SEO in Cairo
Understanding Cairo SEO is crucial for any business interested in expanding throughout the Arab World online. This Egyptian metropolis has one of the strongest markets in both Africa and the Middle East and with the booming population of young people, it is the ideal time for your business to expand and rank locally.
Why Cairo is worth targeting with your SEO efforts
At the meeting point between Africa and the Middle East, Cairo has been a convergence of people and ideas for millennia. With a metro population of more than 20 million, this Egyptian capital is the largest city in both Africa and the Middle East and remains a global crossroads. This massive population is also extremely young, with more than 60% of the population younger than 30. Accordingly, technology adoption and penetration rates have skyrocketed in the last decade. Cairo is one of the world’s most rapidly expanding entrepreneurial and startup centers and as this population continues to age and gain financial independence, it is a perfect place to focus your marketing efforts.
What makes Cairo perfect for online targeting
Cairo is developing a strong online presence with millions of tech-savvy youth closely connected to the digital world. The use of the Internet in Cairo became internationally known and recognized in 2011 with social media networking organizing the Arab Spring. In the wake of the Arab Spring, more youth than ever have continued to discover innovative ways to use and consume technology.
To understand more about marketing in Egypt on a greater scale, check out our guide: http://istizada.com/egypt-online-marketing/
Keys to ranking in Cairo
1. Keyword research
To profitably launch SEO efforts in Cairo, you must conduct research into what content is wanted by Cairenes (people of Cairo). Understanding their most searched for content will allow you to learn what you should make write and produce materials on going forward. If your business is not based here, you might be asking how can I possibly know what they are interested in? Lucky for you, significant online resources exist for this very purpose. Use tools such as Google’s Webmaster Tools, Ahrefs, or Woorank to search for Cairo Specific keywords.
Note: As will be covered later in this guide, colloquial Arabic, French, and English are widely spoken throughout Cairo, so depending on your target audience, it is important to conduct research about these keywords in all three of these languages.
2. Assigning keywords to the proper pages
After identifying the main keywords in step one, you now understand what the people of Cairo are interested in. Your next step is to create organizational maps of 3-5 related keywords. With these new maps and groupings, you can assign these targeted and related keywords throughout your pages to ensure that they show up in Cairenes’ searches. If your site currently doesn’t have relevant pages, they need to be created. The sprinkling of keywords needs to appear organic and not too obvious.
3. Use your target keywords in the Title, URL, and Meta description
After spending a significant amount of concentrated thought and effort to create and expand upon pages with keywords, you are ready for the next step! Probably the most prominent and useful positioning of target keywords comes in the title, the URL, and the Meta description.
After producing the basic outlines for your webpages, it is time to produce the content for each of the pages. You should write substantive content that relates to the chosen keywords. Generally, it is better to be on the longer side when it comes to content creation, especially in relation to your competitors. Using high-quality images and graphics will also help captivate your audience’s attention.
The following is what the Arabic Google Search for “Cairo fashion” looks like in Egypt. You can see that although this is a popular topic, the results are not quality. With the right care in curating content, your business will easily stand out.
Note: Egyptian business people appreciate a thorough presentation of your information, so make sure to have research and documentation to support your claims. Your content and descriptions could include two dates: the Gregorian (Western) and the Hijrah (Arabic) date.
5. Local Cairo backlinks
Gaining prominent local sites and blogs linked directly to your content will illustrate that local organizations and entities vouch for the legitimacy of your content. A critical step in this process, outreach will enable you to build long-term relationships with local influencers in your industry. Consider reaching out and making connections using the following pages:
- Online Content Creators in Egypt
- Cairo Expats
- Cairo Neighborhood Specific Pages
- Local Business Clubs for Your Industry
- Egyptian Businessmen Association
6. User experience for Cairo website visitors
Browsers will instantaneously judge the legitimacy of your products and services based on their first impressions and experience with your website. You thus need to ensure that your pages are both navigable, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing. A frequent technique of successful websites is to have a language toggle easily accessible on the page that allows the user to switch to whatever language they desire. You can see the language toggle in the upper right corner of the following picture. OLX is an Egyptian e-commerce website and one of Cairo’s top 20 most visited pages.
