Search engine optimization (SEO) is a red-hot technical field right now. Hence, there’s increased interest for many professionals in learning SEO — whether it’s to learn how to write search engine-optimized copy, or become an SEO consultant, or a website optimizer, etc. Many SEO courses are offered online, others are offered offline (in-person), and then there are ebooks and DVDs on this topic. So, how do you know which one to choose? Is one option better than the other?
As the owner of an SEO writing company and developer of an online and offline course that teaches this skill, I receive questions like this all the time. One potential student emailed me, asking the following:
You have an ebook on SEO copy writing does some of this material merge? What’s the difference between the ecourse and the live training.
Take an SEO Class Online or Off: 3 Questions to Answer That Will Help You Decide
Following are three questions to ask yourself that will help you decide whether learning SEO online, or via an in-person class, is better for you.
I. Can I Afford In-Person Training? Usually, taking an online class is cheaper because it doesn’t expenses – for you, or the course developer, over and beyond the actual cost of the class. So, even if taking an offline SEO course seems like the better option for you, it won’t matter if you can’t afford it. So, answer this question first.
II. How Much Do I Already Know?If you have a fairly good grasp of SEO, then an online class may work for you because it means you don’t need the hand-holding that a lot of newbies need.
On the other hand, if you know practically nothing about SEO and find the language around it confusing (eg, blackhat tactics, latent semantic indexing, meta tags, reciprocal links, stemming, static content), then an in-person class is usually the better option.
III. How Do I Learn?All of us learn differently. Some do just fine by researching concepts on their own and building on it. Others need a knowledge source in front of them (ie, an instructor) to explain things – and ask questions as needed – before they grasp a concept.
For example, I learned SEO on my own – just by researching, reading and testing concepts for myself. But, I’m horrible at math. I need a knowledge source beside me to explain it to me and allow me to ask questions before I can fully understand.
One way of learning is not better than the other; it’s just different, that’s all. Which camp do you fall into?
If you’re what I call an “independent” learner in this area, then an offline SEO class may work for you. If you’re more dependent when it comes to search engine optimization, an in-person SEO course is probably the route you should take.
Important Point to Remember about Taking an SEO Course – Online or Off
No matter which option you choose, just know, learning SEO is an ongoing thing. This is because search marketing and the tools and companies that drive it (eg, Google) change all the time. Google can change their search algorithm and a site that ranked well one day could be buried on page 1,000 the next.
Once you learn the basics though, it’s like being a professional in any other career that faces constant change (eg, lawyer, doctor), all you have to do is keep your skill set fine-tuned to be successful.