BIG and SMALL Tags and SEO


<big> and <small> tags are some of the tags one shouldn’t used at all, for search engine optimization purpose or not. They have no semantic value for search engines and can be easily replaced with other markup tags for the visual improvements of the look and feel of a page. However I decide to have them described in this article just for  educational purposes.

Remember not to use them, unless absolutely necessary (can’t think of a specific reason).

Definition and Usage

The <big> and <small> tag allows you to specify the size of the text.

<big>Big text</big>
<small>Small text</small>

Designers should know

  • don’t use this tag to alter the font size. Use CSS instead.

SEO professionals should know

  • make sure that you actually use heading elements instead of BIG and SMALL

Programmers should know

  • The BIG tag increases the font size from its current value by 1. It has the same effect as using the FONT tag with a SIZE value of +1
  • tell your designer to find alternatives that describe the semantic meaning of the copy and style them with CSS

Copywriters should know

  • if you want to emphasize content use <strong> or <em> tags, which will render bold and italics in most browsers

As you can see I put a lot of accent on semantic markup and that’s only because semantic markup means cleaner, valid html, better accessibility and, generally speaking a better user experience, which Google wants to provide to its users. In other words going semantic will help you with your efforts.

For a better understanding of the what semantic markup means you can visit this resource, from where I cite:

  • Use heading elements (h1 – h6) for headings, and make sure they create a logical outline of the document.
  • Use tables to mark up tabular data, and use the full set of features (caption, th, scope, headers etc.) provided by HTML 4.01 to make sure that the tables are accessible.
  • When marking up a quote, use q or blockquote.
  • For images, make proper use of the alt and title attributes.
  • Use HTML list elements (ul, ol, dl) to mark up lists.
  • Use the em and strong elements for emphasis, not to make text bold or italic (i.e. do not mindlessly replace i and b with em and strong).

Are you a web designer, a copywriter, programmer or search engine optimizer and have a suggestion about this tag? Please leave a comment or contact us. If the suggestion is good I will update the article and will provide a link back to your site.

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Traian is Director of Search Marketing at Pitstop Media Inc. He has more than 11 years experience in helping small and medium businesses generate and convert organic traffic from search engines. Connect with Traian on Google+. He is also the author of the Ecommerce SEO book.


2 Responses to “BIG and SMALL Tags and SEO”

  1. BOLD or STRONG Tag and SEO said:

    May 13, 11 at 3:02 pm

    […] communicate something to search engine botsBIG and SMALL tags have been discussed in this article:<b>Bold text</b><strong>Strong text </stong>Designers should […]

  2. Peter Zmijewski said:

    Mar 18, 13 at 2:47 am

    You are an excellent blogger. I will recommend your tips to everyone in my circle so that they could also take the benefits.

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