SEO Training Courses = You’re Fired!?

I am an avid fan of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, and I think there are some lessons to be taken from the show that apply to SEO/SEM in some twisted way. So every week after I watch it, I’ll make some kind of crazy connection between The Apprentice and the crazy world of search marketing.

Episode 1 Lessons – Having Passion & SEO Training Courses

Ok, Ok – here goes the first guy to get “Fired.” Martin Han Clarke upon being asked why he should be the next apprentice said:

“As an attorney and professor, I have the experience, leadership and technical know-how to run any of Trump’s companies and projects.”

His African proverbs were long on theory and short on getting things done. He was all talk.

Notice, getting things done is not part of his self-described talents. Ultimately his inability to roll up his sleeves and do what needs to get done got him fired. He doesn’t mention drive, desire, or anything that shows passion. Get outta here, you’re FIRED!Frankie Suits” has the fire and passion but seems a little overbearing; lets see how long he lasts. I have a blog post ready for his firing already.

In SEO, doing the dirty work is a part of “The Job.” Success in SEO is usually the result of the culmination of a bunch of small tasks done well. One of the things that makes a great SEO is passion for SEO. Without it, you are screwed. Lately there has been a lot of chatter on SEO certifications (Bruce Clay and SEMPO [no longer active] to name a few).

Unless someone taking a SEO Training course can take a session on Passion for SEO, the people that take them are doomed to be beginners in an industry where room for success is thin (top 20). The people who I look to as kind of leading this space Rand & Rebecca, Aaron, Danny, Stuntdbl, Shoemoney, Scott, and many many more are hard to compete with. If you are totally new with your certification in SEO, congrats. I hope your boss has realistic expectations. Because if your space is remotely competitive, the things you learned in class were WRITTEN / Authored by the people above and those like them.
Good luck beating the author. How often did you come for class and leave knowing more than the instructor? That is HARD!
Anything you can learn in a certification course is probably public information (i.e. just start reading blogs, testing strategies, reading message boards, etc).

If you take a course you are either too lazy to learn this on you own or you are looking for a “cliffs notes” to search. Either way you aren’t going to beat out the people who LOVE it. If you had passion for SEO, you wouldn’t need a course because you would be a sponge absorbing everything. I have trained people on search before, and 9 out of 10 times they stink at it after a few months, and maybe that is because I am a bad teacher. The 1 in 10 succeeds because I gave them a running start, that they learned to love, and ran with it themselves.

Save yourself some cash on a certification and just start reading the SEOmoz archives and start digging in some forums. If you are going to be any good, you’ll need to read all the time anyway to stay on top of things, so why not start now?

Lesson from episode 1 – You can’t teach people passion.