11 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Job in Search Engine Marketing

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By Kalena Jordan

a search engine marketing career makes you happyAre you currently seeking employment? Looking for a new profession? Considering a career change? Then a job in the field of Search Engine Marketing should be at the top of your list. Here are 11 reasons why:

1) The Search Industry is HOT

The first dot-com bubble may have burst over 10 years ago, but the current bubble is getting bigger and stronger every day. One of the main reasons for the current dot-com boom is the skyrocketing growth of the search engine industry. No longer the territory of geekdom, search has exploded into the mainstream over the past few years and businesses are falling over themselves to get seen by online searchers. And they’ll pay big bucks to search engines for the privilege.

Have you noticed that Google shares hit USD 500 EACH at one stage? It’s not a coincidence. Search giants like Google, Yahoo and Bing can’t fail to make money because everybody wants a bit of the search action. There’s no denying, search is HOT, HOT, HOT.

2) It’s Considered one of Four Jobs on the Cutting Edge

According to a recent article on MSN Careers, the position of  Search Engine Optimizer is considered one of four jobs on the cutting edge right now. Who gave it this title? A representative from the world’s largest specialized recruitment firm – Robert Half International Inc.

Search Engine Optimization is considered a sub-set of Search Engine Marketing. If you’re unsure what a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) does, below is a definition provided by MSN Careers:

“Search engine optimizers (SEOs) increase a firm’s Web site traffic by improving its search-engine page rankings. This is an especially important task in today’s Internet-driven world, where many customers first learn of an organization and its products or services through the Web. Because of a shortage of experts in this relatively new area, many top SEOs receive multiple job offers. SEOs typically supplement their knowledge of how various search engines operate and determine page rankings with strong marketing skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively and program using HTML.”

Wikipedia also defines Search Engine Optimizers here.

3) The Pay is Fantastic

A job in the search industry can be unbelievably lucrative. As noted recently by Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide, “There are quite literally more jobs than there are skilled marketers and salaries can skyrocket to almost embarrassing levels.”

Have you seen the type of salaries that search engine marketing and search engine optimization consultants are currently commanding in the US? Clearly, the search industry is making some people rich. Here are some typical salaries in USD:

Entry level SEO/SEM position = $30-45K

Three to five years experience / online account managers = $50-75K

Five + years / organic SEO specialists = $75-90K

Senior management level = $70-120K

SEM Director = $95-150K

VP Level = $100-315K

Additional Salary links:

http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3591061

http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=10543

4) You Don’t Need a College Degree

Because the search industry is relatively young, there are only a handful of online courses and certifications offered in the field of Search Engine Marketing (Search Engine College being one training provider).

Most search engine marketing practitioners are self-taught, learning the trade by experimenting with their own sites, researching trends, attending conferences and participating in discussion forums and so employers don’t generally require SEO / SEM certification or a tertiary qualification as a pre-requisite for a position in the industry.

However, candidates who hold a marketing degree or specific industry certification in Search Engine Marketing may well have an edge over their fellow applicants when it comes to interview selection.

5) You Can Learn it all Online

Everything you need to know to become a Search Engine Marketer, you can learn online. All the information is out there, you just have to find it. To become an expert in SEO / SEM, you need to do research, research and more research. Read everything you can get your hands on relating to search on a daily basis, including articles, forums, ebooks, blogs and newsfeeds. Then you need to put this knowledge into practice by experimenting with your own sites, or finding guinea pig sites to practice on such as those of friends, family or charity sites until you find the methods that give you the best results. Programming knowledge is not a pre-requisite for SEO / SEM jobs, but it does help to learn basic HTML. There are plenty of free HTML tutorials online.

If you don’t fancy years of research or are in a hurry to jump-start your career in search, consider taking an online Certification course in one of the many Search Engine Marketing disciplines such as the Certification Pathways provided by Search Engine College. These type of courses are usually tutor-led and designed to fast-track your training and ensure you gain the right type of skills to make you immediately employable within the search industry.

6) You Can Be Your Own Boss

Because most of the work you’ll be doing is online, Search Engine Optimizers and Search Engine Marketers often have the freedom of choice to work for an employer, work from home and/or freelance. Many SEO / SEM freelancers end up hiring workers and starting their own company due to the massive demand. This gives search engine marketing experts the work from home lifestyle that others can only dream of.

7) Search Marketing Has the WOW Factor

Once they know what they’re doing, it’s very easy for a Search Engine Marketer to wow their clients. The difference that a successful SEO or PPC campaign can make to a client’s bottom line is substantial. I’ve seen online conversion rates for a client zoom from 1% to a massive 5% after just two small tweaks to their web site. And although rankings are not as important as actual conversions, clients still get very excited to see their site listed in the top 10 search results for certain keywords. It’s the WOW factor in action.

8) The Demand is Strong and Growing

As mentioned in relation to search engine salaries, there are literally many more jobs than there are skilled marketers to fill them. This extreme demand means Search Engine Marketers can pick and choose their jobs and/or clients. The more skilled marketers are head-hunted regularly. For Search Engine Optimization firms, there are more than enough clients to go around and rarely a need to advertise for new business. That’s why you often find SEOs turning away clients or recommending their competitors during extremely busy periods.

Experts in select specialties such as Pay Per Click Advertising (a sub-set of Search Engine Marketing) are currently enjoying even higher demand than usual, as advertisers out-bid each other to have their site shown for popular keyword searches on Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Another indicator of high demand is the sheer number of search-related job postings seen on general and search marketing specific employment sites.

9) The Industry is Hip and Groovy

There’s something very trendy about people in search that I can’t quite put my finger on. There’s a constant buzz around them. If you’ve ever been to a search engine conference or to Google’s headquarters you’ll know what I mean. Maybe it’s the fact that they’ve come from so many different professions. Or that the age range of search marketers varies from teens to Baby Boomers. Or their whacky dress sense. Maybe it’s the smell of money and happiness that they give off. Maybe it’s the fact that they are constantly in the media. I don’t know. All I know is that it’s no longer uncool to be a geek. In fact it’s downright hip to be square.

10) The Skills Are Portable and Global

Skills in search engine marketing are portable and global. You don’t need to be at a desk, in an office or on the phone all day. You don’t even need to meet your clients. Of all my clients, I’ve probably only met 20 percent of them and spoken to half of them on the phone or via chat. You can be on vacation for six months out of the year in various locations and still conduct business. You literally only need a computer and an Internet connection. The Internet is the universal equalizer. You can service clients in any country in the world, in many different languages. You can compete with one man operations and Fortune 500 companies on the same level playing field.  The flexibility of the search industry is a huge advantage over other career options. Have laptop, will travel!

11) Job Satisfaction is High

Search is a fascinating industry. With all the hype, daily gossip, corporate take-overs, start-ups and geek toys, I can guarantee that you won’t get bored. This combined with the flexible work hours, low start-up costs, ability to be your own boss and the excellent income keeps job satisfaction high for Search Engine Marketers. So what are you waiting for? Go get a job in search!

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Wondering how to get started on your journey to a new career in Search Marketing? Try our SEO Starter Course.

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About the Author:

Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business, Kalena manages Search Engine College – an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.