Lee Odden

Reader Poll: Best Paid Subscription SEM Communities

We recently posted a list of over 100 resources our readers could leverage to learn more about marketing online through search. One of the categories was paid subscription SEM communities that offer training, forums and often times templates, forms and guides for implementing effective Search Marketing programs.

A pioneer forum that has a paid channel in this area is the WebmasterWorld Supporter’s group. SEOmoz has been wildly successful with their Pro community over the past few years and SEO Book launched their training community after discontinuing the actual book.  The newcomer to this group is SEO Dojo.

Below you’ll find info and links on each community and if you’re a fan, take this poll to vote which is your favorite:

What is the best subscription based SEM community?

  • SEO Dojo (37%, 82 Votes)
  • SEOmoz Pro (24%, 53 Votes)
  • SEO Book Training (21%, 46 Votes)
  • WebmasterWorld Supporters (18%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 220

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Webmaster World Supporters
WebmasterWorld Supporters

Since: Posts go back to Nov 5, 2002 but I suspect it was started before that.
Cost: 6 months $89 – 12 months $149
Description: A private forum for WebmasterWorld supporters dealing with Webmaster, Tech, and Business issues related to operating and promoting a website.

SEOmoz Pro

Since: Feb 2007
Cost: Pro $79/mo, Pro Plus $129/mo, Pro Elite $229/mo
Description: Access to exclusive tools, processes and knowledge that SEOmoz staff use to provide consulting to their clients. Offers a guarantee.

SEO Book Training

Since: Feb 2008
Cost: $150/mo – Membership is full
Description: Over 100 training modules as well as forums, templates, videos and tools.

SEO Dojo

Since: Oct 2009
Cost: $30/monthly or $250/full year plus other combinations
Description: Community and training resource for search and Internet marketers that includes articles, chat sessions, worksheets/guides and plans for webinars.

What has your experience been with these communities? What are the best features? Training, Tools, Community.  Which paid SEM communities did we miss? Please share in the comments and we’ll update our 100 Resources list as well as include them in next year’s poll.

This poll will run until Tuesday 11/03/09 after which we will name the winner both on Online Marketing Blog, which gets close to 100,000 visits per month and we’ll be issuing a press release for distribution through PRWeb. The winner will also get a free 125X125 ad on the toprankblog.com right side bar for 2 months.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. I have tried all the above mentioned sites at one time or another and the SEO Dojo was the only one I felt truly at home in.

    Not taking anything away from the others as I believe they all work in different capacities and offer different degrees of service and benefits but it was the hands on approach and acceptance into the group that did it for me… oh , and I learned a few things as well 😛

  2. Hey Lee…. fun stuff and while we're only just over a week old, it is great to see our merry band of search warriors included in the running!! Up with the stalwarts of the biz (some smart folks too) is a pleasure and great to see. Thanks a TON for putting us in the same class… we are collectively humbled ;0)

  3. It was after seeing you guys launch that reminded me I've been meaning to run such a poll for quite a while. Cheers and good luck with your venture.

  4. Justin, that's a great testimonial for a new service. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you cvos man. Is shoemoneytools.com really about SEO or is it more about internet marketing and monetization in general? Either way, it will be included the next time we run a poll like this.

  6. Thank you cvos man. Is shoemoneytools.com really about SEO or is it more about internet marketing and monetization in general? Either way, it will be included the next time we run a poll like this.

  7. I've worked with theGypsy off and on throughout the development of the SEO Dojo. I was one of the earliest testers. I've seen this community take shape from conception, to final launch day.

    I can say with absolute conviction and honesty, what David Harry and the great community of “real SEOs” are doing at the Dojo is fantastic! The content goes far beyond the regurgitated crap that the many muppets in this industry put out there!

    If you *really* want to learn SEO, and I mean at a VERY technical level, I highly recommend the SEO Dojo! If you want some fancy design and some decent tools, the other SEO* sites are decent too and are a good addition to your toolbox, but they don't even come close to offering the holistic approach that you'll find at the Dojo.

