How to Become an SEM Specialist in 2019

Intrigued about the role of an SEM specialist? Do you want to know what are the skills that you need to have to be a Search Marketing Specialist in 2019? Then this post is personalized to you.

First thing first, it has been found that the demand for the SEM is increasing phenomenally at almost 100% every year.

As per the prediction of industry experts, Search Engine Marketing will be among the most demanding skills in recent digitalization in marketing.

It includes all the skill sets that are available in the market right from the trade, services, law, medicine, etc.

The need and the hiring habits of thousands of companies, employees, and businesses have been analyzed, and it has been found that SEM knowledge is the most sought after skills in the world.

The nature of marketing and the quality of the sales in the modern world has been different from the conventional ones. SEO and online advertising affect the demand for products and services.

The demand is continuously growing for people who have the necessary skills to promote websites and companies through these means.

Before discussing the central theme, it is essential to clarify specific terms related to Search Engine Marketing.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

It is the practice of using search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, etc, for advertising and marketing a business through the business website.

The required objective can be achieved through the use of organic traffic in Search Engine Optimization and PPC or paid traffic results.

SEM remains one of the most effective ways to grow a business in the fiercely intense competitive marketplace.

What is Search Engine Marketing

Millions of businesses are now vying for the first spot in the market, and for this online advertising has become most critical.

The SEM can make this advertising media very useful for the growth of the businesses and to promote the products.

In the following paragraphs, you can find out the overview of search engines, what search engine ranking is and what an SEM specialist does.

You will also learn what strategies are essential for doing efficient search engine marketing.

Concept of Search Engine Ranking and Search Visibility

Search Engine Ranking

Search engine ranking is the position of a site that is shown in the result page of the search engine when a particular query is made.

In a search engine result page, there are results for ten websites displayed at one time, and sometimes these are augmented with videos, listings, and images.

When a site has a higher ranking, it will have a lower number starting from 1, and a lower ranking will have a number closer to 10 on a particular page.

Many site owners engage with the SEO campaign to improve the SERP rankings and move the websites closer to top results.

It is the higher ranking of websites in the search engine pages that enhances the visibility of the sites.

Search Visibility

Search visibility means the prominence of a piece of content getting displayed in the results of the search engine.

When the content is highly visible, the website can appear at the top of the organic search result quickly.

However, if the content is less noticeable, it may not appear in the first few pages of the search result, and the website will have very few visitors to it.

This is the reason why there is a high demand among the site owners to hire an SEM specialist to move the websites to their favorite spot in search engine ranking.

More top ranking the websites are, the more chances it has to have a good click-through rate.

This again attracts more visitors and improves the chances of conversion.

Factors that Influence Search Engine Ranking

The ranking in the search engines is influenced by various factors.

This includes the age of the site, the relevancy of the page, the quality of the sites link portfolio, etc.

Also, the level of competition and social signals play a vital role in getting a favorable search engine ranking.

Google has admitted that around 200 elements are checked by it to determine the search engine ranking of a website.

Also, more personalized search experience can be created for the users by taking into account the search history of an individual.

There are many factors which make up the algorithm for determining the search engine ranking, and an SEM specialist can control many of these factors.

The role of the specialist in Search Engine Marketing is to know what factors they can control to improve ranking and further use the knowledge to take the client to the top.

Who are the SEM Specialists?

SEM specialists are those people who harbor a passion for digital/search marketing.

SEM specialist or search marketing strategists are employed by organizations to improve their search engine page rankings and attract audiences when users search for a query on the internet.

Who are the SEM Specialists

These people know how the search engine works and are also familiar with the various techniques that can improve the rankings of the websites.

SEM specialists can also be called e-marketers as they are involved in the managing as well as the planning processes in online advertising campaigns.

What Skills are Required for an SEM Specialist Role?

Few essential skills are needed to become a successful SEM specialist, and the vital skills are listed here:

1. Organizational Skills

It is necessary to handle several projects within the stipulated deadlines successfully for becoming a competent SEM specialist.

Strong organizational skills are also required to keep track of all the campaigns regularly.

The ability for multitasking as well as prioritizing the new projects is also very essential to become a proficient SEM specialist.

2. Tech Savvy

Thorough knowledge or writing HTML, clear concept of CSS, and the ability to do web designing are the critical requirements of a specialist.

A clear understanding of the mechanism of working of a website helps to understand the mechanism of search engine rankings.

3. SEO

Search Engine Optimization remains the major part of Search Engine Marketing, and SEM without SEO is not possible.

Therefore, for an SEM, it is essential to understand how Search Engine Optimization works and how it makes the website ranking.

An SEM specialist should have an in-depth understanding of SEO, and the specialist must stay updated with the Search Engine Optimization developments continuously. How the number of keywords and the quality of the content work together.

