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Why is my SEO not working for my Hawaii website?

You've done your research on SEO, so why aren't you still on page 1 of Google? Here's why and what you might be doing wrong.

I did my SEO, so why am I not showing up first in Google results?

I recently had a consultation with an e-commerce based client who was confused about why they weren't showing up first on Google.

Here are some facts I saw right away:

  • Their website was new
  • They didn't have a blog
  • The keyword selection could have been better

For those of you who don't understand SEO (search engine optimization), it's basically the keywords that people search in Google. The more keywords you can put into your website, the more the Google algorithm understands that you're a potential solution for anyone searching for that particular keyword.

About Google

Now what you have to understand about Google is that it isn't just a search engine. It's actually a middle man that connects you with the service it thinks is what you're looking for. Google's goal is to show you results that matches your search. If you end up clicking on the first website result and interact by scrolling, exploring, clicking, etc. that's a point for that website. Because you interacted with that website, Google knows that this website is a good suggestion for the next person to search that phrase in the Google search bar.

For example, if I search for "Christmas ornaments" in Google, Google's algorithm knows:

  • I'm in Hawaii
  • I'm searching for Christmas ornaments

The first thing that shows up are the ads. Companies bid on keywords (like Christmas ornaments - which is an expensive keyword) and whenever someone types "Christmas ornaments" into the Google search engine, their ad may appear depending on how much they bid for that keyword.

As a middle man, Google's priority is to show the ads first.

Following the ads are the "organic" search results. These are the results from people who have searched "Christmas ornaments" in the past and have interacted with most often. Amazon and Home Depot understandably take the cake even in Hawaii. Their service is reliable and they have a large selection to choose from. Next comes local options: Walmart, Target, and Amy's Hallmark Shop all near me at the time I searched this.

Organic search results are just below the ads.

Where does SEO come into play?

When you implement good SEO into your website, you're putting keywords into your website that people search for and that Google will show to interested customers. So what did my client do wrong? They did their research into SEO for their e-commerce site but couldn't figure out why they weren't showing up on page 1 of the results.

Here's why:

Their website was new

When you have a new website, your reputation according to Google is zero. So don't expect results right off the bat. Also, in my opinion, most small business owners in Hawaii who have no SEO experience still don't know how to correctly do their SEO even when they do their research. Good SEO is a skill that has to be learned and you have to fail and succeed in order to figure out which words and phrases should be used.

If you just have the basic website: Home, About, Contact, Service, Products and add in good SEO, that still might not be enough to help you show up on page 1 of the Google results. If you have competition who has been around for a while, they have had all that time to build up their reputation within Google's algorithm.

They didn't have a blog

As a new website with their reputation at the starting line, they had less words compared to their competitors' sites. Other well-established websites already understood their target audience and the keywords they're searching for. If this client had started a blog talking about their product, answering questions, and using important keywords throughout their blog posts, their website would have more words and more chances to use keywords that they wanted to rank for.

If you and your competitors have similar websites that are about the same amount of words, then having a dedicated blog is an added advantage. A blog about your product, industry, or area of expertise will allow you to expand the amount of words living on your website as well as cement you as an expert on your topic. With more words on your website, you'll be able to add in additional keywords and answer questions your target audience is already typing into Google's search bar.

Keyword selection could have been better

Most small businesses in Hawaii make the mistake of choosing keywords that are difficult to rank for. This happens usually due to inexperience with how SEO works. In SEO, local businesses aren't the only players. You are competing against big companies like Amazon and Home Depot who have deep pockets. So it makes sense to tighten up your focus and capture the attention of people who may be looking for your specific product or service.

For example, instead of just "Christmas ornaments", it would make sense for a Hawaii small business that sells Christmas ornaments to rank for "Hawaii Christmas ornaments", "Hawaiian ornaments," or "made-in-Hawaii ornaments". By making your SEO focus on these keywords, you are telling Google's algorithm that anyone in Hawaii typing "Christmas ornaments" or anyone outside of Hawaii typing "Hawaii Christmas ornaments" would have an interest in your website.

Be careful of keyword stuffing

While it's important to add keywords into your website in order to rank higher on Google, avoid keyword stuffing: literally adding in the keywords to the point where it doesn't make sense and doesn't sound natural. The Google algorithm is smart enough to know when you're keyword stuffing and your website will be docked points.

Bounce rates will affect your Google ranking

A bounce refers to when someone lands on your website and leaves without interacting. It means whatever they saw on your website did not match what they searched. Bounces are common for all websites. There's no such thing as a website that has a zero bounce rate. By keyword stuffing, having an ill-designed website, slow loading times, or bad copywriting, you increase your bounce rate, which decreases your Google ranking.

What is your SEO like?

SEO in Hawaii can be tricky especially for small local businesses. Remember, you're competing with the rest of the world on the internet so you want to brand yourself in a way that makes you stand out. One of the best ways to do this is make it apparent that you're in Hawaii and what kind of people buy from you. Once you understand this part of your business, your SEO keywords will make a lot more sense and it will be easier to plug them into your website descriptions, headlines, and blog posts.

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