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A Career as an In-House Search Engine Marketer

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Today, search engine marketing is the most prevalent form of Internet advertising and has become a significant field in its own right. In this article, Amit Agarwal discusses the growing popularity of search engine marketing and the prospects of a career in this burgeoning discipline.

Search Engine Marketing Defined

Internet marketing that aims to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) is known as search engine marketing. This promotion is generally carried out through search engine optimization (SEO) — that is, by making a website look to search engines like the most sensible and logical choice for a given search query.

Career Prospects for Search Engine Marketers

Search engine marketing has become the most important growth driver for most businesses, and a career in this field pays very well.

A recent survey by SEMPO (the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) revealed that in-house search engine marketers are receiving healthy salaries based on their experience levels. Currently, individuals with five to seven years of experience in the field can earn a salary in the $100,000-$200,000 range.

The SEMPO survey also revealed the relative newness of the industry — about 64% of the respondents have five or less years of SEM experience.

SEM Vice Presidents

Less than 4% of the respondents had a vice president’s position, and more than two-thirds of the VPs have from one to 10 people reporting to them. Approximately 20% of the VPs surveyed said they earned $100,000 to $120,000 per year. About 25% of the VPs said that they managed both SEO and PPC work, while 29% said that online and search marketing were combined functions in their organizations. According to the survey, approximately one-third of in-house search engine marketers manage monthly budgets of more than $200,000.

SEM Senior Managers and Directors

Compensation for search engine marketing senior managers was reported to be in the range of $70,000 to $100,000 per year. About 18% of the directors taking the survey said that they had between five and seven years of experience. About a quarter of this group of directors reported annual salaries between $100,000 and $120,000. Senior managers and directors comprised close to 20% of the respondents.

Key Findings

According to the 2007 SEMPO State of the Market Survey, marketers are increasing their search spending, shifting significant budgetary allocations from print advertising and other mediums.

An online survey from Radar Research administered by IntelliSurvey, Inc. was completed by 867 search engine advertisers and search engine marketing agencies. According to the survey:
  • The North American SEM industry grew from $9.4 billion in 2006 to $12.2 billion in 2007, surpassing projections of $11.5 billion for 2007.

  • North American SEM spending is projected to increase to $25.2 billion in 2011.

  • Marketers are shifting their search dollars to SEM from print magazine spending, website development, direct mail, and other marketing programs.

  • Paid placement captures 87.4% of 2007 spending; organic SEO, 10.5%; paid inclusion, .07%, and technology investment, 1.4%.
In 2007, search engine marketing budgets are up by 750% over budgets from 2002.
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 Amit Agarwal  vice president  prospects  websites  Internet marketing  disciplines  salary  Radar Research

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