The Case for College Courses In SEO

This article was originally published in the January 2016 edition of the Marketing GPS Newsletter.

I graduated from Liberty University with a B.S. in Business Management Information Systems in 2013. While my degree program did, in large part, prepare me for my current position at NSI Partners, in other ways, it did not.

My job focuses on search engine optimization (SEO) a lot. This concept was completely foreign to me even nine months before graduation. I had only heard of Title and Meta Description tags in passing during my tech courses. I had not learned of keyword research or Google Analytics.

SEO should be a major course offering in college. Not a degree, per se, but at least one or two courses. Three months after I graduated, John Weber wrote an excellent article on Search Engine Journal, detailing why SEO should not be taught in college. While he makes many solid points, I disagree with the main premise of his article – that SEO is too dynamic and changing a thing to be taught at university.

SEO is a complex and changing thing, and it always will be, but this should not preclude SEO from making its way into web design and marketing degree programs. Had I known about SEO before walking across the stage, I would have been much better prepared to make a more immediate impact for NSI’s clients.

Web design students are almost never taught about SEO, and it shows. Countless times, we have had clients whose web development team created an amazing website, and launched it before optimizing it for search. Many times, these sites sit for months and even years before they are optimized for search.

I believe that there should be a requirement for web design and marketing students to take at least one course in rudimentary SEO. While SEO and search is a tumultuous industry, certain things remain the same at all times – the need to write excellent content, the need for keyword research, and Title and Meta Description tag optimization based around selected keywords. These three areas alone could constitute an entire semesters’ worth of class time, and these are perhaps the most needed skills for web development students to get. Building great websites is an amazing occupation, but if your websites do not show up in search, all your work is for naught.

It is time to teach fundamental SEO in a university setting.

Michael is responsible for client SEO work, reporting, FB ads, and web hosting. Prior to joining NSI Partners, Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management Information Systems from Liberty University, and worked at the school’s Network Operations Center. Michael resides in Lynchburg, VA, with his wife, Megan. His hobbies include gaming, watching Atlanta Falcons football, and reading.

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About NSI Partners

A digital marketing company with almost two decades of experience, NSI Partners helps clients achieve robust results in search marketing, social media, and other digital marketing spaces.

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