Why is SEO so important, and why can it lead the world? SEO is expanded as Search Engine Optimization. It is basically a way to structure a web page so that it can be found and indexed by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo in the most effective manner.
SEO ensures that your website is more visible online and is relevant to search engines and attractive to web searchers. If there was no SEO, there would be no way to make your business visible to the rest of the online community.
If people cannot locate your website online, your traffic slows down to a crawl. It would be hard for you to reach out to prospective customers. Nobody would be able to identify your site, unless they knew your full URL - which only a small minority would know about, perhaps your friends and family.
And here’s the most important reason to use SEO – your competitors are already using it. If you don’t use SEO, you would be effectively ceding ground to the competition and losing your customers to them.
To truly understand how SEO is changing the world, one has to fully grasp the power of search engines such as Google. Google allows for targeted advertising – every single dollar someone spends on advertising on Google actually helps to get their business noticed.
This is so unlike advertising in newspapers and magazines – who knows who reads your ads or doesn’t. What about advertising on radio or TV – most people use the advertising break as an excuse to change channels. And billboard ads? How many people notice them anyway?
But when you use SEO or advertise on Google, you can be sure that your ads reach the intended target. That’s because people who reach your website are those who are actually interested in what you’re selling or marketing. After all, people don’t enter words into Google’s search box for any reason – they do so because they are looking for something that is relevant, useful or even urgent.
SEO ensures that when they enter words into the search box, it is the links to your site that potential customers see first. This way, they would visit your website rather than one belonging to your competitor. And if they find what they are looking for on your website, they are more likely than not to buy it.
This way, your business will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all through the year. And your customers need not be from just a small geographical region – you may have customers from countries that are thousands of miles from where you are.
So, how do search engines really work? Nobody outside of the owners of the search engines or their top engineers knows this. The algorithms used in search engines are extremely sophisticated and perhaps much more complex than anything even NASA has designed so far. They contain highly secretive, proprietary information that cannot be accessed by people outside of the top hierarchy in these search engines.
But there are many things that are well known, which SEO professionals can work with. They know for instance, how to do keyword research, how to make the best of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, the importance of content marketing, how to build quality backlinks (which are the currency of search engines), using complex concepts such co-citation and co-occurrence or for that matter using search operators more effectively and much more.
Using the techniques made available by SEO, we can enhance a web site’s visibility and ensure that it can be accessed by just about anyone in the world. So what does this mean for you if you are, say, an artist in Cairo, Egypt or a math tutor in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia?
Well, by creating a website of your own where you showcase what you do and using the best SEO techniques to rank your website high on Google’s SERPs (or search engine results pages) for keywords such as “affordable Egyptian art” or “online math tutor” you can get noticed by a buyer in London who is interested in Egyptian art or by a young student in Kansas City, USA who is weak in math and is looking to help with her studies.
So, with SEO, you can effectively open your business to the whole world and earn a significant income from the new opportunities that are made available to you. That’s why we believe that SEO can and is leading the world into a brave new future, where there are no boundaries between people, wherever they are in the world.
While for most people, the most significant thing to have happened in the Middle East was the so-called “Arab Spring”, there has been another revolution going on, which has been largely under the radar. Entrepreneurship in the Middle East is thriving and how!
Hundreds of startups have sprouted over the last few years, driven largely by young people, most of them women. In fact, when it comes to startups, women entrepreneurs in the Middle East are just as prominent as men – this is something we don’t see even in more developed hot spots for entrepreneurship such as the Silicon Valley in the US and Israel.
Whether in Beirut, Dubai, Cairo, Alexandria, Riyadh, and surprisingly, even in Gaza City, tech start-ups are mushrooming, creating their own version of the Start-Up Spring. This is a fascinating new development and gradually the whole world is waking up to the fact that the Middle East is not just about oil billionaires – it is about young men and women armed with nothing but grit, deep knowledge of technology and should we say entrepreneurial chutzpah, to bring real and more effective change to the region.
It’s not that entrepreneurship is something that is new to the Middle East. Prophet Muhammad was after all a trader during the early part of his life. There has always been a culture of trade and business in the Middle East, but for some reason or another, the Middle East languished while Israel became the “Startup Nation” of the world.
The slow start to entrepreneurship in the region may be attributed to the rigid bureaucracy, and perhaps a fear of failure which is strong in the Middle Eastern culture. It’s certainly not because of religion, as many Western commentators conclude.
Sure, it is possible that a majority of the young start-ups that have sprung in the Middle East over the last few years may not make it – even in the Silicon Valley, 80 percent of new start-ups are forced to shut down in just 4 years.
But that’s the whole point of entrepreneurship – failure is not something to be scared of. Failure is normal, something you go through several times, before finding success. A complete absence of the fear of failure is perhaps the single most important reason why so many Israelis are successful entrepreneurs – many try and fail at half-a-dozen ventures before finding success with one.
So, what’s driving the new culture of entrepreneurship in the Middle East? One may point at the high penetration of smartphones and the social media, the growth of e-commerce, the almost universal use of the Internet and the cultural and linguistic barriers that prevent global technology companies from succeeding in the Middle East – which creates space for young Arab entrepreneurs.
In Egypt, the economic turmoil and leadership crisis seen following the 2011 revolution are a thing of the past and the country is economically and politically stable yet again. And young entrepreneurs have been quick to take advantage.
There is a mass of young, highly educated young men and women in the country who are churning out new start-ups almost every other day. While it is as yet difficult for these young entrepreneurs to find funding for their new businesses, this is gradually changing with the growth of crowdfunding platforms and startup accelerators such as Flat6Labs.
Flat6Labs is a promising Egyptian startup accelerator which has given birth to successful ventures such as Instabug, which makes it possible to offer in-app feedback for mobile apps. There are several other promising new startups in Egypt like that, many on the verge of their own breakthrough moments.
That being said, the tech hubs in the region are still miniscule compared to the Silicon Valley and even to Israel; but as Christopher Schroeder, an American investor who has written a brilliant new book on entrepreneurship in the Middle East, “Startup Rising” says, “the rise of a new generation of business entrepreneurs cannot be ignored.”
We tend to agree with that. For young Middle Eastern entrepreneurs, the world is their oyster!