SEO Works Just Fine If You Up Your Game

Do a search for “how to become a pro basketball player” and you’ll get endless advice. Stay in the game for many years, hone your skills by training, work hard, and understand the commitment you need to succeed.

Being an SEO is no different. In fact, almost every piece of advice in this video clip on how to be a pro athlete can be applied to how to succeed in SEO.

The only difference is: SEOs can’t know all the rules of the game because Google keeps changing them. Imagine a basketball player having to figure out the new rules every time they got the ball, and still being able to perform well.

SEO works just fine if you up your game with basketball player.

We are under what seems to be a flood of frequent algorithm changes. Google made more than 3,200 changes to Search (including algorithm changes and more) in 2018 alone. Then in 2019, we saw some pretty significant algorithm updates, too.

Our website rankings can jump up and down like puppets, and Google is the puppeteer. With the many updates, plenty of published research shows the winners and losers, and the volatility of them all.

But I know something is different by the number of calls coming to our agency from desperate people whose businesses have been harmed by search traffic losses.

Right now, we’re up against a new kind of “Google dance” where even the best websites’ organic results are uncertain. This new Google dance forces us all to up our game and not just sit and hope for the best. Businesses are at stake.

So what do you do? Take a page out of an athlete’s playbook and do what it takes to get to the top of your game.


  • Study what Google says and what it doesn’t say about its algorithm. Follow Googlers like John Mueller, Gary Illyes and Danny Sullivan, and YouTube channels like Google Webmasters.
  • Research the confirmed and unconfirmed algorithm updates, and read what experts are saying about them. Then, how are they impacting your sites?
  • Find SEO case studies of similar sites or industries to get a sense of what’s working.
  • Read articles and insights from other SEOs by reading or subscribing to sites like ours, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal and so on.


  • Take SEO training even if you consider yourself an expert. Everyone needs refreshers to improve their skills.
  • Attend conferences — there are hundreds of digital marketing conferences every year to choose from.
  • Do SEO drills, and experiment with proven SEO strategies to see what’s working in a live environment.


  • Work hard and take your SEO career seriously. You can’t do SEO halfway and succeed.
  • As an SEO professional, you have the power to make or break businesses online. You need to live and breathe SEO, and put in the time to be your best.

The bottom line: In the search competition where there can be only one winner, SEOs must stay at the top of their game. Otherwise, they sit at the sidelines while others get the glory.

My recommendation: check out our classroom SEO training course.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

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

Comments (10)
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Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent SEO posts is better than the last!

10 Replies to “SEO Works Just Fine If You Up Your Game”

I would like to find some books on SEO for beginners.
I just started a site for my small business in the hospitality sector. But site traffic could be better and I hope will be helpful.

Robert Stefanski

Hi Okonkwo,

We recommend reading Bruce’s book “Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies.” A fourth edition is currently is progress. This reference guide breaks down SEO into manageable chunks.

You may also want to check out our free SEO Guide: It covers basic SEO topics and provides some free helpful tools.

Hope this helps!

If only I can know half of what Bruce Clay knows.

Very true. SEO is forever. Google regularly tweaks its algorithm. They do what is best for the users. Hence we as SEO professionals must focus on gaining more knowledge and insights from reliable sources. I think it is important to have a never give up attitude when you are doing SEO for any brand.

SEO Needs some time and strategies. Thanks for sharing this helpful blog with us.

Such a great piece of information that will help a blogger to grow their business and rank on the web page.Thanks for posting

Thank you very much because in this article I have got the information that I want to take.

Such a great piece of information that will help a blogger to grow their business and rank on the 1st page of Google. Thanks for this useful post.

Subscribed to Bruce Clay. Do you suggest any books for beginners? So far we are just puppets. We are yet to show in page 1 we just keep switching between 4 -7. Hope to be in Page 1 soon following expert advice including bruce clay. Thanks.

Internal and external linking play a role too ;-)


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