Google 4 Grown-Ups: the search engine seminar and workshop

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
11:55 am and is filed
under Search Engine Optimisation.

My new search engine optimisation seminar Google 4 Grown-Ups was very well received on its first outing, and I’m looking to do another one in partnership with Thoughtbubble very shortly.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.

The following is a run-down of the content, my personal take on the way the seminar was seen and received, and how that might impact on future presentation and delivery.

But for starters, here are some of the nicer things that some people had to say about the first event:

“Tim Ireland is a very enjoyable, entertaining speaker.” – Gareth Herincx, GMTV

“A good overview, with good examples and learning that you can take away and use.” – Kimberley Slack, Findel Education

“Tim is an excellent presenter and manages to keep people involved and entertained.” – Angus Robertson, AMC Network

“The ecosystem analogy is very elegant and easy to relate to.” – Justin McKeating, Greenpeace

“Great people, presenter, content and delivery. An extremely insightful, well planned and creatively delivered event. From the pre-event publicity to the materials on the day, Tim and Thoughtbubble went way beyond most technical seminars, bringing the content to life and making an enjoyable educational day for anyone with an interest in Google and SEO.” – Xavier Adam, Managing Director, AMC Network

The idea when writing the seminar was to develop new, efficient and enjoyable ways in which to cover the following points, and it certainly looks like I’ve succeeded:

Google is the Daddy

Google is the Daddy!

Why search engine optimisation should be a priority for any business or body with a web presence; search engines are the source of the majority of web traffic and, in most countries *one* search engine is the source of the majority of web traffic. No prizes for guessing which one…



An early look at how search engines do work from the perspective of how they don’t work; some of the mistakes most of us have made when addressing SEO for the very first time. I need to work on extracting audience experiences in this section and the next; many people are too embarrassed to admit to things like cupboard love (e.g. thinking that spending money on AdWords will have a direct and positive impact on organic performance in the main database). They need to know why pencils have erasers and other cliches.



Why the next step (hiring someone else to deal with it) can also fraught with peril and why many of the little and large deceptions in the SEO industry exist. This time we look at how search optimisation works from the perspective of how it doesn’t work. Just one example: “Solve your SEO problems with PPC!” is like saying “Solve your cheese problems with chalk!”

Primary School

Primary School

A back-to-basics exercise where we take a look at how search engines have evolved so far and, crucially, why. Future success in search engines relies on your understanding that search engines continue to evolve in a clear direction where actual relevance and a genuine reputation matter more as each year passes.

Secondary School

Secondary School!

The meat in the sandwich for many people; in this section we take a look at issues involving indexability and the concept of coordinating your relevance behind a generic keyword strategy that is scaled in a way that earns you traffic now, and stands to earn you even more traffic as your reputation improves.

Flight School

Flight School

This section aims to demystify link popularity and give you a better understanding of the different ways in which web users influence search results. The case studies involve websites that have successfully used viral, community and/or weblog marketing and link generation techniques in pursuit of queries that earn ten thousand, a hundred thousand and a million searches each month in the UK alone.



I’ve found in the past that the most productive part of a seminar can be any period where I shut up and allow questions; Google 4 Grown-Ups has a whole *afternoon* dedicated to specific questions from members of the audience about their website, their optimisation and/or their overall online marketing strategy.

What you should walk away with after the event is not only a better understanding of search engine optimisation, but the ability to better explain your needs and goals to others.

In terms of specific skills, the event also teaches you:

– How to form a keyword strategy that will last for years

– How to deploy that strategy so it brings in immediate returns

– How to structure that strategy so it brings in ever-increasing returns, with link popularity being your only variable

– What to consider when deciding the best method of link generation for your website

Now, some concepts within the seminar are more difficult to grasp than others, but overall the only confusion arose from minor but occasionally vital specifics that an old pro like me takes for granted, so the one thing that’s going to be different about the next event is the availability of a glossary.

I’m also tempted to run as a trial a ‘clicker’ system that lets me know immediately when people in the audience are confused, but does not overly disrupt the flow of any given section. Party clickers used to sell at 20p an item, but they appear to have gone out of fashion and returned as dog-training clickers at a pound and 20p an item, but all the same my mind keeps taking me back to a lecturer I knew who used these to gauge (click-click) when he should provide a little extra information here and there, and (click-click-clickety-click-click-click) when he should go back and explain something very, very carefully.

Other than that, it appears that the only thing that can improve the event is the same thing that gets you to Carnegie Hall; practice, practice, practice.

And with that in mind, I’m very much looking forward to the next event so I can make it even better.

Click here to find out when the next Google 4 Grown-Ups seminar and workshop will be held.

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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