Some “Trainers” Shouldn’t Train on SEO – My Experience at an SEO Seminar
In the efforts of doing more self-marketing and promoting Clicc Media Inc, I decided to sign up for different seminars in Broward and Miami Dade County that would allow me the opportunity to meet and interact with different business professionals and possibly make great connections (not just leads).
The first seminar I attended was in Hollywood, FL and the topic was “SEO vs. Adwords”. I had not realized at the time of signing up that it would be more of an introductory course to those two tactics than anything else, but that was fine, if anything this was a great opportunity to meet business owners who are becoming aware of the importance of SEO and listen to their questions and concerns. I sat in the back of the room and kept my ears open for any new information, as I believe everyone always has something worth teaching.
The speaker was a kind lady who had been in the internet marketing business for over 13 years. She spoke of creating a niche marketing business for car dealerships in which they developed software to help improve and automate some of their internal structures and process; she later sold this company and founded a new company which provided internet marketing services and consultation to small businesses.
She had her company logo up on the projector screen, which contained some sort of fairy image and old school font. With a first judgmental glance, I immediately criticized the logo and thought it to be very “clip art-ish” and questioned the quality of product she might be delivering to her clients. I know that I am not the only one who is guilty of thinking this way from time to time.
The speaker opened up the class with a wonderful analogy:
SEO is like a diet, you have to do it constantly and consistently to see and maintain results. PPC is like plastic surgery, you pay for immediate results.
Once I heard those words, I felt a sense of encouragement that this would be a worthwhile class. She continued to define where organic rankings showed on the actual result pages and where the paid ads were positioned and the business owners dutifully made their notes on their pads.
The Bad and The Ugly
She continued to define the differences between SEO and Adwords which was fine, she even spoke about the importance of adding Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to your site with a quick overview on how to implement it.
It wasn’t until she began talking about strategies on how to make your website rank organically, that I began to understand the gap in knowledge between so-called “SEO Experts”. Now I don’t call myself an expert by any means, if my clients decide to dub me with such an honor then a great thank you to them. But personally, this industry is always changing, so it’s not a matter of being an expert but being on top of these changes and reflecting these shifts within your marketing strategies to continue on-going success.
This is what I didn’t agree with:
Adding your main keyword as many times on to your page. She did sample search for the keyword “elder care south florida”, clicked on the top organic listing and did a CTRL+F to look for “elder cade” on the page – it showed 17 times. She made the statement that the reason this page was ranking was because they had their keyword written 17 times on the page and that’s what they should do.
For anyone who has learned about and how to properly implement on-page SEO knows the above statement isn’t true. You do not want to keyword stuff your way to the top because that tactic does not work anymore. I actually whispered to those around me the information she provided was wrong and that you should add your keyword if it belongs in the sentence – you write for your audience and not Google. Also, she never clarified that the placement of your keywords was crucial, it is not about adding it 17 times to the body of text, but making sure it is included in your title tag, meta description, url, H1, alt tag and so forth.
It was upsetting to me, as someone in the field, to watch all of these eager business owners speedily write down all of this thin information knowing that they would go back home and try to implement them to low success.
The reason they are ranking is because they wrote a lot of content on their page – you need 300-500 words on every page. No, the reason they are ranking is not because they have a lot of content, it is because they wrote valuable content and implemented certain on-page SEO factors that helped boost their page. The length of your content is a debate between many SEO forums but I think everyone can agree that the more valuable content you write the better for your audience. There is no “set number” that you must reach.
Once again, I see all of these business owners jotting every piece of information down, while I continue to whisper to my small group that piece of information is not entirely true.
She didn’t really touch base on much else because many people kept asking questions, and secretly I was glad.
What Did I Do?
I respect her for having the ability to stand in front of a group of strangers and present on a subject that many are taking time out of their day to learn about. I personally have a bit of a fear of public speaking but know it is something I have to overcome especially if I want to grow as a professional – I am motivating myself to one day be a speaker at an event.
But in doing so comes a responsibility of giving thorough information that will make your student succeed in the right way; and while our speaker had the best of intentions I didn’t agree with her outdated tactics or better yet, lack of proper explanation for the tactics presented. I know every industry and market produces different results but there are basics that hold true for every campaign.
They gave every attendee a rating sheet to give our opinion on the class, and I most definitely filled out my concerns. I then stuck around for a little bit of one-on-one marketing and spoke to some business owners and exchanged business cards. I later followed up that same day with an email with a thorough introduction of myself, my thoughts of the class which included a mix of positives and negatives and then provided myself as a go-to in case they had any questions regarding internet marketing or design.
I have faith that the next local event will be much better than this one but if there was one main positive that I gained it was this: it gave me a confidence of my knowledge in the field, the foundation I am trying to build for the company and the work that I am producing for my clients.