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#1 Cath

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 07:40 PM

Hi

I am seriously considering taking one or maybe two of the certification pathway courses offered by the SEO College, http://www.searcheng...on-pathways.htm

The course information states that students, once qualified, are ready for employment, my question to the seo experts on here is, how long would you expect it to take to find seo related employment once qualified and what are the best places to look for work once qualified?

I be really interested to hear from any other people who have studied with the college and their experiences in finding work and advice from people already involved in seo in finding seo related work.

Thanks

Cath

#2 travis

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 08:22 PM

Its certainly a step in the right direction for the SEO industry.

But employment is never guaranteed. In the world of business, the person who makes the money is the person who gets out their and sells themself, qualified or not.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 11:26 PM

Right on travis.

It is not who passes the course and learns to make a product. It is who learns the most and is dedicated to continued experimentation and personal advancement.

SEO is closer to martial arts than it is to making widgets. This I believe is true on many levels.

Edited by EGOL, 02 December 2006 - 11:27 PM.


#4 travis

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 03:21 AM

SEO is closer to martial arts than it is to making widgets.


Well that makes me The Cougar then.

Edited by travis, 03 December 2006 - 03:22 AM.


#5 Cath

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 06:53 AM

Thanks for the replies, yeah I realise that I'll need to go out there and sell myself, I wasn't thinking that I'd take a course and the next day my inbox would be filled with offers of work. I suppoose the question should have been, is the work out there?

I need a career change, for the last five years I've worked with murderers, rapists, child abusers and other assorted delightful characters, recently when I'm sat looking at these people instead of listening to their requests for me to help them, I've found myself visualising things like, axes falling from the ceiling and splitting them in two :P so I know I need to change jobs before I do something flippant with one of them.

Now, having this time off work sick, I've been reading lots about web design, seo and other related stuff and think this is the way I'd like to go, not really interested in setting up a website design company, although I do have plans or about 8 sites of my own. I know the courses will be useful for my own sites at the very least.

I like the martial arts analogy :) and Travis, how did I know you would be the Cougar!

#6 Kal

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 10:55 PM

Hi Cath (holding up a big disclaimer here as Director of SEC!)

I can tell you that there is an enormous amount of work out there for SEO and SEM trained staff. We have an employment forum and we simply can't keep up with the job postings because of the high turnover and sheer amount of them.

Our courses are aimed at training up people so they can hit the ground running as soon as they're employed. They are more likely to be hired because they know how to conduct detailed keyword research, or they know how to set up a Google AdWords campaign etc. There is less on-the-job training required because it's all contained in the course material.

In terms of the quality of courses, I won't comment on those because I'm obviously biased, but you can scout around other forums and in here to find some info on our reputation. We also offer a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee for the first 7 days after accessing the course materials.

Regarding gaining employment - that depends on you. There are a LOT of jobs out there, but you have to do a good job of selling yourself and researching the companies to see if you would be a good fit for them and vice versa. Rebecca Kelley posted a great article about what it's like to be an intern in the SEO world, working with Ammon at FreshEgg. Good luck!

#7 A.N.Onym

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 11:06 PM

I'd say that self-learning is more important than paid education. Sure, it gets you through the basics quickly, but you will learn to work the ways your teachers work, not how you'd do it.

Might worth it, if you have cash to spare, but remember, it is the proven results and referrals that count, not a certificate (even if you have one or two on your wall).

For instance, it may be more worthwhile for you to start a site around your favorite topic (not necessarily to make an income) and do it. If you come across something you don't know how to do, you can always research it on the Web and ask here. This will get you the practice and the knowledge of a SEO.

In essence, I can't overstate the importance of practice. Especially, if you work on a site with topic you like.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 03 December 2006 - 11:08 PM.


#8 AbleReach

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 12:08 AM

I'd say that self-learning is more important than paid education. Sure, it gets you through the basics quickly, but you will learn to work the ways your teachers work, not how you'd do it.

IMHO the god/bad news of being self-taught is that it's self-limiting. Sure, you can work at your own pace and find your own vistas while being self-taught. On the other hand, teachers and mentors and others will have their own vistas, their own skillsets and paradigms to share. Why not do both?

