These days, it is universally acknowledged that local SEO strategies are a good thing, but you know what they say about good things.
It is in fact possible to overdo it. Over-optimisation has become a genuine issue for some businesses as Google improves its algorithms and gets better at detecting the difference between a genuinely good and helpful website and one that is simply optimised to the nines.
The easy example here is of keyword stuffing. In the early days of search engine optimisation, marketers would stuff their webpages full of keywords – simply adding lists of keywords at the bottom of pages without working them into their copy in order to rank well. Google soon learned to penalise this practice and keyword stuffing went from standard practice to cautionary tale.
These days, the examples are more subtle. Here are a few signs you might be over-optimising your website and putting yourself at risk of ranking penalties from Google.
Your URLs focus too heavily on keywords
In general terms, it is a good idea to incorporate a keyword into your URL whenever it is relevant.
However, some businesses may take keyword-rich URLs too far and focus more on the keyword or phrase than on the content itself.
Best practice here is to make the URL relevant and natural and only incorporate a keyword if that is a major focus of the webpage.
You use keywords that are not relevant to your business
When we do keyword research it is easy to look at the most searched-for terms and to use them in our landing pages and blog content. However, if these keywords aren’t relevant to your business or are not used in a helpful way, this could be a sign of over-optimisation.
For example, perhaps a highly searched keyword is ‘mac and cheese recipe’. A restaurant might use this opportunity to create content around their famous mac and cheese and incorporate the keyword into their menu page. However, unless they are sharing their famous mac and cheese recipe, they won’t be meeting the user intent (to find a good recipe to make at home) of the search.
To both users and Google, this practice is misleading and won’t benefit anyone.
Too many internal links to main landing pages
Internal linking is a fantastic way to help users and Google navigate around your website and is definitely one of the best local SEO tips out there.
However, some businesses may fall into the habit of using internal links to direct attention to their main pages again and again, which is not as helpful as it could be.
For example, if every link in every blog sent the user to the ‘contact us’ page or the ‘home page’, these links are not genuinely helping navigation throughout the site. Instead, there should be more balance – a main page link is fine here and there but be sure to balance it with other links as well, such as to specific product pages, older blogs and other resources around the site.
Local online marketing services that work
First, it is not enough, now it is too much? Great SEO is not something you can master in an afternoon and if you simply don’t have the time to find the balance between not enough and too much, our local SEO services can help.
Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you hit the right notes when it comes to SEO.