On Nov. 1 the ETSU Department of Media and Communications (MDCM) established a partnership with industry-leading search analytics company SpyFu. This partnership will give students working in the department’s BucDigital project team the opportunity to gain hands-on experience using a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool.

Spyfu provides insights on how to better strategize against competitors with SEO research, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) research, and keyword research.

“Students will get the opportunity to develop their SEO skills via experiential learning,” said BucDigital Instructor Dr. Melanie Richards. “They receive applied practice and build their experience with the same tools used in industry before they enter the workforce. They can then include this on their resumes and immediately become more marketable upon graduation.”

The BucDigital project team is part of the Brand and Media Strategy graduate program. BucDigital students partner with areas across campus to meet their digital communication goals and plan to use Spyfu to improve the ranking of partner websites in search engine results.

As part of his work for BucDigital, Raleigh Cody, a second-year graduate student in the Brand & Media Strategy Program, reached out to several SEO companies to negotiate a deal for MDCM. Cody and Spyfu’s Inbound Sales Manager Jeff Axton were able to reach a mutually-beneficial agreement.

Axton explained that Spyfu would allow BucDigital free access to the SEO tools as long as Spyfu was mentioned on the class’ syllabus online and that the partnership was highlighted on the MDCM website, which helps Spyfu with their own SEO.

 “As far as recruiting students into the program, a strong approach to SEO will also help prospective students be able to find us a lot more easily,” adds Dr. Richards.

The accounts are active for this year and will expire on Nov. 1, 2019, but Spyfu will allow the department to renew and extend as needed.