Great Expectations (for SEO)

Written: 24-Apr-2008 | Last modified: 29-April-2008 | Filed under: Search Optimization

So, I just got back from attending (and live blogging) the very first Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, in Houston, Texas.

It was an amazing conference — so many terrific people, good fun and lots of information being shared. And now I’m taking this opportunity to share with you the first of two wonderful insights I picked up. I think these are especially important for small business owners to keep in mind when planning an online marketing campaign and evaluating the results.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The VW Bug versus NASCAR

The first tip comes from Matt Bailey, who did an awesome and entertaining presentation on the subject of web analytics. Web analytics? Sounds pretty dire, right? Well, as it happens, Matt has a way of making web analytics sound not only interesting, but fun. If you ever get the chance to attend one of his presentations, run, do not walk, to sign up. You will not regret it.

At one point, Matt told the story of how he has a vintage VW Beetle that he loves to work on. He said he’s not an expert by any means, but he enjoys it anyway. He calls in some of his “gearhead” relatives when he gets in over his head, but for the most part he’s content to tinker with it himself.

He pointed out the information he needs to work on his old VW Bug is very different from the information a NASCAR pit crew would need to work on a race car. And the types of “fixes” the NASCAR crew would do are very different from the types of things he’s doing.

While he deals with stripped screws and loose door handles, they’re shaving a millimeter or two off the side of one part, or fine-tuning the engine performance to a level of detail he can only dream of.

So how does this relate to small business marketing?

Well, often we small business owners visit forums or read blogs to learn more about search optimization and web marketing. The problem is, sometimes the advice and tips we read are aimed toward advanced SEOs — the NASCAR pit crews of search — when we’re actually at the “working on an old car in the backyard” stage.

The point is, the advanced techniques you might read about are the equivalent of shaving a single millimeter off the right front quarter panel. If you’re in the running for the Winston Cup, a tiny tweak such as that could be enough to make the difference between first and second place.

But if your vintage car can’t do more than 40 miles per hour uphill without a push and a major tailwind, minor adjustments like that won’t make a perceptible difference. And if your website is lacking in core optimization, worrying about advanced techniques is way premature.

You need to have all the basics stone cold nailed before you start to worry about fine-tuning.

Wondering what the basics are? Check out the Tips for Newbies at the High Rankings forum (where both Matt and I are moderators) to learn more about the kinds of things that will make a noticeable difference in your online results.

Next time: Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

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  1. Interesting post , I believe people should learn SEO by implementing it rather than doing too much research over it .

    Comment by SEO Pune — 25-Apr-2008 @ 3:13 am

  2. @SEO Pune: Absolutely, I agree it’s important at some point to get out there and get started rather than spending forever reading and researching but never implementing. As the old saying goes, nothing happens until something moves. On the other hand, *some* research is necessary, IMO. If you just jump in without knowing what you’re doing, you can inadvertently do great damage to your site, your rankings, and your online reputation. That’s why I recommend a read-through of the “tips for newbies” thread at the High Rankings forum linked above. It’s a quick rundown of best practices in site optimization that I think is appropriate for those of my readers who are just starting out with SEO. (And a great reminder for those with a little more experience under their belts!)

    Comment by Diane Aull — 29-Apr-2008 @ 8:53 am

  3. […] Boot Strap SEO: Great Expectations (for SEO) […]

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