SEO is a real skill, understanding the tools and methods involved in good optimisation takes a lot of expertise and considerable time spent keeping up with the latest updates and resources. A good SEO agency is invaluable to their clients and can represent a considerable return on investment as well as a host of other benefits.
So why is SEO such a rare feature of marketing degree curriculums, or rarely seen in tafe classrooms around the country? It’s value is increasingly recognised and it’s often considered to be an essential for many businesses, but this isn’t reflected in the way it’s taught.
Many graduates come out of their programs having never touched on SEO or any fundamentals around website optimisation. Most will have very little idea what it is, let alone how to help their clients with it. So why are graduates being left with so little in the way of practical skills?
SEO is hard to teach
Teaching SEO in a university or tafe setting is difficult because of the way these institutions operate. Search engines are constantly updating and changing, meaning SEO is constantly in a state of flux. SEO experts must be on their toes constantly, prepared to learn and adapt to new changes, it’s an on-going process that requires constant vigilance and readiness. This is a level of flexibility that most higher education institutions cannot support. Curriculums are usually set many months in advance, classes and lectures are prepared for well ahead of time and booklists must be set before the teaching year commences, this doesn’t leave any room for on the fly changes.
Attempting to teach students SEO would most often result in teaching them out of date practices that might actually harm their clients later on down the line. Google and other search engines are constantly looking for ways to improve customer experience, what is a good SEO tactic now might negatively impact on rankings later on down the line, as has been the case many times in the past. The issue is that often when something’s working well, it gets overused, or people find loopholes and exploit the system resulting in a poor experience for users. Search engines are constantly patching potential problem areas, so teaching anything can be problematic if the method of teaching can’t be quickly adapted.
So how can we prepare graduates?
So how can graduates be taught if practical skills can be realistically taught during their degrees or diplomas? How can we prepare them for the working world?
Well, whilst it’s probably not a good idea to delve down into the specifics of SEO, the fundamentals never change. The general ideas and goals behind search optimisation have remained fundamentally the same over time, although the way we go about achieving those goals have changed. A lot of students come out of university without an even base level understanding of what search engines and optimisation are all about – considering the ever increasing importance of digital marketing this is a fairly large oversight! Kids should be taught the basics of what it is and how it relates to digital marketing.
They should also be taught the tools for how to ‘learn’ this will help them to pick up the topic on their own. Higher education institutions should be putting students onto individual learning tools so that they can enter the working world prepared and will a full understanding of all of the elements of digital marketing and traditional marketing. There’s too much to teach them in any one curriculum, but adaptability is key nowadays.