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Jul 23, 2009

New Chart: Hiring Skilled Search Marketers Is Becoming Easier

SUMMARY: It continues to get easier to find and retain skilled SEM staff. As the industry matures, more people have more experience. While this is good for the health of the industry, it may mean smaller salaries for SEM specialists.

Level of Difficulty Hiring SEM Staff, 2007 through 2009

View Chart Online

Click here to see larger, printable version of this chart

Good help will always be hard to find, but locating someone with knowledge of SEM is getting easier as the industry matures. With nearly two-thirds of all respondents in 2009 reporting that it is "not difficult" to hire good help, itís a blessing and a curse for search marketers, depending on which side of the equation they fall.

Having a working knowledge of SEO and PPC search engine marketing is becoming more common. More junior-level search marketers are moving up the food chain in marketing departments while college students are entering the job market with some understanding upon arrival. Smart search marketers are bringing the tool kit of the bid-based marketplace to other marketing functions and, in the process, simply becoming smarter marketers.

As the economy affects us all in 2009, most marketers who still have jobs are staying put. The digital sector has been less affected than their offline counterparts, but times are still tight as overall budgets contract. As a result, retaining smart people who might otherwise be lured to new opportunities has become a bit easier for employers.

Search marketing managers generally work in the marketing departments of companies or agencies that are large enough to be able to support a multi-person search staff. The role is relatively well defined, and, depending on the market and level of responsibility, they should be making between $50,000 and $80,000 a year.

SEO specialist is a job title that somewhat defies definition. This could mean anything from an entry-level press release writer at a big PR firm, to a highly technical coding consultant. As a result, thereís a huge amount of variance in reported income for this job title.

Marketers who transitioned their search function from outsourced vendors to an in-house staff found it took an average of nearly 4 1/2 months to get their search program running smoothly. For companies that are heavily reliant on search, this can be a very long time indeed.
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Comments about this Article

Jul 21, 2009 - Mike of Mike D. Payne, P.A. says:
WHO is determining what is "GOOD" SEM? What I've discovered over the last couple years is few knowledgeable, diversified SEM people working in corporate. Am I shocked? Hardly! Common sense suggests the talented SEMers are working for themselves, not a J-O-B. I probably know personally 2 or 3 of the hiring managers who responded to this survey. What they know about SEM enables them to "think" it's easy to find talented SEM hires. Here's my question to Sherpa participants: Why would a skilled person (SEM, SEO or anything else "ecommerce" related) choose corporate over working for him/herself?

Jul 21, 2009 - Paul of says:
The Search Engine Marketer is currently the "New" Rock Star in Town. Every enterprise with a minimum vision is aware of the consequences of not using SEM techniques, and even more important, to keep them updated. The SEM winds change direction very fast. To keep that knowledge flowing with the required timing is not an easy job. That is why some professionals, in a completely unselfish action, from my honest perspective, are Introducing something never seen. And this is not hype at all:

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