:: Course Catalog :: Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (B320)

High rankings in the natural search results of Google and other engines are obtainable. In this course you'll learn the techniques, tools and tasks that top SEO marketers perform in building a wider online presence for their clients. While intended for beginners to intermediate with SEO, those more advanced should pick up new ideas and suggestions for improving their SEO effectiveness. Some newer and advanced optimization issues will also be discussed such as: recent algorithm changes, content issues and leveraging social media for SEO.

Applicable Job Roles: web designers (and those learning to be), website copywriters, programmers and IT staff, web project managers, marketing professionals, and small business owners managing their own websites

Week 1: SEO Fundamentals
  • SEO basics and overview
  • Completing a website audit
  • Analyzing the competition
Week 2: Keyword Research & SEO Planning
  • Keyword research & targeting
  • On-the-page / off-the-page SEO factors
  • Developing a SEO plan
Week 3: Understanding Links
  • Critical link elements
  • Evaluating link quality
  • Intro to link building tools
Week 4: Quality Link Strategies & Content Marketing
  • Link building and content marketing strategies
  • Creating great content
  • Sharing content via social media
Week 5: Web Design Issues, Architecture and Getting Indexed
  • Web design, architecture, and indexing issues
  • Dealing with SE penalties, algorithmic updates
  • Getting found via: local search, images, videos and more
Week 6: Measuring Success and Additional SEO Tips
  • Measuring success: metrics and analytics
  • The future of search marketing
  • Additional tips and tools for SEO
This course requires a general familiarity of the Internet, with 1 year of experience on the Web recommended. While not required, students who have had courses in web technologies, HTML and programming related to web page design will find it useful.
eBook Subscription

The links that provide subscription options below for the downloadable eBook, are available in the classroom prior to the start of the class.

Option #1: eBook and SearchEngineNews “Basic News” Subscription: Students will need to obtain a subscription to the "Basic News" plan through for at least 5 weeks at $30 cost. (By by doing a $1 week trial at the start of the course and one month’s membership for $29 it will carry you through week 5 of class, when you can cancel it or choose to continue.) Your subscription to is designed to teach you the latest SEO happenings.

Option #2: Special One Yr. Subscription: Additional instructions and a link for the SearchEngineNews membership for a year at a special negotiated price for eclasses at $97 (a $251 savings), is also available in the classroom.

For the course we’ll supplementing course lectures and materials with readings from 'The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars', a eBook from Planet Ocean Communications. This acclaimed book is downloadable with your membership. There will also be extensive references in the course through week 5 to online resources within that are available to subscribers, as well as to other sources for notable articles, checklists and SEO tools.

Additional information:

Your place in the course is confirmed by your payment. Introductory courses are intended for students with no experience in the subject matter and are seeking beginner level training.

Refund Policy: Please read our Terms and Refund Policy before registering for this course.

Additional Cost: Book and software might be required for the course. Read the Requirements and Book section for more information. Course fee does not include the book and software cost .

How eClasses Work:Instructors post lectures (text-based, no video or audio), reading selections, and hands-on assignments once a week in the online classroom. Students can discuss the assignments with the instructor and amongst themselves in the classroom area. This format has no set meeting time, which allows students to attend class at a time most convenient to them, yet still provides logically organized communication between class participants. Students can apply for the completion certificate after finishing the class.

Search Engine Optimization
Price: $240.00
Item No.: B320
Instructor: Cindy McMahen
Open Courses: No other sessions are scheduled for this course. You can add to your wish list and you will be notified when other sessions are scheduled.

Instructor's ProfileInstructor
Cindy McMahen has been the principal of an interactive agency since 1997. She's responsible for many activities related to client's search marketing programs, including the task of coordinating a team of designers, programmers, copywriters and others. She's also offered courses in Internet promotion and SEO for over fifteen years to thousands of individuals. Currently she's an instructor with a course in Search Engine Optimization.
Before you register for this class, please read the Outline, Prerequisites, Requirements, Books, and Refund Policy sections carefully.



  • "The Search Engine Optimization course is one of the most beneficial classes I have taken in a long time. As someone that is completely new to website development this course provided excellent instruction and tools for optimizing websites. I have come away with a better understanding and the knowledge to put into practice effective SEO for all my clients.

    I would highly recommend this course as well as this instructor for anyone at any level wishing to gain SEO knowledge." - Darlene Reilly

  • "Cindy McMahen is a very good instructor. The subject of this course--Search Engine Optimization (SEO)--can be confusing to newbies for a several reasons.

    First, the formulas used by search engines are proprietary, i.e., secret. The engines are in competition with one another on a commercial basis. The more relevant the search results they yield, the more popular they become and, hence, the more commercially successful. Since the technology is secret, the only way to study search engine result behavior is empirical: gradually acquiring experience with search engine results through repeated use over time.

    Second, the formulas used in producing search engine results are not simple; they are complex. Some sources say more than 100 factors are involved in any given search term search. Some say 200!

    Third, the subject, itself, is a "moving target". Even if one had access to the formulas they are constantly changing! Search engine analysts are constantly striving to make their results more relevant, more useful. So what may be true of results today may be altered to one degree or another by next month!

