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General Search Engine Marketing Issues Forum

SEO Training Courses
Has anyone heard anything about this?

 10:34 pm on Sep 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm interested in taking the advanced training course from the Academy of Web Specialists... I'm wondering if anyone has heard anything or had any experience with these folks.

About a year ago my company put me through the basic training, and I found it to be a great resource, we're wondering if the advanced course offers any real substance.

Thanks in advance!



 3:09 pm on Sep 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Meannate, this is my opinion, and only that:

IF you can learn it on your own, do it. If you learn better from others, or need a guide, then maybe the course will help.

I have never taken it, and don't personally know anyone who has.


 12:56 am on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)


I'm wondering if you took the course? I've also been approached to take part, but I'm not sure if its quite worth it.

Does anyone know of a place to gain credited certification in seo/m?



 2:17 am on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is SEO school! Your already enrolled :)


 2:26 am on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

A class must have a curriculum that is preset.

If the course started in sept, for example, and in oct yahoo changed it's model. You learned the old way and then you get out of "school" and suddenly the world is upside down.


all of the "tricks" you learn get dumped by the engines as spam the month you get your certificate. What did you get out of the course?

just my personal opinion.


 2:35 am on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

A prospect want to see your results and references before he invests in your services.

I was never asked for any diploma.

Chances are any course is lagging 2 years behind.


 4:06 am on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

"I would like to thank the Academy..."

Seriously. You can start there but seo is liquid...constantly flowing, sometimes in all directions. A diploma for seo would be like trying to pin a button on a bullet train.


 5:15 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have taken both the beginner and advanced courses, and would reccommend them both to you.

Sure, you could learn all about SEO on your own, but having the instant feedback and guidance that the instructors give you at the ACWS is extremely helpful. While working on your assignments, you are in constant contact with an established SEO who can answer your questions specifically and immediately as you learn.
The different chapters of each course are updated regularly to reflect recent changes in the world of SEO, so you don't need to worry that the lessons are out of date, either.

And at least there you KNOW you're dealing with SEO's. Not to offend anyone, but ANYONE can come to these boards claiming to be an SEO. How can you be certain the information you're getting from people here is true? You can't! (you CAN get a lot of good information from these boards, but you have to do a LOT of wading through stuff to find it...)

Anyway, like I said, I took the courses and I'm glad I did. Nothing beats good old fashioned work experience, but at least those courses gave me a solid foundation from which to start.

[edited by: TWhalen at 5:22 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2002]


 5:21 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have the course printed out and sat on my desk at the moment. My boss ordered it about 8 months ago.

At least it's not a total rip off, there is plenty to it but the fact that it's 8 months out of date means all it gets used for is a large doorstop!


 5:30 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well I don't want to offend anyone either, but ANYONE can gather a group of people to build an "online school" and claim themselves as SEO's too.

LOL, what's the difference?


 5:32 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why take a course form the Academy of Web Specialists? I've yet to see a single site optimized by them, or even been impressed by personalities representing their alleged group of "specialists".

They've given me lots of spammy emails for which I never asked for, but thats about all they're good for...

SEO is not something you just sit down and learn. You need to get your hands into it, you need to play with things, and you need to have the dedication to make it happen on your own.

The best SEOs out there started wondering where they should find help. Now (and throughout their progression of becoming great at what they do) they are pioneering in a sense. Creating new techniques that rock the SERPs is what sets you apart from the rest. If you want to be like everyone else, and obtain mediocre results... Dump your money into classes.

Otherwise, log into these forums early and often. The knowledge here far surpasses the self proclaimed specialists.


 5:39 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Do they offer Spam Techniques 101?

Really it's all spam if your intent is to rank better than you would if you just built it without search engines in mind.


 5:45 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

True, MSgraph -
But the ACWS is run by (and taught by) established and published SEO's. I've read numerous articles and seen many seminars held by many of the people who run the ACWS.
It's called established credibility.

On these boards (with the exception of AGerhart, who's work I've seen published many times on other sites), everyone is anonymous and/or unknown to me.

If it came down to a choice of who's advice to take, I'd go with the established source rather than the free-form chat session by anonymous users any day.

Anyway, I was just giving my "for" vote to the original question posed in this discussion. There are several posts here by people who have never taken the courses, and seem to be "against" them without knowing anything about them.
Since I DO know the courses, I was just stepping in to defend a bit.

Just my opinion, of course.


 6:06 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>established and published SEO's

So because someone writes articles and publishes them, then they are an established SEO. I'm not targeting all these people by the way, just making a point.

I can go post a site, post my name, write articles where most of the information comes from scanning through many forums and search engine FAQ sheets, and become a established SEO.

The good thing about learning from forums is:

1. Extremely up-to-date information
2. If someone posts something wrong, others will come along and prove that point.
3. Secret tips get leaked out.
4. Most of the article writers get their information from the forums. They just word it better then us free-for-all chatters.

I would would much rather learn some tricks from hidden people who play by and break the rules.

There are a lot of really good writers out there so I'm not trying to bash anyone, just making a point about us chatters.


