Case Study – SEO Training for a Business School with DigitalBull GO

Here’s my experience of trying to get a bunch of Business School students interested in SEO, something they had absolutely no idea about prior to a workshop I conducted recently! They had assumed that any digital marketing workshop would be solely focused on social media. Digital = Social in young minds!

We are an SEO agency based in Chennai, India focused on Google My Business and Local SEO services with clients in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. We are also called upon sometimes to conduct digital marketing training sessions for a few colleges who have heard about us. During the last two workshops, we facilitated the SEO sessions using our own company-built DigitalBull GO tool for SEO audits. Over the last 3 months, we had completely rebuilt the tool for local SEO and Google My Business (GMB) and I was interested to see how it would fare without a lot of hand-holding from my team. 

This Business School aka MBA College had first invited me for a “trial” and seemingly my hour-long performance was deemed good enough to merit a full fledged 3-day Digital Marketing workshop. 

Let's before you read this case study

The feedback from the students has made us think positively about how we could leverage the tool even more, partnering with some of you who may be involved in training and teaching for students and newcomers.

Well, it also looks like all our hard work and preparation paid off, and we were flattered by some of the generous feedback from the students at the conclusion of the workshop. Here is a note we received a couple of days later from the coordinator of the workshop.

"Thank you so much for your support and commitment to our students."
Sathish Kumar
Sathish Kumar
Assistant Professor

Unlike MBA students in the US, the average age of an MBA student in India is 24 and they hardly have any work experience. The MBA is often a pathway to a better career besides providing higher entry-level salary options. A career choice which is ‘hot’ nowadays is that of a Digital Marketer, and that was presumably a reason for the invite. 

The preparatory work for such workshops start about 7 – 10 days prior to the event. There is always some evergreen content that is retained and new content that gets added. I look at the slides that elicited a weak response in previous sessions and see how we can improve them or replace them with fresher and more visually appealing material or video content. We also use Google, Facebook & 3rd party tools during the workshop. 

We always send a questionnaire prior to the workshop using Google Forms and use the feedback to tweak our content accordingly. We still had to make adjustments on days 2 and 3 based on new feedback and add an assessment that wasn’t requested earlier. 

Digital Marketing Workshop Questionnaire

While the 2nd-year Business School students were predominantly Marketing Majors, there was a sprinkling of HR & Finance too. It is important to understand your audience and their expectations from the 3 days that they choose to spend with us. We agreed upon an agenda with the Business School prior to the workshop, but made changes on the fly, and a comparison with the actual syllabus is mentioned below.

The Trainers - Srinath Rangaswamy & Sriniketh Srinath

Srinath Rangaswamy - SEO Trainer

Day One - Getting Started

DIGITAL MARKETING WORKSHOP

TRAINING AGENDA - DAY ONE

Proposed Topics

Actual Topics

Introduction to Digital Marketing 

  • Concepts
  • Key elements
  • Social media & Networking Sites
  • Characteristics & Implications of Digital Marketing 
  • Lead Generation Techniques

Introduction to Digital Marketing 

  • Traditional v Digital Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Channels
  • ABCs of Digital Marketing
  • The Power of Marketing
  • Job Opportunities in DM
  • Image Comparison Exercise

Understanding Website Design 

  • Technology and design elements
  • Content Management Systems 
  • Site Builders
  • Web 2.0s
  • Blogging
  • UI/UX
  • Website Audit 

SEO 

  • Purpose of SEO
  • Search Engines
  • How Search Engines Work
  • Google SERP
  • Google Algorithms
  • Website – Domain, Hosting, Platform 
  • CMS vs. Site Builders vs. E-Commerce sites

Skills Practice – Building simple website using free WordPress builder

Skills Practice – Building simple website using free WordPress builder

DigitalBull GO - Jallikattu

The first day kicked off with the obligatory welcome from the Director of the Business School and introductory speeches before the real action started. During the morning session, I covered the basics of Digital Marketing including a comparison with traditional marketing. I also talked about the Power of Marketing with a small video of two contrasting bull fighting traditions – one from faraway Spain and the other which was much closer to home. Very close – less than 150 miles away. 

I used the example of Spain’s bullfighting events (where the bulls are killed in the end) compared to a similar event close to the temple town of Madurai in the State of Tamil Nadu called Jallikattu (where the bulls aren’t harmed and injuries to participants are minimal) to highlight the difference that marketing can make to the economy and jobs. 

This then lead to the segue into the next topic – Careers in Digital Marketing wherein the students got a better idea of job roles in digital marketing and their suitability to tackle some of those options. 

Do note, that since our anchor brand is DigitalBull GO, we look at all possible opportunities to propel the ‘bull’ brand. Even our SEO plans are named Bulletproof, Bullseye, and Bulldoze!  

