Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

Woman scrolling on a tablet and drinking coffee while working in a home office Woman scrolling on a tablet and drinking coffee while working in a home office

Digital Marketing

Future Focused. Digitally Dynamic.

Take your marketing career to the next level

DMK 103 - Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing & Digital Advertising C21

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Hours of Study:
36 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
Chris Rotolo
Course Dates:
05/03/2021 - 07/25/2021

Required Course Materials:
Stukent: Digital Marketing Simulation Game
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:

This course will delve further into specific tools, standards and practices in conjunction with application activities and projects to build effective campaigns involving search engine marketing. Specific topics will build upon the fundamentals of Google algorithm, measurement, search engine optimization analysis, and PPC.
Overview of topics to be covered in the course:

  • SEM Fundamentals, including keywords and competitive research
  • SEM & Measurement
  • Search Engine Algorithm
  • Social Media
  • Programmatic Advertising
  • Advertising Technology/Targeted Advertising
  • Lead Generation and Traffic Driving Tactics, including sales funnel
  • Analytics
  • Search Engine Ranking
  • Content Creation
  • Semantic Page Markup, Micro-formatting and URL strategies
  • SEO Analysis
  • Pay-per-click Advertising
Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will:
1. Identify common business challenges and match them to a tactical digital marketing strategy
2. Identify core SEO and SEM principles, ethical and legal considerations, and strategies as it relates to business strategy
3. Prepare a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit and sitemap that consists of technical, on-site and off-site recommendations based on keyword research, and website analysis
4. Prepare CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) recommendations for landing pages based on user testing videos and analytics data
5. Develop an SEM strategy and campaign based on budget, industry, and location
Course Evaluation

The final grade is calculated based on the following components: 
Discussions: ​24 %
Quizzes: 15 %
Individual Assignments: 31 %
Student/Group Assignments: 30%

Course Format:
This course is delivered online asynchronously through McMaster’s Learning Management System, Avenue to Learn. This course is designed to present the fundamental concepts and theories in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and promote the application to the workplace and professional practice. Course activities will include instructor presentations, required readings and experiential learning activities (i.e. case studies, group discussions, projects, etc.).
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late submissions will be penalized 2% per day (including weekends and holidays) up to seven
(7) days past the due date. After seven days, the Dropbox will close, no further assignments will
be accepted, and a grade of zero(0) will be assigned for the course work item unless otherwise
specified by the Instructor. Requests for extensions must be submitted to the Instructor before
the assignment due date (see Coursework Policies). Extensions are permitted for exceptional
circumstances only; supporting documentation may be requested.

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):

In accordance to McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or by the date specified. Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled due date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy. Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48-hour day window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in-group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Academic Accommodations:


Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or  to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous or Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students will need to contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and other coursework. It is the student’s responsibility to contact McMaster Continuing Education to discuss accommodations related to examinations. (if applicable)

On-line Elements:

Conduct Expectations:

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the “Code”). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in-person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students’ access to these platforms.

Copyright and Recording:

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students who wish to record sessions need to acquire permission from the instructor. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.
Course Changes:
The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.

Extreme Circumstances:
The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.
Course Withdrawal Policy:

Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (

Storm Closure Policy:
In the event of inclement weather, the Centre for Continuing Education will abide by the University’s Storm Closure Policy:, and will only close if the University is closed. All in-class courses, exams and room bookings by internal and external clients will be cancelled if the Centre for Continuing Education is closed. On-line courses will take place as scheduled.
Grading Scale:


Equivalent Grade Point



























Course Schedule:

Topic & Readings

Module 1 - Introduction to SEO/SEM

Module 2 – SEO & Meta Tags

Module 3 – Technical SEO

Module 4 – Onsite SEO

Module 5 – Off-Site SEO

Module 6 – Adwords Introduction & Campaign Building

Module 7 – SEM Optimization

Module 8 – Display Ads

Module 9 – Social Media Ads

Module 10 – CRO

Module 11 - Going Beyond SEM & SEM Strategy

Module 12 - The Future of SEO & SEM