Written by Tian Stowell, Senior Marketing Student at the Gary W. Rollins College of Business
Two graduates of the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business recently returned to campus to speak to a group of students about their career experiences.
Austin Holdsworth, a 2019 graduate, and Grayson Bruce, a 2020 graduate, were students in Professor Ryan Russell’s marketing classes and are now employed by Tombras, a full-service, independent advertising agency that provides advertising, content development services, and much more through creative storytelling using data-driven research. Holdsworth and Bruce visited Russell’s current students and discussed their work at Tombras–specifically their use of search engine optimization tools.
As the senior manager of SEO at Tombras, Holdsworth educated the students on the significance of a search engine optimization tool and why within a technologically-driven and data-driven market, it’s in high demand to master it. Essentially, SEO is the process of constructing one’s website to be higher in rank within search queries like Google, Bing, or Baidu. Google, for instance, ranks a website through its relevancy, quality, and authority. To get on the good side of Google and be ranked higher within organic searches, there are elements of a site one can perfect like the URL, HTML header tag, and meta description (shockingly, Google does not rank sites based on this) to move up in the queue. Holdsworth took the complexity of this process with his experience at Tombras along with his vast knowledge and aided the students in making heads or tails of it efficiently.
Bruce, SEO manager of Tombras, demonstrated this process through personal experience and the hands-on examples provided. While a simple Google search of what SEO is can provide a textbook definition, it’s hard to grasp this process without application of it to the real world and that’s exactly what Bruce did to help the students comprehend the intricacy of it. Think of SEO as a game, a game that is set up by search engines like Google and Bing with the objective to assist its users. Within this game, there are ways to win but you as the website designer needs to fully understand the users before even putting pen to paper. For example, you need to speak like a human because these users are not robots so when writing a meta description or creating a header tag, structure the sentences or phrases to flow and be easily understandable to the human eye. There is a ‘but’ to all of this though, while one can write a complete and understandable sentence, that doesn’t exactly help when trying to win this game of SEO. It matters the context and content of what you are trying to articulate through your site based on the users’ motivations, frustrations, and pain points. Thus, if you ever find yourself designing a website, research your consumer market and their wants/needs.
Within this all-too-short class period where students engaged with Holdsworth and Bruce through open conversations and intriguing questions about search engine optimization, new perspectives were unbarred throughout the students.
“I really never knew or understood what SEO was until now, and I’m interested in learning more about it because consumers are changing from buying in-person to all online now,” said marketing student Anna Hill.
The students of Gary W. Rollins College of Business are grateful to have had the honor of listening to Austin Holdsworth and Grayson Bruce discuss SEO and their experiences working at Tombras. We are excited to see what this world has in store for these two outstanding gentlemen!
“It’s amazing to see Austin and Grayson going back to their roots and speaking to the students at UTC about their life now out of college, I think it’ll give hope to the next generation of graduates of what’s next for them, I couldn’t be more proud of these two for not only their work at Tombras but just being good people in general,” said Cole Mauer, VP Director of SEO at Tombras.
The students and faculty at the Gary W. Rollins College of Business would like to thank Austin and Grayson for coming to speak to our students about their experience at Tombras. We wish the best of luck to these two graduates.