UAE Digital Marketing Interviews – SEO with Naguib Toihiri

I’m running a series of interviews with digital marketing people working in the UAE with the aim of showcasing local talent and giving the industry the exposure it deserves. I hope these UAE Digital Marketing Interviews will be of great benefit. You can expect some great insights into the local market and in particular, nuances regarding multilingual digital marketing as a whole. If you’d like to be interviewed or you know of someone who would be great to chat to, please contact me.

Our first interview is with Naguib Tohiri who is the Global SEO Lead (Head of SEO & Growth MENA) at Artefact and was the former SEO Department Lead at RBBi here in Dubai.

naguib toihiri

How did you get started in SEO?
I started SEO before “not provided” 🙂 back to 2009 in France. First I studied SEO in University with a Bachelor Degree in e-commerce at Evry Technology Institute and then I got my first SEO experience as project manager at Orange (former France Telecom) which is the leading telco company in France.

What do you love most about SEO over other aspects of online marketing?
What I really love in doing SEO is first it is “multidisciplinary”. SEO combine all the aspects of marketing from benchmarking through competition analysis, to communication through content marketing. Secondly, SEO is constantly evolving & with more than 600 algorithm updates per year, you stay up to date on the latest changes.

What’s the biggest challenge with SEO in the region?
I would say SEO is emerging in this region compare to Western countries. It’s not unusual to get a top middle brand that does SEO for the first time in 2016; when usually back in Europe you can be the 5th agency on this account.

How do you handle Arabic SEO and multilingual SEO?
I’m currently leading the SEO department at RBBi & we have internally 20 languages. All the SEO account managers are native Arabic speakers & I do consider that when talking about multilingual SEO the work needs to be handled by a first language speaker.

Where do you see search marketing going in the region?
I see many opportunities for Search Marketing to grow in the region, especially SEO. Not so many brands are investing in SEO, the competition is still low so opportunities for local brands to be visible organically is very high.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into SEO or search marketing?
At the moment there are no many universities that providing courses specialized in search marketing; particularly SEO.Personally, I’m trying to satisfy this demand by providing regular training at Astrolabs (Google Tech Hub & Incubator in JLT), next one will be on December 9th

And lastly, do you have any pro SEO tips in general?
I would say the main qualities for being a good SEO are “curiosity and patience”. SEO isn’t an exact science, it’s the result of information shared by search engines and experiences through testing. Finally, it needs a lot of patience; it’s a long-term effort but sustainable.

Learn more about Naguib:
Naguib has over 9-years experience optimizing online brands visibility & increasing their traffic from search engines. Having worked as an SEO specialist in France at Orange (leading Telecom company), he joined RBBI in 2013 as an SEO manager helping top Middle East brands in various sectors, including Qatar Airways, Emaar and Jumeirah Group. He is a digital-passionate who keeps a constant watch on search engine trends & regularly provides training in French Business Schools (Paris Business School, HEC and University Institute of Technology in Evry).

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