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I am a web designer and front-end developer. I almost always utilize a primary navigation bar that clearly demonstrates traditional website pages - "Home, About Us, Blog, Directions/Locations, Employment Opportunities, Contact Us", etc.

An SEO specialist I am working alongside on a current project has suggested major navigation changes that are outside of my traditional approach. I am skeptical but always willing to give something a shot and wanted a second opinion. Revisions as follows:

Primary Navigation no longer targets the above pages, it targets 6 unique pages of keyword-focused information. The links would all start with the word "Ohio" as this business is in Ohio. So, for example Ohio Inbound Marketing, Ohio Paid Search, Ohio Content Marketing etc etc.

This primary navigation would be located at the top of the page, most visible to the user.

The secondary navigation would basically be what I usually use as a primary navigation (the "traditional" website links). But modified to be more keywordy, and in my opinion, less descriptive of where they actually go. So: Home = Ohio Marketing Specialists; About Us = Business Name; Directions/Locations = Marketing Specialists in Ohio; Employment Opportunities = Marketing Specialist Jobs;

This secondary navigation would be located further down the page and receive less visual emphasis.

Personally, when I see this site - I am confused about navigation as the links aren't set up in a traditional approach and many don't accurately describe where they are going.

Is my traditional approach just outdated? Or is this system trying too hard to be google-friendly?

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I'd say trying a little too hard to be google-friendly. Though something like "About <Business Name>" is probably better than the generic "About Us". Ultimately, the better it is for users, the better it will do with Search Engines as long as you're using your keywords in the proper places like <title> tags and <h1> tags. Which is to say, the SEOs suggestions are not bad, just that you need to find a middle ground between optimizing for bots and optimizing for users. It's tricky. – nathangiesbrecht Jan 13 '14 at 21:15
If the company is based in Ohio, then you do not need to have Ohio in every top level navigation menu - This could be verging on keyword stuffing. – Max Jan 14 '14 at 1:19
up vote 0 down vote accepted

For SEO-menubar (Ohio Inbound Marketing, Ohio Paid Search, Ohio Content Marketing etc) it is enough to place it in the bottom of the page, as it is for googlebot, not users.

For the primary menubar, I would not advice you to rename the links. They should be clearl about what user will get after clicking.

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Optimize for people not the Googlebot.

As long as your content is good and you use the keywords you want to rank for in the file names, you are fine.

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