SEO Tips for your Small Business

Build your website and they might come but optimize your website and customers will come

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More complicated today

Basic SEO starts with the inclusion of keywords in tags, meta descriptions and titles. The idea is that, if you pick the right keywords or phrases, search engines will pick them up.

But doing only that has become an outdated and ineffective strategy. Search-engine algorithms have become so sophisticated and complicated, with millions of different indicators, it seems almost impossible to figure out what will work.

“But it comes down to a formula,” Bertholf says. “And if we can check off as many boxes as possible, so to speak, your site will come up higher than the others. There’s no voodoo in the process.”

Photo: Kevin Blitz

While using the right keywords and phrases is still part of an overall SEO strategy, it’s not enough to just describe what your company does or sells. You need to focus on keywords and phrases that have little competition online so your website or blog post stands out.

However, you don’t want to be top-ranked in a category that no one is searching for. This is where SEO experts come in.

“We identify which keywords are going to bring in the most qualified traffic and those are the ones that will be optimized,” Bertholf says. “It’s not just about being No. 1. It’s about being No. 1 for keywords people type in.”

For example, if you type “insurance” and “Hawaii” into a search engine, you’ll get 154 million results, starting with the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs.

But type in “property,” “insurance” and “Hawaii,” and the search results drop to 15 million – still, a lot – and Island Insurance tops the list.
“If you’re in a competitive space, like Island Insurance, there’s no way you can compete against the others (on your own),” Bertholf says. “It comes down to getting someone who knows SEO.”

What do you want from visitors?

The “build-it-and-they-will-come” philosophy may have worked for farmer Ray Kinsella in “Field of Dreams,” but it doesn’t work in SEO. A well-designed, fully functional, customer-friendly website doesn’t guarantee visitors.

“Just having a great website is like having a great billboard in your basement,” Bertholf says. “And at the end of the day, you might have a lot of traffic coming to your site and they want what (they think) you’re selling, but you actually have to sell what they want.”

First, determine the purpose of your website. Do you want visitors to purchase goods? Sign up for a newsletter? Request a quote? Once this function is decided, SEO experts can optimize your site to meet its goals and improve its potential to generate revenue.

Before hiring Kido, Prudential Locations had one of the most comprehensive real estate websites in Hawaii, but it wanted to attract more visitors, which could generate more home sales.

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