GROW Academy – Winter 2014

Arriving at the RLabs youth cafe for the GROW Academy Digital Bootcamp was quite an exciting day for the team, it brought the vision of Webgrowth to life and we couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to play a minor role in the journey of these ambitious digital minds.

We started the morning off by focusing on theory, ‘what is seo?‘, we discussed terminologies, provided scenarios and threw in some case studies of clients we have worked with – even though the tasks proved difficult, I would say that the GROW Academy students were quite pleased when we wrapped up our session. SEO can be very overwhelming but once you start working through the practical elements of SEO, it all starts making sense.

One of the toughest days of bootcamp was day 3.  It was all about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The content that we had to take in was so much but really played a huge role in developing my website and actually getting an audience – Rodwill Alexander, GROW Academy student.

What practical training did we do?

The basis of SEO and search in general is keyword research. After the theoretical session we spent time understanding and creating different scenarios using Google’s Keyword Planner. We also introduced them to keywordtool.io, a free tool that provides what seems to be an endless list of keyword suggestions.

Thanks to the Woothemes team who help set up their websites the day before, their introduction to WordPress allowed us to introduce them to a few ‘must have’ plugins i.e. WordPress SEO by YOAST, Contact form 7, Google Analytics for WordPress, and Digg Digg just to name a few… once they gained a fundamental understanding of the purpose for plugins, we were able to move onto the ‘juicy’ bits.

Our purpose was to set objectives for each student’s digital marketing path, the GROW Academy’s vision (and Webgrowth) is to not only increase their employability but also challenge students to implement what they have learned from the morning session. We separated Digital Marketing into three (focused) pillars and split the students up into teams of four. Below are the topics that made up each pillar. I’ve inserted additional links to resources so you can further your research.

SEO

Social Media Marketing

WordPress

Going into the afternoon session they had the opportunity to present a structured blog post based on their findings as well as personal insights. They applied advanced Google research techniques – we encouraged the students to consider all factors, especially SEO and the outcome was great! We were more than pleased with the outcome and expect good things in future from them (including their websites).

Obviously learning should not stop here. To make yourself employable you need to focus your time on continuous learning. The very nature of digital marketing requires a research mentality. With more time spent learning and creating your own case studies, the more confident you will become and the more opportunities will come your way. Keep researching, keep blogging!

Founder of webgrowth. He has been optimising websites since 2006. He has since done guest talks on SEO at Wordcamp, University of Cape Town, Blogger Food Indaba and others.. Co-founder of the GROW Academy, a South African initiative to educate the youth in digital marketing. He heads up the SEO sessions at the GROW Academy. He is also the Search Marketing Strategist for the Rawson Property Group.