April 9, 2008
Update March 31, 2012: SEMPO has shut down the SEMPO Institute and the SEO Courses are no longer available. You might want to try our Lynda SEO Course instead.
This review is the first of a 3-part series reviewing each of the courses available to budding search marketers via the SEMPO Institute's online training curriculum
The SEMPO Institute was launched as the career-development division of the SEMPO organization to meet the increasing demands for search marketing knowledge.
The 3 courses they currently offer are:
The courses are taken online, which makes them extremely convenient. The lessons are self-paced, so you can work through them as slowly or as quickly as you would like. You can reread a section multiple times, skim another, or jump to a completely different lesson.
There are no lectures in any of the courses; you simply take as much time as you need to read and complete each lesson. There are quick little quizzes strewn about each lesson that will prepare you for what to expect in the exam at the end.
The first course, the "Insider's Guide to Search Marketing," consists of 13 topics designed to give beginners a complete understanding of the search marketing field.
I came in with a pretty solid foundation of search marketing knowledge when I took the course, so I am probably not their exact target market of a "beginner." Because of this, I was able to complete each lesson within an hour or so. The material was presented well, and the depth of info was excellent. Anyone new to the field would certainly benefit from the amount of knowledge that could be gained from this class. As a whole, I thought that the quality of the information was top-notch and presented in an easy-to-digest format.
The quizzes were easy, but I think they were designed that way to make sure you pay attention! The lessons' tests were a little more difficult than the quizzes, but not incredibly complicated. They do not give you the answers to any questions you missed, which I think is a good thing. This way you can't receive your certificate of completion for the course unless you receive a passing grade for each lesson test. This gives the certificate more value since you can't just get the answers and take the lesson test again to easily pass. You have to pass with flying colors by understanding the lesson content presented.
What Could Be Better
Some of the information covered went beyond beginner level, and may have been a bit advanced for someone coming in with absolutely no knowledge of search marketing whatsoever. This advanced material could have been explained a bit better for the newbie. There were also a few typos in the content and in the tests, as well as some non-functioning links to resources. Plus, some of the test questions were ambiguous and really had multiple answers. This was frustrating when my test score would come back with a failing grade! I believe this ambiguity stems from the fact that sometimes in the search marketing industry, even experts disagree on best practices.
All in All
What this course and the training curriculum as a whole attempt to do is provide educational training for search marketing professionals written and reviewed by a collection of experts in the field that establishes some standards and best practices to follow, and they did a good job of that.
It's important to remember that you can't substitute courses for first-hand experience and practice; those are the things that will truly provide you with the skills you need to succeed. Furthering your education, however, is absolutely necessary, and as far as online courses go, this one does a solid job of that.
Get the High Rankings Discount!
The full cost for this course is $399, which is a small price to pay if you are serious about furthering your understanding of search marketing. High Rankings has been able to negotiate a 10% discount for our Advisor subscribers, which will save you $40! Simply use the discount code of HIGHR10 when you enroll, and you'll automatically receive the lower price.
Stay tuned for reviews of the other SEMPO Institute courses in the months to come. I will be reviewing the Advanced Search Engine Optimization course next. (You can use the same High Rankings discount code to enroll in any of the SEMPO Institute courses, not just the first one.)
[Jill's comments: It's nice to see SEMPO providing a lot of value to the search marketing community these days. The online courses they provide appear to be a great way for those wanting to get into our rapidly growing industry to jumpstart their learning process!]