4. PPC or Pay Per Click

A counterpart of the Search Engine Optimization’s organic tactics is PPC or the Pay per Click tactic.

Thus, understanding the PPC advertising technique along with the Search Engine Optimization technique can be the key to become a successful SEM specialist.

5. Writing skills

Though it is not required for a specialist to be able to create content, a specialist should understand words and have flair to create content.

The specialist should be able to write an ad copy or create content or to write white papers.

6. Excellent Communication Skills

There will be many players in the team of the Search Engine Marketing specialist that may include writers, content managers, and web designers and maybe the clients.

A successful SEM specialist is the one who can communicate with the team effectively both verbally as well as through messenger apps or emails.

7. Should be Able to Handle Statistics, Data, and Analytics

The specialist should have an analytical mind as the specialist will need to study the traffic pattern to a website.

The specialist will also be required to use analytical software to determine what strategy will be useful to drive the traffic and what will be not effective.

Other Skill Sets of SEM Specialist

Some of the skill sets that SEM specialists must possess besides having the knowledge of search engines are editing and writing HTML, website usability and design, cascading style sheet manipulation.

Further, as e-marketers, the specialists also know how to apply conventional marketing principles to the world of the internet.

Skills of SEM Specialist

Some work experience is always preferred while companies hire candidates for the SEM specialist role.

When candidates do not have any work experience, some companies also offer internships and after assessing their progress can absorb them in their digital marketing team.

The field of SEM is a technology related field.

Hence, to be continuously updated with the latest trends and techniques in the technological world, an SEM specialist has to always keep on learning.

Some of these learning pursuits include reading of trade journals and also taking up marketing and technology related courses as new practices continue to emerge in the digital world.

What Exactly is the Role of SEM Specialist?

It is now clearly understood that the online presence of a business needs to be appropriately managed, to remain competitive.

It is also essential to optimize the search engine rankings as well as to market it for getting an edge in the business.

Attaining suitable skills of SEM can be a very lucrative skill to possess as it can help people understand all the relevant information quickly.

An SEM specialist is a person who has a thorough understanding of the search engine rankings.

With this knowledge, the specialist can devise a suitable strategy that can bring the websites to the top of the ranking pages through organic as well as paid search engine rankings.

More visitors can be attracted to the sites, repeat business can be encouraged, and brand identity can be effectively built through SEM.

The processes can be optimized by managing as well as testing different types of marketing campaigns using PPC advertising techniques.

Also, keyword research is carried out by an SEM expert that helps to increase the overall revenue of the business and improve the ROI of the company for the paid advertisement.

SEM specialist is the new emergence in the IT field and is the most sought after position that gets paid a lucrative salary.

People who are passionate about the SEO role and have affection for the data with obsession in the search engine role will find this SEM specialist role fulfilling.

The people who love to market the products through an understanding of the consumer’s behavior and various characteristics of the consumers will find this field very attractive.

What are the Responsibilities of an SEM Specialist?

The role played by an SEM specialist is crucial for a company. They are not only responsible for the generation of leads, but also have to ensure the inflow of quality traffic, and ultimately sales.

The growth of the business, marketing ROI, and revenue generation are some of the tasks that an SEM specialist looks after. Apart from the above-mentioned roles, the position also takes care of the volume of leads and the cost per acquisition.

Some of the tasks that SEM specialists undertake are:

  • Monitoring CTR (Click Through Rate), CPC (Cost Per Click), and other important metrics.
  • Improvement of the said metrics, generating and sharing the metrics reports with the authorities on regular intervals.
  • Coming up with new account optimization ideas and implementing them after proper analysis.
  • Taking the full advantages of all the features available on analytics tools and AdWords including optimization of the used features.

Since the SEM specialists will have to juggle many activities every day, their valuable skills need to be used in different ways.

1. Effective Communication through Email

The SEM specialists should be adept in communicating via email to the clients regularly.

The timely response to the clients and the questions professionally raised by the team members is essential for the SEM specialist.

2. Extensive Research

Doing a lot of studies will be a requisite for being a successful SEM specialist, and the research will be centered on the trends and the keywords.

Research for the competitions to understand about the campaigns and where the company is lagging can be helpful to take corrective actions.

Also, the investigation needs to be made for the algorithms to ensure that the right keywords are targeted.

Since the world of digital marketing is dynamic, there will always be newer requirements and the SEM specialist needs to keep himself updated with the latest developments.

3. Creation of the Contents

Though creative content writers or the freelancers may be engaged for creating contents for a website, all these efforts will be under the purview of the SEM specialist.

The SEM professional will review the contents and decide whether the contents will work or some amendments need to be made to make it useful.

4. SEO

A large part of the regular work of the SEM specialist will be spent on the optimization of the search engine, researching for the keywords, analyzing the feedbacks and adjusting wherever necessary.

