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BACK TO BASICS: Search Engine Optimization Training Opportunities

BACK TO BASICS: Search Engine Optimization Training Opportunities

by Virginia Nussey, March 15, 2008

No matter how long you've been in the search engine marketing industry, chances are you've heard the benefits of training extolled at conferences, on blogs, and in advertisements. From novices to veterans, training has value for all members of the industry as its aim is to educate or update search marketers on the methods, strategies, tools and techniques available to them. Training also promotes best practices, standards, and ethics, with some programs offering certification. A good search engine optimization training course can significantly impact the way you approach SEO for the duration of your career.

Benefits of SEO Training

Benefits of SEO Training

A good SEO training course should hit several arenas: fundamentals, philosophy, ethics, and sometimes, certification. Because search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, beginners and experts alike require regular (re)training of SEO fundamentals. Those SEOs who've been in the industry for some time will attest to the fact that techniques that worked in the early days of search no longer have the same effect of improved rankings or increased traffic. Because search engines have changed their ranking methods, SEOs have had to change their approach to being ranked. Regular training results in SEOs catching on to such algorithm changes more quickly and adjusting their search engine marketing efforts in turn. Fundamentals, including terminology, SEO ranking factors, and on-site components, must be brushed up on regularly in order to fully understand the environment you are working within.

While it may seem that SEO philosophy and ethics remain relatively stable over time, valuable search engine optimization training courses are sure to include these subjects. The reasoning behind SEO methodology must be understood, as it is the foundation for best practices and uncompromised ethics. By understanding the purpose behind SEO - improving the visibility of a Web site so that interested Internet users can more easily access quality content - optimizers are less likely to use spammy tactics in order to simply gain higher rankings. Furthermore, as new SEO tactics emerge, so do new opportunities to abuse the system. Such developments are followed by a need to reiterate ethical practices. Gaining certification is a way to show others that you follow the ethical standards of the industry and have a comprehensive understanding of SEO fundamentals. Often requiring trainees to prove their knowledge by passing a test, certification demonstrates knowledge of and commitment to SEO.

Though you may understand the need for SEO and SEM training, you might not know what to make of all the options available to you. To sort through some of the different SEO training programs on the market, we've rounded up examples of various training models, along with some points to consider when deciding which would be best for you or your company.

 

Remote Training

Remote Training

Usually done over the phone, by email, or through video lessons, remote training done from the comfort of your own home or office is, of course, the most convenient of all your options. Remote training is also sure to be the easiest on your checkbook, running from $250 to $3,000 per package, depending on the method, difficulty level, and length of the program. Although several high-quality advanced search engine optimization courses are offered through remote training, most of the programs available would be best for beginner SEOs who need to learn basic SEO methodology and techniques.

Video and online programs often allow students to move at their own pace. However, students would not be able to receive lessons faster than the program schedule, so advanced trainees might feel that courses move slower than they prefer. Also, opportunities to ask questions of instructors are limited. For this function, some programs host private discussion groups. Finally, the ability to personalize the training to your own Web site's needs is minimal compared to in-person and on-site SEO training courses.

SEMPO Institute

Subject Matter:

Several basic and advanced search engine marketing training courses include Insider's Guide to SEM, Advanced SEO, and Advanced Search Advertising.

Method:

Through online, self-paced courses, lessons, resources and quizzes help students reinforce the information as it's taught. Certification is awarded after completion of either advanced course.

Cost:

$399 Insider's Guide; $1,399 Advanced SEO; $1,399 Advanced Search Advertising. Discounts are available for SEMPO members, students, and military.

Other Info:

Insider's Guide topics include identifying keywords, writing Web content, avoiding roadblocks, setting-up and managing PPC programs, and ethics issues. Advanced SEO focuses on ranking organically, site review, Web site structure, site maps, design, tools and analysis, reporting, tracking, analytics, and brand reputation. Advanced Search Advertising teaches search advertising and auction media models, writing effective ad copy, bidding strategy, tracking ROI metrics, differences among PPC programs of major search engines, click fraud and proper use, and integrating PPC into advertising and branding campaigns.

Internet Marketing Ninjas

Subject Matter:

Topics include getting links from relevant, quality sites, integrating traditional media and online marketing for maximum rewards, effective site structure, and other advanced search engine optimization issues.

