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Brave New World for Search Marketers – Adapt or Perish

kokou adzo



Bruce Clay Bruce Clay, Inc

We talked to Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc about Search Engine Optimization.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Bruce Clay: We are doing as well as can be expected. We have essentially quarantined ourselves. None of our family or extended family have contracted the virus, and we are hopeful that we will weather the storm.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Bruce Clay, Inc. 

Bruce Clay: I founded the company on my dining room table in January 1996. That was almost 3 years before Google and back when there was no Search Engine Optimization. The past 25 years have included 3 recessions, a war, 9-11, and now this virus. Starting a company is good; lasting is better.

How does Bruce Clay, Inc innovate? 

Bruce Clay: We have tried to understand the market 2 years from now, and we have built products and services worthy of our brand. We hold patents on our software as well as very strong industry recognition. We are often given credit as a founder of SEO, and in fact, if you search for “who is the father of SEO,” my name has gotten pages of colleague references. We innovate by paying attention and carefully speculating on where the market is going.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Bruce Clay: Ike many great businesses, large and small, we are in a grow/shrink environment as a business. We are often captive to the economies of our clients and their clients, frequently influencing revenues and thus curtailing growth. Smart pivots were needed as lead sources migrated and stability can be re-established.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Bruce Clay: Absolutely. We have had employees with years of experience that were released as massive projects ended. The decision process is somewhere in the gut – better than the magic 8-ball and a coin. Based upon years of seeing it before, it is a prompt action that is needed and a deliberate defensible choice. Yes, you do a workforce reduction in a services company.

How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Bruce Clay, Inc in the future?

Bruce Clay: I actually work harder and try to get rest. The virus has resulted in quarantine, so my wife and I have restricted our going out. We still have many recorded TV series to watch. I expect that the holidays will pose larger stress than work.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Bruce Clay: We do not have many competitors. People hire us due to our strength and brand.

We focus on activity to drive traffic to your website. That is via search marketing activities (SEO, PPC, Content, and Social Media Ads). These are very much core services, and where we have only experts – that is us. All (100%) of our analysts have 10+ years in their space and are clearly experts.

We are well known as being the agency you call when you cannot afford to fail in search. Our company has developed a recognized brand based on expertise, competence, value, and service. We are the company others turn to if they really want to get traffic from search engines.

Our skills are legendary. Do a Google search for “Who is the father of SEO,” and you will see many pages of results naming me. I have been in this industry for 24+ years. I have spoken at over 300 conference sessions, have written 3 books, and have offices on 5 continents.

Your final thoughts?

Bruce Clay: The virus will be here through Summer. Be accepting that this is a tipping point for social human. This will not go back, and if we get sick, it was because someone was not careful or caring. Given that, we are in a new business marketing era – a brave new world for most. Adapt or perish.

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Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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