Other important parts to ranking in Cairo
The official language of Egypt is Arabic, but the Egyptian spoken Arabic differs greatly from classical Arabic as preserved by the Quran. Thus, there are specific slang words and phrases that may be common in Cairo and could be useful to know for ranking. We encourage you to get in touch if you have questions regarding language usage. Additionally, most educated Egyptians are also fluent in English or French or both, based on this historical positioning of the country. Command of two or all three of these languages on your page will inevitably yield positive results.
Should I use .eg or .مصر in my SEO?
.eg is the latin script country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Egypt. The Arabic script ccTLD is .مصر There are also eleven second-level domains such as .tv.eg for visual media, .net.eg for networking sites, and .com.eg for commercial sites. Deciding whether or not you should obtain one of these for your business depends. Most importantly is the physical location of your business. If your business is physically in Cairo, it is recommended that you do have the .eg domain as it signals to local Egyptians that you are trustworthy and cognizant of local practices. However, if you are internationally based and simply want to gather attention, it may not be worth it.
As the biggest city in the Middle East or North Africa, there are multiple local hosting servers in Cairo but we find they usually are using servers based in Europe not the Middle East. The closest servers at the time of writing this would be in Bahrain through Amazon AWS.
Geo-targeting parts of Cairo
Cairo is a massive, sprawling city with dozens of distinct neighborhoods home to very different groups of people. To be more intentional in your SEO, it could be beneficial for your business to create content targeting neighborhoods specifically. You will find that this is much more successful in reaching people than simply labeling your content with “Cairo”. Especially if you have a specific target population (university students, expatriates, wealthy people, families), you should do specific research into what areas of the city they live or work in.
Here are some popular neighborhoods of Cairo to consider targeting with your SEO efforts:
6th of October: A new zone 32 km to the East of Cairo, this industrial area is home to a number of renowned international companies including General Motors Egypt, Coldwell Banker, and Bavarian Auto. Accordingly, it is a very popular and safe place for people, especially businesspeople expats, to live. Some of Egypt’s top schools such as the International School of Choueifat, the Heritage International School, and the British International School Cairo are based here as well.
Zamalek: Besides being one of the most beautiful places in Cairo, Zamalek is also one of the city’s most affluent suburbs. Home to a majority of Egypt’s embassies, there are many foreigners and dignitaries who live here. Many of the city’s best restaurants and nightlife opportunities are here as well.
Maadi: One of the most popular places to live and visit, Maadi is also one of Cairo’s most affluent and coveted suburbs. Many businesses thrive here thanks to the clientele who are eager to spend their hard-earned cash.
Mohandeseen or Mohandessin: Cairo’s most expensive neighborhood, Mohandessin is home to luxury apartments, complexes, and businesses. If you want to see the newest fashion trends, just walk down the streets of Mohandessin.
New Cairo: This suburb/ mini town was built on the outskirts of Cairo to alleviate the overpopulation and congestion plaguing the city. Perfectly planned by city engineers, the town can provide space for up to 5,000,000 residents. It is most notably home to the American University in Cairo.
Seasonal Search Engine Opportunities
People of Cairo tend to spend more time on the web during holiday seasons when they have time to spare searching for deals and communicating with family virtually. Holidays in Cairo are similar to other Middle Eastern countries, besides the fact they have a significant Christian population, second in the region behind Lebanon. Understanding National Holidays and producing content related to important local celebrations is an excellent way to set your business apart.
- Coptic Christmas
- Sham el Nessim
- Eid Al Adha
- Revolution Day
- Eid Al Fitr
- El Hijra
With the biggest population in both Africa and the Middle East, a significant number of whom are young, Cairo is a rapidly growing powerhouse in terms of technology and innovation.