100 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of SEO

sujan patel

This June marks my tenth year in SEO, which means that I’ve gone through dozens of different algorithm changes and implemented SEO techniques on hundreds of websites across various market verticals.

I’ve worked both in-house and at agencies, but all this experience doesn’t mean that I’ve got the final answer on what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to SEO. In fact, I’ve made tons of mistakes along the way…and today, I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career.

The following lessons are all based on my own experiences and screw-ups. They aren’t just related to SEO, but to my life, business and entrepreneurial pursuits in general as well. I hope you find them useful when it comes to avoiding the same mistakes I’ve made in the past!

  1. Don’t link-build too fast – When I first started in SEO, I built a site and started going gung-ho, not realizing that I should pace myself. I’d build all the links I could and then be totally inconsistent about my efforts in the following months. As you might expect, my rankings shot up but tumbled down just as fast – a situation I could have avoided by taking a steady, more sustainable approach.
  2. Meta descriptions matter – Even if they don’t have any SEO value now, they’re still useful from a CTR standpoint.
  3. Don’t obsess over rankings and traffic – Things move monthly, not daily or weekly.
  4. There’s a fine line between being analytical and being obsessed – When I first started, I would watch my site’s rankings every day, every hour, thinking something would change. As a result, I was wasting time obsessing over something I couldn’t change, when my time would have been better spent building extra links or writing extra blog posts.
  5. There’s no replacement for a good product – I’ve done SEO for hundreds of sites and found the best SEO tactic is a great product – something that will never change.
  6. There is a huge difference between optimizing e-commerce sites, lead generation sites, small sites and user generated sites – You need to understand not just the current situation of a website, but the type of a website it is as your whole strategy should revolve around the type of a site you’re working with.
  7. Tactics come and go, but creativity never dies – I hate seeing people blindly following the advice of other SEO experts, without even thinking about whether or not the techniques they’re using work well for their sites. You can’t go wrong by putting the emphasis on providing value for your customers and finding creative ways to do it.
  8. Age is just a number – The age of a domain and site definitely help a site rank, but don’t let your young site intimidate you. There are plenty of other factors weighted in the ranking algorithms, which gives you plenty of other opportunities to beat your competition.
  9. Big brands aren’t that hard to beat – In general, I’ve found that the bigger the brand, the bigger their budget – but the slower they are to move. Just think about how much effort it takes to move a speed boat versus a cargo ship.
  10. Diversify everything you do – Google devalues entire link types on a regular basis, so don’t get caught with your pants down!
  11. SEO is evolving with marketing – Search engine optimization becomes more complex every day, which is why it’s incredibly important to stay up-to-date on industry news.
  12. Write content to reach your audience – Yes, SEO is important, but if you don’t have something good waiting on your site for the visitors who find your company through the SERPs, there’s no reason to go to all the trouble of getting your site ranked well.
  13. Every SEO needs to know programming languages – Your site’s code plays a big role in its optimization, so take the time to get familiar with what’s going on behind the scenes.
  14. There’s no alternative to experience – With SEO, you can read all the books and blog posts in the world. But there are so many moving parts that, unless you actually do it, you won’t know if that strategy or tactic is working. I’ve been lucky enough to work on hundreds of different sites and have learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t. Until you get penalized and fix that penalty, you’re never going to be 100% sure.
  15. Cute animals are the worst – Whenever Google releases an animal-themed update (like the recent “Panda” and “Penguin”), you know it’s time to get worried!
  16. It’s all relative (think “rel=canonical,” “rel=alternative” and “rel=author”) – There are several different rel tags out there, so it’s SEO 101 to keep track of them properly as each option can help ensure the proper flow of PageRank and SEO value throughout your site.
  17. Internet marketing never dies (whether that’s SEO, ASO, PPC, CRO, mobile, email or display marketing) – Every month or two, I read an article about how some different aspect of SEO is dying. Here’s the thing… SEO will never die. It will evolve, and the platform you optimize will change, but the theories and concepts will still be there as long as people continue to run websites.
  18. Keyword research is the only thing that matters – Do your keyword research right. You have to nail this down right off the bat because if you’re wrong, everything executed afterwards will be a wasted effort.
  19. There’s no replacement for unique content – Stop trying to fool yourself that your spun articles represent any kind of value for your audience.
  20. It’s always better to be natural than over-optimized – In my opinion, Penguin was only the first step in what’s going to be a long line of future over-optimization penalties. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when your optimized-to-a-fault website gets dinged!
  21. PageRank is just another number – There are plenty of other, more important, numbers that you should be tracking – e.g, outbound links on a page, external outbound links and inbound links – rather than focusing exclusively on toolbar PageRank.
  22. You can measure authority and trust – If you aren’t paying attention to either metric, chances are you’re already being beat out by your competitors.
  23. Bounce rate is very important – It’s a small factor in SEO, but a huge factor in ROI. You should be working constantly to improve your bounce rate, as this gives your users better value and provides you with a better ROI. If you can decrease your bounce rate by 25%, that’s 25% more visitors that can take action on your site.
  24. Your SEO and product teams need to work together – Having good products is one of the best things you can do for your SEO. For this reason, you need to work closely with your product team to make sure your sites are properly optimized. Out-of-sync teams can waste time burning their tires just to catch up on optimizing the latest product releases.
  25. Developers like to use big words – Don’t let this intimidate you! Treat them with respect and try to speak to them on their level. Working with technical minds doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think.
  26. Long live the <title> tag!
  27. Both 301 redirects and 404 pages matter – If you haven’t optimized these two site components, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to capture web visitors.
  28. SEO is magic – After working on SEO for hundreds of sites, I find that there’s always a little unknown involved. Often times it’s due to not fully understanding the situation because of a lack of tools or information on a site’s history. But there’s always a little bit of unknown evolved, so you should always be prepared for that.
  29. There’s no replacement for relevancy – Whether in terms of content creation, on-page optimization or link building, relevancy matters and should be a top priority for your website.
  30. Speed has been an issue since 1999 – The faster your website, the better (even though plenty of people seem to forget about this one).
  31. “(not provided)” is not a problem – Even if you don’t have all the information you need, you can still move forward as long as you understand your product and customers.
  32. Never try to screw over your competitors – It’s just good karma to avoid shady stuff. Instead, use that energy to build an extra link or do more SEO for your site. You don’t need to play defence until you’re at the top of the SERPs (and even then, the best defence is a strong offence).
  33. Always try to learn from your competition – Don’t get frustrated about being outranked. Instead, try to identify the strategies your Top 5 competitors are using to beat you and then turn around employ them on your own site.
  34. The only thing I miss about Yahoo is the Open Site Explorer – Seriously, talk about a company that’s behind the times…
  35. Don’t pay for fancy SEO tools, build them – There are hundreds of great tools out there, but I find that my favorite tools are usually the ones we built internally that help us speed up the simplest tasks.
  36. Money doesn’t buy rankings – It helps, but what you really need is a good strategy.
  37. It’s better to be safe than sorry – This goes for all SEO tactics. Google is getting stricter and stricter, so avoid at all costs anything that might be construed as over-optimization.
  38. Don’t build links, build customers – Google updates can’t destroy your business if it’s built on people, not SEO metrics.
  39. Too much of anything is bad – Don’t focus on any one technique too much. One year from now, your link building tactic could get you penalized, so if it feels wrong morally, don’t do it.
  40. SEO can be applied to many aspects of your life
