Sign up for our daily recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
SEMPO Search Marketing Training Celebrates First Year & Recapping Various SEM Training Options
The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
that its SEMPO Institute has
trained more than 350 search marketers in its first year of operation. Congrats!
Below, a little love for one of the few places offering real search marketing
coursework, some alternative training options, and thoughts on what we’re
planning for our SMX West
show in February, in terms of training.
One of the things I especially like about what SEMPO has been doing is the
focus on trying to give people hands-on training in search marketing. I’m a
veteran of planning and offering large search conferences that provide broad
education in the space, and I know the value that those provide. But once
someone has had the introduction to key concepts, it’s extremely useful if they
can actually do exercises or tutorials designed to build and reinforce skills.
Sadly, you often see things billed as "training courses" that really are more
like limited-capacity seminars. Smaller numbers are nice, and there’s a place
for the more individual attention such seminars can offer. But to me, "training"
means someone is doing actual exercises, tutorials, or getting serious one-on-one
time with an experienced search marketer.
distance learning courses don’t give you the one-on-one time. However, they
do provide actual lessons to complete, leading to a certificate of basic
FYI — anyone thinking to hire someone on the basis of a certification should
understand it means that some basic or advanced level of educational training
has been completed. It doesn’t mean that the search marketer has proven
proficiency "in the field," so to speak. For that, as with anyone you want to
hire, check references or decide you’re willing to give a newbie a chance. But
the certificate does at least show someone has taken the time to educate
themselves in some verifiable way. That’s important for the many new people
coming in who can’t prove their proficiency yet, perhaps by work they’ve done on
their own sites or in other ways.
SEMPO’s not alone in offering training courses. Below are some others that
I’m aware of. Let me add the caveat that I’ve not been through any of these
programs, so I’d encourage you to seek references before applying to one. But
many of them are long-standing, which is one sign that they’ve been doing well:
- Bruce Clay Training:
Bruce is a search marketing vet who has long offered coursework on SEO and
Training: Like SEMPO, the Direct Marketing Association has a certification
program involving actual coursework
- Search Engine College:
Kalena Jordan is another search marketing vet who has been offering this
distance training service for years.
- Search Engine Workshops:
Again, two search marketing vets — Robin Nobles and John Alexander — head up
this long-standing service.
Am I missing someone offering real hands-on or significant one-on-one
training time? By all means, let me know in the comments below!
Now let me swing back to our SMX West show. This is our first three-day event
that is designed for marketers of all skill levels and interests. Heck,
we’ve even got
symbols like you’d find at a ski resort to let you know if a trail is for
beginners, intermediate, or expert people.
For those that are new, we have our SMX Boot Camp sessions that run in a
special track on the first day, then one additional session on the second day.
The sessions are:
Keyword Research Tools & Techniques
Copywriting For Search Success
Paid Search Fundamentals
Link Building Fundamentals
Search Engine Friendly Web Design
We’re still pinning down the last details,
but for anyone who completes all five sessions, we expect to issue you with a
graduation certificate. Like I said, certificates don’t prove proficiency, but
they are growing as a way newcomers can indicate that they are educating
themselves. We may even have a very short graduation ceremony — though I’m not
sure about the caps-and-gowns.
Make no mistake. Our SMX Boot Camp is NOT
training. But the sessions are proven, useful ways for attendees to quickly get
up to speed and be prepared if they go forward with actual hands-on coursework.
That’s why the boot camp — as well as the entire SMX West show — is
As for actual training at SMX West, we’re
hoping to find a way for interested attendees to get some type of "advanced
placement" credit toward the SEMPO distance learning courses. We’ll post news of
that if everything comes together. Looking further ahead, we’d hope to partner
with a variety of people who offer hands-on training for our SMX East show in
New York next October. That way, SMX can focus on what it does best — general
sessions about the strategies and tactics about search, while those who
specialize in actual training can pick up from when our new attendees have been
brought up to speed. And if you’re interested in partnering, contact our
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.