Why participate in an SEO training course?
There are many reasons to consider doing optimisation courses.
We all know that the internet is a wonderful place to find or provide information. The internet revolution has changed our lives as much as the arrival of the Bronze Age or the Atomic Age.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the application of techniques designed to bring webpages to the top of search engine results pages for targeted keywords to increase visitor numbers. Search engine optimisers specialise in promoting websites for clients. Some optimisers find it academically challenging although the primary interest of most is to provide excellent professional service for financial reward.
There are more opinions on how to move webpages to the top than optimisers. Every statement that most optimisers would accept will be challenged by someone who claims to be the world’s greatest expert. For example, most would say that you are unlikely to achieve top positioning if your targeted keywords are not in the Page Title tag – that it is the top on-page factor. The occasional experienced optimiser will disagree. Evidence based research providing compelling data to confirm that an opinion has merit is difficult to find. There is not even one peer reviewed internationally recognised journal or website edited by experts with appropriate academic qualifications.
Google is the most popular search engine and everyone with a website wants to be at the top for their search terms. Search engines are e-commerce companies that accumulate wealth in proportion to their popularity. It is in their individual interests to enhance their programs that position webpages in the order that best answers a search request.
There are at least 200 factors in the Google positioning program (algorithm). Just to make it interesting, Google changes their positioning algorithm at least once a day and brings in major changes at less frequent intervals. The Panda update introduced in 2011, involves machine leaning – it is as if the Google algorithm is training itself to provide better search results. The bottom line is that Google holds the key to enormous potential wealth but the combination to unlock it is as closely guarded as Fort Knox.
The majority of optimisers would accept that understanding how Google works is challenging. Those in the SEO industry will have their own way of optimising webpages and websites. Fundamentally, we have on-page optimisation (page content and coding) and off-page optimisation – the acquisition of links. Links are known to be more important than on-page content in the Google algorithm.
Writing articles or comments on quality websites that provide benefit to readers is desirable and entirely acceptable. Natural link acquisition is beneficial and appropriate particularly when it is undertakine with moderation. There is increasing interest in link bait to bring in those precious links. A provocative statement on a forum can be particularly effective.
There was a period when reciprocal linking and automated linking with programs that disseminate poor quality articles and blog comments seemed to be a way forward even if those who indulged in such malpractice might have difficulty explaining it to their competition. Such optimisation is frowned upon by all respectable optimisers and the search engines are less than impressed: They may impose a penalty such as removing websites from their index.
Some hold the view that a link is a link which is undeniable. Others believe that a link is only of potential value when it is indexed by Google, it carries link juice from a webpage that has PageRank and / or has keywords in the anchor (linking) text. Money is money – undeniable; Monopoly money is not recognised by the high street bank.
It is easy to formulate a reproducible way to optimise websites and follow the protocol. More difficult is to realise that an ongoing improvement to the protocol is required. Some would suggest that it is all simple and that others complicate the issue. Others take the view that SEO is not that easy. One difficult part is to know how much to explain to potential clients. Make it sound complicated and you may lose the customer. Make it sound easier than it is and the client may find that your promises become unfulfilled.
There is information overload on optimisation. Books, websites, internet articles, and videos abound.
SEO courses provide opportunity to be updated. If it is held by somebody with SEO experience and an academic background or in an academic institute it is likely to be thought provoking.
A good training course will help you to maximise your website’s potential so that it will receive more targeted visitors. There are many online and off-line optimisation courses held at venues varying from schools to universities. Some are free but others attract a fee. The advantage of on-line SEO courses is that anyone can attend – there are no geographical restrictions. Courses held at venues have the advantage of interaction between tutors and the attendees.
How can I determine if those offering a course have the required genuine expertise?
Testimonials are a good place to start provided they are on the attendee’s website; anyone can write a testimonial about themselves and put it on their own website. A major part of SEO is acquiring natural links.
Google says tells us that “Today we use more than 200 signals, including PageRank, to order websites, and we update these algorithms on a weekly basis.” The PageRank of a website is determined by the total value of the links to the HomePage of the website. In the author’s opinion, HomePage PageRank is the top factor in the Google algorithm. If the HomePage PageRank of an optimiser is at least 3, it demonstrates ability to acquire links that are accredited by Google.
Those with expertise in optimisation will have a passion for it. They will have published many articles and blog comments, some of them offering original research. They will offer training to others so that others can learn from their expertise. Beware of courses or optimisers that suggest they can show you how to get to the top on Google for any keyword you choose. There are some experts who have been providing SEO training courses for many years. Bruce Clay offers acclaimed Courses internationally with venues as varied as California, Australia and India. His Courses are not cheap.
The success of a course or lecture depends not only on the speaker but the attendee. Feedback from specialist doctors to my lectures typically indicated that 60% thought I had pitched it correctly; 20% found that the information provided could have been found in books or on the internet and that the level was less than they hoped for and 20% thought I gave too much detail.
Any optimiser who claims to know how to get your website to the top for any keyword you wish is misleading you.
Where can I find a good search engine optimisation course?
By its very nature, those who provide a good training will advertise it online. As you surf the net, you will spot endless courses.
There is much to be said for courses run by recognised academies, colleges or universities. For example, in Manchester there is one with some of the local leading lights, with 10 acclaimed experts, from the region’s new media industry who have joined forces with academics in the North West of England to produce a groundbreaking new search engine optimisation (SEO) course designed to improve search and social media marketing skills.
This depends when you feel that you need to move up a gear and also the level you have reached. Of course not everyone feels the need for training.
There are courses at basic level, intermediate level and advanced level.
The social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have an effect on SEO but there is debate on their exact role. It probably varies according to different niches. There are SEO courses focused on social media. There are special interest courses – for example there is a training course available for web designers.