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What is a Search Engine Marketer?

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Search engine marketing is an emerging field that has become increasingly valuable to companies of all stripes, yet not all people know what the field is or even that it exists at all. This article introduces the up-and-coming career and its various aspects.

It is best to begin by defining what we mean by the term search engine marketing, which is a phrase often conflated with the (very closely related) subject of search engine optimization. Search engine marketing is essentially the practice of utilizing the way that search engines (particularly industry giant Google) work to increase the visibility of a company, product, or brand. This is done via search engine optimization (we'll get to that later), paid placement, paid inclusion, and pay-per-click advertising. The idea behind search engine marketing is to raise the client's profile via making it more visible on the web — that is to say, higher-ranking on search engines.

Search engine marketing works because of the way that people use the Internet — more often than not they go online in search of information. Search engine optimization is one of the tools used by search engine marketers in order to increase awareness of their clients' brand. Like the other methods employed in search engine marketing, it all has to do with keywords, an industry term for the search phrases which people use on Google and other search engines. Marketers use terms which are likely to be used by people when looking for information that is relevant to their clients' website, incorporating them into website copy, online advertisements, and pay-per-click ads, among other means. Some companies even use search engine optimized articles which offer information about relevant topics as a marketing tool (called article marketing, this is growing in popularity among businesses with a presence on the web).



Search engine marketing grew out of this idea to encompass more than merely creating optimized content for the web (though that is of course a part of it). Search engine marketing has its roots in the mid 90s, when pay-per-click advertising came about as a way for search engines to monetize their businesses. Today, search engine marketing is a $9.4 billion sector of the advertising and marketing world and seems to show no signs of slowing its pattern of exponential growth. Today, search engine marketing is a viable career path in itself.

Typically, those who are professionally engaged in search engine marketing will work at a site which practices the arts of the traditional marketing/advertising world: an ad agency. Search engine marketers include the copywriters who craft and retool search engine optimized content, write copy for pay-per-click ads, and make use of paid inclusion campaigns and the like. There are also those who perform keyword analysis, finding which keywords receive use by web surfers and at what cost (this author has written copy for search engine marketing and analyzed keywords), and of course, placement specialists and ad buyers (often one and the same).

Those who work in the field of search engine marketing do have some educational factors in common. Copywriters generally have been trained in journalism (or gone for a marketing degree instead) while others in search engine marketing positions are more likely to hold degrees in marketing or business administration. However, it is sometimes the case that an individual with no formal degree or one in an entirely different discipline will excel in this arena.

With the ranks of search engine marketing professionals reaching into the thousands in the United States alone, it won't be long before we begin to see entire advertising and marketing agencies refocusing on the Internet as their primary theater of operations. Now is the time to get in on this exciting field, which is undergoing explosive growth.
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