The question eternally exists: how can I increase my chance of a Google search finding my website or blog when there are trillions of web pages on the Internet?
The answer is knowing the ins and outs of how the Google search works and optimizing your site to best appeal to the algorithms they use to crawl the web and catalog search results. SEO has always been an interest of large corporations and is now relevant to individual writers of new media and students who want to self publish and gain followers for their online content.
Why does this matter to new media educators?
Viral used to be a bad word. Now it’s a good one. We want our works to “go viral” online. Even if we don’t go viral, writers want to be read.
As a teacher of multimedia composition, I want my students to at least have a basic understanding of how language use in posts, titles, and keywords impacts the potential of gaining readership on the Internet. Students may not have in-depth technical knowledge, but understanding a little bit about Search Engine Optimization as it relates to the act of composing online can go a long way.
I argue that SEO is just another form of audience awareness that isn’t often discussed in writing and new media courses. If we are consistently asking students to think rhetorically and to identify real audiences for their work, we have a responsibility to introduce them to strategies of SEO that increase their potential to reach their target audience.
In the end, we learn that SEO has multiple levels of complexity, but we can and should help students scratch the surface of this complexity.
Many English majors can and will get jobs as bloggers and web content creators after college. I’d like my students to be able to put “basic understanding of SEO” on their resume’s.
I’m no expert, but I’m seeking resources and knowledge and will keep posting them here and sharing them on Twitter @npiasecki.