  41. Always do amazing work – This is the only rule in my life that I’ve stuck to. Because of it, I’ve had some amazing opportunities. Doing good work will always help you – just try it and see!
  42. Build an army – Our first hire at Single Grain was Ross Hudgens, and now, he’s one of our biggest evangelists.
  43. Get some fresh air – There’s so much going on in the SEO industry that sometimes you just need a break. Take a vacation, drink a beer and don’t forget that there’s a world beyond your computer.
  44. Learn how to improve your CTR from billboards – Billboards have very little time to capture attention, so they’re masters of the quick sell. When a billboard catches your eye, figure out what they’re doing and how they caught your attention.
  45. Happy hour is the best place for ideas – Often, you’ll have your best ideas when you’re not directly thinking about work. If you ever feel stuck, grab a beer and sleep on it.
  46. Networking is the only thing that matters in the first five years of working – Start as a peon. To get anywhere in life, you have to meet the right people, so get out, get a good position and focus on listening to the knowledge of experts. Success will come with time. In fact, I can pinpoint key achievements in my career from the people I met in my first five years of working in SEO.
  47. Give everything you know away – SEO is hard, which means that there are always opportunities to help others. You don’t have to be secretive about what you do (heck, most of the time, when I give everything away, people don’t ever act on it). It’s still good karma though, so give it away and good things will come.
  48. Teach as many people as possible – You never know when the people you help out will return the favor with future business referrals.
  49. There’s a difference between marketing, advertising and branding – If you don’t know the difference and lack a strategy in place for each aspect of your business, you’re missing out.
  50. There will always be ups and downs – Don’t take your “up” times for granted, and don’t let your “down” times cause you to give up.
  51. Always go for sustainability – This is true whether you’re talking rankings, income, happiness or anything else in life.
  52. Location matters – Living in an industry-concentrated city like San Francisco leaves me feeling motivated and inspired at the end of each day.
  53. Take risks – Make them smart risks, but don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut.
  54. Talking shit works – It isn’t necessary to burn bridges to do so, but don’t be afraid of rocking the boat every now and then.
  55. You will always have to suck up – Whether you’re dealing with investors or clients, keep in mind that your livelihood and happiness often rest in other peoples’ hands. Deal with the fact that this means you’ll have to suck up to them every so often.
  56. Think scalability – Always have this idea at the top of your mind as it’s the ultimate key to earning higher profits and making more money.
  57. Always have a strategy – There are enough resources in the world that you shouldn’t ever feel like you’re approaching things aimlessly.
  58. There’s an app for that – In this day and age, there’s an app available for just about every problem you have. Whether it relates to SEO or life, it’s just a Google search away.
  59. Lawyers suck – Whether they’re on your side (in the form of legal fees) or not (if you’re getting sued), they cost a lot and are best avoided at all costs.
  60. Fire fast – Bad employees hurt the people around them much more than it’ll hurt to let them go.
  61. Don’t optimize for social media, be social – You don’t have to try to “look natural” if you simply are natural in the first place.
  62. Just f***ing do it!
  63. Don’t rely on other people’s money – If you’re starting a business, don’t build it just to raise money. Even if you’re running an SEO campaign, you can still do it with little to no money.
  64. Read books – Fiction, non-fiction, whatever. Reading helps improve your writing skills and exposes you to tons of new ideas.
  65. Figure out the difference between fad and trend, both in SEO and life – Don’t jump on every bandwagon you come across if it doesn’t make sense in terms of your overall plan.
  66. Avoid the SEO hangover – Just like having too much alcohol will leave you feeling poorly the next day, taking in too much SEO information can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Avoid information overload by researching only the subject you need at any given time.
  67. More isn’t always better – Practise tasteful SEO that’s in line with your overall goals and vision.
  68. Don’t forget about your family and friends – If you let your relationships with your family and friends fall apart because you’re too busy with work, they won’t be there for you when you need them the most.
  69. Capitalize carefully – Don’t rush into accepting financing without a careful consideration of the impact on your business. Trust yourself and use this faith to stick to the business growth plan you’ve identified.
  70. Fail fast – If something isn’t working, drop it to pursue other opportunities.
  71. Focus on habits – Having goals is important, but it’s the habits you adopt that allow you to achieve these overall visions.
  72. Validate your learning – Take time to assess what’s working in both your SEO campaigns and in your life.
  73. Be prepared for the pressures of a public life – It’s not all bad, but there is a certain amount of pressure on public personalities to perform. Don’t get into the world of web management if you aren’t comfortable being found online by strangers.
  74. Don’t feed the trolls – Some people just suck, but don’t let them drag you down too.
  75. You can’t have everything – Or, at least, you can’t have everything all at once.
  76. Avoid income inflation – If you’re successful in business, your income should go up, but be careful not to let your spending get out of hand. Bad things happen to even the best of people, so don’t over-extend yourself.
  77. Be grateful – Try finding at least one person every day to say “thank you” to.
  78. Eat well and exercise regularly – I like good beer and rich foods as much as the next guy, but I also know that I’m more productive when I’m healthy. Everything in moderation!
  79. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – Don’t chase after the newest, shiniest SEO tool or ebook. Work with what you have and only invest in your business when you can afford to do so.
  80. Give back to your community – Take time every year to help the less fortunate. Do it out of recognition of everything you’ve been blessed with.
  81. Pursue ideas thoughtfully – Even if you have dozens of great ideas, don’t rush into them all at once. Wait for the right moment.
  82. Learn to say “no” – Not every request you get will be a good fit for your business. If an opportunity doesn’t fit with your long-range vision, take it off the table.
  83. Don’t overextend yourself – Taking on more clients or projects than you can handle leads to stress and burnout (not to mention missed deadlines!). Avoid it whenever possible.
  84. Eliminate clutter – Clean desk = clean mind.
  85. There aren’t any shortcuts, either in SEO or in life – Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.
  86. Quit bitching and do the work – Don’t complain about how hard it is to find good links or to get to the top of the SERPs. Reinvest that energy in actually doing the work, and you’ll see much more success.
  87. Conversion rates should be your top goal – SEO only matters if you’re seeing an improvement in your bottom line as a result of your efforts.
  88. Pay attention to your ROI – Quantify your actions and be ruthless about eliminating any SEO techniques that don’t contribute a positive ROI to your website.
  89. Baby steps make a difference – SEO can seem overwhelming, but doing as little as building one new link a day will make a difference over time.
  90. Listen to Matt Cutts
  91. Be wary of overselling – If you can’t do something, don’t tell your clients that you can. Overselling is a quick way to ruin your reputation.
  92. SEO is a race, not a sprint – Don’t get frustrated if you don’t see results right away. SEO is something you’ve got to be in for the long haul.
  93. SEO isn’t the “end all, be all” – There are tons of different ways to get traffic online. If SEO isn’t the right fit for your company, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dozens of other techniques you can use to build your web presence.
  94. The easiest way to secure backlinks is by publishing great content – Building good content and getting people to share it is one of the easiest formulas out there for generating backlinks.
  95. SEO is never “done”
  96. Coffee is no substitute for good sleep – You can’t do good work if you’ve been up for three days in a row, so cut the crap and get a good night’s sleep.
  97. There’s always something you can be doing better – Even SEO experts make continuing education part of their businesses, so make it a priority to always be looking for ways to improve.
  98. Make monitoring industry updates a regular part of your routine – Every day, try to scan through SEO news sites’ headlines (I use seo.alltop.com for this) so that you don’t miss out on major announcements.
  99. Take regular digital sabbaticals – If it works for Bill Gates, it’ll probably work for you too, so try to find at least a few days a year to regroup and tune out popular media.
  100. You can’t outsmart Google – Google hires some of the top scientists, engineers and PhDs in the world every year. The odds of some “sneaky trick” you’ve found on an SEO blog outsmarting this brain trust aren’t very good.