    And finally, what makes this subject such a challenge to teach is that there is simply so much material available to absorb. The SEO "universe" today is evolved. It is mature. The amount of material dealing with the subject online--technology, tools, seminars, tutorials, readings and so forth--is staggering. Far too much to absorb in a single course.

    Despite these challenges, Cindy does a fine job of laying out the material over a six-week period to give the student a pretty fair grasp, upon completion, of the SEO landscape. She is patient, helpful, thorough and fair in her critiques of student work, as well as timely. The required text for the course is no doubt the best that can be found, as are the accompanying "tutorials" (actually, readings). The class assignments are challenging and fun.

    In sum I highly recommend this course as a way to get a handle on SEO in order to begin working with it in a competent, useful manner, whatever your purpose may be.

    --Cliff Clifford" - Cliff Clifford

  • "I think the class was excellent. I've been a webmaster for more than 10 years and have had some prior success with SEO. That said, I learned a lot. I expanded my resource list and "must follow" materials to include some that should have been obvious but escaped my notice.

    Completing the assignments made me think about how I had approached issues and in some cases led me to a different approach. I have a checklist that I'm going to use and expand for different projects/clients. Using the checklist as my starting point and throwing in other keys I picked up during the class gives me a strong structure for working with clients and their websites.

    I recommend the course because I got an excellent intro to various resources. The reading materials and assignments made me think about how I approach content creation and how I can best encourage clients to create better (i.e., search friendly) content." - Sally Willard

  • "Great class this was - Cindy and Karyn were always there to explain what one needed to know. Im glad I took it and now I know more about SEO. Thanks again and Merry Xmas and prosperous New Year." - Dorothy Wegmueller-Ngudle

  • "Great class, you definitely have to work for your grade-but in the process you also gain a lot of knowledge." - yvonne newman sanders

  • "Wonderful experience. I came away with enough information to start right away and continue learning for months to come." - Lisa Stevens

  • "Very good. This course covers all the bases." - Sara Dellinger

  • "I learned so much in this class. It was also quite enjoyable. Good practical, useful and essential information for all web site managers." - Colette Fuchs

  • "This was my first experience with eclasses and I didn't really know what to expect. From the beginning the instructor and her TA were both accessible with answers to questions even when they didn't apply to the class itself. I found the assignments very challenging which is a good thing because that is how you actually learn. The assignments were also challenging in that I had to read the pertinent information and then think rather than copy/paste the answers. I found the book, readings and lectures, as well as the resources, to be excellent. I really can't say enough about the abilities of the instructor and her TA. They not only were highly knowledgable about SEO but they were able to teach what they know which is not always the case with instructors.They also offered encouragement and direction. I have already recommended the SEO class to others and also IWA. This class was more than I hoped it would be when I signed up for it.

    Joanna Griffith
    " - Joanna Griffith

  • "Fantastic Course! The information supplied on this dynamic topic was current and detailed, the instructors full of useful, timely comments. I couldn't be happier with the result and will definately be looking at further studies with IWA-HWG in the future. Thanks again! " - Kathy Yates

  • "These instructors were fabulous! They offered current information and had us do a checklist for the last class that will help in our future endeavors. " - Becky Caneday

  • "I liked this class, the instructor, the assistant and the fellow students. The e-book from Planet Ocean was excellent and the monthly newsletter was first rate.
    I learned a lot from this class and really enjoyed it." - Thomas Sweeney

  • "This class was great. I look forward to taking more classes taught by Cindy. I am very impressed with her vast experience and knowledge of the industry. I hope to transition into more SEO in my career and use it to boost my fledgling web-based business. Thank you for a very good class." - Kim Walker

  • "I found this class to be outstanding, instructors knowledgeable and very helpful. It covered the information very understandably and the resources that were given will be used from here on out. I have been three years teaching myself webdesign, code writing and the WYSIWYG program I use to see what I am doing in the code writing. I have been learning xhtml and css, That is what I was told, three years ago, is the starting place. In my self teaching there are gaps in my knowledge base and now is the time to fill them in. One major one was in my knowledge of SEO. This course gave me a good platform to continue my learning into SEO. In web design, without the search engine exposure all the website is no more than a beautiful brochure left in its wrapping and left in the closet never to be seen, unless it is brought out to purposefully show someone. Thanks again for offering this class I recommend it to anyone involved in the web industry. Designers to code writers can benefit from this class." - Jim Sullivan

  • "This course like the others before it has been extremely useful. It was well taught and the supporting material will be used by my company for years to come. Bravo, and keep up the good work." - Gary Brown

  • "I’ve taken seminars and have read articles about SEO, but this course helped me see more of the complete picture. The class has given me excellent tools in which to better my company’s SEO efforts. The lectures, reading material, class exercises and discussions were of great benefit.

    This is my first foray into taking an online class and I must admit there was a little trepidation; however, after taking the course I believe it was money well spent.

    If anyone is looking to lay a solid foundation in Search Engine Optimization, this course offers valuable information that will enhance your skill set.
    " - Noel Willis

  • "I'm really pleased with how much I learned from this class. I went from having zero knowledge in this area to feeling much more confident that I have at least a working knowledge of how SEO works." - John Kanost

  • "This was a challenging class for me because the topic has always baffled me. The instructor did a wonderful job providing reference material and causing me to stretch my abilities. Thank you!" - Teresa Hessler