Professional skills have evolved with changing technology throughout history. Professionals today must know at least basic computer skills in order to accomplish most tasks. This is an easy order for younger professionals looking to bolster such skills as Search Engine Optimization but can often be overwhelming for those already having been working for many years. The business model of online training has emerged alongside the Internet, and is one of the most useful tools available to professionals looking to continue their educations. Today we have resources like eDx.org or PluralSight, but in the days of yesteryear if you wanted to learn SEO, you’d likely have found your way to the Online Web Training website.
The Original Online SEO Courses
The Online Web Training website was as lo-fi as they come, and died from it’s failure to adapt to changing times. Even so, this company offered a learning resource that was ahead of it’s time. SEO is still a fairly new concept to most businesses. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s however, SEO was such a niche interest that it was almost surprising to find a company offering training in it. This exemplifies how powerful having a product that few others have can be. Even though Online Web Training didn’t excel in their presentation, their core product met a demand they knew existed. Essentially, they sold tiered packages of training materials based on a one-time purchase model. Their product offerings changed over the years from a $99-129 priced product to products as much as $700 in the later stages of their business. These courses taught a range of skills from onsite optimizations to how to build backlinks to websites to make them appear higher in the SERPs. While this business is no longer around, its history can teach us a few lessons about online entrepreneurship and SEO services in general.
Knowing Your Market
You business website will help display your products or services to people in such a way as to cultivate future customers. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help people find your website in the SERPs and other related buyer-query type avenues. What these won’t do however, is help you sell a product that nobody wants. Having outdated products, overpriced products, or simply irrelevant products are anchors that can drag nearly any business into an early grave. The Online Web Training business found success for being some of the first to offer a product on a new professional service. SEO was an evolving field at the time, and hard to predict the impact it would have. In the late 1990’s—there were still people that believed the Internet was a ‘fad’ and wouldn’t be around for much longer! These types of people certainly couldn’t imagine the impact that search engines would have, but their were many that could. The rise of AOL brought along with it a powerful search index for users to find content based on their interests. In fact, some leaked data from AOL actually provided some insights into user search behavior that is still used today for helping conduct quality SEO keyword research. This was during the early days of Google, where they were still learning what it meant to be a search engine.
Adaptation and Evolution
Natural growth of markets and consumer interests mirror natural systems in many ways. The curves of interest often mirror the growth of populations—spiking with the early adopters, hitting peak with the mainstream recognition, and eventually fading when the means to sustain the growth are no longer present. In the natural world, these means are environmental considerations like food supplies, competing species, and climate conditions. In the business world, these are more akin to general interest, seasonal demands, manufacturer supply, and competing businesses. For a species to survive long-term in the natural world, they must be able to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Humans have survived for so long because we can inhabit the Arctic Circle as well as Equatorial Tropics. Google has survived because they bet all their chips that the Internet was going to remain, and pioneered some of the first technologies to help consumers access it freely. Their endeavor created the field of SEO. Once they built Search however, they continued to evolve it. They’ve accounted for mobile interests, network speeds, regional differences, and a myriad of other considerations to be made. They’ve invested in mobile and browser technologies to better understand consumer interaction with their products, and they’ve also invested heavily in network infrastructure to help their product better perform. To get a clear impression of how much impact evolving with trends can have, compare Google Chrome to Netscape. Maybe you younger guys have never heard of Netscape—it didn’t evolve.
Modern SEO Services
The landscape of today’s SEO is different that it was 5 years ago and in 5 years it will be different from today’s. The list of effective SEO services is long and complex compared to what it was just 2 years ago. Mobile has surged in relevance, local has afforded small businesses a unique opportunity, and newer considerations like Google’s AMP framework have come into play. How these considerations will evolve is anyone’s guess. The only sure-thing in business is being able to adapt to shifting marketplaces and meet evolving consumer demands. Thing technology agnostic; don’t romanticize certain platforms or advertising methods, and don’t marry your business to a product simply because you’ve had success with it in the past. Listening to customers and audiences to hear what they want is the best way to design new products and services. The demands of such audiences will change, but businesses with the ability to change alongside them will remain in high favor with as much predictability as possible.