If there’s any one thing I’ve learned from my decade in the business, it’s that there’s no substitution for failure. You’re going to make mistakes – and it’s going to suck – but if you can draw lessons from your experiences like I’ve done above, you’ll ultimately wind up more successful than if you blow off your mistakes.

With that in mind, can you share what some of your biggest mistakes were and what lessons you have taken from these failures?

About the author: Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Single Grain, an SEO Agency based in San Francisco, CA. Single Grain specializes in helping startups and Fortune 500 companies with their digital marketing strategy. You should follow Sujan onTwitter.


  1. Wow Sujan, you just hit the nail on the head. Thanks for sharing these top 100 hits. I enjoyed each one of them. I want to share the following with you:

    For most of my life, I have pursued what the famed business expert Dr. W Edwards Deming calls profound knowledge. To me profound knowledge is any distinction, strategy, belief, skill or tool that the minute we understand it, we can apply it to make immediate increases in the quality of our lives.

    Joe Awe from Belize, Central America.

    • SEO is a double edged sword, and has always been and will be!

      A few things that stick out to me, “Fail Fast!” And a few other points on focusing your customer’s needs. Google’s goals is always showing websites that best serve a searcher’s needs. They are simply getting closer to that with all their updates.

      • Sujan Patel :

        Couldn’t agree more. Google wants to promote the best results because that leads to more advertising revenue. We’d be foolish to think that recent updates are a “one time thing” – rather, they’re just the beginning of the overall direction the company appears to be heading in.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and best of luck with your pursuit of profound knowledge. Sounds like a pretty great way to live your life!