A simple group exercise involving ‘spot  the differences’ between two marketing images was also conducted in the morning session. 

Team Zuckerberg won this contest against Team Amazon by a wide margin of 2.5 points. 

SEO training
Purpose of SEO - Training

In the afternoon session, the students were first given a detailed overview of how search engines work after explaining the purpose of SEO – brand building, more site visits, lead generation via forms and calls ultimately increasing revenue for the client. Google algorithms were also touched upon briefly highlighting Panda, Penguin, and the latest BERT. 

The highlight of the first day was yet to come and it was building a website on WordPress. So, after quickly wrapping up the introduction to SEO, we moved to the practice session labs where we continued our classes till the end of the workshop. 

Students were divided into smaller groups in the Lab and were asked to build one WordPress website based on any one of three themes (Not the WP Theme) by following the easy step-by-step process instructions.

  •  Hotel
  • Jeweler
  • Business School

Thanks to DigitalBull GO, we now know how why a website is important and how to build one!

Student feedback

A couple of groups failed to save their project or forgot their URL structure, which meant we could not evaluate their site. This was an embarrassing lesson for both students and us when we had to access the sites on the final day to rate them. Next time, need to add the snipping tool in the list of must-have training tools and get an image of the long URLs that are a feature of the free WordPress site option. 

Srinath Rangaswamy

TRAINING AGENDA - DAY TWO

Proposed Topics

Actual Topics

Morning Session after recap of Day 1

Search Engine Optimization 

  • Benefits of SEO

 

  • Search BehaviourOptimization process
  • Analysis and review  
  • Concepts of Organic & E-commerce SEO
    • Technical & On-page
    • Content
    • Off-page
    •  
  •  
  • Local SEO 
      • Google My Business Overview   
      • Google Maps
      • Local City page    
      • Skill exercises 

Morning Session after recap of Day 1

SEO Continued from Day 1 

  • Pillars of SEO
    • Technical & On-Page
    • Content
    • Off-Page
  • Technical SEO
    • Website Structure
    • Components
  • On-Page SEO
    • Organic Search Result
    • Elements
  • Content SEO
    • Types of Content
    • Keywords
  • Off-Page
    • Backlink Strategy
    • Link Building
  • Local SEO
    • Google My Business

Practice – Using different SEO tools 

Google Pay per click – Search Advertising Theory with Campaign

 Concepts

  • Google Ads types
  • Setup
  • Keywords Selection
  • Process
  • Targeting
  • CPM vs. CPC vs. CPA
  • Monitoring
  • Analytics & Results 

Google Ads

  • Google Ad Models
  • Google Ads in 7 Steps
  • Google Search Ads
    • Keyword Matches
    • Google Search Ad Copy
    • Target Audience
    • Other Keywords
    • Keyword Tools

Display Advertising – Theory with Campaign

Concepts

  •  Advantages & Disadvantages of digital display
  •  Ad formats
  •  Campaign planning and budget
  •  Campaign tracking and optimization
  • Google Display Ads
    • Search vs. Display Ads
    • Creating a Display Ad
    • Types of Images
  • Dos and Don’ts of Google Ads`
Digital Bull Go Knowledge base

The students were first introduced the students to various website evaluation, content and SEO tools:

  • BuiltWith
  • Wappalyzer
  • GTMetrix
  • WebPageTest
  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • Mobi.Ready
  • Google Structured Data Testing Tool
  • SEO Minion
  • Hemingway App
  • UberSuggest
  • SpyFu

I also covered the SEO pillars (Technical, On-Page, Content, and Off-Page) in detail and shared with them our extensive knowledge base which covers a lot of SEO topics in a particularly easy way to understand. We also used funny regional movie clips of a popular comedian to illustrate our points, which made even the least interested students perk up! 

Fact – India makes the most movies in the world. About 2000 per year in 20+ languages compared to the US (which is second) with 700.  

Keyword Matches

We used our Google Ad Manager account to walk students through the process of running a Google display ad while also explaining the differences between SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and search intent in case of Google search ads vs. passive marketing in case of the Google Display Network.  

I, obviously have a bias for SEO and spent a considerable amount of time getting the students to understand how search engines work and to kindle their interest in SEO as a career. SEO is not as exciting to students as social media or as flashy as Facebook Ads so I try to emphasize the importance of websites for brand building and lead generation and how that is critical for even Google and Facebook Ads.

IMHO, it is easier for students to get a job as an SEO assistant or understudy due to the range of possible job roles in SEO. Job positions in Facebook Ads have plenty of competition in India and Google Ads is quite difficult to gain entry due to the higher learning curve and costlier budgets.

