The power of 20 and 80, and how you can apply it to online marketing! (or anything else in your life)

What is the 80/20 rule?

Apart from being a confusing set of numbers, it does have some meaning and purpose.


In its simplest form, these numbers mean 80% of consequence is caused by only 20% of the action.

For example:

If we were to use this rule for chicken farming; 20% of your chickens will give you 80% of your eggs!

This rule is designed for management and can be used towards any aspect of business. Another example may be a manager using it for staff production – they need 20% effort in labor, to achieve 80% of winning performance.

Where did the 80/20 rule come from?

It was first coined by Joseph Juran, a scholar, who was notorious for the business scene during the 20th century.

The rule doesn’t just work for business; it can also be used for relationships, money, philosophy and any other life aspect.

For example:

20% of your house full of puppies, will increase the flea population by 80%! Yikes, scratch that off your bucket list (and your hair!).

So, now you are very confused to how this fits in with business – well, let me show you…:

If I can just bring back that chicken farm to my story, then we will see that 20% of your barn chickens are the only ones that are producing your eggs – bear in mind, you are paying the costs for the upkeep, food and other miscellaneous equipment to keep all those chickens; so, to make our eggs a more cost effective enterprise, we can look at:

  • Reducing our chicken numbers and only using the remaining 20% of effective chickens.
  • We could study why those chickens are more effective and repeat the same actions on any newbie egg layers.


With that analysis by applying 80/20, we have found ways to reduce our costs on chicken keeping and we can increase our production line. We have brought our focus down to the actual effective production, rather than wasting resources on assets that aren’t bringing much to the outcome we want.

This may all seem simple, but it is so often overlooked and the solution can be right under your nose. I’m also hoping the chicken analogy will also give you a clearer picture of how this could be used for an online business – it works on most things that you can think of.

So, now let’s take a look at the 80-20 rule for SEO

Even in SEO, the 80-20 rule can be used on many different aspects of the process (the numbers are so cool).

For example:

If we used the 80-20 rule for creating backlinks to other blogs, then we could apply this theory by:

20% of your top site referrals will provide you with 80% of the result (clicks, new site visitors, and sales).

However, as back linking can get so complex and grow into a huge task, then it can be very easy to overlook the actions which are providing the results and wasting our time and energy on also the methods that don’t produce anything – this can waste time, resources and energy. Why? When you can simplify it to a much more manageable task.

The method:

From the statement above, only 20% of your SEO tactics are bringing you 80% of the wanted result – this will set out a clearer picture for drawing up an analysis, in order to achieve maximum production.

You will need to go through all your actions and look for the processes that are giving you back the result you want, whilst canceling out any actions that haven’t produced many visitors.

For example:

You may find that getting backlinks from top ranked sites is producing most of your visitors; but online directory listing, writing in forums and guest posting articles onto other blogs are not as effective in comparison.

Does this mean we should only focus on a particular method?

No, as you should see that the minor techniques are bringing results, but not on the same scale. So what we do is, using the 80-20 numbers again, use them to allocate time management on the process.

So, if 20% is getting you 80% of the result, then you need to make sure 20% of your time is spent doing that action – all the other SEO techniques should be used in the other 80% of your allocated work time.

Can we use 80-20 for content and keywords?

You bet we can! Let’s say you had a blog with 100 articles and 25 of those articles are the ones drawing in your target market – what would you do?

(I’m hoping you’ve got a good idea already by now…) This rule should be showing us that it’s them 25 articles we need to look further into.

Here are some factors why these 25 articles worked:

  • The articles use more popular keywords that people are looking for.
  • The content offers more information that is in demand for your market, so this gives you an area of focus for new material.
  • The backlinks on them pages may be higher of quality than the other articles.
  • The articles produced more engagement on social media.

The list could go on and I’m sure by using this analysis, that you have got ideas of your own.

To summarize everything…

You can see clearly now about how this rule works – do not underestimate, it’s not meant to be clever math; it is simply shifting your business perspective to a problem-solving angle, which will provide you with clear answers on what you need to work on for improving your blog or website’s SEO ranking.

The best features of this mind tool are:

  • Organizing time management.
  • Pinpointing strategy, so your resources and time is maximized to full production.
  • The inspiration for expanding on ideas that are working, whilst cutting out more wasteful techniques.
  • Providing you with a clear path on where to go from now.

Good luck – and may the power of 80-20 bring you prosperity and good fortune.


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From the UK, am a business and financial correspondent in providing tips, help, guides and articles.

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