Many companies and professionals in the SEO sphere often make “best practices” recommendations to clients that include items like:
* Switch from underscores to hyphens to separate words in the URLs
* Employ the H1 tag for page headlines
* Use H2s and H3s for subheadlines
* Use the keyword you’re targeting on the page in bold/strong at least once
* Change your internal links to contain the anchor text you’re targeting on the page
* Move the keywords to the front of the title tag
* Reduce the code to content ratio
* Apply relevant alt tags to images & photos
* Nofollow links to pages like login, register and legal disclosures
These “little” tweaks are often at the bottom of the list of priorities and, in many organizations starved for dev & implementation resources, don’t make the final cut when the SEO recommendations are applied. The discussion goes something like this:
Client: We have the bandwidth to do some of these; which ones should we perform?
Consultant: Ideally, you should do all of them – that will give you the maximum opportunity to rank well.
Client: Not gonna happen – give me the top 3.
Consultant: OK, do X, Y & Z.
Client: And we can skip (all that stuff in the bullet points above)?
Consultant: Well, no. Not really. Individually, they won’t have a huge impact, but taken together, there’s the potential for a serious bump in traffic.
The problem comes from quantifying the value of individual “little” tweaks. We all know that canonicalizing duplicate content, setting up scalable link acquisition strategies and improving the keyword targeting across a site can have massive SEO and traffic results, but when it comes to the “little” things, tracking value and making the case to a busy dev team, an overworked client or a skeptical CMO can be extremely challenging.
How have you dealt with getting clients/devs to go that extra distance? What “little” changes have you seen make a big impact? Or, are these kinds of slight improvements even worth the trouble?
p.s. I’m not suggesting that all of the bullet pointed items above are “little” and not worth the effort – in my experience, a few of those I mentioned have had a real impact on SEO for certain sites. I’m simply using them as examples of recommendations that don’t make the “final cut.”