At WebFuel, we believe in giving back to the community. Since education is at the core of what we do, it seemed logical to again support a local educational institution. As a former educator, I jumped at the opportunity to be a guest speaker for a group of 3rd year Digital Marketing students at Algonquin College.
My topic was SEO – and all things related. Since Search Engine Optimization can be very complex, and often very confusing, a question & answer session is critical in terms of learning. In addition, performing a live search session with the goal of understanding the organic side of search, as well as exploring the different search results and keyword variations is key. Using this approach not only provides real examples but also real understanding.
1. The SERP Challenge
While they are a generation that grew up with the Internet and using Search is second nature to them, understanding what area of a Search Engine Results page is organic (vs paid) took some time to determine. This is common. No surprises here. SEO is focused on organic search results (just so you know).
2. The Bing vs Google Challenge
Just like the very popular Pepsi challenge, we tested out the two Canadian versions of Bing & Google to determine which Search Engine provides better search results in Canada. The students were very good at determining relevancy related to their search queries. Google won (no surprise). One of the roles of a SEO professional is to determine what Search Engines to target for their clients – and which version(s).
3. The Keyword Challenge
What I found most interesting is how they searched from a keyword perspective. Most used very long keyword phrases ( 5–8 keywords), or the question format. i.e. “Where can I buy decorations for Christmas in Ottawa?”. They were very good web searchers (again no surprise). In terms of search results for seasonal searches, they noted that the results were disappointing. This, of course, has little to do with the search giant (we used Google.ca). But the lack of local stores and ecommerce sites properly targeting their geographic location. What a missed opportunity! The foundation of SEO is keywords – and understanding how people search as well as their intent. The key is to be there!!!
The biggest challenge I discovered overall is the lack of certified SEO learning opportunities / courses in Canada. Hopefully this gets addressed soon, as the movement towards digital in our country has been big this year. We predict that there will be tremendous growth in the digital beyond 2012.
We encourage you to give back too!
Professor Karen Kavanagh invites Ottawa area experts to share their knowledge and expertise related to Search & Digital Marketing. The primary goal is to get students curious about all things digital and to learn about the opportunities they have entering the workforce as advertisers or marketers. If you have expertise in this field, I encourage you to share. Be a guest speaker. It is, in my opinion, a very rewarding experience. Just in case you are wondering, I learned from them as well. I am hoping to do this again next year.
You made it this far…..Here is a copy of my slide deck!