SEO is the strategic use of keywords in the content of your business website. It is the process of attracting free traffic to your website by ranking high on search engine results pages.
Keywords comprise the words customers most likely will use to find your business online. You want to utilize those keywords in your content to rank high in the three primary search engines, but especially in Google’s search engine, which handles nearly two-thirds of all Internet searches.
For example, I provide search engine optimization services to local businesses. The appropriate broad keywords that I want to rank for include “local seo,” and “local search engine optimization.”
A strong SEO strategy utilizes the correct keywords in the right places, within your website’s content. This is referred to as keyword density. Keyword density is how often your keywords appear in your content. Implementing a keyword strategy is akin to walking on a tightrope. You seek balance, as you place your keywords throughout your website’s content.
The under use of keywords will not get your small business noticed online. Alternatively, over use of keywords can hurt your small business listing on Google’s search engine results page. That begs the question: is there really such thing as too much SEO?
At this point, Google maintains that while you can over-do SEO, the search engine giant does not penalize your search ranking because of over use. However, Google is close to unveiling a new policy that will penalize websites that stuff keywords unnecessarily into their content. Here is what Matt Cutts had to say about this issue back in 2009:
The New Google Penalty for Keyword Stuffing
Google has always kept its SEO policies away from public scrutiny. The company focuses on providing products and services that help you attract customers, but it does not provide a blueprint on how to get the most out of its products and services. As for keyword stuffing, Google has always maintained that the company does not penalize websites that over do keywords. However, Google’s stance against implementing penalties for keyword stuffing appears to be changing.
Google’s Matt Cutts recently announced that Google has been working on developing a penalty for websites that stuff keywords into content. Cutts stated that Google will introduce a SEO penalty on search engine results pages. The purpose of the new penalty is to reward websites that produce great content over sites that simply stuff content with search engine friendly keywords. Cutts did not describe the penalty, but it may range from flagging websites to moving websites down the search engine rankings by using a predetermined formula.
What does the new penalty mean for your small business website? You should still follow the time-tested axiom: create content that informs customers about your products and services. Discover the keywords that potential customers use to find your small business online. Finally, do not overuse the keywords in your site’s content. When Google makes a pending change to their search engine rules public, you know the leading search engine is serious about rewarding good content that does not “over optimize.”