At one of the recent SEO meetups one of our new members had started a discussion around how they had some problems with a SEO training course they had purchased online from some obscure overseas provider and ultimately felt ripped off. From my understanding the course was sold to them around the topic of being able to identify and buy suitable websites to purchase on platforms like Flippa that would be a pre-built business. This would enable them to shortcut the whole process of building out a website with content, having to build a social audience and even worry about her building links, it would be a simple way to succeed in SEO. The other issue was how the course was delivered and how many rules and restrictions were placed around how and where their content could be consumed, it was far too inflexible to be of any use.
The problem with this whole course concept they bought into is wrong and not good for the search industry or those looking to join the industry as its too short term focused and doesn’t build the right knowledge you need to succeed long term. Some of the other issues I see that many of these courses can lead to bad habits being encouraged such as risky link building techniques, use of article spinners or spammy promotional practices via social spam or blog/forum spam. The other issue I have with these courses is that many of their solutions often require you to buy their white labeled software to get the “most benefit” from their proven technique.
If their whole “marketing system” relies on buying existing websites other people are trying to sell, that is the first problem as there are so many ways that people selling websites can spoof/fake key traffic or social signals to inflate their prices which mean you can often buy a dud or overpriced website. It can take a long time to learn all the right parts to look for when buying a digital business and a handful of ebooks and webinars is not going to give you enough experience or background to compete with existing players in the market. I’m not saying the general concept won’t always work or majority of the sites listed on Flippa aren’t genuine and transparent but there is NO simple tick and flick process that will work every time. Even with years of experience I’ve bought a number of dud domains over the last year because I over-invested or missed a warning sign during my initial research.
The process around learning about any aspect of digital marketing is still mostly untested and there are a number of sharks out there that offer instant gratification or “proven systems” that they have successfully sold to thousands of other gullible people. If you are serious about learning about SEO, Web Analytics, Social Media or PPC there are dozens of quality blogs available, free webinars, amazing whitepapers, conferences and exceptional books on every niche topic you could imagine. There are so many free resources out there that you can use to build your base knowledge there is no excuse for anyone to need to spend $3000 on a “system” that is built around outdated processes. If you are going to spend money spend it on a handful of great marketing books we have listed, attend in person workshops and a conference or two like SMX or SES.
There is nothing that beats hard work, lots of reading and research and absorbing as much as you can about your chosen area of digital marketing. Also much of what worked a few years ago has almost stopped working of late with recent Google algorithm updates and today everything is much more competitive so you need to make sure you are learning the right processes and not just gaming the system for quick wins. If you don’t have the time to invest in yourself maybe digital marketing is not the right industry for you…. If you want proven systems go buy a franchise!