A strong search visibility is a mandate for a business with an online presence to reach out to the maximum customer base. A ‘good’ search marketing specialist can streamline search engine marketing efforts and help improve web search rankings of a company.
As businesses look beyond the traditional marketing arenas, opportunities for online marketing professionals have skyrocketed. Search marketing specialists can work with any business with an online presence. Since all businesses have different and wide-ranging expectations from a search marketing specialist role, the requisite skill set for this relatively new occupation is not yet formalized. Let’s take a quick look at what a search marketing specialist does and what skills can make him excel in this role.
Search Marketing Specialists (SEM) are responsible for driving a business’s webpage ranking in SERP, with organic and paid (pay per click, paid directories etc.) mechanisms. They plan, manage, and implement a website’s SEO strategy, which involves web marketing and analytics, keyword strategy, content strategy planning and link building.
Skill arsenal for this role includes:
- SEO knowledge: A prior SEO specialist experience comes in handy to have an in-depth knowledge of various search engines and their ranking techniques. This experience will help them determine what content works, what pages need readjustments, how keyword usage impacts rankings etc. SEO knowledge also helps in identifying metrics for the effectiveness of search engine enhancements.
An experience with linking services, ad vendors, and paid mechanisms for implementation of SEM campaigns is ‘good to have’.
He must keep abreast of technological advancements and must be motivated to brush up his knowledge and acquire new skills by taking courses and tracking technical and trade journals.
- Analytical skills: An analytical bent of mind helps determine the effectiveness of SEO strategies. SEM should be able to analyze competitor campaigns to learn and design superior strategies. Using statistical software and analytics, he should be able to glean website traffic patterns to drive search marketing efforts. He should be able to monitor and analyze campaigns to see if they can meet revenue goals.
He should be able to provide clients with data on campaigns’ performance against the investment. A working knowledge of SEO platforms, marketing dashboards and reporting software to generate search engine ranking reports can help track SEO strategy success.
- Research aptitude: An eye for detail and an aptitude for research is essential in this field. SEM should be able to conduct original research to identify trends, identify top ranking keywords, and provide evidence-based recommendations.
With research comes the need of testing your hypothesis. Developing test plans, implementing new strategies, measuring the results, performing A/B tests to optimize your page designs – all these need a sound research acumen.
- Content production: SEM should be able to assist in planning and managing blogs and web pages, and must be able to identify, produce and manage targeted and original content.
- Organizational skills: Strong organizational skills and ability to multi-task are prerequisites for this role, which requires juggling and prioritizing multiple projects concurrently. SEM should have the ability to think independently and creatively.
- Strong communication skills: Search marketing specialists will need to work with various other strategists like web designers, SEO specialists, digital content managers etc. Outstanding written and verbal communication along with an attitude of a team player will go a long way in identifying business goals and achieving them together as a team.
Apart from the above skills, a search marketing specialist must rely on white hat techniques to drive results. In a pressure cooker situation where ‘visible’ results matter, it is easy to be enticed by black hat methods like hidden text, link farms, and hidden links to justify your role, but in the long run you will be doing damage to your client and more to your repute. So, instead of painting a rosy picture and trying to deliver immediate results, SEM should focus on the slow and steady approach that employ ethical methods for appreciating a website’s rank.
A passion for online marketing and a desire to learn and adapt throughout your career will make you a successful search marketing specialist.
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