A Mini Rant: Small Business SEO Courses and Training
- 2nd June 2015 - Written by Tony Dimmock
Yesterday I came across a video, made by an SEO and web marketing training provider, introducing people to a course on SEO, content and effective this, effective that..
It claimed these 3 elements were key to an “effective” website:
- Relevant Content
- Regular Content (“you’ll be on page xxx if you don’t”, yeh right..)
Want to know what shocked me the most? Nowhere was mentioned the need to increase conversions. I’ve just checked it again and user experience isn’t addressed either. Nor calls-to-action or avoiding algo penalties or.. Deary, deary me..
I mean, c’mon, right??
I’m not going to tell you why that’s just plain wrong, especially if the courses are aimed at small businesses where every website visitor must count, but if you need convincing, read my SEO GAP’s, UX GUT’s & delivery promises post - getting visitors to take action on your site is what it's all about.
If another SEO training company tells you the same codswallop, here’s my in-the-trenches lowdown on those three keys:
Use topical collections of keyword terms instead.
Pages that prove their knowledge and authority in a subject get rewarded by Google, so focus on making your page stand up to scrutiny on it’s own merit. Research questions that are asked on your subject and have searcher intent (both implicit and explicit) in mind.
Hint: The best content is shown by Google for a multitude of search engine queries, because it owns its subject.
This isn’t enough. "Relevant" means you’ll be one of a hundred pages vying for the top 3 of Google.
Instead, make your content compelling. Prove you’re an authority. Cover angles no-one has thought about yet. Address your audiences’ needs and make Google not ranking your content seem plain stupid. Watch Rand Fishkin's recent Whiteboard Friday on x10 content to get my point (and read my comment at the top too).
Take it from me: if it takes you 2 months of research to write content that results in an excellent go-to resource in your industry or niche, it'll be worth your investment of time – go do it!
Hogwash. If you post one blog entry every two months and it gets traffic, audience interaction, comments or amplification, you’re on track.
Here’s the problem with the internet of things: there’s too much crap written for the sake of writing “content”, so only blog when you’ve gone something really important to say, that addresses your audience’s problems or needs head-on.
Make every blog post you write astound people, change opinions or offer insights ahead of their time.
There’s a ton of website marketing and SEO resources online, and a few (hundred) I mention here that include self-education material and paid online courses. Shameless plug: we (Dimmock Web Marketing) provide training too.
But before I end this mini tirade, here’s 5 things to check before you call ‘em up (and potentially waste your time).
SEO Course & Training Provider Checklist
1) If the word “conversions” isn’t within their marketing collateral or mentioned on promos, I’d suggest you go elsewhere.
Not thinking about conversions when SEO’ing your website will result in a severe lack of lead generation – not ideal if you’re a start-up, SoHo or small business.
2) Has the course or training tutor been in the firing line before?
Have they got out of a mess when shit happened? Have they taken a website from zero to hero and lived to tell the tale? No? How the hell can they teach you to do the same? If their experience is only in teaching and not doing, avoid them and find a company that has.
3) Check their own website out.
Is it optimised? Does it offer a good standard of usability? Does their website have “white space” and are their calls-to-action clear and enticing? If not, how can they teach you to do the same to your website? Find someone that eats, sleeps and breaths SEO, UX and conversions.
4) Make sure what they’re teaching is up-to-date.
The term “Key Words” is a dead giveaway and was used when Alta-Vista was once a Search Engine godfather. Google’s moved on immensely over the last 2-3 years and now rates pages with subject-matter expertise and semantic topical content highly (not peppering your pages with “key words”).
5) Email them and ask some direct questions to test their knowhow, overall marketing nous and experience (if you’re still unsure about how beneficial their training may be).
If their focus is truly on helping you learn, they’ll take the time to explain things and they may suggest a phone call to discuss stuff to put your mind at ease.
OK, rant over..
Have you had any bad experiences with SEO training providers? Feel free to share your experiences below in the comments.
Image credit: http://www.humorbation.com/2012_02_01_archive.html