The SEO 80/20 Rule

seo 80-20 ruleSearch engine optimization (SEO) is a growing area of focus for small and large businesses alike. A multitude of consultants and web service firms have developed services to meet this growing awareness of need among the general business public.

I have seen extensive proposals that offer SEO related services that cover everything from soup to nuts!  Some SEO firms specialize on a very niche markets such as and some offer services to all contenders. From a small business or sole proprietor perspective, the extent of the recommendations, and associated costs, may look truly nuts!

Similar to many priorities in life and business, SEO efforts can also follow the 80/20 rule.  The SEO 80/20 rule says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. Here is a list of common optimization tasks with the most critical 20% at the top of the list.

Small Business SEO Best Practice

  1. Develop regular, quality, well written content.
    1. The best advice is to make your website content original, well written and useful to your target audience.
  2. Select the best keywords for your site
    1. Identify 5 to 10 keywords, two to three word phrases, that you want your business to show up for in search engines
    2. Evaluate the popularity of selected keywords in Google’s Keyword Tool.
    3. Review website content for selected keywords and edit content where they would most naturally appear.
      1. But, don’t over do it! Keyword stuffing can result in lower SEO results. A rule of thumb is to use a keyword three to five times for every 100 words of text on a page, i.e. a keyword density of 3% to 5%.
  3. Create internal, contextual links to important pages of your website as often as possible
    1. For example, create links to important content by linking the words that best describe that content. Avoid linking a page to text that says “click here.”
  4. Optimize website title and metatags
    1. Ensure each page has it’s own unique title tag with keywords relevant to the content on the page.
    2. Include H1 and H2 tags on each page. Use only one H1 tag per page.
    3. Include keyword and description tags unique to each page.
  5. Claim or list your website in the top 5 local directory and review sites in your industry.
    1. Google Places is a must!
    3. Yahoo Local
    4. Your local city/town/regional directory
    5. Angie’s List is key for many businesses
    6. Local review site(s)
      1. Choose the best local review site for your business. If people are already reviewing your site on a directory, claim that listing !
      2. Yelp is a key review site for restaurants and many other local businesses
      3. Dealer Rater is key review site for car dealerships
  6. Discover and use the social media channels that your customers use, BUT ONLY IF you have a plan to engage and maintain those channels.

Additional SEO Activities are definitely useful…

But, the following optimization list doesn’t make our top 20% of the SEO 80/20 rule:

  1. Canonicalize your domain
    1. Matt Cutts, Google’s Search Quality Team Leader defines canonicalization well!
  2. Add sharing tools to your website
    1. This will allow people to share your content on their social media sites
  3. Put deep level navigation links in the footer of all pages
  4. Optimize website images with descriptive alternate ‘alt’ text
  5. Add 301 redirects for pages that have changed or no longer exist
  6. Register your site with Google and Bing webmaster tools
  7. Replace dynamic URLs with URLs that contain relevant keywords
  8. Install an xml sitemap for your website
  9. Create an hcard on the contact page or footer of your web pages
  10. Claim every relevant free local directory listing
  11. Create multiple web pages that are optimized for a local city search results
  12. Block duplicate content with robots.txt
  13. Create a blog or write articles and submit them regularly to an article directory
  14. Conduct a ‘black list’ check of the server where you website is hosted
  15. Find opportunities for .edu and .mil sites to link to your website
  16. List your website in popular social bookmarking sites such as,,, etc.
  17. Evaluate and reduce the loading time of web pages
  • What SEO activities would you add to the list?
  • What makes your top 5 list of SEO tasks?

Browse our Small Business SEO-related articles for more tips and advice! Or contact Loebig Ink for more information about Basic SEO services.

About Brian Loebig

Owner of, author of, and part-time Technology Manager for the Alliance for Performance Excellence, Brian has over 15 years of experience working in the quality improvement, human services and technology fields as an administrator and consultant. Brian has also worked as a practitioner and administrator in the corrections, substance abuse and human services fields with a special emphasis on technology. He continues to work with numerous community-based non-profits as a web technology consultant, board member and volunteer. Feel free to .
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18 Responses to The SEO 80/20 Rule

  1. Brian I think you got it all covered but from an SEO perspective, I’ve seen many developers & SEO novices getting the basics wrong. If only the 80/20 rule is properly applied to SEO you can do magic.

  2. Dan says:

    I hear echoes of some of our past conversations ringing in my ears 🙂

    You write a solid, comprehensible article on a much dressed-up subject. This is the down-to-earth approach that I admire so much in your writing, and find so genuinely helpful.

  3. serena says:

    Nice read! Really great article

  4. philipdaybiz says:

    Brian, your blog is excellent advice for all us small business owners trying to make a living in the digital world. That Google Keyword Tool is awesome and so helpful. Thanks for the info and keep up the good work.

  5. really need this information, thank you very much 🙂 (y)

  6. Pingback: SEO Trends for 2013 | The Ink Blog

  7. Pingback: Simple Social Media Tips To Keep Step Ahead Of The Competition - Nashville SEO Management

  8. drupal seo says:

    I can’t determine how do I subscribe to your blog

    • BrianL says:

      Hi Drupal SEO, You will find an email sign up link in the widget area to the right of all blog pages/posts. I decided to move that field up right below the ‘categores’ section so it is easier to find! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

  9. Hey BrianL, Thanks for your article well interesting while reading your contents and ideas. Keyword is the main gold mine of your online business and also you must select some relevant keywords which are mostly in Buyer Intention. as a example : There is a keyword called Linked influence 2.0 download and also there is a keyword which assume good amount monthly searches. likewise you’ve to build it.

    Mohamed Shajid
    SEO Sri lanka

  10. That’s great content Bryian. Actually keywords are the gold mine if you researched it properly so no worries until we die or left from the earth [Trolling] …

    Mohamed Shajid
    SEO Sri lanka

  11. Pingback: SEO Trends for 2014 | The Ink Blog

  12. Hector says:

    Hi there, I would like to subscribe for this blog
    to obtain most up-to-date updates, so where can i do
    it please help out.

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