Doing SEO & Internet Marketing for local businesses in Hawaii these past years has taught me that, like everything else, it’s different here than on the Mainland.
Here’s a few things that I’ve found to need a different approach due to our special place in the world, both geographically and culturally.
1. For most businesses, their targeted audience is VERY local. This is obvious from the fact that we’re a string of Islands in the middle of the Pacific, but it still takes some conscious thought as you work. The ocean surrounding our home means no competition just outside the city limits or over the state line. It also means the competition is very concentrated for many industries. Your SEO has to take in these conditions and emphasize that local-ness even more than you’d probably have to elsewhere.
2. For a lot of other businesses, their market is VERY long-distance. The top industry here in Tourism and, though you want to reach tourists after they arrive, most, like hotels & vacation rentals, need to get in front of people long before they board the plane to get here. Therefore your website has to say ‘I’m here in Hawaii’, but also outrank the competition on a national level to truly succeed.
3. Local businesses are often still in the learning stages of the worth of SEO & marketing online. Honolulu’s newspapers and yellow pages were still effective long after they declined in the rest of the US. Not so anymore, though. Locals turn more and more to Yelp and Google to search and research. With the growing population the basic bonds aren’t as strong as they used to be on Oahu. We still have a ‘small Island’ in many ways, but the influx of people not born here has altered things forever – and it’s causing many to realize they need to finally get going on the web or be out of business. It’s a new world for a lot of them.
4. Trust is harder to earn here, which is why companies often make it a priority to deal with local SEOs like myself. This is part of Hawaii culture, the importance of face-to-face and personal relationships to the conducting of business. So many have told me that they want to work with someone locally right off the bat.
These are just observations, not judgements one way or another by any means. When you realized you live in a wonderfully unique and special place like Hawaii, you want to be able to step back and look at things. It makes you realize just how luck you are to live Hawaii.
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