By Jenni Valentino, Editor
As a writer, search engine optimization (SEO) is far from my specialty, but even to my untrained eyes, the influence of SEO is undeniable. When I’m searching for something online, the general idea remains: the closer to the top, the more relevant the page (and yes, Career College Central is the number one result for "career college news", thankyouverymuch).
It’s readily assumed that the higher the ranking, the more authentic and reliable the result.
So I find it curious that within the top 5 organic results for the search term "career college" is a page that reveals a concise — but entirely favorable and reasonable — blurb about choosing career education. A subsequent link directs potential students to questions they may want to ask of a career college before choosing to enroll – questions like: Which schools offer the training or program you need? How much will you pay for the program or training? Does the school offer job placement assistance? How can you avoid diploma mills and unaccredited colleges?
Would it shock you if I said that these pages were housed on the Department of Education website? After all the venom the DOE has spewed forth toward the career college sector over the past couple years, these pages portray a very different attitude than the one we’ve repeatedly seen.
While I’d like to believe that this is an example of the “support” repeatedly claimed by the DOE, it looks more like a case of neglected website. Un-updated since 2008, this page of the Department’s site no longer really represents their goals, transparent or not.
At this point, are we even interested in the Department’s support? After all that’s happened – obvious short-seller conspiracies, the implementation of a rule that is over-reaching and affects far more than even the DOE itself realizes – do we as a sector even want this page to exist at all?
It seems to me that the DOE may have forgotten that this inconspicuous page on their extensive website exists at all, which might be somewhat embarrassing for them. But is it embarrassing for us, too?