Are you sure you know what you’re doing, SEO-wise?
When you have been in the web design and online marketing industry for a while, you learn that search engine optimization – and especially keyword-rich content – is a great thing. Just as exercise, fresh air, and plenty of water keep your body healthy, new articles and blog posts make your site more interesting and relevant to Google and its competitors.
Unfortunately, as with anything, too much SEO can go from being a good thing to a bad one. In fact, there are two ways that paying too much attention to search engine optimization can actually hurt your business online:
First, by convincing you to over-optimize your business website.
Most business owners want to rank on the first page of Google for their most important keywords, but they don’t always remember that rankings and traffic aren’t the goal… conversions are. For that reason, going too far and over-optimizing your site can actually work against you.
We have all seen those individuals who seem like they’ve gone a bit too far with their makeup, spent too much time in the tanning booth, or have even gotten to be so fit from working out that they no longer appear to be healthy, normal human beings. Guess what? The same thing can happen to your business website. Somewhere between that first keyword phrase and the twentieth time it has been repeated, things stop reading naturally, and customers stop visiting your site.
Second, by spreading your poor online reputation.
This is a related problem, but an entirely different symptom. If you spend so much time optimizing your business website for search engines that you ignore your customers, or don’t deliver on what you promise, then you’re going to start to accumulate some negative reviews.
Over time, those negative reviews are going to add up, and they aren’t all going to stay private. Because review sites – and especially local business directories – have much higher page ranks than most business websites do, the search engines place greater weight on what they find there. It only takes a couple of unsatisfied customers who have had bad experiences with your company to write something online that stays around for years, and shows up on the search for your company’s name before your own website does, or at least on the same page of results.
Search engine optimization is certainly a valuable part of promoting a business over the Internet and gaining new customers. Don’t forget to pay attention to other parts of your online marketing plan, however, especially when it comes to content creation and reputation management. Because if you ignore those long enough, no amount of SEO is going to make you profitable.
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