Small business SEO is a bit like being a chef. Anyone who’s done a lot of baking before knows that it’s both too little and too much of an ingredient or method that can ruin a cake. You don’t want to over-whip cream or else it turns into butter.
Similarly, the world of small business website search engine optimization needs an appropriate level of work – not too much and not too little.
How can this be? Isn’t all SEO good SEO? Well, not really – not if you’re overdoing it. Let’s explore further.
Can a Site be Too Optimized?
Let’s start with a basic primer on how search engines work. One way is through the keywords on your site – your URL, your page title, the repetition of the keyword within the content, etc. Backlinks pointing to your site with a certain keyword can be important, too.
But things aren’t as simple as “more keywords = better SEO.” Search engine optimization has become too sophisticated for that. As a result, repeating keywords ad hominem in your content isn’t necessarily a good thing, Nor is having your keyword in your domain name. Google is slowly but surely building ways against saturating your site with keywords. It’s not a case of “the more, the better” anymore.
So what should you, the small business SEO student, do about this? Well, remember that you shouldn’t focus on the frequency with which keywords appear. Don’t place hidden text in a page body as so many spammers used to do (using font the same color as the background? It’s so 1990s.)
Learning Not to Embrace, Not Manipulate, Search Engines
The key to understanding proper small business SEO is to know that you can’t beat the big company websites with more keywords. Your approach needs to be more subtle.
But if you’re turning your sights to other aspects of SEO – such as backlinks – keep in mind that search engines are wise to “over-optimization” here, too. You shouldn’t buy backlinks in bulk because search engines will pick up on that. Don’t publish the same piece of content identically across a few sites because search engines will recognize that, too.
So where do you start? Follow Google’s SEO guide to the letter; they’re really trying to help you understand how to do better in their rankings.
Yes, the search engines will send you conflicting messages. Google’s Matt Cutts said there’s NO over optimization penalty, but in the year 2012 Google is clearly heading in a different direction. If you want to be better at search engine optimization, you’ll learn to embrace what the search engines currently want from you. Don’t over-optimize…but don’t under-optimize, either.