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Search Engine Optimization – SEO Tutorial


Bruce Clay, Inc.'s search engine optimization tutorial is a step-by-step SEO guide that will teach you how to optimize a website for search, complete with free SEO tools! Are you a website owner concerned that your site doesn't show up in Google? Or are you planning a website and want to make it search-friendly from the ground up? Whatever your situation, this tutorial will teach you all the SEO basics and important SEO tips to help you optimize your web pages to be found in search engines.

Bruce Clay quote with eagle flying

Our SEO tutorial covers only "white hat" methodology that adheres to search engine guidelines. Our founder, Bruce Clay, set the standard for ethical web marketing by authoring the "SEO Code of Ethics," now translated into 18 languages. A respected leader in the ever-changing search marketing industry since 1996, our company provides Internet marketing services, software tools, and SEO training. In fact, thousands of people have attended our classroom-style training courses throughout the U.S. and internationally. This combined expertise makes Bruce Clay, Inc. uniquely qualified to present an ethics-based, search engine-friendly SEO tutorial to teach you best practices that reflect the latest developments in search.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science/art of increasing traffic to a website by helping it rank higher in organic (non-paid) search results. SEO tips and strategies that are trustworthy aim to improve both internal and external factors that influence a website's ranking (aka "on page" and "off page" elements) for SEO. Optimization involves some web programming expertise combined with business, writing, marketing, branding and even competitive puzzle solving skills. If you do all of this right (or at least the best among your competitors), you can achieve higher search engine rankings in the organic sections of search engine results pages. And you can have a website capable of maintaining your revenue goals.

How Does a Website Rank?

Search engines want to show the "best" results possible — the most relevant, most expert and highest quality web pages that will satisfy the searcher. To do this, the engines look at more than 200 factors to determine a site's relevance to a search request. Some of these factors are woven into the fabric of the website ("on-page" factors). Others are trust signals based on links from reputable sites and (in some cases) social media engagement. No single web page, even with the best search engine optimization in the world, can be perfect in all 200+ ranking factors. Furthermore, no one knows precisely what the factors include or how they are weighted to determine the search results for a given keyword or query. So what's an SEO to do? This SEO tutorial teaches you a "beat the leader" approach to search engine ranking. To see what Google or Bing thinks is best for any specific attribute, you can look at the sites they are currently rewarding — the top-ranked results. Once you know what structural and content choices worked for the "leaders," you can do even better by making your pages the "least imperfect"!

There are no search engine optimization secrets or tricks — just ranking methodologies to follow in order to help a site that offers value to users beat the competition in search results. Today's SEO must be committed not just to optimizing a website, but also to making it a quality site that attracts links naturally and is worthy of ranking. This bears repeating:

It is not the job of search engine optimization to make a pig fly.
It is the job of SEO to genetically re-engineer the website so that it becomes an eagle.

– Bruce Clay

Creating a website that can achieve high ranking involves more than just technical skills, or content writing, or links, or engagement objects or search engine submission alone; it requires an integrated effort. It is difficult to accomplish this type of project without a formal, proven SEO methodology and strong search engine optimization tools. This SEO tutorial is an entry-level how-to guide covering all of that and more. It's like taking a free SEO training course!

Before you begin, you should understand that being among the top 3 rankings in search engine results can be achieved, but not without great effort. Your web pages must earn that high ranking with high-quality content and best-practice SEO optimization basics. Still, even for the best websites, maintaining a top organic SEO ranking requires constant keyword monitoring and content reworking. Search engine optimization never rests — but neither does your competition.

What's in This SEO Tutorial?

This SEO how-to guide follows the proven keyword-placement methodology that Bruce Clay has taught thousands of students worldwide in our renowned SEO training courses. And we've also provided free SEO tools and many bonus videos to help you every step of the way.

To make sure your education is well-grounded and effective, these pages cover a wide range of Internet marketing-related subjects. Here you'll learn SEO tips for:

Starting line for the tutorial

Ready to learn? Let's get the Bruce Clay SEO Tutorial started! It begins with keyword research.

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Please review our SEO Code of Ethics and SEO Standards pages before you edit your site pages.

Looking for a short SEO Optimization Checklist? Try ours!

Search Engine Relationship Chart®

Search Engine Relationship Chart®


We think it is important that you learn how the search engines relate to each other. View our Search Engine Relationship Chart®. This is a Flash rendering of our famous FREE PDF that is suitable for color printing, and all the links are active! The Search Engine Relationship Chart® has evolved quite a bit over the years; check out the Search Engine History - Chart Histogram to see how much it has changed.

Bruce Clay®, Inc. was singled out as the Best Professional Services Interactive Application award winner for 2004 by the IAC Web Marketing Association for this Search Engine Relationship Chart.

SEO Hierarchy of Needs

SEO Hierarchy of Needs


There's a hierarchy to be considered when developing any SEO strategy. To help businesses and marketers apply this strategy of prioritization, the SEO Hierarchy of Needs shows the relative place of search engine optimization tasks.

View the SEO Hierarchy of Needs in interactive Flash, or download the chart in PDF.