You graduate your marketing course at uni, start working in the industry and all of a sudden you get hit with a huge part of digital marketing that you know little to nothing about – SEO. Despite the years you dedicated to the vicious cycle of groan-worthy group assignments and coffee-induced long nights of working on essays that you started the night before they were due, you still weren’t prepared to be working with SEO. So why are Australian Universities not teaching SEO – which mind you is one of the most important features to take into consideration when creating content or embarking on a digital marketing campaign.

University Meme SEO Melbourne Australian Universities Not Teaching SEO

Australian universities with SEO courses

Whilst we can probably all understand that there is a knowledge gap among students when it comes to SEO. I wanted to know exactly how many universities in Australia are teaching SEO, so I made a list of all the universities in Australia offering SEO even if it was simply taught within an overarching digital marketing paradigm rather than a subject to itself.  I went on each of their respective websites to do a little bit of research. On every site, I searched both ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and ‘SEO’ to identify courses covering it as subject matter. Of the 41 Australian universities that were searched, only 17 were found to be currently provide teaching on SEO. What I found was not surprising, in that less than half of Australian universities teach specific material around the SEO phenomenon. Additionally, it does not come as a shock that basically every course that involved SEO in its teaching did not have it in its name; the most common courses to cover it had ‘Digital Marketing’ or ‘Digital Media’ in their titles. So, one can assume that SEO as a subject in these cases forms part of a broader course, rather than a course itself.

Having a look at the university courses that did involve SEO, I saw this very notion for the most part was all too common: SEO was just a small part of a course that focused on something a little more broad, such as a Bachelor or Master’s degree, or even a tech elective of some sort. The most seemingly in-depth course that I stumbled across was a short course run by the University of Sydney, ‘Web Writing with SEO’. Good on you for kind consideration towards SEO, USYD. Also, a great, big shout out to the other Australian Universities who also teach SEO.

 Classes offered
University of MelbourneDigital Business and Marketing
Digital Marketing
University of SydneyIntroduction to SEO Course
Web Writing with SEO Course


Digital Marketing Foundations Course

Digital Strategy Course for SMEs

Monash UniversityComputer Science Bachelor Degree
University of QueenslandN/A
University of New South WalesProfessional Media Practices: Creating, Publishing and Publicising Digital Journalism
Strategic Digital Marketing
Computing 2
University of South AustraliaNew Technologies in Tourism, Events and Hospitality
Managing Digital Design
Griffith UniversityN/A
Australian National UniversityE-Marketing
University of Technology SydneyDigital Marketing for Managers
Introduction to SEO for Blogging
University of TasmaniaN/A
Swinburne University of TechnologyGraduate Certificate of Digital Marketing Technologies
University of NewcastleDigital and Social Media Marketing
University of Western AustraliaDigital Media: Theory and Practice
Edith Cowan UniversityN/A
RMIT UniversityMaster of Computer Science
La Trobe UniversityN/A
Macquarie UniversityBachelor of Marketing and Media
James Cook UniversityN/A
University of WollongongN/A
Charles Sturt UniversityN/A
Central Queensland UniversityN/A
University of CanberraN/A
Flinders UniversityN/A
Southern Cross UniversityN/A
University of Sunshine CoastIntroduction to Interaction and UX Design
Australian Catholic UniversityN/A
Murdoch UniversityWeb Communication
Federation University AustraliaN/A
University of New EnglandN/A
Bond UniversityN/A
Victoria UniversityMaster of Digital Media
Graduate Certificate in Digital Media
Graduate Diploma in Digital Media
University of Notre Dame AustraliaN/A
Holmesglen Institute of TAFEDigital Marketing for Small Business
Online Visibility and Reputation Management
Chisholm InstituteDigital Marketing – Introduction
Social Media Marketing
Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing Program
Digital Marketing – Analytics
Certificate IV in Web-based Technologies
Melbourne PolytechnicN/A
Torrens University AustraliaN/A
Kangan InstituteN/A
Charles Darwin UniversityN/A
Boxhill InstituteN/A
JMC AcademyN/A
Monash CollegeN/A

Much obliged.

Why isn’t SEO focused on?

SEO has developed significantly since it first began, and is now changing on an estimatedly daily basis, which gives fair reason as to why it is not focused on in uni. I mean, at one point it was all about cramming in as many keywords as possible and buying links from eastern Europe link builders. Now, Google endeavours to discern meaning and credibility as opposed to simply matching keywords and counting links. On the topic of new-and-improved, another important change has been the level of value that Google now places on new content, which factors into the freshness part of the algorithm. With immediate impact on companies’ SEO ranking, it is vital for brands to focus on building more in-depth and specialised content marketing strategies for their users and that also extend to their social media content, PR links, and apps.

Additionally, mobile prioritisation, along with updates such as the Google Knowledge Graph, the Panda/Penguin/Pigeon updates and the Hummingbird algorithm (Google sure loves animals, it seems) are all huge factors that have been catalysts of unrest and change in the SEO world, since they can have a crippling impact on search visibility for brands who have thrived based on organic search traffic. All this in mind, to try and teach current day SEO to uni students can seem pointless since tomorrow it will be different, and different again the day after. What is important is that students are taught about the continuity of change in the field and to expect to be keeping up with this environment unceasingly.

From the beginning of SEO to present day, the focus has changed vastly; Google and other search engines are now focusing on genuine interaction and user experience through personalisation and clean cut answers, as opposed to favouring “gimmicky content-based tactics”, as DeMers from Search Engine Land puts it. Digital marketing students are already most probably aware of this and how it affects how things are done in the online world, but SEO could certainly be weaved into this teaching at university level, if it is not already, since it has also been tremendously impacted by this new focus.

Moreover, the complexities of SEO in terms of achieving genuity through tailored individual needs and creativity could be dismissed as too difficult to effectively teach. Whilst no one can really put forward SEO top methods or rules, presenting case studies of a variety of SEO clients to students is hardly unproductive. Regarding creativity, content writing, blog posting, outreach, etc. can be taught practically and they certainly enhance SEO, ergo the link between the two should be stressed during uni for marketing students.

University SEO Melbourne Australian Universities Not Teaching SEO

Word to the wiseNowadays, search engine algorithms updates are small, discrete, and come out moderately, giving a significantly less pronounced effect on the industry. True, the rules of SEO are still ever-changing, but surely uni students can be made aware of its fundamental aspects in order to spark passion and initiative do their own research to keep up to date with new trends. Looking into marketing, statistics, journalism, business and design, reading SEO books, keeping up with industry leaders and attending conferences are all ways that students can develop their skills to prepare them for what is ahead (kudos to Weber from Search Engine Journal for the educational advice). Being future bearers of the grand SEO mantle, it would benefit students profoundly to be equipped for the changing landscape that will enter upon tossing their graduation caps and entering the workforce.

University SEO Agency Melbourne Australian Universities Not Teaching SEO

*Check out the link below for the list of Australian universities and their SEO courses.

SEO Melbourne / SEO University Courses Australia

(List based only on what was found by typing in ‘Search Engine Optimisation’/’SEO’ into the search bar of each university website.)

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One thought on "Why SEO Is Hardly Taught In Australian Universities"

  1. Mehran Abbas says:

    First of all let me appreciate for all the effort you guys put in to clarify my doubts about those course for Digital Marketing and Seo in different universities.
    Secondly I am on the verge of changing my career. I have found Seo & Digital Marketing pretty interesting. But totally lost where to start to have a sound knowledge about Seo.
    By the way I have done foundation course of Digital Marketing already and would love to do any other course about Seo if you suggest to get a job/internship.

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