5. Pay Per Click

An SEM specialist will also be required to set up and manage the PPC campaigns along with keywords researching and analyzing the trends.

After looking at the more essential requirements, suitable changes may be suggested to make the company’s online strategy more successful.

6. The Data, Statistics, and the Analysis

A capable SEM specialist should be able to study the pattern of the traffic of a website and should effectively use the analytical software.

The use of the software should be able to drive more traffic to the website, and clients need to be given data-driven feedback.

The feedback should convince the clients that the campaigns made by the SEM specialist are meeting the goal of the sales.

If there is a shortfall from the desired goals, the SEM specialist should be in a position to take corrective actions quickly.

What are the Educational Requirements to be an SEM Specialist?

The SEM field is a comparatively new field, and the educational requirements may also vary.

The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree with some relevant experience of one year to two years.

There are few digital marketing institutes that offer a specialist course of diploma or certifications in SEM that can freshen up as well as help to learn new skills.

What are the Job Outlook and Salary Expectation?

The expected salary of an SEM specialist can be quite high, and it can be around $66000 at the top level, and the median value can be about $46,000.

The median salary of the SEM specialist can go up to $61,000 when the SEM specialists become managers.

The demand for specialists in SEM is growing at a rapid rate, and there is a significant shortfall in the supply of specialists.

The expected growth rate for the market research analysts is around 23% for the coming eight years, and the demand is expected to grow unabatedly.

Jobs in the Market for SEM Specialists

The advent of digitalization has resulted in huge demand for SEM professionals.

Companies are extensively on the lookout for talented specialists who can improve their business standing.

The job titles that SEM specialists are given includes:

  • SEM Specialist
  • SEM Executive
  • PPC Manager
  • SEM Analyst
  • PPC or SEM Growth Hacker

There are several other job roles. However, the core functionalities of the job roles are almost the same.

Different companies use different designations and their job roles for the specialist also varies based on the company and what are its key requirements.

Types of Companies that Need SEM Specialist

i) E-commerce Company

Here, the specialist is responsible for looking after the revenue generation activities from the website.

ii) PPC or Digital Marketing Agency

In a digital marketing agency, the main role of the SEM specialist is to monitor and look after the different client accounts.

iii) Lead Generation Company

In this type of company, the specialist is responsible for producing leads and then transferring it to the sales team.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions for the SEM Specialist Position

After getting an idea about who is an SEM specialist, what are their required skills, and their job roles, it might appear to you that cracking the interview for this position is a big challenge.

However, do not be of this idea because it enough to have a strong knowledge base of Google Analytics and Google AdWords to qualify for this position.

  • Tell us about your understanding of Google AdWords and why we use them?
  • What is Ad Rank?
  • How does Google auction works?
  • What is Google AdWords quality score?
  • Suggest some ways that will result in an improved conversion rate.
  • What is the set limit of the numbers or characters in AdWords ad?
  • How can we calculate CTR?
  • What are the types of keywords?
  • Explain Google Ad API. Further, tell about its uses.
  • What were your reasons to opt for the PPC industry?
  • What are the names of our competitors and tell us about their PPC strategies?
  • Tell us about the importance of Search Engine Marketing.
  • Which are the best-paid media platforms for our company and why?
  • How to measure the results of the adopted SEM practices?
  • Tell us about the other alternatives to CPC for bidding.
  • How can one track Google AdWords conversions?
  • Discuss the factors that impact quality score.
  • Tell us how one can decrease the paid media campaign costs without compromising the traffic.
  • Give the names of some Google AdWords Ad Extensions.

If you are interested in the world of SEM then share the brief answers of aforestated questions in the comments below.

Wrapping It Up!

As an SEM specialist, you can bet to have an exciting career.

The work of an SEM professional can be highly rewarding, and it can be hectic having a lot of activities.

The days of an SEM professional can remain full of responding to emails, interacting with team members and giving feedback to the clients.

In this role, you can get the opportunity to display both your valuable team spirit and can also get the opportunity to efficiently work independently.

The position of an SEM specialist offers a lucrative package that can even increase in the future when you do the hard work required to move up the ladder.

If you are an individual who has excellent communication skills, has an affinity for technology, and a great penchant for research then a career in SEM may be just the right one for you. It is worth pursuing an SEM specialist career in 2019.

Just have a learning attitude and keep on accumulating knowledge then the sky is the limit to grow in this discipline.

As I had said earlier, try to answer all the SEM Specialist Interview Questions in the comments below so we can make this post the most comprehensive one for the newbies who want to make a career in SEM.

In case you still have any doubts? Feel free to ask us in the comments.


About the author

Abuzar Khan

Abuzar Khan is a web developer, SEO expert and the blog editor at SEO Basics, overseeing all blog content and social media. He has over 8 years of web development and SEO experience, working across various businesses. When not working, you can find him enjoying with his family members and friends.

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