Method:

A dozen 30-minute videos over one year.

Cost:

$2,995

Other Info:

Membership includes extra Web content, a free pass to a live SEO Ninjas training class, and bonus videos throughout the year. Included analytics tools and a set of bonus SEO tools allow you to analyze your site against your competitors' sites. Lessons cover advanced topics.

Training Around the Country

 

Training Around the Country

Basic and advanced SEM and SEO training courses are offered across the U.S. for those who want face-to-face training. Depending on the length and difficulty level of the training, these courses usually cost anywhere from $750 to $2,000 per person. So aside from travel expenses, these courses are relatively cost-efficient.

Though not as personalized as on-site training, location-based training provides opportunities to ask questions specific to your Web site, making the training less an exercise in theory and more an opportunity for practical learning. In-person training addresses those who learn by visual and audio aids, as well as by application. Many courses include lab time for attendees to use SEO tools, sometimes included with the training package, on their own domain with the instructor available for help or suggestions.

Bruce Clay, Inc.

Subject Matter:

Basic and advanced search engine optimization training course includes ample time for Q&A and lab time to practice the techniques you learn on your own site.

Method:

Three-day basic course offered every month and day-and-a-half-long advanced certification course offered every other month.

Cost:

$1,795 basic; $1,195 advanced

Location:

Simi Valley, California

Other Info:

Designed for marketing and Web design staff, the face-to-face training covers standard SEO practices and ethics issues, plus certification for those who complete the advanced course. Subscription to the SEOToolSet® of diagnostic tools is included with the course. On-site SEO and SEM training is also available for companies that want to train 20 or more employees.

High Rankings

Subject Matter:

Topics covered include keyword research, site architecture, copywriting, Title tags, Meta Descriptions, links, publicity, social media, and measuring success with analytics.

Method:

One-day SEO training course

Cost:

$749

Location:

Framingham, Massachusetts

Other Info:

Classes are limited to six students and are offered monthly. This course is geared toward new SEOs, Internet marketing managers, entrepreneurs, copywriters and Web designers. Through this personalized training course you can create an organic, site-specific SEO strategy.

On-Site Training

Onsite Training

While certainly the most expensive of all training methods, on-site SEO training is also the most personalized method, tailored to your site and your company's SEO and SEM needs. From $150 to $500 an hour, with minimum hour and/or minimum participant requirements, you'll want to be sure you choose the program that offers what you need. To this end, it's important to come up with a list of expectations for your search engine optimization campaign before consulting with several SEO companies to see what type of training topics they cover. On-site training is usually most useful for companies planning to perform SEO in-house and which are therefore training many employees. Most on-site training programs are tailored to the specific project, provide a syllabus of topics that will be most relevant to your project objectives, and offer follow-up consultation.

DISC

Subject Matter:

Discover your company's optimum ROI, benefits of PPC campaigns, how to write content, how to interpret analysis and reports, how to optimize your CMS, and how to conduct keyword research, in a personalized, company-specific manner.

Method:

DISC evaluates your team, delivers training materials, performs a one- or two-day workshop at your location, and provides follow-up Q&A.

Cost:

Packages range from $12,300 to $15,500, plus travel expenses

Other Info:

On-site and conference-style training afford companies the ability to have many employees trained at the same time, in a comfortable environment, learning techniques personalized for your specific project. You'll receive detailed training materials with step-by-step guidelines for performing essential SEO procedures. Packages are tailored to your company's needs. Phone and email training is also available.

Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc.

Subject Matter:

Site structure, site and page optimization, advanced link-building techniques, statistical analysis and personalized, company-specific issues are addressed.

Method:

On-site, over-the-phone, and conference training available

Cost:

Starts at $500/hour, plus $100/hour preparation costs

Other Info:

This training is intended for companies that want to improve their in-house SEO program. On-site and conference-style SEO training afford companies the ability to have many employees trained at the same time, in a comfortable environment, learning techniques personalized for your specific project.

From basic to advanced lessons offered at your desk or at your door, SEO and SEM training comes in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Overall, it's important to realize how training can be helpful and to know how to choose the training method that best fits your needs. We at Bruce Clay, Inc. hope you continually strive to better your skills and the SEO community through ongoing search engine optimization education and growing industry knowledge.


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