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But does anyone know if search engines penalize sites that list all 50 state names on just one page of their site, along with three or four of each state's largest cities? I've seen a few sites doing this on pages that have a good deal of service-related content, it doesn't seem Black Hat despite listing cities that the company isn't physically based out of. But if a Yahoo or Google rep visits your site, do you think that they would penalize that page or the entire site for this, or will their bots automatically determine that your site is attempting to manipulate results and penalize it?
Unfortunately I have seen websites like this too, but they are feeding on "lack of knowledge" of the searcher, if that makes sense.
For instance, suppose a person is going to travel to Booneville Indiana, and they like Super 8 motels, so they would type in "Super 8 motel Boonevile, IN" Then one of the service pages you speak of pops up that says, "Stay at a Super 8 in Booneville" (but there isn't a Super 8 Motel in Booneville)
People that build these websites seem to have access to keyword searches, or the search keywords has been inserted dynamically.
I would say no. How would a search engine know whether or not the service is in that city?
Well that's also why I asked if a human rep for Google or Yahoo would apply a penalty to a site that uses that tactic. I figured that a bot might not be able to do much, but I could picture someone reporting a site to Google if they considered results to be spammy, which I guess can be a matter of opinion.