 6:15 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

You've got to laugh. It sort of brings to mind the concept of a class in "How to get rich quick". If they could do it, they would be doing it instead of telling you how to do it.

And picking up Msgraph's point... if you're actually doing it why the hell would you autograph everything and leave an audit trail? Hmmm.

Only my opinion of course. I'm not the sort of guy who likes to offend ;-)


 6:18 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

From what I've read both here and other Internet properties is that the course may be fine for a basic start in SEO. Only those who have taken the course can offer any viable feedback.

Basics are okay if you are in a non-competitive industry. Once you break out of that mold, the basics are just that. As with any training course, they are meant to provide you with the groundwork to which you can tweak to meet ongoing customer requirements.

I do believe though that frequenting WebmasterWorld and any other resources you may use for up to date information is a more direct approach to learning the in's and out's of SEO/SEM. There are many sites out there that teach you the basics for free. Heck, some of the SE's even chime in with their do's and don'ts sections.

Your best training is going to come from research and testing. That is how I learned and many others have who frequent these boards. If you are brand spanking new to this industry, then training might be an option. But, I still feel stongly that OJT (on-the-job training) is the only way to teach proper SEO skills.

As a side note, there are too many people out there touting their diplomas (from various organizations) and claiming to be experts in this field. Please, think twice before you do that because you may find yourself with a project that is too much to handle. The consumer doesn't know any different and there will be those who think certification is the ultimate approval of skills when in fact it is not!


 6:22 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

You are correct again msgraph - you CAN learn a lot from people here on these forums. I wasn't contesting that.

But the other posts here made my point for me...

Here we have several people telling meannate "NOT" to take the courses, when admittedly, they know NOTHING about the courses, because they haven't taken them themselves.
Is that good advice? No.
If you don't know what you're talking about, its not a good idea to give your advice on the matter.

I on the other hand, have taken the courses, and saw it as a great starting point to get you into the world of SEO. So I am simply passing that advice along.

Isn't that what meannate asked in the first place?
("I'm wondering if anyone has heard anything or had any experience with these folks.")

Based on that, if you haven't had any experience with them, why would you even post in this discussion?


 6:22 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

1.) I suppose that they simply have a "Noble" operation running.

2.) You'd be surprised who, within these forums, are also published writers of SEO topics

3.) I've diverted way too much from the original point of the thread. So now, I will simply say:

"No, I would not recommend taking this course."

jeremy goodrich

 6:32 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

having met a few people involved with the 'academy' :) does that qualify me to comment?

On these boards (with the exception of AGerhart, who's work I've seen published many times on other sites), everyone is anonymous and/or unknown to me.

Have you seen any work published by Brett Tabke? :) I believe he's been around the block a few times...

And who's to say that WebmasterWorld doesn't qualify as 'publishing' when you post here?

Anyway, I think that msgraph had the right idea:

Anybody can set themselves up as an 'seo school'.

Having said that, how do we know, when they set up the school that they took the courses themselves? They never took them, because they invented them.

Similarly, we here are in a real time SEO school fueled by the many great SEO's of the world.

And the price of entry? Free. Best value on the net in SEO educational learning, bar none.


 6:50 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

On these boards (with the exception of AGerhart, who's work I've seen published many times on other sites), everyone is anonymous and/or unknown to me.

Even if most webmasterworld users don't publish articles, it doesn't mean that they don't read and study the works of those who do. The skills gained through this daily routine of compiling knowlege and research is often more valuable than that which is initially offered in the article itself.

Case in point, think back to high school math... we all read published materials that helped us learn lots of advanced techniques for figuring out the volume of a cone - very valuable knowlege if you want to find out how much ice cream you're getting - but not really applicable for figuring out how many more cones you can afford.

This said, the editorialized discussions that go on in these forums on a daily basis are much more relavent to a successful seo campaign/career than are formal classes.

My advice, skip the class... spend the money on a good computer and fast internet connection... spend the time reading online articles (whether published by webmasterworld forum contributers or not) then fill in the learning gaps by posting questions to the forums.


 6:52 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

> And the price of entry? Free. Best value on the net in SEO educational learning, bar none.

Oh, and don't forget, for a small donation, you can take the advanced courses behind the scenes! ;)


 7:05 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

> The knowledge here far surpasses the self proclaimed specialists.

Remember the old saying, "Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach." I've personally found the best advice, the stuff that actually works with my sites, here at webmasterworld for free. And if you donate, you can get even more advice at the private forum, sans all of the "why isn't my site in Google any more posts".


 11:48 pm on Nov 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oh, and don't forget, for a small donation, you can take the advanced courses behind the scenes!

And if you donate, you can get even more advice at the private forum

Shhhh! ;)

Trade Secret! ;) LOL


 12:27 am on Nov 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

>If they could do it, they would be doing it instead of telling you how to do it.
>"Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach."

I used to think the same myself, until I realised that I am a natural teacher and get far more pleasure out of teaching others how to do things better than doing those things myself. I do actually do those things I teach, but I enjoy helping other people much much more. So lets no pass judgement on these people just because they are teachers.

