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Local SEO Case Study: UAE, Dubai Business – 6 Months

This local SEO case study looks at a recent project we worked on for a translation company based in Dubai, UAE. This market is fairly competitive, small traffic with AdWords CPC quite high.

This case study also looks at cultural issues we encountered along the way, together with normal business mistakes made the world over.


Local SEO Case study: Dubai Business

A Shaky Start

Online Ownership never tries to fit a businesses into a box. Each local SEO project is looked at individually based upon the business, the clients budget and intended outcome.

After discussing these with the client during initial contact, I decided based upon budget, that the best course of action was to spend the budget on re-develop the site with a proper structure for local SEO and would allow the client to build upon the site over time.

The client took this information and went off to a developer, without a plan or structure in place. Yes this happens a lot!

A month later, client reaches out, to say they have a new site, but its not working.


Budget Blown

We were now in a situation where the budget had been blown on a site, that was not effectively structured and was lacking in local SEO best practices.

Could we work any miracles on this with the remaining budget?


Site Fixes

  • Checked all 404 pages for any equity and 301 redirected where appropriate.
  • Footer created and added to the site that allowed for structured data site wide.
  • Implemented structured data.
  • Stripped out copy and pasted duplicate content ( client still working on updating content ).
  • Google business page verified, optimized and populated.
  • Page Titles and descriptions added.


Off Site

  • Looked at local business citations for Dubai.
  • Started looking for sites and influences in the market space.
  • Social media tutorial for client.


When Will They Learn

Two months into getting the site squared away, the client hits me with, “the Arabic site version is now live”. Sometimes clients think they know best!

After this episode and the time it took to properly implement href=lang across all translated pages, titles, descriptions and structured data translated, another chunk of the budget was now gone, and the penny finally dropped with the client.


local SEO consultation



A small highly targeted AdWords campaign was created.


Starting to Come Together

This campaign has been far from perfect, with quite a few budget wastes along the way. The client has however realised that not every thing is magic in the world of search and that a systematic planned approach needs to be taken.

Sites Positions are increasing monthly, with a small but steady traffic flow that is converting.


locals SEO Traffic Analytics Dubai


Organic traffic increase with the phone ringing.


local SEO Traffic Analysis


Local SEO To Do List

If and when the client has budget for site changes, the ideal structure for the service pages, would include location information and stronger call to action.

Some service pages are woefully lacking in useful, “sell-able” content, client is working on these,  if budget became available then I would recommend a copywriter.


Lessons Learnt

Although the client is fluent in English and the site was developed in English, I encountered problems with the developer who was not as fluent in English.

Business hours and days differ from “Western” norms.

Citations required PO Box together with physical address and often had to be in Arabic, so have this prepared in advance.

Given the very tight budget, there was no luxury in creating a marketing campaign, although we did manage to get a few articles linked to from well known UAE business publications.