    If you want to be a search muppet, do what you see all the muppets doing in social media. If you want to be a Search Ninja, join the SEO Dojo. If you're willing to discipline yourself and seek knowledge, you'll surely find it there!

    For the record, I have had subscriptions at all except Webmaster World. I never saw anything there that warranted registering.

    To answer the questions specifically….

    “What has your experience been with these communities?”

    All have their place and usefulness, but the Dojo is the most comprehensive SEO community I've used so far.

    “What are the best features?”

    Oh my…. Whitepapers, tools, patents, access to industry experts in a wide range of related fields, community experimentation and exploration, very tight community spirit (we help each other a LOT). Really, I like everything about the SEO Dojo.. It just fits what I do as a SEO. It has far less fluff and more meat and potatoes. I'm a meat and potatoes guy. 😉

  8. A commenter that declined to read our comment guidelines asked about StomperNet. My answer is that I would include them along with ShoemoneyTools and SEO Blackhat in a future poll. I have not associated those communities with commercial SEO like those listed above.

  9. My pleasure. I always feel that credit should be given where credit is due.

  10. If you're a SEO Pro then SEO Dojo is where you want to hang. If you're in semi-pro then SEO Moz is awesome. I use all four and then some…

  11. SEO Dojo is *the* place to be to get down and dirty with SEO. It's young in age, but I think it's on its 10th or 20th incarnation. Good place to be.

  12. Avatar audreyseiberling says

    The SEO Dojo is an excellent place to talk with like-minded SEO types, get ideas, and bounce problems and solutions off of people who know what they're talking about!

  13. Avatar Todd Allison says

    Oh OK – a week old service is the highest ranked – yup real credible pole.

  14. The Seo Dojo is freaking awesome, in addition to a real community that is very helpful and interactive, there's a bunch of awesome fringe benefits to the Dojo that make me proud to be a member.

  15. hehe… now now Todd, it's just the passionate members. We actually started bringing people in more than 10 months ago, so we've been around for nearly a year. It was a private gated community of 100 or so search geeks. It was simply last week that we opened the doors to the public. M'kay? Kinda why Donna mentioned the many incarnations since inception.

    I have no doubt that the other locales could easily drive enough members to put us back in last place where we likely belong; we're a relatively small group. That being said, it's a passionate group as we involve the members in the evolution of the community.

    So no worries, polls are just good fun, not scientific study. I am humbled by the inclusion as well as the outpouring from my fellow (rabid) search warriors. I'd happily place 4th on a list with these heavy hitters!

  16. The Dojo has actually been around longer than a week, but it has been a private Dojo up until this point. There's a vibrant and strong community of dedicated SEOers who thrive at the dojo, despite it's relatively short time as a public offering.

  17. Todd A., What footinmouth said. We have been a private group since the late threadwatch days and its a no-bs forum full of valuable information.

  18. I've used both SEOmoz Pro and the SEO Dojo and the SEO Dojo is by far superior. If you're an SEO that is just learning the ropes then a site like SEOmoz is perfect for you, but I found that I outgrew a lot of what was being shared their. The SEO Dojo is more of a search geeks paradise. If you eat, sleep, and drink search you are going to find like minded folks in the Dojo as well as some more advanced reading and techniques. The Dojo is definitely not your mama's paid SEO community.

  19. I am an ardent reader of Gypsy's blog posts. This made me to enter the world od SEO Dojo. Dojo is the best when it comes for learning advance techniques. There's lot of forum around there but what makes Dojo forum – Knowledge exchange so special is it is free from spam. Believe it or not this forum is entirly dedicated to enhance knowledge base, no promotion. So Hatts of to SEO Dojo and Gypsy.