#9 EGOL

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 12:29 AM

I think that a valuable way to do it is to study and build a site. they pay a great pro to do study/recommend. That way you get feedback on exactly the project that you are working on. Maybe this is part of the curriculum at this course.

#10 A.N.Onym

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 12:39 AM

The thing is, while receiving ready (pre-digested) advice is good, it is more important to be able to do your own research, find your own results and have your own experience, than rely on others.

I didn't say that I am against consulting the pros. I simply say it should be an addition to the overall learning strategy, not the cornerstone of one.

Well, asking the teachers may very well be replaced by asking for advice on this very forum. It is frequented (and moderated) by quite a number of seasoned Internet people, who can help around nearly every issue.

#11 Cath

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 01:00 AM

I can tell you that there is an enormous amount of work out there for SEO and SEM trained staff.


That's good to hear, Kal. My main concern being that although I want a change of job, my current job pays very well, and I would want to begin to replace that income pretty quickly. Of course I would not be giving up that income until I had finished any training and felt confident that I could replace it.

Yuri, I completely agree that practice is the best way to learn, and I would be using my own sites to practice on. The reason I want to do the courses is to make sure that I have covered all the bases, and as Ablereach has said, share in the knowledge and skills of the tutors. I would also feel more confident scouting for work with a qualification behind me, and think it would help in finding work quickly on completing the course enabling me to build up a good portfolio.

I'm doing plenty of reading at the moment, and realise that this area of work is not static so I would be continually learning and developing my way of doing things to keep pace, again I'd feel more comfortable doing this knowing I had initially had good training with people who are recognised in the industry.

I've read Rebecca's report, the course she did with Ammon at Fresh Egg sounds great, and covered all the areas I would like to study. Although being based in the UK, applying for that course is just not feasible for me, due to my husbands work schedule and having children I could not study away from home, I don't live close enough to travel there on a daily basis, so for now I think I'll have to miss out on Ammon's Ammonisms :)

Edited by Cath, 04 December 2006 - 01:03 AM.


#12 A.N.Onym

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 01:36 AM

Sounds like you are in the right track, then.

Good luck on your education.

#13 Cath

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:33 AM

Thanks Yuri, I won't be enrolling until the new year, need to get my arm fixed first, looks like I need another op on it, having said that, my one handed typing is coming on a treat :)

#14 JohnMu

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:35 AM

Go Cath, go!

If you're really interested in SEO then more than ever I feel a good, from the grounds up education with courses and controlling by real experts is a very good idea. I learned SEO by myself, but I know that I only know perhaps 5% of the things out there. And even for those 5%, how can I be certain that they're really true? Sure, you can also be misled by a course (just trade forum-guru for teacher-guru), but from what I've seen from the SEC you'd be on the right track.

There are three items which I feel you really, really should know before you head off deeper into SEO:

1. Don't trust anybody. All SEOs are liars (to an extent :)). Things change constantly - a simple change can go from being very useful to rankings to being the basis of a ban. When someone tells you something is so, don't take their word for it.

2. Test, test, test: See #1 - don't take their word: test it yourself if you want to use it for something important. In order to test things, you have to build your own test infrastructure and learn how to systemize your testing. It's no use to test a small change on a site that is "in the flux" already.

3. If you are starting out, learn the technical details first - they're not subject to interpretation. Learn everything you can about (x)HTML, about web-servers and how they work, set up a webserver on your own computer (for you to play with), learn where logs come from and how the different systems could lead to different results, etc. You'll need the technical details sooner or later as an SEO anyway, and again: they're not subject to interpretation, you can't learn them incorrectly (well, usually :D).

In the time leading up to your enrollment (assuming you go that way), you can start on those things.

The most important one is the first one -- in SEO you really must learn not to trust people who seem knowledgeable (especially those who can't tell you "why" it is so). This forum is a big exception - but even here you can learn the "wrong" things if you aren't paying attention (or if you misinterpret someone). It makes a bit harder to learn quickly, but in the end you'll learn much more by learning how and why something is so. The same can also be said for "tools" -- don't trust them if you don't know exactly what is happening behind the scenes - and even then, remember to check manually whenever you can.