TRAINING AGENDA - DAY THREE

Proposed Topics

Actual Topics

Morning Session after Recap of Day 1 and Day 2 

Social Media Marketing – Morning Theory with Live Campaign 

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube

  • Facebook Campaign Ad types
  1. Audience Selection
  2. Objective
  3. Budgets
  4. Image & content
  5. Insights
  6. Analytics

Morning Session after Recap of Day 1 and Day 2 

Social Media Marketing

Facebook Ads

  • Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads
  • Types of Facebook Ads
  • Targeting
  • How to Create a Facebook Ad

Skills Practice – Designing Facebook Ad 

Email Marketing – Theory with Live Campaign

  • Process & Database
  • Marketing Vs Newsletter Campaigns (Design & Content)
  • Drip Mail
  • MailChimp + Other Tools
  • Analytics (Delivery & Discovery)

Digital Marketing & SEO Assessment & Practice Grading

The morning session started with students getting to understand the differences between Facebook organic vs Facebook Ads using the DigitalBull GO FB page. Engagement via niche FB groups and FB Messenger was also showcased. I also tried to emphasize the importance of clear communication, overcoming cultural differences and gaining trust with clients who  may live 1000’s of miles away. 

We also asked students to design one image for a Facebook Ad for a theme of their choice (Hotel, Jeweler, or Business School) using Canva within the specified time limit. They then had to upload the image on their school network after testing the image on this useful tool to make sure the text on their image was less than 20%. 

A for the students!

The 2 best images in each theme were chosen after a design-off based on the following criteria as the finalists:

  • Ad originality
  • Image relevance
  • Image quality
  • Messaging
  • Style (Font, Size, etc.)

The finalists then had to explain the rationale plus defend their design. A winner was chosen for each theme with a show of hands from the other students. This was a very engaging and riveting session which the students enjoyed thoroughly. The feedback from the students was that creating images for marketing ads even on a simple graphic design tool like Canva was harder than envisaged earlier! 

After lunch, students took the much-awaited Digital Marketing Assessment. Students had to answer 25 questions on Digital Marketing, SEO, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads in 15 minutes. This was specially prepared for the Business School. While not in our original agenda, the request came in at the end of the second day, but my son Sriniketh who accompanied me on this training trip helped me out by quickly putting together an assessment on Google Forms. Thank you!

 

The are shown below

The highest score was 48 and apart from 2 stragglers who scored 12 and 14, the performance of the rest was not too bad considering that they had just been introduced to some of these topics.

We again used Google Forms to create the quiz content, though in hindsight I should have installed one of the WordPress quiz plugins on our WP site to get better nicer looking analytics and to give students a comparison of ready made plugins vs software/programmatic development.

Srinath Rangaswamy

Day 3 – Proposed Topics

Day 3 – Actual Topics

Digital Analytics 

  • Google Analytics Dashboard
  • Google Search Console
  • Google My Business Insights
  • 3rd party Tools
  • Bounce Rate
  • Real time reporting
  • Keyword Ranking
  • Geo/other analytics
  • Custom Reporting

Skills Practice – Local SEO & Website Audit using DigitalBull GO tool

DigitalBull GO Dashboard
GMB Analyzer Insights DigitalBull GO
DigitalBull GO On Page optimization checklist

We split the students into 3 groups based on a theme they selected (Business School, Hotel, Jeweler) and gave them access to the DigitalBull GO tool. It’s called DigitalBull GO Analyzer. Students were required to perform a complete local SEO and website audit of 2 Business Schools, 2 Hotels, or 2 Jewelers depending on their theme selection. 

This is a competitor audit which compares two GMBs or websites for factors such as speed, schema, content, and links. We compare 24 factors and a total of150 Local SEO subfactors via DigitalBull GO for our clients and we wanted students to test out this tool. Currently DigitalBull GO is still a DFY tool though we have gotten some requests to also offer the DIY option.  While there is more automation that is required to enable this, our experience with the manual audit performed by students helped us to gauge the level of difficulty for unseasoned SEOs. 

For those interested in the technology of the tool and looking to partner with us or for an API, we have used AngularJS/NodeJS and the database is CouchDB. Collaboration is welcome particularly if you are in the SEO audit or training space. 

  • Recap of all sessions
  • Our feedback and grading system explained
  • Student feedback
  • Certification

HOW THE STUDENTS WERE GRADED

Digital Marketing assessment

Plan a lot of interactive sessions like quizzes, mock-up creations, funny videos, tool usage etc. These are the ones which garnered the most interest and made for less yawns and more questions!

Srinath Rangaswamy

Get in touch with us if you want to use DigitalBull GO as a training tool for Universities, Colleges, and Business Schools. We also offer white-label GMB and Local SEO services. We rank well for “gmb white label” and related keywords, so check us out if you are in the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia. 

You can call us at (646) 320 0876, send an email to getleads(at)digitalbullleads.com, or schedule a free consultation and live demo by clicking the button below. 

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