WEEK 3: A Conversation with Guest Speaker Duane Forrester by Clarissa Corona

By  |  0 Comments

By UCLA X469.21 Student Clarissa Corona

Yext’s Duane Forrester Visits UCLA X469.21 

Clarissa Corona

Clarissa Corona

On May 8, Yext’s very own VP of Industry Insights, Duane Forrester, visited our UCLA X469.21 class, bringing immense knowledge and brilliant tactics for SEO (Search engine Optimization).

Duane’s background, including his experience during the early days of the Internet, was fascinating. It also opened my eyes about why it’s so important to master SEO if I want to succeed as communications manager for the non-profit where I’m currently employed. I find it a mystery (and a bit insane) that SEO isn’t a mandatory subject for those studying anything media-related. Duane has shown over and over again throughout his career that a single keyword can be very valuable.

Duane Forrester

Duane Forrester

The first topic he reviewed was how search engines work. Most people tend to be unaware or forget how much goes on when they perform a search on Google or another major search engine. The four most basic things search engines do are crawl, index, rank and provide results. When we type something into Google, the instantaneous information we get is the result of so much going on in the back end of the search engine. After the search engine crawls a page, it ranks that page to determine its placement in the final search results.

On a personal note, the nonprofit where I serve as communications manager has a grant that allows us to use Google AdWords at no cost. With such PPC (or pay per click) advertising, I choose a bid price for clicks and hope the keywords I have chosen generate some kind of results.

SEO is different. Search Engine Optimization does not involve bidding; it involves organic search results based on the ranking of web pages. If you were in our UCLA Extension class and didn’t think SEO was important, you should now. Nearly everyone wants to appear on the first page of search results to ensure people can actually find and click on your link.

The most important lesson from Duane’s visit was that mastering keywords is vital to managing SEO successfully. We are not alone in the quest to find the best keywords; Google has an AdWords tool to test the relevance of the keywords you’ve chosen. Another tool is Google Trends, which allows you to see what terms are currently generating the most searches.

For me, consistency is a struggle. I don’t work weekends, and I am sometimes away from social media for hours at a time. Sitting down to blog on behalf of my employer is something I haven’t had time to focus on.

Does this mean I am hurting the nonprofit I work for by compromising its communication efforts? Absolutely, so publishing consistently is now my main priority. Losing an audience you’ve worked hard to gain is probably the worst thing you can do. It’s a form of sabotage.

Thanks to Duane Forrester for visiting our class and bringing amazing insights to the crazy concept known as SEO. Duane taught me that if you want to take your organization or company to the next level, you have to master SEO, starting with the ability to come up with the best keywords for the best results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *