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Grad and his SEO employer are competing for a $25,000 prize

When Alec Brownscombe was 16 he started a small vlog about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Today the vlog, Maple Leafs Hot Stove, gets about a million and a half visitors a page per month.

Now, Brownscombe works as a senior SEO analyst at Marie Hynes Consulting Inc. in Kanata. The Algonquin College graduate and his colleagues – among them, four other Algonquin grads – is hoping for some other big numbers: the company is competing in a contest that could see them collectively win $25,000.

The contest goes like this: the company has been selected by the website-building company Wix to be one of two SEO teams to compete head to head. Both teams are competing to rank their websites. The site with most visitors ranks first and wins the contest.

On Dec. 19 the contest’s judge will determine which site ranks the highest and the winner will get $25,000 as a prize.

Brownscombe’s path to this adventure has been interesting. After earning his BA in history at Trent University in Peterborough, he joined the journalism program at Algonquin College. He graduated in 2015 to start working with the Academic Partnerships Office at Algonquin College.

“I was their digital dude,” Brownscombe said. He used his journalism and web development skills to write press releases to school boards and to the Academic Partnerships website.

After working for two years at Algonquin, Brownscombe started working with TSN 1200 Ottawa, as a co-host of Battle of the Atlantic, a weekly show that covers the Ottawa Senators, the Canadiens, the Maple Leafs and the NHL in depth. He continues to work on this show still today. He also continues to work on his vlog with six other freelancers.

Around the same time in 2017, Brownscombe started working with Maria Haynes Consulting Inc. “The hiring application came across my Twitter feed,” he said.

Two years into the job he’s now a senior SEO analyst with four other Algonquin graduates from different programs.

“If you want to learn something you have to merge yourself into it,” said Brownscombe. “After two years, I still feel like I know nothing.”

His colleague, Summar Bourada, has complimentary things to say about hit. “There are two reasons for Alec to speak,” she said. “One is because there’s something super important we need to know or two because he wants to blow our minds.”

His boss, Marie Haynes, agrees. “Every time Alec speaks I know I have to listen,” said Haynes, the company’s founder and owner. Haynes appreciates how Brownscombe is very passionate about what he does.

“We have challenges to face in the business to continue to grow but I enjoy most aspects of my job,” said Brownscombe.

However, if he got offered to work for the Leaf’s, he’d definitely think about a career change.


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