With all the hype surrounding SEO, and all the companies promising the world with their SEO packages, you would think it must be impossible to have too much SEO. However, if you were thinking that, you might just be wrong, and very wrong in a few weeks.
Google announced they will be penalizing sites for using too much SEO. That’s right, too much SEO might not just waste your time and money. Now, it might lower your rank in Google’s search results and thereby cost you prospective visitors, clients, and revenue.
As always, we recommend you focus on the SEO basics, and then devote your energy to building real content and real visitors. Real content can be anything your visitors actually want to see. Write natural content with the visitor in mind, sprinkling just a few keywords you think people might be searching for in Google. Avoid cluttering your content with excessive keywords that make the article less readable or a target for the new “over-optimization” penalty. It is far better to have a well-written article that ten people see and appreciate, and come back week after week, versus a horrible keyword-laden article seen by hundreds, all of whom immediately hit the back arrow.
Read more about honest SEO strategies in our previous posts: The SEO Decision for Local Business and The Future of SEO. You can also read more about the “over-optimization” penalty at Search Engine Land.
A recent study by Pew Research Center found users, by a 2 to 1 majority, are not OK with search engines collecting their personal information in an effort to yield better and more personalized search results. At the same time, 9 out of 10 users report they find the information they need.
In the study, 65% of users expressed concern that information would be limited by constraining search results. 75% of users indicated they would consider personal tracking an evasion of privacy. Similarly, 68% of people said they don’t like being “tracked and analyzed.”
Overall the study finds people are happy with the search results they are finding, but are concerned with the methods used to yield their results. They find search results “unbiased” and “trustworthy” on the whole, but are hesitant and nervous regarding invasive and limiting techniques.
As a business, take advantage of the trust people generally have towards search engines, and ensure your business appears in the search results in a prominent but fair way. Take note that users dislike techniques they consider invasive. Be clear and transparent with your marketing, and you will be rewarded with trusting and happy customers.
Last week an article on Search Engine Journal stated traditional searches are down 50%! I did not see a source for this claim, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a significant decrease in traditional searches. Given that sort of decline, what does that say about SEO and its future?
Traditional search is working to maintain its control by adding social, geolocation, and other additions to increase relevancy. Google started including tweets in there search results, and now uses information from Google+. Likewise, Bing is integrating data from your Facebook account. Given that Yahoo has teamed up with Bing for advertising, it is reasonable to think they might get involved in some fashion as well.
Mobile devices are opening new search doors as well. Devices can report back a user’s current location, allowing local businesses to be prioritized for certain types of search. Users can use other mobile sites or download specialized apps, like the Amazon app to compare prices by simply scanning a product’s bar code. People can instantly get recommendations from friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other niche social networks.
These new tools offer customers new opportunites, but a smart local business will capitalize on them as well. Since traditional search is down, it makes sense to shift some traditional SEO marketing budget to social media, mobile and apps.