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Our plan is to have links to about 30 categories and subcategories listed on the left of each page. Each category and subcategory is a differnent variation of the product and will be listed by category and subcategory similar to this:
What I'm wondering if by doing this I risk being penalized by Google for the overuse of 'widgets' on the page. If it makes any difference, I have no interest in optimizing for the base term ('widgets') just for the different variations I have listed (i.e. green widgets).
I've had sites that had the same word repeated 50 times on one page and haven't ever noticed getting penalised by Google for overuse.
For the types of products that we sell, customers normally search for the product in combination with a location (normally a city - 'miami green widgets').
We deliver these widgets through subcontractors in major cities. We don't have physical locations or phone numbers in these cities.
We are creating unique landing pages for each city (approx. 50) that includes links to our major product subcategories (i.e. 'seasonal widgets, colored widgets, etc.).
We also want to create static links of each city on the right side of every page on the site, including each product page, so that for any combination of city + product ('detroit colored green widgets') there will at least be one page that has that combination of keywords on it. Since there are over 4,000 keywords representing combinations of cities / product, it's not practical to create unique content to optimize for each one.
We are working with an SEO specialist who is concerned that the listing of 50 cities on each page could be looked at unfavorably and invoke a penalty from Google. They have suggested the use of a 'tag cloud' - I don't know what this is - for this purpose instead.
I'm curious to get a second opinion on this approach!