Aloha! I’m Nick Ponte, writing to you from Maui, Hawaii. Through my digital marketing agency, I help local businesses create stunning marketing strategies to draw in new customers and keep others coming back, again and again.

It’s no secret that we get a huge number of tourists here in Hawaii. Travelers flock from all over the world to witness the unique beauty and culture of our islands. Knowing this, local businesses don’t just cater to local, or even national, markets. Business owners have the opportunity to reach customers around the globe. In the age of the internet, potential customers can now find local businesses without ever stepping foot on a pacific island.

So how can you take advantage of this opportunity and make sure your website gets the attention of the international traveler?

Also Read: How Hawaii Businesses Can Use Content Optimization to Improve Search Engine Results

International SEO: Why Bother?

Local Hawaii businesses have a ton of customers from places like Canada, Japan and Eastern Asia, and Europe, among others. The diversity of the tourism industry in Hawaii creates a fascinating experience for local shops and tourist spots. It presents a challenge to market in ways that appeal to so many kinds of people.

The problem comes in when you don’t realize how your current SEO affects your website’s visibility in other countries. How do you optimize your brand for an international audience when you don’t have a grasp on the way search engines in other countries bring up your content—if those search engines bring it up at all. How do you ensure your website has internationally searchable content?

You need an SEO strategy that gives your company the best chance of reaching local and international markets—and multiplying your revenue. I’m offering three quick tips to get a strategy like this started.

Also Read: The Definitive Guide to Keyword Selection

3 Ways to Get Started Building an International SEO Strategy

These three steps should help you get started creating a strategy for building your international customer base:

  • Help Search Engines Clearly Identify Your Location and Language 

Especially if you maintain an e-commerce aspect of your business, this step includes making sure international users have access to information based on their currencies and shipping costs.

Consider your website structure and work with your developer to create pages specific to location. You’ll always get better results when you give information and answer questions in your audiences’ native languages. Translating your current content can get tricky. To make sure you don’t end up with embarrassing misuses of language, hire a professional translator.

These efforts will cost you more, so you’ll want to consider your website and marketing budget. However, don’t be afraid to spend some money on the front end when you have the chance to see an incredible return on investment.

  • Target Diverse Geographic Regions

Local SEO strategy involves targeting an audience in the direct vicinity of your business. With the large number of international travelers we get in Hawaii, it’s wise to consider the regions some of these tourists will view your website from.

This approach will require more effort, research, and content creation than a strategy that reaches only locals and already-present tourists. Of course, with the expansion of the reach, the competition also multiplies. You have to apply some cunning and creativity to your efforts.

You need to adjust some of your keywords to reach a more vast audience. Since the worldwide competition may mean your keywords have less of an effect, try adding in some similar keywords relating to target audiences in order to boost your position among other search results. Remember that even other English-speaking countries sometimes use different words to describe the same thing. For instance, your British customer refers to potato chips as “crisps” and to fries as “chips.” Do your research and keep relevant ideas like these in mind when you add in new keywords.

You can write blog content for your own website that includes more expansive SEO. If you get the opportunity, write a guest post for a website based in areas where your targeted demographic resides. Be sure to include links back to your own website.

  • Work Toward a Target Audience

Remember that specificity toward an ideal customer will always yield better results than a vague marketing strategy. This is true no matter where you are in the world.

You don’t have to reach everybody all at once. Start with one area or demographic you want to become customers, and get to work pinpointing the ways you can reach them.

Creating a thorough and effective international strategy will take plenty of time and work, so don’t get bogged down or discouraged before you understand all the steps and the help available to you.

A tool that can help: Google Search Console gives you a view into your site’s traffic, helps you see your site’s position in Google Searches, and will help you understand where you stand in global site impressions.

If all this information still sounds overwhelming or you feel like you don’t have time to implement the ideas, remember that you can hire a professional who regularly deals with international SEO and targeting.

We are the number-one ranked company for “Maui SEO” and “Hawaii SEO” in Google search results—we know what we’re doing! We also run FREE website audits for SEO, so if you want to learn more or want help getting started, reach out to us today! 

Further Reading: The Importance of Websites for Small Businesses in Hawaii

Photos Courtesy of Vladislav Klapin, Christine Roy, and Capturing the human heart

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