On-Page SEO and the 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 Rule for onsite/offsite optimization. Yes the 20% is that important.

The 80-20 Rule for onsite/offsite optimization. Yes the 20% is that important.

Following on from the last post on On-page SEO, it occurred to me that I had not mentioned the 80-20 rule.  That’s the trouble with SEO training, there is always something that gets left out!

The 80-20 Rule is quite simple.  Only 20% of your seo ranking will be based on your on-page optimisation.  I think I can hear a collective sigh and a head or two banging against desks.  I know, I know, you thought that if you followed the advice in the last post on On-page SEO that you would be celebrating much in terms of gained rankings.

Sorry, It doesn’t work like that.  That is not to say that On-page SEO is not important.  Indeed I consider it to be the very foundations of SEO.  I am appalled by SEO’s who say they will do all of a sites SEO off page.  20% is not to be sniffed at either, it’s a significant part of 100%, and, as you will have seen from the last post it is not very difficult either once you know what you are doing.

What we are left with though is a massive 80% of our SEO work still to do.  It is the off page SEO that sorts the men from the boys, the women from the girls and the hermaphrodites from the younger hermaphrodites.  Just keep an eye on this blog and we will get there!  I would also suggest you keep an eye on Hobo and grab the SEO e-book available there. I have not got around to writing an e-book yet.

The 80-20 Rule is a myth!

It is certainly not a hard and fast rule.  Nothing much is when it comes to SEO.  Talk to too many SEO’s and you will end up feeling confused.  There is much we disagree on.  As I started out I used to take the commonly held beliefs as fact and then experiment with some of the more “out there” claims made by some SEO’s.  Ultimately I found though that much of the content on the web was out of date.

There is tons and tons of out of date material out there on On-page SEO.  You could end up with half your page being taken up with useless or at least suspect meta tags alone.  These are largely tags that once held some value but no longer do.  Some of them were only relevant to some search engines.

Should you ignore all meta tags?  Not at all. But you can probably apply the 80-20 rule to them as well.  I often don’t bother with the keywords tag.  I certainly don’t bother with things like author tags.  I do however use the Google only “unavailable_after” tag which looks like this….

I use it where I have pages that are set to expire on certain dates.  It is fairly good at making sure people do not reach expired pages from a Google Search.  Does it have any SEO value?  I think not.  But it is good for visitors, and let us not forget that visitors are the whole reason for this SEO nonsense in the first place.

I’ve done it again, started out with a short post that starts rambling.  I’ll leave it at that for On-page SEO for now.  If you have any queries leave a comment, or contact me through Webshed.  Indeed, if you disagree with what I have written entirely I welcome your comments.  Debate is how we all learn and no SEO is EVER finished learning.

About Ian Wortley


Ian is one of Irelands leading SEO consultants with over 8 years experience in the Irish market. Ian discovered his love of all things internet related in 2005 and has been living nearly exclusively online since then, causing much worry to friends and family, but getting great results for clients. Contact Ian: Phone: 01 6854806 Mobile: 086 3817149