For your test sites you'll need a server and a bunch of domain names -- domain names are cheap, buy them when you have a good idea :).

Regarding employment - I don't really know much about that. However, I do know that there are millions of sites out there that need to be worked on by a real SEO (not someone who just does what others in some forum have said 3 years ago). Take a look in the Google groups: http://groups.google..._Webmaster_Help - there are at least 10 new sites a day (some of them medium - large ecommerce sites) who are complaining that they don't know what happened, etc etc etc.

You might want to track some of those threads and the website hospital here - you'll see a bit of good feedback (and a lot of useless stuff - in the groups, not here :D). Take your hand at some of those sites, and see how far you can go to find problems and figure out solutions - you don't have to post it there, keep it for yourself if you want. Sometimes it's not simple, sometimes it's almost impossible, but in general the answers can be found in "SEO 101" :).

SEO is a lot like martial arts, as EGOL mentioned. It's one of those things where when you do it right, the general user won't notice what happened and why. That makes it extremely hard to promote your know-how and extremely hard for a company to find someone who really knows their stuff. I imagine it's one of those businesses where a recommendation by an insider is the best way to find a job.

I hope some of that makes sense :D

Good luck!
John

#15 Kal

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 04:02 AM

Everyone who commented on self-teaching is spot on. A bit of paper won't mean anything unless you test it on actual sites to see how well you've absorbed the material. You'll make mistakes at first and this is important so you can learn what works and what doesn't. Another good way to go is to find a charity or volunteer organization that you respect (and that probably can't afford SEO) and offer to do it for free, with the proviso that you are starting out and will probably tweak it continuously until you find what works. If you get good results for them, you'll end up with a fab testimonial and your first successful case study to show off.

#16 JohnMu

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:14 AM

Another good way to go is to find a charity or volunteer organization (...) do it for free

It's a good idea to practice, Kal. But -- I would only do that after you have worked out what really works and what doesn't -- from your own test sites and your own "play" sites. There are so many things you can do while learning which might give the site more trouble in the long run - things that take a lot more work to clean up than it takes to implement them. Doing something for free does not mean you can break things and not have to worry about it :). If I told you I would fix your car for free because I want to learn how to be a mechanic, would you let me?

John

#17 Cath

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 10:05 AM

John, thanks for that detailed reply, and the advice which I will take on board. I already do track the website hospital but will do so in more detail now and look more closely at the sites up for review.

I have a couple of sites to test things on, but will set up more and definitely test test test :) I want to learn things properly and understand them properly, don't worry I promise not be one of those liars :D I couldn't sleep at night if I thought I was not giving a good service to clients, that's just the way I am.

I did set up a server a while ago, haven't really used it but will bring it out of retirement now and have a play with it. I also recently bought one of the multi-site hosting plans from site5, at the time I thought it gave me far more space and tools than I would ever need but the price was great so I couldn't resist buying it, but now I think it will be very useful.

I'm really looking forward starting the courses now, and know I'm in the right place for good advice and constructive critisim for my future seo test sites.

#18 MaryKrysia

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 01:51 PM

IMHO the god/bad news of being self-taught is that it's self-limiting. Sure, you can work at your own pace and find your own vistas while being self-taught. On the other hand, teachers and mentors and others will have their own vistas, their own skillsets and paradigms to share. Why not do both?



This is too true. I have been self-taught in SEO and have tested my knowledge on a variety of web sites but realize my own perception and perspective is limited. I also found the link to Search Engine College and plan on working on at least one certification in the coming year -- a holiday gift to myself.

Mary

#19 Cath

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 07:14 PM

That's great, I'll look forward to meeting you in the classroom area :)

#20 ctrlfreak

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 10:10 AM

That's a good question. I recently signed up for the Advanced SEO certification course and hopefully will complete it in time to apply for this SEM opening at my current job. Wish me luck!



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