There’s a new digital bank in town and it’s called Wio. I found out about it from various posts on social media and their many promos on Sheikh Zayed Road (the main road here in the UAE for those unfamiliar).
Naturally, being the SEO that I am, I decided to analyse their website and see how well they’ve handled their SEO (and to see if I could possibly become a customer of theirs). We don’t have a plethora of neobanks to choose from in the UAE so when a new entrant emerges, it’s hard not to take notice.
Banking in the UAE has its own set of challenges so when a new player enters the market and claims to be here to disrupt the way we bank, you know we’re all ears and eyes – because that’s no mean feat.
FWIW, billboards and road signage is a huge business here in Dubai. I can only imagine what they’ve spent on this (versus digital marketing spend). So I do have an ulterior motive when running an SEO audit of their site: I want to see how lopsided their marketing budget really is (plot twist: I already knew this before I started!).
FRESH & SO CLEAN
On first glance, the first thing I noticed about the Wio site is that it’s got a minimal colour scheme. And there’s so few pages. It’s a clean website without the clutter. NICE. It’s definitely easier on the eyes than any other banking website in the UAE (or anywhere else for that matter) which is definitely a selling point. Bank websites are notoriously complex to navigate!
I also noticed there is a focus on accessibility (a11y) with the option in the top nav menu change the font size and contrast of the website. Improving accessibility is a tremendous initiative so to see this on Wio’s website is promising. I should add that I like the refreshing colour scheme chosen by Wio.
You also can’t ignore the Download button in the top nav which when clicked/tapped, takes you down to the bottom of the Business page to download the mobile app as per your mobile’s OS. A little odd…
This is the only real CTA on the site from what I can see. Somehow, this feels inadequate but I only hope they’re tracking button clicks to measure effectiveness.
Now, being a website based in the UAE where Arabic is an official language, Wio offers an Arabic version to cater to this particular audience.
Small issue: It says En | Ar.
The problem with this is that the other language(s) on offer for any multilingual site should be written in that language. Here’s what it looks like on the PropertyFinder.ae website:
I ran a site: search in Google and found that none of the Arabic URLs were in fact optimised for Arabic. There’s no Arabic in page titles or meta descriptions (huge issue) and there’s no Arabic in the URLs (not the biggest issue but you want to do this for maximum relevancy to your audience). Actual page content in the Arabic version is in fact all Arabic, so there’s some redemption.
Naturally, I also ran a site crawl using Screaming Frog and interestingly, found that none of the Arabic URLs were crawlable by Screaming Frog. Odd, considering these same URLs are indexed and visible in Google.
The site crawl revealed an internal redirect and a few cases where URLs load with and without the trailing slash – some simple URL rewrite rules is all that’s needed to fix this.
Unsurprisingly, meta data across the site needs some work, specifically missing meta descriptions and unoptimised page titles.
NOT SO SPEEDY
Lastly, I ran a page speed test using PageSpeed Insights and to my surprise, despite being such a clean, minimal site with so few pages (unreal for a banking site), it performed poorly on both mobile and desktop. For a digital bank, this isn’t a great look. But it’s easy to remedy because I put the slowdown to how the site has been coded.
Whilst none of the above bears the mark of an exhaustive audit, you have to wonder why so much money has gone into offline marketing when the most basic online marketing things have been neglected?
Sadly, this is a common issue across the region but one that I hope will change for the better. Despite what you might think, you can run effective awareness campaigns using the best of both online and offline worlds. And in a region that is charging ahead with ridiculous internet speeds, investments in technology and more mobile phones than anywhere else per person, you have to think digital first!
Bonus tip: the Arabic version of the site does not have an Arabic version of the logo. Although Arabic versions of the logo are required for print and signage, it’s not required for websites – but why wouldn’t you, for maximum relevancy points with your audience?
Wio, you’re supposed to Wow us and I hope you do. Heaven knows business banking in the UAE needs a reboot…