Tag Archives: blogs

Optimization for Education?

Googlebot from page 5

SEO or search engine optimization is increasingly on my radar these days. Almost daily, I see posts about it on sites like Mashable and tweets about it in my various Twitter streams. It wasn’t that long ago that I was still trying to learn and remember what the acronym stood for but over the past few months I have come to see how valuable SEO can be.

For those of you who are new to this term, search engine optimization refers to “the active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines” as defined by SEOmoz. This means that you examine your website to ensure that there is consistency in your naming practices, that your links are updated and active, that your content is original and new, and that you have social media sharing tools embedded on every page.

Of course, there are a number of other factors that affect SEO, many of which I am still learning. Luckily, there are a lot of helpful resources on the web to find out how SEO works. For example, I attended a great webinar by Kuno Creative titled “Inbound Marketing: The New SEO Facts, Figures, and Data” which helped clarify the connection between inbound marketing (if you’re new to this term, check out this great infographic) and SEO. Through that webinar, I was able to find out about updates to Google’s search algorithm and how it rewards sites for providing good content that people want to share across the web. I also learned more about the importance of having numerous keywords appear in search engine results that will drive traffic to your site. Other resources, like SEOmoz’s extensive “Beginner’s Guide to SEO” and Google’s “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide” have also been invaluable in my journey to understand SEO and its effect on my websites.

Yet, the more I learn about SEO, the more I begin to wonder about the implications of SEO for educators and educational organizations or nonprofits. Many of these groups have few employees and little funding and most of the educators I know dedicate much, if not all, of their time to designing lesson plans and preparing innovative and engaging projects for their students. All of which leaves little time to learn about SEO and apply the related practices to their company websites or personal blogs. Meanwhile, large companies hire full-time “search engine optimizers” or companies like Hubspot to help them with this work.

Does this difference in SEO resources and management capacity matter? Do educators, schools, and educational organizations need to be concerned with SEO? A few months ago, I would have said no – SEO is something that only businesses and companies trying to sell products deal with and need to worry over. Now, I’m not so sure. As I prepare to launch my own new website for early childhood educators to learn about using technology to create global learning experiences, I’m conscious of the fact that I would like my site to be easily found in search engines. I want educators to be able to find the free resources and tools I have collected without having to search ten pages of Google results before stumbling upon the site.

Watching the analytics for this blog, I can see how much traffic search engines can bring to a site and I want other educational websites and blogs to be accessible and easily found by families, teachers, and administrators who want to learn about educational issues. So, I’m left wondering about the importance of SEO for education and about whether there is a way to make information about SEO more accessible and understandable for educators and their related organizations. I want to optimize education so that it is a topic that has a fighting chance at being ranked in search results. I think educators easily have the “fresh” content that Google is looking for, I’m just not sure if they are always aware of how that content has to be coded and marketed to be optimized for search results.

My Edublog Award Picks for 2011!

The Edublog Awards are back! And this year (#eddies11), I have a chance to join in the nominations since I now have this great new blog! When I realized I could add my own nominations, the first thing I did was check out the The Edublog Awards Blog to learn more about the process and history. As they state on their About page, “The Edublog Awards is a community based incentive started in 2004 in response to community concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access of learner and teacher blog sites for educational purposes. The purpose of the Edublog awards is to promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.”

I appreciated how clear their instructions were as well as the discussion they invite on their homepage, including a reference to the fact that some people are actually opposed to the  Edublog Awards. Personally, I’m thankful for the opportunity to recognize the people and communities I’m constantly learning from and with and to share with others the resources that I’ve come across by participating in various online networks. I’m excited to see other nominations and add them to my own resource lists and continue the sharing that is so much a part of having a PLN. I would encourage you to post your own nominations (there’s not much time left – the deadline is Friday, Dec. 2nd!) so that we can all learn from the educators and colleagues who you learn from and begin to dialogue with them too.

My own nominations speak to my three main passions, early childhood education, global education, and educational technology. You’ll see a few nominations related to #kinderchat, or as they say, “The Little Chat that Could,” which continues to inspire me with new ideas and resources. If you have time, go check out some of the amazing projects they’re working on both locally and globally using some great tech tools and an amazing demonstration of virtual collaboration. I have also nominated some blogs focusing on technology in education and explorations with #edtech, something that I think should be a focus for all educators as we continue moving into a more technological age. There are tons of neat new tools out there but we should also be careful to examine the pedagogical implications of jumping onboard with any tool without fully exploring it first and determining how and why it should/could fit into a training, class lesson, or other educational setting. Finally, I made two #globaled focused nominated because I believe in connecting educators across the globe and both the Global Classroom Wiki and the Global Education Conference are working to do exactly that!

Maggie’s Edublog Award choices: