Getting Started with SEO with Bruce Clay

Bruce Clay is the solo presenter for this SEO basics discussion.

Download the presentation here:

Most of the room raises their hand when Bruce asks who reads HTML and who is a marketer (2 separate shows of hands, lots of hands each time).

Bruce says that the changes Google has made in the last 5 years has been done to get more traffic.


On-page factors: tags and a clear subject-matter focus
Expertness: Do others think you’re an expert? Can you prove to others you’re an expert?
Copywriting: structural content, sentence structure and word usage, including clarification words
Engagement objects: Video, images, maps, books, news, blogs, Universal results
Site architecture/siloing: Theme your content by the search query
Server and software performance: Slow server discourages spiders

Content Overview

Use clarification words that help explain the meaning of your content, such as:
My apple is a lemon vs. My Apple computer is a lemon.

Google can only compare to other sites, so you don’t need a perfect site. You need a site that’s least imperfect. We use standard distribution curves to predict normal based upon results.

Google is tightening down on the zone of acceptance.


The concept of “better” can change. The curves must be watched.

Associated Words

  • Your keywords will be defined by the company it keeps.
  • Surrounding words help keyword clarification.
  • Proximity: Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) concepts apply
  • Make sure you’re equal before you’re better. Use words your competition uses and search engines will reward you.
  • Search with a tilde and find words that show up. Put those associated words in your own content.

    Website Theme

    You need to make search engines understand what your site is about. Supplemental, complementary, synergistic words to clarify the meanings of keywords. At the top of a pyramid is a keyword. Below that is a topic and the bottom is “theme”.

    Linking overview: your internal links is the biggest thing in your control to indicate theme and subject specialty. Structure your site in silos and look up siloing if you’re interested in an advanced method of building relevance on your site.

    Nofollow: does it work? Yes and no…
    Paid links: they’re in the hot seat and a huge target Google wants to eliminate
    Link life: should be random
    PageRank: should be natural distribution
    Random IP: should be varied

    Google believes buying links jeopardizes the fairness of ranking on the internet. We all depend on Google not being deceived by paid links because then the deepest pockets get the rankings and traffic. We must all support Google’s battle against paid links.

    Engagement Objects: Experiment

    Scanned a newspaper article an uploaded the jpg image and then a pdf. They found Google returned the PDF in a search for a line of text in the article. Google can read images. They can also index video content. Either compete against video or leverage it. It will be ore important moving forward..

    Server Overview

    Slow servers impact spidering of content.
    Improper technology for search engines can prevent indexing or crawling.
    Technology that prevents page editing (like a bad CMS) can prevent content from being properly implemented.
    Improper or missing redirects can harm link value transfers (bad redirects)

    Future of Search and SEO

    Behavioral search
    Intent-based search
    Localized search
    Engagement objects


    Analytics measuring traffic
    Ranking is not SEO
    Ranking still first step

    Ebay wondered why their analytics showed traffic coming in from the query “E”. Google Instant was filling in ebay when people typed “E” and the traffic was coming from there.

    Behavioral Keyword Research

    Behavioral search is based on disjoint consecutive searches forming a long-tail filter or subsequent searches.
    Based on persona and community.
    Last query in sequence is misleading
    Analytics becomes less valuable since last query tracked by analytics doesn’t tell the full story of keyword attribution since results change based on previous searches.

    The [hammer] example shows the importance of understanding what the audience is trying to do. That’s the future of SEO.

    Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

    See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (2)
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2 Replies to “Getting Started with SEO with Bruce Clay”

Hi Nicolas! The best PR distribution tactic is using theme-aligned architecture. Nofollow can be used for advertising and for internal pages that don’t need PageRank, like contact us and privacy policy. :) Glad you liked the recap!

Hey Virginia, nice recap! Could you please clarify this statement: “Nofollow: does it work? Yes and no…”

Since PR Sculpting doesn’t work, what’s the best way to use nofollow?


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