  20. I have to admit I have seen & used all of them. SEO dojo is the first place I was welcomed with open arms. David is clear, smart and one wicked SEO hero of mine. He takes it further than any other community I have joined. From great chats on Friday's to some amazing tips that cannot be found anywhere else. Plus I have to admit the group and the specific people (a few of my favorite SEO people) are what I consider heavy hitters that share their knowledge willingly without any punches or self entitled prima donna syndrome.

  21. I'm new to the SEO Dojo community and I really like it's mood. It's not just about the tools, it's about real people that can provide you with expert advices for your SEO needs. Just subscribe to the SEO Dojo newsletter and you'll understand the quality of information provided by the Dojo.

  22. SEOBook is a Basic SEO

    WebmasterWorld Supporters & SEOmoz Pro are Middle SEO

    SEO Dojo is advance SEO

    I remember when my friend Jeff Quipp told me “if you really want to know SEO, visit DAVID HARRY's Website”

  23. SEO Dojo hands down. It provides an ongoing learning environment where the masters are still students. The basics provide the foundation for the community. And as SEOCopy mentioned, it is a unique, helpful forum without drama or ego. I've been part of the chats, and they are very much like the conversations professionals at any conference, only better because they happen every week. Definitely one of my favorite destinations.

  24. Julien, that's a great question and one that a SEO Dojo member or David can best answer. SEM is Search Engine Marketing, which is comprised of SEO and PPC. Advice on both can be found in these communities, but they do tend to slant towards SEO.

  25. Hi there Julien, we're actually quite SEO centric at the Dojo. All of the materials are SEO related and most of the discussions are as well. Sure, we have people that cross over from PPC, SMM, Web dev and more…. but we really don't get into PPC enough for it to be a value if that's what you're after… Sorry about that, maybe we'll start the 'PPC Dojo' (hmmm scrambles off to register domain)…

    But hey, if you want to get your SEO fine tuned, we're here if you need us….

  26. I've received a heads up that Sphinn will be launching a subscription based SEM community: http://sphinn.com/msignup/

  27. Hey Lee

    Another entry for this list is the new Sphinn paid member area. Main features are private discussions and live chat. Private discussions are similar to Sphinns but ordered by the number of replies. You can also see statistics on the top Sphinners and contact other Sphinn members (networking). They are taking the discussions behind closed doors so the Sphinn community can speak freely – no holds barred.

    They've not pushed it yet – the site officially leaves beta on Monday but it's definitely a leader in the group.

  28. I'm involved or semi active in all but WebmasterWorld, where I know I should frequent more. However, the SEO Dojo is where I get the most out of the community aspect. Our Friday am chats cover SEO, business practices, marketing and principles with inside tips. At this point, we're comfortable to share and ask questions. Now, how will that go as it grows? I'm sure David will use his warrior skills to figure that out. It's one of the places I've hung out that really has felt career-changing! The Dojos are like an extension of your business team!

  29. Thanks for answering. After reading all this comments, I must say I'm very interested in joining your community at SEO Dojo. It seems to be a good place to learn, share and have good time. But unfortunately, I'm really focused on PPC.

    Don't forget me when the PPC Dojo is running 😉

  30. Not a problem Julien, we Gypsies get around you know. It's funny that a few social media mates of mine had been talking to me about a SMM version, hadn't thought of a PPC one… So I joke you not that we grabbed SMMdojo.com and PPCdojo.com this week. Obviously I won't be putting one together in short order, but I am going to round up some of my PPC peeps and see what ideas come from it.

    Thanks for the kind words/interest, we really are thrilled to have such a raid following and ever-growing resource. Tomorrow (Friday) is a particularly fun day since we have our online chat sessions – great info and fun hanging with the gang.

    Take care…. hope me cya round ( Im the same handle on Twitter; theGypsy )

  31. With so many people no longer even going to the regular sphinn I have to wonder how their community will fare 🙁 Ive pretty much stopped going to any of the other communities, beyond the ones being voted on, even the ones I was made admin on, to hang out more at the Dojo myself..

    Reminds me of an old Wendy's commercial..

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