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One of the major issues or concerns that has arisen in the search marketing industry over the past couple of years is the lack of "standardized" SEO training that is available within the industries. You can attend all of the conferences that you want, however it is true that there is a lack of detail-focused training available. In this industry everyone and their dog has a blog or has written a book about SEO or has spoke at SES or SMX... but you know what a lot of these people have their own take on how to build links or how to optimize your website, or how to convert visitors on your site.
So then where does one go to learn about SEO? If you wanted to break into the search marketing industry where would one go to get the necessary training in 2008? The fact that there is no accredited SEO University out there to go an get your "SEO degree" obviously suggest a need for a standardized, widely accepted training environment or set of training resources. For now, there are a couple of resources that would be a great place to start.
SEO Training Resources in 2008
SEMPO Institute www.sempoinstitute.com - Currently this is as close as it gets to industry wide accepted SEO training that exists. Launched in 2007, SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization) launched SEMPO Institute to meet the challenges facing businesses as Search Marketing grows from a niche to a critical marketing player. The courses are designed to meet the needs of Search Marketing specialists as well as marketing generalists. We have developed the courses to train the highly-in-demand specialist (Advanced courses), while providing the knowledge absolutely needed in today’s business world (Fundamentals courses). Media buyers, copy writers, webmasters, marketing managers, product managers, sales and more need to understand where Search Marketing can provide a competitive advantage to your company and your career.
Their mission is to:
To teach standardized, peer reviewed SEM strategies, techniques, and best practices.
To provide Courses which establish a benchmark of expertise for SEM professionals worldwide.
To increase the quality and availability of SEM professionals and employees for hiring needs.
Direct Marketing Association's Search Engine Marketing Certification Program - Level I and Level II courses feature exciting quizzes, audio and video clips, and useful resources and links. There is no set time frame for completion. You can take them at your own pace when you have the time. Level One includes:
Introduction to Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Basics
Site Indexing Challenges and How to Fix Them
Fundamentals of Keyword Research
Search Engine and Directory Submission/Inclusion Tactics
Fundamentals of Site Optimization
Creating Powerful Content for Search
Understanding Paid Search
Building for Powerful Search Marketing
Measuring Search Marketing Success
Level Two includes:
Advanced Analytics and SEO (Core)
Enhancing Site Conversion – Managing the Search Flow (Core)
Usability, Site Architecture, and Search (Core)
Search Engine Marketing through Blogs (Core)
Integrating Search into the Marketing Mix (Core)
Online PR and Search (Organic)
Social Media & Multimedia Optimization (Organic)
Local Search Opportunities (Organic)
Advanced Link-Building Strategies (Organic)
International Search Factors (Organic)
Powerful Landing Pages and Accurate Targeting (Paid)
7 PPC Techniques Used by Direct Marketers (Paid)
Managing Paid Search Campaigns (Paid)
Budgeting and Forecasting for Paid Search (Paid)
Auditing Your Paid Search Campaign (Paid)
SEO ToolSet Training www.seotoolset.com/training/courses.html - Presented by Bruce Clay Inc. Bruce Clay is also in development of a major SEO book project for Wiley Books. This book is targeted for publication in late 2008 and will be the flagship SEO book in the all-in-one series. They also offer an Advanced Certification Course as well as a Refresher Course. Bruce Clay is well respected member of the SEO community and has been involved in Search since 1996.
SEOmoz Video Training Series - Released today (April 21, 2008) this seven-hour, eight module, professionally produced series is ideal for those who are serious about improving their SEO knowledge and search engine rankings. For $399 you can purchase this video which covers the following:
An Introduction to Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Algorithms
Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting
Content Development Strategies
Social Media Marketing
Blogging & the Blogosphere
Search Engine Friendly Design
If you are looking for SEO training you might want to consider the above resources. If anything they will provide a foundation for building your knowledge about SEO practices. The fact of the matter is that the best training is experience and working with best practices and developing your own strategies. Working through scenarios or practicing on your own blog or development site can help you gain the understanding needed to be successful with your online endeavors. However the search engine algorithms are complex and there is no guaranteed formula for success. Many suggest that learning and practicing SEO is not rocket science, well if that is the case, how come it has taken so long for the industry to develop standardized training? Finally in 2008 we are starting to see some practical SEO training resources.