How to Use the 20-20-60 Rule for SEO to Improve Your Search Ranking

November 20, 2014

The 20-20-60 Rule for SEO suggests that 20% of your SEO performance depends on the technical structure of your website such as proper page structure, redirects, the robot.txt file, and internal links. 20% depends on on-page factors such as the use of indexable text, images, and videos, and relevant meta tags and descriptions and 60% depends on off-site factors such as backlinks and social signals.

Here’s how you can use 20-20-60 Rule for SEO to improve your search ranking:

1. Technical structure. Your website should have proper site architecture, thematic URLs (e.g. www.example/blog/digital-marketing-tactics and not, or responsive web design so it’s user- and SEO-friendly. If you’re unsure whether your website has proper technical structure, perform a SEO audit.

2. On-page factors. Include keywords your target audience uses to search for products or services you offer in your web content because it helps Google determine the relevancy of your content in relation to searchers’ queries.

For example, if your audience uses the keywords “social media management tool” or “twitter management tool,” you should include these keywords in your blogs or service pages.

In addition to mentioning targeted keywords in your web content, include unique meta tags and descriptions to help Google gain a better understanding of what your webpages are about. (Note: meta tags and descriptions play a very minor role in affecting a website’s search ranking they still help.) You also want to include Alt Text to help Google understand the themes or topics of your pages.

3. Off-page factors. According to a SearchMetrics study, backlinks remain a crucial factor in determining a website’s search ranking.

To determine how well you’re doing in terms of backlinks, use Open Site Explorer.

Insert your website URL in the search box and Open Site Explorer will show how many backlinks you have. After you’ve done so, enter your competitor’s URL to see how well you’re performing in comparison to your competitor.

How to Use the 20 20 60 Rule for SEO to Improve Your Search Ranking image open site explorer 1

How to Use the 20 20 60 Rule for SEO to Improve Your Search Ranking image open site explorer 2

If you discover that your competitors have more backlinks than you, you can use these three tactics to earn more backlinks:

  • Start an interview series. Run an on-going interview series with professionals within your industry. When people participate in an interview, they tend to share it on social media or link to it from their website. This helps you earn backlinks.
  • Guest blog. Reach out to bloggers to write articles on their websites. For example, if you’re Coastal Contacts, you can reach to fashion blogs such as or to contribute guest articles about fashion tips. When you write guest blogs, you can include a link of your website in the author bio, which helps you gain backlinks.
  • Publish PR releases. When publishing a press release, use an online PR distribution service such as PRWeb because they allow you to include an URL or two, which means backlinks to your website.

The 20-20-60 Rule for SEO is an excellent rule of thumb for efficiently improving your search ranking. By focusing on developing proper technical structure for your website and optimizing on-page factors and off-page factors such as including relevant keywords in web content and increasing your number of backlinks, you will steadily improve your SEO performance over time.

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