    • office cleaning in perth :

      another important thing. Experience is the best teacher. I am an seo professional in elance. I have ranked top 10 in their skill test even thugh i found to optimize the website for the first time and i learned that by doing seo. Dont just read ebooks. DO it and think practically.

    • From an e-commerce site owner’s, with little SEO background, perspective it is difficult to not want immediate results from my sites. Alot of the list you mentioned I struggle with because I have bills to pay and employees to pay. Too many times I want quicker results and feel as though I need to hire an SEO and spend tons of money to generate backlinks and such. Over the last several years I have learned that content is very important and I have tried to increase the amount of quality content on my sites. My sites are in a pretty good niches, so my bounce rate is pretty low already. I definitely appreciate all of your comments and will do my best to be patient with my SEO. I can say that SEO is not for impatient people. It is a struggle.

  2. Software Testing :

    These 100 lessons are just awesome. I second your lesson #1 that we shouldnt build backlinks too fast as google considers these links as spam links. Sometimes I do wonder that Is there any particular software or something which can evaluate a website and tell if the SEO efforts are sufficient or something else is required.

    • This comment by “software testing” is an perfect example of comment SPAM

      • Software Testing :

        This is considered spam by silly people like you. Seems this person known as rama “doesnt” understand the difference between a spam comment and a useful comment.

  3. Scott Bradley :

    This is an awesome list of tips Neil! Such a valuable resource for people to learn from! Thank you for taking the time to put this together.

    I have always focused on producing the best content possible, knowing that the SEO would “take care of itself” on the backend after promoting it within social media.

  4. I have to really agree with number 1. I had a client that I think i got a little to gung ho about and the rankings shot up quickly, but then fell back to page 4 very quickly and I’m still crawling my way back!

    • Sujan Patel :

      Yep – that’ll happen. Link building should always be looked at as a “slow and steady wins the race” deal, even if we might see good results in the short term from a more aggressive approach.

  5. Sunita Biddu :

    Such a wow list.. I share most of them but loved each one 🙂 And I could feel the emotion behind cute animals :p

  6. thanks sujan for great article .. learn lot from this

  7. Some great tips there Sujan.

    A major one i’d add:

    – Constantly check Google WMT for accessibility issues, sitemap errors & HTML improvements 🙂

  8. Srivathsan G.K :

    WOW, that’s lot of experience talking. Very useful points for everyone into SEO.

  9. My favorite is fail fast. Knowing when to cut bait on a client, employee or side project is really important. Thanks for the tips, and I look forward to reading the follow up post in 10 years!

    • Sujan Patel :

      That’s one of my favorites as well. We’re all going to fail at certain points in our lives, so we might as well get over the stigma, learn something from our mistakes and move on as quickly as possible.

  10. You should rename this the SEO bible, great list! My favorite was #70 “Fail Fast”.

    If something’s failing you need to drop it. No matter how much you’ve invested in it, drop it and move on.

    • Sujan Patel :

      It can be incredibly challenging to quit something you’ve invested time or money into, but it’s necessary. Kudos to you on recognizing that.

    • I definitely agree with this one to! Too many people try and hold onto sinking ships and then it’s too late to turn back.

  11. Sending this over to everyone in the office right now. Sujan, you hit the nail on the head on so many points. I think a key asset that good SEO’s build over time is to tune out the drama in the industry, and focus on shipping and getting things done instead.

  12. Shivbhadra Gohil :

    Sujan, just want to say WOW!
    Awesome post buddy!
    Waiting for your 200 lessons after 20 years 😛

    • Sujan Patel :

      Can’t wait to come back here down the road with that post 🙂

      • Shivbhadra Gohil :

        I know for sure, this post is going to be Turning Point for me! Felt like I’ve got 10 years of Experience after reading it 😛

  13. Tom Treanor :

    Awesome list Neil. Interesting one about “talking shit works” #54! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sujan Patel :

      It can be a thin line to walk with that one, but you better believe it’ll get you attention and links!

  14. Rafael Montilla :

    I am not agree with you 100% on #100.
    There is a client’s competitor, who has a network of blogs, the “SEO company” that gives SEO service to this competitor has about 15 blogs, and all outbound links are pointing to their clients, how do I know this?
    They have the list of clients on their Website and keywords their clients are ranking in G.

    • Sujan Patel :

      No problem – there are always disagreements in the SEO world.

      But honestly, while I think it’s possible to find loopholes that allow you to temporarily “outsmart” Google, I doubt there’s a single person working in the industry today that’s found a workaround that’ll hold up in the long run. I’m going to give the win to Google’s crack team of engineers and scientists every time.

  15. This is a fantastic list. It is much more relevant in Post Panda/Penguin time now.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Definitely agree that a lot of these are particularly relevant for post-Panda and post-Penguin life. Glad you enjoyed the article!

  16. Is there 1 SEO who didn’t read this???

  17. David - Boundless Opportunities :

    Hi Neil and Sujan,
    I am trying to learn SEO as part of my business, though not to do it myself, and this is not only a good lesson on SEO strategy but a great lesson in business.
    Definitely a very insightful read with lessons I can immediately apply.
    Thanks for sharing this Sujan.

  18. Jhon Edison Bueno Martinez :

    I liked when you said Don’t build links, build customers, that’s totally true. For me the real SEO is not just optimization for robots, is more optimization for people. We need to realize that we need our business around people. Google is only a tool… a big one, but it’s still a tool.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Exactly. While SEO is still important when it comes to getting your site in front of those customers, it isn’t worth a thing if you don’t have a solid business in place to retain and convert this traffic. SEO and content marketing go hand in hand – always have, and always will.

  19. Are you guys mind readers? Last time I was here, I got a crash course in YOAST and SEO set up. Today, I’m impatient, and so, to take a break, I checked my inbox and found this!

