fighting with SEO rules

So this weekend I’m mostly focusing on development for a super top secret project that probably won’t be all that much of a surprise when I finally get around to launching, hopefully in a couple of months. Things have actually been flowing quite well and I’ve been fairly happy with my progress because I’m actually on schedule to finish what I started this weekend … except for this one little thing.

It’s kind of stupid so I’m not really focusing on it at the moment, but SEO is really being a pain in my ass.

I equate it to CSS because it seems like out of all of the development stuff that I do, CSS is always the bane of my existence. I mean, I can write a PHP script to pull a set of records from a database and parse the shit out of them, but when it comes to organizing the final output on the page with CSS, I’m usually longing for nested tables and a simpler time pre-CSS by about the 15 minute mark. Tonight, a similar scenario popped up with regards to SEO and frankly, I still think it’s kind of stupid…

Here’s the scenario – we’re talking about page titles, and specifically the order in which the elements should go:

*I* think it’s more aesthetically appealing in the title bar to look like this:

(example: Comedic-Genius Media | The Humor Column » The Know-It-All Car)

Whereas everything that I read about SEO says that it should basically be that in reverse:

(example: The Know-It-All Car « Comedic-Genius Media | The Humor Column)

Now I get that the latter might look better in the results of a search engine, but in my defense, what about that display view at the top of the browser window, or what shows if they’re using multiple tabs, for that matter? In that case, I think I’d much rather have the name of my site prominently at the front to identify my tab than a post name that might sound odd out of context and that is most likely going to get cut-off for length anyways. Besides, I like the way the hierarchy flows in my original example above from home down to the specific post being viewed – reversing it just seems, well, backwards.

So I guess ultimately my problem is that I don’t know how much I can just ignore all of this SEO stuff and focus on making quality content instead. I get flustered by all of the marketing hype pretty easily because they always seem so eager to tweak and polish keywords and positioning without actually starting with good, original content in the first place, so to put it bluntly – should I even be concerned about this? I’m sure that if somebody really wanted to, they could come through and tear ALL of my sites apart with regards to proper design, use of CSS, AND search engine optimization, and my line of thinking is that if I ever get big enough to be able to hire a professional to redesign them properly, I’ll let them do exactly that.

In the meantime, though, am I ok just sticking with whatever looks best to me or will I honestly be shooting myself in the foot by turning my back on the so-called experts???

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