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  1. SeoRaptor
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    Don't go to conferences to learn SEO


    Dear SEOChat community in this thread I'll try an exercise I've never tried before. Taking a broad statement and trying to explain why It is true.

    The statement of the day is : Don't go to conferences to learn SEO

    I already know that people are going to answer me that a lot of big conferences like SMX are a real-round tables were you can meet highly demanded professionnals and hear some really interesting infos and updates on the world of SEO.

    First of all, I need to say that I totally agree with that BUT this only applies to people that already know (a little / a lot) about SEO.

    My point is that a lot of companies send employees to a one hour conference on SEO or to a half a day formation on On-page Optimisation, Content creation, log analysis,... Some of these encounters are free but generally they aren't and they actually can cost a lot of money. And this money could for me be invested in a better way.

    So why can't you learn this way?

    • Because most of the time people that participate in such meetings go there with a paper and a pen and write down everything they can instead of trying to understand what the subject really is, they generally end up copying the strategy used as an example instead of analysing what their company website really needs to rank high and convert a lot.
    • Because even a 3-hour class is much too short to really be able to understand all aspects of SEO. Yes you can have a general introduction to most of it, but it seems totally impossible to me to get into details of every aspect of SEO in such a small time frame. And the problem is that SEO is a question of details. Server Log analysis or Speed optimisation alone could take much more time.


    (Some people will say that website loading speed is not the job of an SEO and I personally disagree with that, but that's another question).

    • It's not always the case but it is very common that the person giving the lecture will try to sell its service(s). If you want to really be able to learn you need to be taught by someone who is giving away without wanting anything in return and that's very very rare in this kind of events.
    • If chance you really find the perfect lecture: interesting topic, well developed, subject focused, in-depth analysis, there is a lot of chance that as a novice you won't have the background to actually make the most out of it and you could even missunderstand some important notions. This is last point is obviously a major problem.


    So how do you learn SEO?

    Well SEO is one of theses field where there is an active community and no it is not totally ermetic as I tend to hear more and more when speaking with people. There are lots of places were you could speak and learn about SEO on the internet but also in the real world. In my town for exemple there are small SEO & webmarketing «*coffee time*» were you can meet professionnals or amateurs with which you can start a conversation and follow it up by email. I'm pretty sure this event is not unique in it's kind.

    We also have the chance to have a place called the internet on which you can find lot's of places where you can talk and ask questions to people, SEOChat is a good example of such an SEO community.

    Trying to read discussions from people that are opened to criticism and that do some testing instead of taking for granted the first article you find on Google. Try asking basic, intermediate or advanced questions to understand how SEO worked, evolved and works today. Take time to read books on the subject, watch the central webmaster central office hours. Analyse website strategies is also a good idea

    This will allow you to create the necessary background to start working properly on your website, and resist the mermaid screams that just say: «Do this and you'll be first in a couple of weeks».

    For some SEO might sounds easy and by all means it's not that complicated but you need to know how things worked and take the time to do it properly.


    Reading a thread like On-Page Optimisation What you need to know won't make you an expert, it will just put some basic facts in front of your eyes but every single subject could take a couple hours explanation on itself. By all means I'm not saying that thread is bad, I wrote it but reading an article such as How 16 companies are dominating SERPs are far more interesting once you are able to understand the basics.

    Am I saying that you should stop going to SEO meetings and conferences?
    No.

    I'm just saying that you should go with a different objective than pure learning. These events are a great opportunity to network and networking is very important.

    The secrets of what makes a good SEO?

    There are only three I can think of :
    • perseverance
    • constant questioning
    • constant testing
    Last edited by Pierre Benneton; Mar 11th, 2017 at 01:59 PM.
    Owner of Bennetonable - "My opinions are my own - Feel free to disagree & think above the fold."
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    Agreed, you don't learn SEO on conferences. You learn SEO by reading articles, finetuning your website, and checking the results. However, I do believe conferences can give you that extra bit of inspiration and energy.
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  5. Dinosaur
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    Actually I dont quite agree with rick's post but I wont rank it down.
    You learn SEO by actively doing it, there is nothing that can replace experience in this game. Solid testing and adjusting as the goal posts move.
    I dont mean that doing clean pure white hat SEO changes but there are new things that come out all the time which you need to keep on top of, it was not that long ago rel="nofollow" was not used for example. Responsive design was not an issue, https was not a ranking factor etc etc.

    Keeping current and running your own tests are where you score.

    Comments on this post

    • Test-ok agrees : Yep OJT
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    Chedders, that's pretty much what I was saying:-).
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    They say that attending conferences in this industry is key – but with so many events, you could spend your whole year networking and learning.
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  11. Dinosaur
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    They say that attending conferences in this industry is key – but with so many events, you could spend your whole year networking and learning.
    So you have all the theroy but no idea, sounds like a typical person coming out of collage without any real life experience
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  13. SeoRaptor
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    They say that attending conferences in this industry is key
    I hesitated before publishing this thread but this is the main reason why I did it... The thing is that most people actually stating such things never set a foot in a conference... And let be honest most of SEO never did either. I personally never attended the main events (even if I watched a lot of these conferences online), the only people I do know that went are no SEOs but employees that work on e-commerce websites and that know nothing about how SEO works (they mainly do maintenance tasks, products insertion, transfer orders, etc...). The results is them thinking they know more than people wich do SEO as a full time job.

    The real key in SEO is time, not because ranking takes time but because testing and analysing results takes time.
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  15. SEO Insultant
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    All that said: there's real gold nuggets of SEO wisdom to get at confs where I speak...
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    Originally Posted by dzine
    there's real gold nuggets of SEO wisdom to get at confs where I speak...
    That's what I call part of the problem, not that you don't know what you are speaking about, or what is being spoken about but that most folks attending, walk away with just enough info to do damage, instead of making progress. Also it's not the speakers' fault. You can go get all the book sense and knowledge you want, but until you start your personal own site,(never use a client site to learn on), then making it rank, you will be what I call a paper tiger, all book knowledge, no practical experience.

    Conferences are great, but until you know enough about the topic, attending them, then understanding and learning what they are discussing will have a learning curve. That curve is where folks go awry, they either get dis-heartened or think it's a waste of time and money. Never give up, keep asking questions and seeking answers.

    Sometimes I think clients consider what we do as magic ! No, it's just applying the rules as they should be, and understanding the rules of SEO can be strenuous.

    Comments on this post

    • Pierre Benneton agrees
    • RenaeFab agrees
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  19. SEO Since 97
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    Confrences are good reads, because many will report what goes on, it just data one needs to add to their knowledge base. No real need to attend One for the reason to know everything.
    Last edited by Test-ok; Mar 19th, 2017 at 01:43 AM.

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