Having said that, the challenge with SEO is that is a moving playing field, or moving train as Toolman suggests, changing day by day, hour by hour. SEO courses may give you the basics, but being successful means keeping up with the changes. I would imagine most people here spend a few good hours each day just keeping up. That is where fora such as these come to the fore.

As to certification, I am a qualified musician/composer with many degrees under my belt. I earn my living selling stuff on the web. Figure that one out.



 4:03 pm on Nov 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nothing against the idea of teaching SEO, just don't see the practicalities in it. For many the same reasons as espoused by my learnerd colleagues.

How can you teach a subject, that as yet has no foundations, no formal rules attached to aspire too. Its a bit like trying to learn within a 'Kuhnian Shift', you ain't learning that from static out of date info. The best you can do is get on that train, and just hold on. Read / Experiment / Keep Reading / More failures, and experimentation until it cracks.

The teaching framework must be pretty funny, oh, here's a post from this thread on that forum, and heres another from that thread on this forum, etc. Oh pick up this lattest book, which is usually by time of buying out of date, at least by sixth months, which can mean a heck of a lot if their are major SE addressing of spam deletive algo's.

I could see 'one (o'be won a.k.a. SIR) teaching a handful of people' in a face to face context, all with laptops and marker pens and a drywipe board, being able to pull something off, but once they have finished the course, would be starting on the ground floor, well not even on the ground, more in the cellar.

i.e. remember the google re-index is?, check your pr now?

Oh, by the way i am also certified, in my own very unique way.


 4:33 pm on Nov 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

There was a movie back in '95 with the late Chris Farley called Tommy Boy. In that movie, there was an excellent quote relative to this thread.

Stripped from it's vulgar nature, it reads as:

Because they know all they sold you was a guaranteed piece of ----. That's all it is. Hey, if you want me to ------- in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for right now, for your sake, for your daughter's sake, you might wanna think about buying a quality item...

Now, lets relate that to this certification process. How long and hard did these people work at becoming certified? Well, as little as three days. See, looking into the details of this program, you find:

Upon successfully completing this 3-day program, you will be examined and awarded a "certification of skills" in Search Engine Optimization and Marketing.

Now, call me crazy... But, if I send in someone who thinks that Overture is a spidering engine - and they leave with that same misconception, they're certified?

Certification is much like the guarantee from the first quote, above.

Moving on however, and reading up on the details.. You find out that you get to be PERSONALLY instructed with these PROFESSIONAL tools:

-SE Optimizer
-Web Position Gold 2
-Wordtracker and much more

SE Optimizer? Oh yeah, that's their own program... So, you can bet they'll teach you to rely on it. Next thing you know, you're out another $149 for a POS software system that is dated. How do I know? My boss bought it for the organization, and a week after finding an abundance of errors in how it works... it assumed a new role collecting dust.

Web Position Gold 2
Okay... I can just hear it now. "Once you have your site ready to roll, and you've tested with the "SE Optimizer" system, just access the Submitter tool.. and let the program work for you...."

No thanks. Last time I checked, every legit engine told you NOT to use these applications. But hey, maybe the engines don't mind if you're certified.

If it sounds like I'm bashing this program, I am. This stuff will get you no where, aside from a little lighter in the wallet - as well as being more prone to detection from the engines. They have this thing called legit optimization. Don't break the rules, use what you know and learn here, and move on. You'd be surprised what a little intuition can do in this field.


 12:14 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

I took the course. At some point during the course I found webmaster world. I pretty much quit the course.

Went back for a few of the online chats and realized I was on the same level as many of the moderators and gave it up for good.

BUT, for someone looking for an introduction that has a few bucks to spend I think it is worth it. There is a lot of reasonably up-to-date info well laid out.

If you are reading this post you probably don't need it. Give some money to this site.


 6:26 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

A class could be helpful to a total beginner. Unless you're going for death match keywords, lots of basic things have remained very much the same over the last few years IMHO. Combine keyword focused content pages with good anchor text. Then take this 5 minute class [webmasterworld.com], take the Zeal quiz so you know how they list sites, Look at the MSN rankings to see how they rank them. Read the ODP guidlines and apply for a little cat to learn how that works. Keep your eyes open.

There are plenty of experts here, arguably with as much if not significantly more experience than at the Academy. When one is completely new to anything, it can be worth a few bucks to have a little personalized instruction, just depends on how one learns best. "SEO Certification" however must be complimented by a site like this.


 9:12 am on Dec 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well - one way to gauge the ACWS knowledge is to take a look at the Prerequisite Exam to get accepted into their Advanced SEO Course.

Though I learned SEO the "old fashioned way"; ACWS might appeal to those looking for a shortcut to avoid tons of work, research, analysis and testing, etc.

BTW, there are no shortcuts ... But if you can't answer these questions off the top of your head and at least get 80% correct ... then ACWS might be right for you.

OCTJMO ... ;)

[edited by: pageoneresults at 4:52 pm (utc) on Dec. 17, 2002]
[edit reason] No URLs Please - Refer to TOS [/edit]

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