    Okay, so need to breath deep, and settle down for the long haul, and follow my plan.

    Awesome article, Sujan! Even definitive! Neil, I like a man who walks his talk.

    I’d like to contribute this humble, beginner’s wisdom as a potential #101: “Fogedaboudit!” Last time I ignored a site, and came back a week later, 5 of “my” keywords had made HUGE leaps. So I agree, do the work, don’t get obsessed, and go eat….what I’m about to do after a day at the SEO grind.

    Thanks guys!



    • Sujan Patel :

      Haha – glad to be able to read your mind 🙂

      And that’s a great point to add to my collection. Sometimes SEO just takes time, and it isn’t worth stressing out about minute daily changes in terms of the bigger picture. Taking a break to focus on something else and coming back to your SEO results later can be great for productivity and mental well-being.

  20. I’m going to print this article and put it on my wall, in the place that I normally bang my head!

  21. P.S.

    Neil: ABSOLUTELY love the get up. Reminds me of how the creative director and president of the ad agency dressed when going to dog and pony shows at $250M+ companies.

    I never got how some guys I worked with pulled it off–I always felt I looked dumb, and defaulted to business chic.

    Good on yeah!

  22. Guillermo Ortiz :

    Should be required reading for anyone trying to grow their SEO business. Thanks for sharing this awesome post.

  23. Buntu Redempter :

    Cool, Everything I needed to know about SEO. Thanks!

  24. Sujan, AWESOME post bro. It’s obvious that this came from experience & not something you just read. Thank you for sharing your hard-earned experience. Good karma to you.

  25. This is awesome. Nice work. 100% right on. The most important one in here for small biz is, ” Do your keyword research wrong. You have to nail this down right off the bat because, if you’re wrong, everything executed afterwards will be a wasted effort.”

    I think your post is really good for other SEO’s or bigger companies. But for smaller businesses, they need to work with what they can afford. I reference the SEO tools you built in house.

    Anyway.. great work. Thanks for putting it together.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Definitely agree that small businesses need to be mindful of their budgets, but it’s amazing how cheap software development (if you don’t have the personnel in house) can be these days. Having one useful tool created may be less expensive than purchasing several separate tools to fill the same need.

      Thanks for reading!

  26. Jane | Problogging Success :

    Wonderful list of information from someone who has been in the SEO biz for 10 years!

    10 years – that sounds like a BIG time indeed. You should have learnt awesome amount of information and have had wonderful experiences (ups and downs count) Sujan!

    I so much like your closing point – we always need to stop and analyze our failures to be able to draw necessary lessons out of it. Failures are indeed so essential to spice up our journey!

    Thanks for this post.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Thanks for reading, and glad to hear that my point about learning from our failures resonates with you.

  27. Haha, #15 is my favourite! So true… It is the cute ones that bite the hardest.

    Great list!

    • Sujan Patel :

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s next update will be named the “Kitten” update or something 🙂

  28. Shreyansh Modi :

    Awesome article! I could relate to every point.
    Thanks for the Share Sujan 🙂

  29. Sourabh Rana :

    Hello Sujan Patel,

    This blog of neil patel helping the SEO & all internet industry to go in right direction, check your projects, how to get fruitful results.

    Great Work Sujan & Neil too.

    @Sujan Really wanna to say thanks that you share your experience with us and give us such a valuable small tips which are helplful for every webmaster.

    Keep Posting 🙂

  30. Jiten Waghela :

    Thanks Sujan for sharing your experience with us.

    This post not only tells about SEO but also business and life.

    All your 100 points are very helpful for SEO people and SEO Business.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Definitely agree – a lot of the lessons I shared above make just as much of a difference for general business and life as they do for SEO.

  31. Iris Holidays :

    #62 is my favorite. Whether it is SEO or entrepreneurship you have to get your hands dirty to learn it 🙂

  32. Executive Programs :

    Very nice blog it is…This will help others to be in touch with SEO more deeply..

  33. Executive Programs :

    Very nice blog it is…This will help others to be in touch with SEO more deeply and also provides you very effective ideas

  34. The Blogging Penguin :

    Experienced round up post Neil, literally every new blogger did these sort of mistakes.

    Detailed seo technique lessons hope this would be helpful for new seo’s 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Yes, they’re definitely common mistakes we all experience. Hope they’ll be helpful for people who are new to the field!

  35. Awesome post! One of the most useful I’ve read this year.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Just f***ing do it! … my favorite 🙂

  36. Siddhi Panchal :

    I agree with what you are trying to say in 1st point. Building links faster will trigger spam, instead we should be patience and just build links which are valuable to us.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Definitely. Google is clearly going after spammy link building efforts, so there’s never been a better time to focus on creating quality backlinks.

  37. Charlie Southwell :

    Great list. basically all boils down to Just f***ing do it!


  38. Paul Carter :

    nice blog post neil.
    keeping it real as usual

  39. Turner Anderson :

    Hundred(s) of helpful stuff! I found your post to be a great tool to freshen up on multiple aspects of the SEO world. I agree that keyword research is one of the most important tasks to set in stone first. We all want to be #1

    • Sujan Patel :

      Keyword research is incredibly important and worth the time needed to do well. Thanks for reading!

  40. Cleofe Betancourt :

    This would make an awesome infographic, Neil!

  41. Great post Neil, thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts 🙂

  42. Funny pictures :

    Very good SEO advices. 100 lessons are a very good list for SEO beginners 🙂

  43. World of Movies :

    Need To Learn SEO. This post is quite helpful for me thank you so much.

  44. Awesome read.

    I agree with diversifying what you do, such as the link building as well at content. I also agree that the best SEO is infact the product. Branding is very important. Overall this was a great read. Thanks.

    fail fast!

