With apologies to George Bernard Shaw, those who can do, teach.
FindLaw, and its parent corporation, Thomson Reuters, found itself with a problem all to common in the tech industry: there wasn't enough talent. Though our company employs some truly remarkable people, recruiting new talent was difficult due to a dearth of job candidates with web technology skills, especially Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
What was our solution? We'd like to introduce you to the Web Development program and SEO course at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. These programs are supported through five year financial commitment by Thomson Reuters to UW-Stout and the personal commitment of FindLaw employees. As far as we can tell, this is the first-ever, anywhere in post-secondary education, SEO course.
SEO? What's That?
Those of us who are only superficially familiar with SEO refer to it as wizardry, but it is actually the process of using coding, keywords, and other attributes to make web pages more search engine friendly, which in turn, can bump those pages up in Google and other search engines' rankings. Due to a lack of courses designed to teach SEO, most experts learn through practice, rather than school. That leaves a gap at the entry level.
It Helps Us, to Help You
For FindLaw's clients, SEO means their law firm's website will appear higher in search engine results than a non-optimized page, making it more likely that customers will see the website, click on it, and hopefully, hire the lawyer. It is our hope that by funding, designing, and even teaching the class, that we'll be able to develop and attract even more talent to put to work on clients' firm sites.
Challenges and Our Commitment
The course has been jointly developed with the University of Wisconsin Stout, and will be team-taught by a panel of FindLaw's own SEO and web technology experts. The most challenging part of designing such a curriculum is keeping up with SEO principles that change daily. (Google updated their algorithm just last week!)
We're up to the challenge, however, and Thomson Reuters's five-year financial donation and partnership in developing the curriculum will ensure that UW-Stout students are kept up to date on the latest in Web technology and SEO. That commitment should ensure more talent in the marketplace, and will enable us to find the talent necessary to keep serving you, our customers, at the highest level.
-- Craig Yolitz, Vice President of Customer Operations (and UW-Stout Alum)
with William Peacock, FindLaw Audience Team