Whether you’re Amazon or Alvernia, doing business today successfully means doing it digitally. Online marketing efforts that integrate content marketing, search engine optimization, social media and pay-per-click programs have long replaced efforts that once were dominated by trade shows, print ads, billboards and radio jingles.
With that transition — and it has been a huge shift for professionals in the field — has come a tidal wave of interest from companies that need to navigate the new world order of digital marketing in ways that can grow their businesses.
That’s where pros like David McDowell ’16 step in. As a search engine optimization consultant, he helps clients develop integrated solutions that produce trackable sales leads and new customers.
McDowell arrived at Alvernia as a communication major. The flexibility of the program exposed him to options such as public relations, graphic design and broadcasting. And by getting to experience a little bit of everything, McDowell found he had a passion for marketing and advertising.
His search for real-world experience to complement his classroom efforts led him to an internship with Reading-based DaBrian Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency with a roster of top national and regional clients. “Other agencies around here didn’t really have any positions I was interested in,” McDowell said. “Although I had heard very little about DaBrian before interning here, I liked what I saw and so I took a shot.”
Soon he was interviewing with DaBrian CEO Daniel Laws, Jr., a conversation that sparked his further interest in the firm. “I was impressed with his knowledge and leadership style,” said McDowell. After meeting with the full agency team, he knew he had found a home.
But before beginning his internship, McDowell was tasked with gaining important skills that would help him analyze traffic to websites, and work to increase website traffic through algorithms and key words. So he needed certifications in Google Analytics and SEO platforms like Moz and Distilled.
Not long afterward, McDowell was off and running, developing and optimizing content, as well as handling local list management. And it didn’t take Laws long to spot the potential in McDowell’s skills and work ethic. That led him to offer McDowell a full-time position after graduation.
Now as a full-time SEO consultant, McDowell spends his time using tracking and reporting tools to monitor clients’ websites. “I flag any issues I see, whether that’s an abnormal fluctuation in traffic or ranking position, crawling issues with the site, or off-site issues such as local listings or social network accounts,” McDowell said.
And speed is of the utmost importance. The minute he finds an issue, he works to develop a fix for his clients. Once issues are resolved, he continues SEO work so that clients’ websites are found in web searches more frequently and offer valuable experiences for visitors.
McDowell consistently works on improving DaBrian’s website SEO efforts, too — a process he has been able to perfect by treating DaBrian as a client. His work has improved the company’s reach and created more visibility for its website.
“Keeping the customer and their audiences in focus, developing goals and the right market positioning are the keys to any successful company,” said McDowell, who notes the importance of SEO is transferable to any industry. “Since SEO focuses heavily on the user’s experience, it’s a valuable tool to have when trying to reach any audience. It makes websites as marketable and customer-friendly as possible.”
And the magic that originally attracted McDowell to DaBrian has not faded. “The atmosphere here is fun and relaxed, contrary to the standard view of a big company,” he says. “The team here is more like a family... my opinion is valuable here.”