SEMPO Institute released their online training program for SEO and PPC late 2007. TopRank has previously written a review of the “Fundamentals Course” now known as the “Insider’s Guide to Search Marketing”. SEMPO Institute students that complete the Insider’s Guide can then move on to the two advanced training courses, one of which is the Advanced SEO Specialist course. I’ve recently completed that training and have the following review:
The Advanced SEO Course builds on the basics covered in the Insider’s Guide to Search Marketing, and then expands into research and execution of many SEO tactics including: keyword research, web page construction, link building tactics and writing appropriate website copy.
SEMPO Institute’s Advanced SEO Course is divided up into 5 learning modules:
- Advanced Keyword Research
- SEO Diagnostic & Audit
- Advanced Link Building
- Editing & Optimizing pages
- Reporting & Analytics.
Each module is split up into 3 lessons to cover a different section falling under the module umbrellas.Similar to the Insider’s Guide to SEM course, each lesson provides an online course packet and resources available for more information on the specific topic. There are also mini-quizzes placed in between key topics in each lesson to test the readerâ€™s understanding of the previous materials and to highlight the important facts learned thus far.
There is a 20 question test at the end of each lesson covering the topics learned in the lesson. The questions are in a true or false, multiple choice, fill in the blank and matching format, and a score of 75% or higher is needed in order to pass. The tests can be retaken as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score, and once all tests are passed, a Certificate of Completion is issued for display and recognition of passing the SEMPO Institute course.
The difficulty level of the questions vary to make sure the reader pays attention to even the smallest detail in order to pass the test. In the Advanced Link Building module there are questions such as â€œMatch the link building tactic channel with its categoryâ€ referring to using del.icio.us as part of your social media marketing mix. There are also questions stating a problem and asking for the best ways to solve the problem, such as using industry-specific directories and blogs to gain appropriate reputable inbound links.
The Advanced Search Engine Optimization Course differs in structure slightly from the Insider’s Guide in that it is a lot more interactive. The Advanced Keyword Research module explains how to create a segmented keyword glossary, and offers 30-day trial memberships to Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker to aid in the development of the keyword glossaries.
There are also many of valuable resources available in the Advanced SEO Course. At the end of the Advanced Link Building module, the readers are provided a list of popular link building blogs, such Debra Mastaler’s The Link Spiel, to continue the linking education. The link building module was clear in that the linking tactics highlighted were some of the current tried and true methods, but that linking tactics change frequently.
Due to the changing nature of the industry, consumer search behaviors and the search engines themselves, SEO professionals must keep up on industry news and spend time experimenting with new tactics in order to stay current with productive linking tactics.
The Advanced course provides up and coming SEO professionals with the resources to take their work to the next level by demonstrating what tools to keep in one’s SEO toolbox. It also can help seasoned SEO professionals brush up on their knowledge of certain research and strategies.
While online training and formalized instruction on SEO and paid search tactics are certainly helpful, there is no substitute for hands on learning through concepting, implementing, measuring and refining your own search marketing campaigns – which is exactly what we do with new employees at TopRank. Formal training, conferences, reading blogs and hands on learning provide the best mix.
If your interests and responsibilities lie more with online advertising, then SEMPO Institute offers an Advanced Search Advertising course focusing on the creation and maintenance of pay per click campaigns. If you are just beginning your SEO career, the Insider’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing course is a good place to start.