaside town has become one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. As Salalah is a “free zone”, it has even more value for business projects, especially as Oman becomes more internationally known for its quality of tourism.
Halfway between Muscat and Dubai, the city of Sohar is another “free zone”. The port, which attracts more than 25 billion dollars annually, is one of the fastest growing in the world. The strategic location makes it perfect for business.