Erin Wilson, the PSU Search Engine Marketing scholarship winner, has completed the three day course and shares the top 10 things she learned in class.

My introvert nature does not prepare me for situations like getting a scholarship to take a search engine marketing class. You’d think that it wouldn’t require a lot of prep, but I’m a worrier, and I have to have a plan. So I was ready. I had paper and extra pens. I charged my laptop and brought the cord. I packed a lunch brought work to do while I ate. I had it all planned out.
I managed to extract myself from the East side and found my way downtown. I got to my first day of class and there are lots of different kinds of students. Marketing and advertising students. Professionals seeking a reboot to their current careers. Former professionals looking to change their career paths. Business owners who want to make the most out of their online presences. And me. I work for a small business. And I want to do my job better. I want to make a difference in our online revenue. I want to lead us into the future of online marketing. That line is pretty cheesy, but the sentiment is true. I want to make things better for my company. So there I was. Ready for it all. And I had no idea how amazing it was really going to be.

Here are the the 10 most amazing things I learned in SEM class:

  1. At last year’s SearchFest, several credible sources said to leave Google+ alone – keep posting, but it’s broken, so don’t do much with it. And now it’s part of the Google algorithm and contributes to my page’s search rankings and is becoming increasingly important when it comes to authorship and attribution. I guess I had better figure out how it works.
  2. If you don’t have any text, the crawlers have nothing to read. So if it’s all images with no tags and no text, there is essentially nothing there. So…
  3. Each page of our website should be optimized for a unique keyword. Seriously. They should all be different. And…
  4. Changing title tags and metadescriptions to reflect these keywords is the first step to making my page readable and indexable. And I can’t forget about the ALT tags for my images.
  5. And then I need to write compelling, keyword optimized, easy to read product descriptions so that not only will my customer have all the information about the product, these descriptions will also help my pages come up in searches.
  6. My business name, address, and phone number must match in ALL of the places it’s listed. Yes, I mean “all”. And boy, is it difficult to figure out how to correct it is it’s wrong somewhere, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.
  7. Getting Google Analytics certified is a huge resume booster! Apparently, the test is not easy.
  8. Video is next big thing. Actually, video is already a big thing, but it’s just going to get bigger. Product videos, instructional videos, funny videos. Anything you can do to make an interesting – properly optimized with descriptions and tags, of course – relevant video of your product or service will be well worth the time it takes. We got a statistic that video can increase items sales by 144%. Woah.
  9. Put people in your videos. People like watching other people.
  10. Take this SEM class. You will want to make a marketing plan for the next year at least just based on the information you get in those three days. I already started my plan, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone at SEMpdx and the PSU CEPE for granting my this opportunity. The class was pretty amazing, and I so excited about getting to implement all that I’ve learned. Thank you again!

-Erin Wilson

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