Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of driving traffic, awareness, leads and customers to a website using search engines.
The Digital Marketing degree program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn helps students gain the knowledge and skills needed to enter this growing field. Students learn how to leverage digital marketing techniques such as search engine marketing and paid search advertising, email marketing, social media marketing campaign development and management for businesses and agencies.
“Students will be well prepared to work in jobs related to SEO, SEM or Social Media,” said Marybeth Wallace , chairperson for UM-Dearborn’s Department of Business Administration . “This program is good preparation for these jobs.”
According to Chris Hyzer , director of client engagement for UM-Dearborn’s Center for Career Development, graduates from the program should have little trouble finding a job. In fact, last year’s Digital Marketing students achieved an 85 percent job placement success rate. Many of those students were hired as digital marketing interns at local companies or agencies and were ready to be hired after their internship ended.
“In addition to traditional employment opportunities, we have noticed that employers are looking to hire someone who has a comprehensive understanding of multiple areas,” Hyzer said. “For example, a business may want a student with expertise in both SEO and social media.”
This is something Doreen Wallace , who graduated from the program in May 2012, noticed when she was searching for jobs. Wallace said she was offered a full-time position as an SEO specialist with a company in Ohio – making her the first UM-Dearborn graduate hired for this type of job.
When hiring, employers are looking for specific skills and experience within these areas as well as an understanding of how to apply those skills, Hyzer explained. Employers also need students who have the ability to adapt quickly since new marketing changes constantly.
The Digital Marketing program at UM-Dearborn consists of 16 courses, all of which meet once a week from 7:30 p.m. until 10:10 p.m., including four core courses that lay the foundation for digital marketing concepts and strategies
“The classes provide the student with the opportunity to develop necessary skills in understanding how to use digital marketing tools and how they can be integrated into an overall marketing plan,” Wallace said.
According to Wallace, students learn about concepts such as search engine optimization for website pages; search engine marketing, including pay-per-click ads; social media marketing using Facebook and Twitter; search engine advertising that looks at display ads on Google or Bing; email marketing campaigns and analytics that measure campaign effectiveness.
“The core courses provide students with a comprehensive view of various digital channels and teach students how the channels work together,” Hyzer explained. These classes also help expose students to real-world scenarios so they can see how their knowledge can be applied within different situations and are more likely to be prepared for the workforce.
Rather than teaching students how to use specific software, Wallace said that UM-Dearborn focuses on teaching concepts of digital marketing strategy and then allowing students to apply that knowledge with whatever tools are best suited for their jobs. For example, she said one of the first things new SEO specialists learn is on-page optimization so they know what keywords should be used on a website page and where those words should appear in the content.
“Students develop an understanding of online marketing so they can better understand industry trends,” Hyzer said. “They also are able to translate this knowledge into actionable insights.”