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I am going to be developing a new site for a local company. I noticed in their footer (above the copyright) they have various keywords and cities listed that are terms that a person could search for. The cities are cities located around the business location.

While the text is visible and not hidden (which I know is a no-no) I believe this isn't a good practice as the text has little to do with the page other than the fact that the company provides these services.

My question is this: According to Google Webmaster Guidelines is having text like this, that provides little, if any, value, something that should be removed from the site? To me it smacks of keyword stuffing but I could be wrong.

The list is around 20 or so items, counting the cities.

I should note that it does appear that the site does rank well in Google.

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The Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines clearly specifies that using hidden text is viewed as deceptive and a violation. Using Irrelevant keywords could also be considered keyword stuffing, which they indicate here refers to:

loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site's ranking.

They go on to list examples of that:

  • Lists of phone numbers without substantial added value
  • Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for
  • Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural

So based on the above, they would consider a list of various cities that the site might be trying to rank for as keyword stuffing.

Although the site might be ranking well now, it does run the risk of being penalized by Google, and a competitor knowledgable in those guidelines could report this Google as well. It doesn't seem the reward is worth the potential long-term risk, as recoveries are lengthy and time consuming prospects.

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