    • Sujan Patel :

      Definitely pay attention to branding – I think we’re going to see a big shift from Google in terms of how highly these factors are weighted in the future.

  45. Great Tips..this one stuck out for me:

    “Building good content and getting people to share it is one of the easiest formulas out there for generating backlinks.”

    Especially when there so many people try do it unnaturally using all kinds of tools and software.

    • Sujan Patel :

      For sure. When done well, content marketing campaigns can make it so that link building campaigns are nearly unnecessary.

  46. ganar dinero desde casa :

    Excellent post, hopefully I when you take so long as your in this is so important as you, greetings and congratulations from Spain for the great work you do.

  47. Fantastic list, Mr.P. I think that numbers 3, 90 and 94 are most important for effective SEO.

  48. Amaze Post Sujan..!!
    I must say.. you guys are giving a lot for free.. I have downloaded your SEO guide from your website.. To me.. it is the most detailed guide about SEO. I have ever come across.. and surprisingly that is also Free download.
    Thanks again for wonderful article.. and the guide.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Glad you enjoyed both this article and our SEO guide. I’m sure you’ll find them both useful in your web marketing efforts!

  49. I feel identified with several of these points!

  50. Super awesome tips there, thank you 😉

    I am sure these lessons will help all reading this, basically everything should be done in moderation and not over done, whether its SEO or life.

  51. Stocks on Wall Street :

    Thanks for the advice, great tips!

  52. The panda penguin point was funny and upsetting at the same time. Overall great list especially #1.

    Thank You

  53. #91 – Great tip.

    My suggestion? Undersell and over-deliver. You will leave your client thrilled. People who feel like they got more than they bargained for are always thrilled, and make great brand advocates.

    Great list overall!

    • Sujan Patel :

      That’s another great point – thanks for sharing. Delivering more than you promised is a great way to build a solid reputation, which will lead to both customers and backlinks.

  54. #7 is my favorite. There is no miracle pill – not even in SEO. #94 as well. It’s better to build content that people find value in rather than just for SEO purposes. Good list!

  55. Joseph @ SEO India :

    Hi Sujan,
    I wish to add two things:
    When using a CMS check if is SEO friendly.
    I have seen custom built CMS that could not even have the possibility of inserting a unique title and description for each page. Also check for canonical issues (same page multiple urls)
    Keyword density.
    In today’s world you do not have to measure it. Just make sure your copy sounds well when you read it. If it looks natural it’s fine

    • Sujan Patel :

      Definitely good points to add. Making sure your chosen CMS is optimized for natural search is incredibly important, as mistakes there can prevent you from ranking at all. And I agree – keyword density is totally outdated as an SEO metric!

  56. That’s a huge and certainly useful list. I’m sure many of us have cleared some doubts about SEO after reading it.

  57. emobile_developer :

    This is really very helpful experience to me and you very well expressed, easy to grasp & easy to follow. When i was one by one reading the points, i came to know that several mistakes that i have done and now want to improve those. I, once again re-consider all my activities and check where is the defect by taking this list beside. These 100 things are truly praiseworthy and worth to follow. Several new things i learned from your experience. Neil i would like to give you a big thanks for this excellent effort.

  58. The main important thing to build such a list is humility : THE skill every SEO should have!

    • Sujan Patel :

      That’s a great point. There’s really nothing special about people who know SEO well – it’s a science and a field just like any other. Keeping that in perspective is hugely important when it comes to preventing big egos from forming 🙂

  59. marriage blog :

    each and every tip is very crucial. Funny Pic!

  60. David Temple :

    Thanks! My favorite – ” Don’t build links, build customers – Google updates can’t destroy your business if it’s built on people, not SEO metrics.”

    • Sujan Patel :

      Exactly. There’s no reason to worry about Google’s algorithm changes when you don’t rely on natural search as your primary source of customers.

  61. Great. Experience is very important one for seo. I hope you understand and thanks for sharing with us.

    • Sujan Patel :

      Experience is important, but there’s always room for learning and growth. Thanks for stopping by!

  62. Jansen Jones :

    This is a very informative article that tackles about seo. You are really an expert seo optimizer.. I learned a lot from and you actually motivated me by your words here..

  63. Nicki Escudero :

    Really, really great article, Sujan! Thank you for all of the wonderful tips!

  64. Hey Neil, I am running blog from two years from now and till now I was thinking that Google PageRank is very important if I want to succeed online but now I am little confused, as you said PageRank is Just a number !!

    • Sujan Patel :

      In the grand scheme of things, PageRank isn’t really that important – it’s only one factor among many that Google weights in the ranking algorithms (and toolbar PageRank is even less useful, since it’s only updated a few times a year). Really, I think there are far better metrics to focus on when it comes to SEO.

    • Nitin Batra :

      Agree with Sujan. What I have experience is, PageRank is not as important as the content. And the content must be genuine and fresh. Although PageRank is also one of the thousands of other factors for ranking but as far as its importance is concerned, It is least important.
      Focus on content, website structure, usability, call to action and conversion optimization.

  65. Blogging Tips :

    I cannot even begin to imagine how long it really took to come up with that list. 10 years is amazing by the way. Congrats.

  66. Thanks Sujan Patel for providing us this important tips for SEO.I am very impressive from your article.

  67. Hi Sujan!

    First of all I have been very amazed with the image you have used in the post and secondly, a well organized and great compile list and I agree with you as seo person you can not over smart than google and never stop learning new things.

    Thanks for sharing great information.

