This past week I was afforded the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Grand Valley State, to speak to some undergraduate marketing students about SEO. This was part of a program the Seidman School of Business had put together to try to reconnect alumni with the college and by all accounts it was a great success. All in all we had 50 alumni return to the University and talk on everything from landing a job to the real estate market to my topic of SEO.
The class I spoke in was Kevin Lehnert’s MKT 380 Brand Management class. I was excited to give my first presenation back at my undergraduate home in facilities that were built after my graduation. The whole downtown campus was amazing, and I was surprised to find out that they’re already breaking ground on a newer space! Needless to say, GVSU has come a long way. Our class had two presenters, and I was proceeded by Ashley Roeber, a recent GVSU alum who works for Daymon Worldwide, who assists Meijer with their private label goods. She gave a great presentation (which was nicely aided by a potato chip taste test) and the students were engaged and fired a lot of interesting questions her way.
That was a tough act to follow, and with no potato chips in hand, I was left to my own devices…and a handful of slides (which you can see below). Sometimes presentations to students can be hit or miss, but this one turned out to be a lot of fun. I didn’t see a student playing with a phone or falling asleep. As I explained how search engines evolved and different tactics we utilize to manipulate the algorithm (I’m sorry purists, at the end of the day that’s what we do) their questions got more and more interesting. When I explained the value of links by giving the example of how Adobe Reader ranks first for the term “click here” I got questions like, “How do you get links with the anchor text you want?” That was a great question and I was able to give specific examples and I could see the interest in some of the students’ eyes. It was a fun sight to take in and made me excited to see how quickly these tech savvy students could wrap their head around the basic principles of SEO.
So I’d just like to extend a big thanks to the Seidman School (check them out on Facebook here) for the opportunity and to my co-presenter Ashley Roedel and Kevin Lehnert for his hospitality in showing me around the fancy new digs. Hopefully I’ll have more to report next year.
In the mean time, here’s the slides from my presentation, please pardon the out of date search engine market share slide. Check out Comscore’s September 2011 report for a more updated version.