SEO Assignment Using the Phrase “JMU Experience”

As an application of SEO, my Fall 2013 MKTG 470 students were tasked with learning how to optimize any one web page or blog post within their site using the phrase “JMU experience“.

This assignment was introduced at a very interesting time in the semester…just 13 days after Google made an official announcement about their new Hummingbird algorithm.

Even though the media started shouting “SEO is Dead!”, and “SEO is Dead Again!” I know that “SEO is NOT Dead” and we just need to approach things in a different manner.  So I forged ahead with the assignment using insights about how organic search, social media, and content are becoming increasingly intertwined.

On October 10, 2013, students performed a diagnostic test to determine where their personal websites were currently ranked organically using the phrase “JMU experience”.

  • In the majority of cases, students reported that their page was not found within the first twenty search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • The students were challenged to get one of their web pages into the top twenty results pages in the next six weeks through optimization of on-page factors, but especially through off-page SEO link-building efforts and use of social media.

On November 21, 2013, students performed a second diagnostic test to determine where their site currently ranked organically using the phrase “JMU experience”.

  • On this date 72.1% of the class observed an improvement in organic rankings and made it into the top twenty pages.
  • Out of 200 possible pages that could be listed in the top twenty pages, 62 of the pages were created by students in my class, representing about a 31% share of the rankings.

I wish to congratulate these 62 students for their effort,  application, and performance in optimizing a page or post using the phrase  “JMU experience”.

A special congratulations is extended to the students with the top three highest ranked pages from the Fall 2013 classes:

  1. Kaci Lassiter

  2. Monika Kelpsaite

  3. Alex Kuhn

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