  68. Rahul Mehta :

    I rarely comment on blog posts but I just had to on this one: thank you so much for an amazing list! Honestly this helps a budding dream-filled entrepreneur out with getting honest, helpful advise. I have currently a side ‘hobby’ from my day job that’s ecommerce focused. Some day I’d love for it to be my main job but it’s definitely baby steps. Reading this post especially is very inspiring and helps keep my goals and dreams grounded.

  69. July Rivers :

    Ouch. You hit me hard on almost every point you made. SEO is a real handful. It can really make you when done correctly or break you when abused.

  70. Lisa R. Drayton :

    Grate Job Sujan.

  71. Karina Matuszek :

    This list is just awsome. It’s hard even to say which I liked the most because the majority of them hit 10 in 100%. I believe everybody can take something for himself. It touched a couple of my frustrations very deeply but yet gave the hope. So I am going to follow your advice and just f**g do it.. slowly but surely. Thanks!!

  72. Bambi Diego :

    Really great information. Have published a website for 3 months now and it makes me feel frustrated sometimes when page ranking, backlinking and seo (among so many other things) are taken into consideration. They are very important, as you have mentioned….but hard.

  73. Ladders Uk Direct :

    i am finding it quite difficult although im seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. So many good posts on this website helps no end. Keep plugging away guys 🙂

  74. many people build a wesbite and not realise that onc eits built, thats only 50% of the work done! seo is extremely important in understanding.

  75. Frank Woodman Jr :

    Great list and one that I think I’ll print off and keep on the wall to always remind what I should be watching for. You can never think of everything but this list is sure a start.

  76. Raheel Mushtaq :

    These sharing are really worth a lot just by reading it you can learn a lot about SEO and how we can manage our websites or business through brand building. Great tips Neil Loved them…

  77. Great post Sujan. You really have some great SEO tips here worth borrowing.

  78. Shalu Sharma :

    Looks like in the last 10 years, SEO has changed so much. The search engines are supposed to be getting better in delivering results but its far from it. One thing is for sure, SEO cannot be rushed.

  79. Find a Juicer :

    Great thoughts!

    Thank you for sharing this article. I’m currently learning SEO for my new site. I hope that I will succeed. Keep on sharing useful articles!

  80. Great list. I find SEO so hard, but hopefully this will make things a bit easier. I love 15… so true!

  81. Wow, that’s a long list..seems to be veering towards a life philosophy in some ways.

  82. Point for bounce rate is very true but after working on site so hard I am still not able to make my bounce rate lower then 30% it still says 38% or 35%

  83. Sujan that was a great read. So much useful and helpful information and insight. Some ‘food for thought’, and some sensible advice. I will have to read it again over the coming days so anything I missed the first time around I will catch on the second read.
    I’ll use No. 77 right now; I’m grateful you wrote 100 Lessons Learned from 10 Years of SEO.
    Thank you.

  84. Nick Kringas :

    That is one darn good, comprehensive list. The last one is my favorite.


  85. Bruno A. Pradal :

    Thanks for sharing your learnings Sujan!

    Now, I’m a bit confused, in the #18 says: “Do your keyword research wrong”.
    Shouldn’t be “Do your keyword research RIGHT”?

  86. Bruno A. Pradal :

    DOUH! Speaking of mistakes.
    It should be “learning” and not “learnings”.

  87. Thanks for sharing this very informative blog of yours. Patience is a virtue in SEO. 🙂

  88. Thanks for the tips.
    Fast fire is difficult in our country.
    But I understand how important.

  89. You have learned all of that SEO related things in 10 years, but, I have learned it from you in just 10 minutes. You are worth of getting a lot f thanks for your sharing this all ideas. Great Job.. keep sharing what you learn 🙂

  90. Great article! This is not just for SEO it’s for making your life better ^^ Made my day, man!

  91. #16 – (think “rel=canonical,” “rel=alternative” and “rel=author”)

    How do you easily handle all these in wordpress? I searched for some solutions, but nothing that looks perfect.

  92. I agree with you that META tags are still important. Lot of webmasters don’t use them, but i think you can just benefit from adding meta decription, keywords etc. especially in WordPress.

  93. Get good grades :

    Way to go Sujan, nice listing there of lessons learned over 10 years. Only please, let’s hope nobody makes the mistake of thinking g wants “the best search results for users”, they want the best results for their bottom line and that of their allies and partners, not “doing good for the average online searcher”.

  94. There’s always something you can be doing better -so true, not only in SEO, but in life in general…

  95. I’m an new blogger this tips helps me a lot to build better blog Thanks

  96. Great article Sujan. I totally agree with you. I was looking forward to build random back-links quickly and see the results soon but I guess you are right when you say that one needs to be consistent with the SEO activities. I ain’t an expert in SEO, infact I am a total rookie. All I know is how to write content and I am going to develop a strategy around it.
    Once again, Great article! Thanks

  97. Super article! Felt like you were reading my mind! Will have to utilise your SEO services soon!

  98. SEO still a hard part to do is my meaning, and at the moment i think yes it works is the Pinquin comming from google grrrr.

    Great atricle thanks for the share.

  99. Mohideen @ make money blog :

    Learning will makes more perfect but SEO is not the easy task of leaning

  100. Hello i read your article , i’m glad that i learned something from your experience .

    I try to put in action some ideas from you.

  101. Author, thank you for these 100 tricks. I loved your last one.. And i think you are right nowadays, its getting more dangerous to move towards the greyzone, and the penalty is pretty devastating..

  102. Your articles are always very helpful to website publishers.Thanks

  103. Charlie Patel :

    Always good stuff when I see a post on QS. Keep it up.

  104. Tapha at MyAppTemplates :

    Bloody hell, what a friggin list!

