Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Sweating the Small Stuff?

According to noted SEO expert Jill Whalen (who we’re fond of quoting here), we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

By the small stuff, I mean the picky details that paralyze people. Things like how many words or characters should be in a title tag. Or in what order those words should be placed. Or how many times a keyword phrase should be in the copy. Or how many keyword phrases any page can be optimized for. Or should commas be used in the Meta keyword tag. Or should file names have hyphens in them. Or should headlines use H1 tags (or H2 tags, or whatever).

Guess what? None of that stuff matters! Pretty crazy coming from an SEO, huh? But seriously, it really doesn’t matter. When you get caught up in those minor details, you will lose your focus on what does matter.”

“The important things I’m talking about are stuff like the age, popularity, and authority of your site, as well as its usability and overall appeal to its target audience.”

On the other hand, noted SEO expert Bruce Clay disagrees.

Sweat the Small Stuff

I won’t argue that optimizing your Meta tags and H1 tags will always give you a significant boost in the rankings, or that if you put one extra word in your title tags you’re doomed to Google Hell; it won’t.

I won’t argue that Meta tags and H1 tags hold the same importance as keyword research, link building and site architecture, or that they should paralyze you in fear. There has no been research to prove that self-induced paralysis has any effect on your rankings.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not important or that you should forget them. The details are important. If they play any part in the search engine’s algorithm, they should be part of your search engine optimization campaign. Why? Because if you’re ignoring them and your competition isn’t, it puts you at a disadvantage. You can’t afford that.

The trouble with “not sweating the small stuff” is that you end up with an okay site. Not a great site, just one that’s “good enough”. If all you’re willing to optimize for is “good enough” then your rankings will reflect that. Top 20 is good enough. Top 10 requires more work. Top 3? That requires sweating the small stuff.

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