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“What’s Your #1 Rule of SEO?” – The Search Agency’s Experts Weigh In

Posted on Friday, July 6th, 2012 by and Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEO

SEO geeks Jessica Lee and I got into a debate over what the  #1 SEO Rules were. Yes, this is a loaded question that has no real concrete answer and everyone has their own ideas.  For some it is a keyword focus, for others it is off-site optimization.  Jessica’s #1 rule is – “Don’t accidentally Disallow all.  Don’t casually mess with your robots.txt file!”  I claim that the #1 rule is – “Link freely (my friends).” 

This led us into a heated discussion about what we would recommend as the #1 rule of SEO, so we turned to our colleagues in the office to see what they thought.  We received a variety of answers across all the different disciplines of SEO that were so interesting that we had to share them with you today.

Rick Egan – VP, Group Accounts
“…Page Load Time is probably a bit overlooked today as the #1 rule … milliseconds can make a difference in how search engines interpret a page as well as how much of that site are they willing to crawl.”

Mark Fillmore, Group Account Director
“Endeavor to never leave anything up to the search engines to ‘figure out,’ especially those things that you have direct control over.”

Chris Stout – Manager, SEO
“Don’t ignore your title tags. They matter. Take advantage of this optimization opportunity and create engaging, keyword-rich titles that compel users to click through to your site.”

David WatermanDirector, Search Engine Optimization & Content Development
“Buy ad space…not links.”

Brandon Schakola – Account Manager, SEO
“Check your data at least twice, and your assumptions at least two more times beyond that, then check your data again.”

Matt McKinley – Creative Editor, SEO
“Content is still king – unique and optimized content.”

Firdaus Haque – Promotions Strategist, UK
“The content strategy for both on-page and off-page SEO should be developed to target the precise keywords/phrases; keeping the user at the centre of the strategy.”

Cregan Montague – Account Manager, SEO
“Be authentic, real and transparent.”

Ryan Solon – SEO Specialist, Promotions
“Optimize a backlink portfolio organically to better rank in the search engines.”

Brian Free – Account Manager, SEO
“Make sites for users, not engines.”

Caragh McKenna – Group Account Director, UK
“Relevant content, not content for the sake of content.”

Waleed Rashid – Senior Manager, San Francisco
Along with a sound technical infrastructure that is capable of properly scaling with today’s data and user experience needs, proper SEO must be nimble and ready to adjust to changes in the search engine algorithms and also to market transitions like the onset of the social graph and the convergence with mobile technology.”

Steve McQuaide – SEO Specialist
“Focus on the end user. This will guide the relevancy of your content, user experience to improve engagement metrics and improve the authenticity of your offsite promotions.”

David Carrillo – Manager, Social Media
“All activities—content, social, promotions, site structure—should be based upon delivering value and a quality experience to users. If you take care of that you have a great base to work off from an SEO perspective”

Grant SimmonsDirector, SEO & Social Product
“Process, not panacea.”

Do you disagree with any of our #1 rules, or do you have one of your own that we didn’t include?  Please note, however, that if your first and second rules of SEO are “You don’t talk about SEO” then you may want to take a moment and review Google’s steps in rewarding high-quality sites.

Comment below, take the survey yourself or

About Thomas Ciszek

Since 2010, Thomas Ciszek has managed web asset and earned media search optimization at The Search Agency. Prior to Mr. Ciszek's agency career, he worked as an analyst at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, as a technology consultant and web director. He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematical decision science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar in 2003 and afterward completed a MS in information science, also at UNC. His graduate research, funded by Microsoft considers the role of annotation in seeking and understanding information and structured data in electronic environments.

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