In my early years of SEO I did not know much about how different it is to market a product or service in Norway compared to other markets. I thought “what works here, should work anywhere”. Well. I was wrong. Very wrong.
Living in Egypt in the Middle-East has thought me a few lessons so far. I’m gonna try to explain what I have learned after living here more than a year.
Ah yes. Before I start, I’d like to point out that we are currently researching to present a good overview of all the markets on the planet here.
What have I learned from a SEO-standpoint?
First of all, people search for different things. In Norway, it’s unusual to see very long search phrases. People tend to start with single words, and will then add more text if they can’t find what they were looking for right away.
In Egypt (where I currently live and work) the situation is completely different. We learned this when we set up a couple arabic lingual sites to learn from. Here in Egypt people search like if they are talking to the screen.
“I have a big pain in my left foot, what is wrong with it?” or “Where can I buy a really cool watch that everyone will like” is not unusual according to the statistics we are gathering from the arabic sites we run.
It’s really astonishing how different people here in Egypt look at searching compared to what I am used to from Norway. So, long tail searches does much better here than what I have been used to from Norway, UK, US and Poland.
Also it is a tremendous activity on Facebook here in Egypt. Twitter does pretty well also. The common man or woman in the street are now aware of internet as a place to get information – even those that does not have their own PC or any other way to use internet. They now know that internet exists, and they go to neighbors to use internet if they lack it themselves. After the #Jan25 revolution, internet (and especially Facebook and Twitter) has become a part of their daily conversations.
I believe Egypt is ready as a marketing channel, and the internet penetration has increased a lot since the revolution.
Another thing that is different here compared to Europe, is the fact that people trust European websites with their credit cards – but never an Egyptian site. As long as the site is Egyptian, there is no way they will pull out their credit card to buy anything. They simply don’t trust Egyptian websites like they do with European or American ones.
What is your experience? Use the comment form below to share your thoughts.