The sovereignty of the search engine remains unchallenged. In 2017, 47% of the global population accessed the internet. By 2021, that’s expected to reach 53%. Following analysis by Smart Insights, that translates to 3.5 billion daily search queries on Google alone, and 1.2 trillion a year.
No wonder search engine marketing (SEM) is reaching all-time highs. A few statistics to consider:
In short, search engine stakes are high, marketers are well aware, and there are plenty of jobs to be found. For those interested in becoming an SEM consultant, we’ve highlighted job forecasts, salaries, and necessary skills and education. But first, let’s take a closer look at the job description and responsibilities of SEM professionals.
Job Description and Responsibilities for Search Engine Marketing Consultants
Leverage an organization’s web content for search engine optimization
Monitor, report, and analyze website analytics and PPC initiatives and campaigns
Execute tests, collect and analyze data, and identify trends to achieve maximum ROI in paid search campaigns
Provide support and insight in development of strategic marketing plans and help determine position in the market
Measure the effectiveness of an organization’s marketing, advertising, and communications programs
Perform ongoing keyword discovery, expansion, and optimization
Stay up-to-date on latest SEO trends, tools, and technologies, as well as changes in search engine algorithms
Instruct team members in best SEO practices and develop an organization-wide SEO strategy
Job Prospects and Salary for Search Engine Marketing Consultants
The above statistics obviously demonstrate a wide-open job market for SEM consultants, even if titles may (and often do) vary. (Search Engine Journal has a particularly helpful guide on SEM hiring trends.)
Just as important as SEM-specific employment numbers is data concerning the marketing industry overall, which is thriving. In the United States, digital marketing spending is projected to exceed $100 billion by 2019, up from $56 billion in 2014; and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers are among the most in-demand workers in the country, with 250,000 currently in the field and hiring to increase 10% over the next decade.
Payscale reports SEM consultants earn an average of $50k per year, while SEM specialists earn $68k per year. Experienced SEM professionals, regardless of title, can earn six-figure salaries.
Using Your Education to Become a Search Engine Marketing Consultant
The most common degree for SEO/SEM professionals is a bachelor’s in Marketing, which provides students with a firm theoretical foundation as well as rigorous, career-oriented coursework in marketing skills and technologies. Example studies include:
Using Your Skills and Experience to Become a Search Engine Marketing Consultant
The fact of the matter is that SEM is a moving target. According to Moz, Google changes its search algorithm 500–600 times a year, meaning that too-specific training in SEO and SEM is largely moot. There’s no silver-bullet solution, no secret panacea to boosting traffic and conversion rates. For the most part, the best organic SEM practices are common sense: high-quality, informative content that helps users, builds backlinks, and has long-term staying power.
So, if you want to become a search engine consultant, the first skills to emphasize are:
Critical and analytical thinking
From there, relevant certifications for the job include:
AMA Certified Professional Marketer
Bottom line: search engine professionals come from a wide variety of backgrounds and utilize a wide variety of skills. Some — communication in particular — are more important than others, but unlike more tech-focused marketing roles like digital strategist, SEM consultants actually have a fair amount of leeway. With some entry-level training and a basic understanding of search engine strategy, talented professionals can earn an SEM job while career opportunities are still expanding.