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SEO in Nigeria


9 min read

Written by


Argos Multilingual

Published on

06 Apr 2023

Home to a whopping 213 million people, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the 7th most populous country in the world. We wanted to take a deeper dive into the African SEO world as part of our iSEO video series, and were lucky enough to chat to Rejoice Ojiaku who walked us through how SEO works in her native market, Nigeria.

Nigerian Advertising Rules

First of all, it’s important that we introduce you to a law that’s just come into play in Nigeria, as it has a massive impact on the way companies approach their marketing and advertising.

Nigeria’s advertising regulatory body, ARCON, has announced that advertisers have to use a cumulative 75% of local content in their ads and marketing geared to the Nigerian market. Since this came into force on the 1st January 2023, it’s meant that multinationals are having to use local Nigerian talent and producers to create content targeting the Nigerian market.

ARCON guidelines state that:

  • Models and voice-over artists must be Nigerian
  • The production of advertising and marketing communication materials must be done in Nigeria
  • Ambience should reflect Nigeria as much as possible
  • The production crew can include foreigners, however Nigerians and Nigerian organizations must take part in the production.
  • Post-production can be done either in or outside of Nigeria

We think this is a pretty awesome idea as it teaches international brands the importance of not only translating their content, but creating content that’s really localized for a Nigerian audience by using Nigerian talent and focusing on topics relevant to the local population.

Search campaigns in Nigeria – what you need to consider

As with SEO in any country, there are a number of different things you need to take into account that are specific to the market you’re expanding into.

Cultural differences: As with any country there are cultural differences in Nigeria you need to keep in mind.

Languages: English is the main language you’d use for SEO in Nigeria, but you’re also likely to see Pidgin, along with Hausa. However, the country is home to over 500 languages, not including different dialects. Plus, being tonal languages, they are very different than the languages spoken in Europe and the US!

User intent: You need to make sure that you’re looking at search intent, with a focus on navigational, informational, and transactional keywords. However, commercial keywords will always be more valuable from a business perspective.

Mobile vs desktop: Mobile should be your focus in Nigeria.

The market: Trends in Nigeria often vary from world trends, so you need to make sure you’re doing a proper analysis of what kind of content people are consuming in Nigeria. You also need to look into things like a qualitative analysis of needs and purchase systems used in the country.

Website load times: Due to poor connectivity, Nigerians will be more patient with slow load times, however, that doesn’t mean you should get lazy as fast websites are always more popular.

Content: Nigerians absolutely love consuming content, so by using Nigerian celebrities and artists etc., you’re going to be rewarded with higher sales. Video is also a really popular content type right now.

Medium: Right now, social media is much more popular than using search engines, so make sure you are implementing social media into your search strategy.

Consumer behavior: Nigerians love their favorite brands and are really loyal consumers. This is important to keep in mind as it’ll take more work to get Nigerians to change to a new product, but once they are there, chances are they’ll stay with you if they’re happy.

Industries: There are a number of industries that can benefit the most from search marketing in Nigeria. These include real estate, law firms, e-commerce, healthcare, agro-tech, and construction.

Demographics: Nigeria is home to 11 cities which all have a population of over 1 million people. Out of these cities, Lagos is the largest.

Trends: In Nigeria, the amount of people using voice search is set to increase. Influencers are a really common tactic, especially using comedy skits. Plus, there has to be a focus on high quality content.

Working with Companies

If you want to work with local Nigerian companies, it’s important to understand that you’re going to need to educate your clients. SEO isn’t not commonly understood amongst Nigerian companies, however growth can be seen amongst small businesses who are starting to invest in search marketing. There has been an increase in ad spend in recent years, which is also why social media and search need to be integrated into a Nigerian marketing strategy. However, you do need to take into account the economic state of the country when planning your campaigns.

Economic and societal factors to consider

There are a number of important economic and social factors to consider when looking at doing SEO campaigns in Nigeria. These include:

  • National Days
  • Elections
  • Cultural differences
  • The massive influence of American culture
  • Lack of common infrastructure
  • Power cuts
  • Corruption
  • VPNs are commonly used

Harnessing Nigerian Talent

Nigeria has become a powerhouse for SEO talent, with the most common skill being in copywriting. To break that down:

  • 57% of SEO specialists work in Lagos
  • 31% work remotely
  • Ahrefs is the most popular SEO tool for Nigerian SEOs, followed by SEMRush
  • Google Search Console and Google Analytics are the two most used tools by Nigerian SEOs
  • The majority of websites are hosted on WordPress.

Unfortunately, Nigerian SEOs are not always being treated fairly. However, there are a number of things you can do as a company to help.

Right now, there’s a misconception that by hiring Nigerian writers, you’ll save a lot of money. The problem with this way of thinking is that many of the writers are getting paid very low rates, and aren’t able to earn a fair living. So, if you’re looking at hiring Nigerians it’s vital that it’s done in the most ethical way possible and SEOs are able to earn a living wage.

When it comes to training, Nigerian SEOs face gaps with technical SEO, becoming a content strategist, and outreach. This is because the majority of training courses are created in Europe and the US, and aren’t affordable enough for people in Nigeria and free or affordable resources are limited and rely on the SEO community to create them. However, there are organizations out there providing accessible training to people from developing markets, such as B-DigitalUK, FCDC, and Women in Tech SEO.

Final thoughts

Nigeria is home to so much potential, not just advertising-wise but also when looking at talent. If you’d like to learn more about the Nigerian market, feel free to get in touch.

Watch Rejoice’s Episode

About Rejoice

Rejoice is an SEO Account Manager for SEOSherpa based in Dubai; she was born in Nigeria but raised in London. As a passionate DEI advocate, Rejoice co-founded B-DigitalUK which is a social platform created to connect Black people with specialist roles in the marketing industry. When she’s not busy working on SEO, you can find Rejoice speaking at industry conferences or judging prestigious industry awards.

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