Claire McEachern, the recipient of the of the PSU Digital Marketing Strategies scholarship, writes about her experience and learnings during the Spring 2013 course.

I think my head might still spinning from everything I learned during the Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Course offered by SEMPDX & Portland State this spring. And that’s coming from someone who has a *decent grounding in the web and digital field. (*being a relative term)

Sure, there was mention of buzz terms, currently flying around today’s blogosphere, like “big data”, “content is king”, and the usual avalanche of industry acronyms. But what stood out as the biggest takeaways from the 3-class course were the details of fundamental skills and tools as well as an understanding of the big picture of SEO & SEM efforts.  Yes, you can go in and set up an Adwords account and make some ads or fiddle around with Facebooks advertising but you can very quickly waste a lot of money and time trying to just “figure it out”.

Industry veteran, Kent Lewis, and several outstanding guest lecturers led the classes over the 3 week session. The team mixed up the course with practical assignments, real world case studies, lectures, and in-context reviews of student’s current application of digital marketing strategies.  Topics included:

  • Industry resources for analyzing websites and campaigns
  • Metrics, history, and trends for SEO & SEM
  • The should & should-nots of website navigation and layout
  • Why speed and content are crucial
  • The importance of social activity as a ranking factor
  • Drill down on PPC and CPM campaigns and the systems that run them
  • Local search, why it matters, and how to do it
  • Keywords and ad copy development
  • Components of a quality landing page
  • Content Marketing & Link Development
  • Online Reputation Management

The scholarship was a great opportunity to refine my skills and learn just how much I have to learn in this area. Fortunately for the Portland area, we’ve got great resources like SEMPDX and Portland State to bolster our growing community of tech-savvy weirdos. For me, I’ve got my work cut out for me implementing all that big data and creating content for the apparel and accessories brand I work for, LOOPTWORKS.

– Claire McEachern

One thought on “What I Learned from the PSU Search Engine Marketing Course

  1. It’s nice to hear that not all IT based learning programs are behind. When I did web design and development we spent the entire time learning 5 year old technologies that no longer applied.

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