The Reincarnation of Apprenticeship

One night, from the only punk rock bar in Las Vegas, I gave a horribly long rant to RateItAll’s Lawrence Coburn. It was my take on the industry. It is hard to find those words again as that was a conversation at 2AM and my brain was competing with the Bouncing Souls. The rant went on and on about popularity, branding, reputation management, and so on. Ever since this conversation, I have been thinking about this concept of SEO and Internet Marketing being something I think must be taught and discussed. Ultimately, the industry lies within conversation and apprenticeship.

For my first article on the SEO-Chicks blog, I wanted to write about the importance of understanding this industry, but that has been done so many times, and I just can’t take another “What my dog can teach you about Social Media” post….No offense.

I suppose there should be some sort of prerequisite, especially to understand where Im coming from in this post.

I decided that I needed to be in this stimulating industry when I recognized how much observation my band was getting from just our website, social media, and forums; not to mention fans, trial-thumbnail-1631383PR, and label interests. We built links, contacts, tours, sold merchandise, licensing deals, but we really weren’t famous or critically acclaimed (but in our heads we were!). However, we looked great online.

*FYI: the site no longer exists, the band dismembered= long story.

My silly little band acquired huge label attention just based on our social media sites. I then asked myself, what kind of ROI would a legitimate business with awesome products see?

I contacted as many people I knew in the industry, took jobs with websites; primarily selling products online- slowly making the switch to purely working online and getting to know the ins and outs of this amazing industry. Over the next few months I decided that I would try to encompass everything I learned, did and sell to the internet. Slowly but surely this strategy worked, (Of course this is a really long; but short story) and I developed great skills to work in online marketing, something that teaches me new tricks every day.

Having been to Pubcon, other social events, reading millions of blogs, and e-books, I have learned that in the industry the only way to learn the trade is to be an apprentice. So I latched on and learned, like other thousands of young SEO’s. Even in job listings, companies are looking for SEO Apprentices, because as we know, every SEO has their own style, so you would want to train your staff according to your own practices. As Sugarrae said at Pubcon, when she spoke about hiring staff; “You must be able to train them.”


Apprenticing, the “Original 4 Year Degree” is extremely important in the SEO industry; and sure, most people in the industry have learned the skill as an extension of web development, but will the practice die out just as it did for the chair makers in the Middle Ages?

Apprenticeship= A master craftsman entitled to employ people as an inexpensive form of labor in exchange for providing formal training in the craft. – Wikipedia.

Well, we are already seeing huge numbers of companies outsourcing SEO work to places like India, reading articles saying a career in SEO is a bad choice, and there are many new SEO, SMM, SEM and even Facebook classes in tons of Universities.

So will the practice of Apprenticeship live on in the world of SEO, or will it be replaced like it was in the golden days? I think that to be an SEO you must always be an apprentice. Learning the skill is never-ending… thus we have millions of SEO blogs.


  • If the practice is replaced by manufactured SEO’s, what will be better for the industry?
  • Aside from this ancient practice of training, are their better ways to become seriously skilled in SEO?

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