    Really appreciate you taking the time to do this man. And i agree, being straight and producing the best that you can is always the way to go with anything, not just SEO.

  105. Hello there!

    How shocking to be reading what appears to be a useful post and then to stumble onto profanity!

    Since when has foul language become the mark of a true professional communicator? How disappointing!

    I am pretty sure you would not address someone you respect with such obscenities. Would you address your mother, wife and children in such a manner. I hope not…

    Then why rob your readers of their dignity?

    True, cursing is commonplace these days but that does not make it decent or right. After all cancer is very commonplace too but it’s highly undesirable.

    Tony Nelson

  106. Dylan Johnson :

    SEO tips all relate to life. haha.

  107. Michal at Muffinty :

    # Coffee is no substitute for good sleep – the truth itself, a good sleep and rest strengthens creativity in SEO!

  108. great list for an seo to live by. I will scan your list when I lost my way 😀 . For your question, #1 and #3 are two of my biggest mistakes. And because of this mistake, I’m alloting a lot of time reassessing all my links

  109. Thank you Sujan for your very inspiring list…100 true lessons..My favorite is #68

  110. Wow.. I actually read the whole 100. How long did it take you to create this blog posts…My favorite is 62. In the beginning, I use to spend a lot of time over analyzing…That is just wasting time.

  111. I have been waiting to see a post like this. Im so lucky to stumble upon this post. This is so informative. Loved it.

  112. Hi Sujan Patel,
    Thanks for sharing great information.
    Very useful points for everyone into SEO.

  113. Hello Sir can please let me know the strategy part like how to start about it

    what should be the 1st part

    just a small description

  114. Good article, lots of interesting things learned. Thank you.

  115. Great article! Points 5,8 and 77 keep me motivated. But everybody should spare some time to read them all.

  116. If I could go back in time, I’d spend a lot less time on forums, checking logs, checking rankings, and checking income. Time killers that can ruin your day. Great article!

  117. RichPeopleThings :

    Wow. This is a super long list but there are tons of good tips in here

  118. Great tips Sujan.

  119. Hi,
    Its really great information for every persons this article is really helpful for me.
    Thanks for the sharing.

  120. I am not kidding when i say this, I feel like i just learned more than a few hard lessons by reading this post. Thanks for sharing this information. Can’t say there is anything i disagree with! I really like the idea of helping everyone, it will come back around some day.

  121. Great list, Sujan. I especially liked #43 (“Get some fresh air – There’s so much going on in the SEO industry that sometimes you just need a break. Take a vacation, drink a beer and don’t forget that there’s a world beyond your computer”) and #66 (“Avoid the SEO hangover – Just like having too much alcohol will leave you feeling poorly the next day, taking in too much SEO information can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Avoid information overload by researching only the subject you need at any given time.”)

    It helps knowing that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the evolving information.

  122. good attempt sujan. its a nice and motivating article.
    and yeah you are right, that internet marketing never dies.



  123. Thanks for sharing your experience, I learned so much from this post.It will really help me to improve.

  124. Would love to hear how you yourself started and made up this website with so many visitors.

  125. I enjoyed reading you’re article Sujan.

    Thanks for sharing you’re experience.


  126. Good tips! I have to say I follow a lot of these things as a rule of thumb but there is room for improvement.

  127. Thankx for provding us important information. I can do more improvement on.my site.
    Farukh shaah

  128. Hi!,,,,,,,,,,,

    Hello i read your article , i’m glad that i learned something from your experience .

    I try to put in action some ideas from you.


  129. Very shortly this web site will be famous amid all blog viewers, due
    to it’s pleasant posts

  130. Mercedes - Yoga Para Principiantes :

    Widely agree that the experience in any area of life is the most practical way to learn. From errors we learn more and better. Personally I have learned a lot and made ​​more progress thanks to those mistakes, both in life and in my SEO efforts. His list of learning has been very helpful. Thank you very much.

  131. Amazing seo tips.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

  132. Nice tips. I’ll make sure to apply these.

  133. Big Vision SEO :

    Brilliant list Neil. This list truly does stand the test of time in most cases. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

  134. Awesome. Loved reading it. Really helpful. Thank you so much for amazing post.

  135. Brendon of Nerd Travels :

    As someone who knows very little about SEO I found this article to be really helpful. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    I hope I can apply a lot of these lessons to my travel blog 🙂
    I like the one about coffee being no substitute for good sleep

  136. Hi Neil !
    These are nice lessons which you have learned. I would take these lessons as your kind pieces of advises as you have shared with us. you are right that take risks. But I would say that “don’t put all the eggs in one basket”. Take risks with diversification.
    Thanks for such a nice post.

  137. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful experience, it can help a lot to others like me. Actually i was searching somewhat like this, and you have stopped my search here. Once again thank u so much Neil…:-)

  138. Very good list and got to be something for everyone. Just shows how much there is to think of.

  139. Wow very impresses, could you create a new post for Dummies on how to chose the best keywords to use when building a website.

  140. My Take Away from this great post:

    “Don’t chase after the newest, shiniest SEO tool or ebook. Work with what you have and only invest in your business when you can afford to do so.”

  141. Nathan Brook :

    Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about this than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it.

  142. Thanks Neil , all Russian bloggers have adopted your list . I would like to highlight paragraph 5 , which is the point .

  143. Thank you for this awesome article! I specifically like lesson number 7. Thinking outside the box will always give us an edge. Lesson # 41 also tells us that if we always do amazing work, everything good will follow. And sometimes , we need to get some fresh air (lesson # 43) and breathe because we deserve it.

  144. Excellent post Neil
    Really helpful for a large crowd looking for getting into SEO
    And there is so much information, we can take so much from a single post …
    Appreciate your efforts.

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