The Ultimate Guide to become an SEM specialist

7 Min Read. |

SEM specialists are new IT employees in the market. You find them everywhere. This industry is for people who are passionate about it rather than people who enter it because it is in scope. One needs to have the affection towards data and obsession towards the working of a search engine. Also, a person who loves to market a product by understanding consumer & the various characteristics associated with consumers would love this field.

Who is an SEM Specialist?

An SEM Specialist is a passionate digital marketer who has immense interest in data-driven marketing. Let’s understand in detail about SEM specialist through an example. Ms. Rashi is an SEM specialist working with a Digital Marketing Agency. She handles 2 big accounts and 2 small accounts. She is a person who questions the authenticity of any conclusion with the underlying data proof. She is more of a rational thinker than an emotional one. She is completely thorough with all the concepts of Google AdWords and her reporting skills in Google Analytics are unmatchable. She is a pro at Microsoft Excel which is a savior for her daily data crunching.

SEM Specialist Responsibiltiy

An SEM Specialist holds a crucial position in a company. The person is responsible for the steady generation of leads, qualitative traffic generation or online sales. The revenue generation of the company and marketing ROI lies in the hands of an SEM specialist. This person is also responsible for optimizing the performance of search engine ads and improving the cost per acquisition along with the improvement of volume and the average value of leads and sales.

Let’s understand more clearly the roles and responsibilities of an SEM specialist in case of Ms. Rashi. Rashi has been assigned a new SEM account of one of the life insurance company whose objective is to generate lead inquiries. Now this company has been running their Google AdWords account in-house for a while. The agency where Rashi works have won this contract by claiming that they can increase the volume of leads by 25% and decrease the cost per acquisition by 20% over a period of 3 – 6 months. Renewing the business from this account after the period is crucial for her agency and hence she needs to deliver those magical numbers in the set period. Before we know what Rashi would probably do to deliver the results, let’s understand what will be her roles and responsibilities for this account;

  • She will be responsible for the smooth functioning of the account by monitoring the pre-decided Cost Per Click (CPC), Click Through Rate (CTR), Average Position and other important hygiene metrics
  • She will be responsible for tracking the improvement metrics in the form of reports and sharing the reports with the clients on a regular basis
  • She will be responsible for setting up and configuring the Google Analytics account and ensuring the proper tracking of goals
  • She will be responsible for coming up with account optimization ideas, prioritizing them, implementation and proper analysis of the test
  • She will be responsible for trying the new features of the AdWords and Analytics platform and ensuring the optimal utilization of all the suitable features

These are some of the crucial responsibilities of an SEM specialist but not the only ones. Let’s see how Rashi would approach the goals she needs to achieve for this account.

  1. Goal1: Improve volume of leads by 25%
  • Thorough Keyword Analysis to identify the missed opportunities. Understand the various keyword matches utilized and identify the opportunities in search term reports
  • Analyse the search engine share report and identify the opportunity to increase the percentage of share in the search engine by optimizing bids
  • Analyse the performance of landing pages in terms of speed, design, content, navigation and performance improvements in various areas
  • Test various ad copies and improve the CTR
  1. Goal2: Reduce the cost per acquisition by 20%

Once the Goal 1 is achieved, the next step is to reduce the cost per acquisition.

  • Improve the cost per conversion by testing the account with various automatic bid strategies like enhance CPC, target CPA etc.
  • Modify the bid to test various ad positions. Analyse the effect of ad position on the performance of the account and how it affects the cost
  • Analyse the search term report and add negative keywords if necessary
  • Perform day & time based analysis to identify opportunities of cash crunching day & time and schedule the ads for better performing combination of them

SEM Specialist Jobs

The demand for SEM specialist has grown exponentially in the years. Most of the companies need this domain as their prospective customers are on search engine searching for their product. The job title for this role can be;

  • SEM Specialist
  • PPC Manager
  • SEM Executive
  • SEM/ PPC growth hacker
  • SEM Analyst

And the list goes on. But the primary SEM specialist responsibility remains as explained in the earlier section. The responsibility of this role varies based on the type of company;

  • Digital Marketing/ PPC Agency

The SEM specialist will be responsible for the functioning of multiple client accounts

  • Lead Generation Company

The SEM manager will be responsible for generating inquiries and pass it on to the sales team

  • E-commerce Company

The SEM Analyst will be directly responsible for the revenue generation of the website

SEM Specialist Job Description

A typical SEM specialist Job Description would look like this;

  • Create and execute Search Engine Marketing optimization strategies
  • Track the metrics in Web Analytics platform and generate regular reports
  • Manage account budget and plan & predict the future budget
  • Identify new keyword opportunities with changing trends
  • Calculate the marketing ROI on regular basis to calibrate the effectiveness of SEM
  • Test different versions of ad copies and landing pages and choose the best one

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SEM Specialist Interview Questions

SEM Specialist

SEM interview

By now we have understood how crucial the SEM specialist role is. It is obvious it would be considerably difficult to crack the interview to get this role. But if you are thorough with Google AdWords and Google Analytics, then this will be a cakewalk for you.

Ms. Rashi had to get through a very challenging interview process to get the position of SEM specialist at her agency. As part of the interview process, she was asked to develop SEM strategy for a demo website which sells customized t-shirts and it’s a startup. Rashi developed a detailed SEM plan for the website and submitted to the company. Now let’s see the 3 most important SEM specialist interview questions she faced in the interview process;

#1. Ms. Rashi, I see you have missed crucial keywords for this category such as “T-shirts online” or “Buy T-shirts” rather you have used specific keywords like “GOT themed T-shirts” or “Custom T-shirts”. Please explain me this scenario.

A: As the client is a startup, they need to be very strict on their ROI. Though these common keywords have high traffic, they have high competition from big giants in the market whose bid can’t be afforded by a startup. Hence, I felt initially it is apt to bid for most specific keywords where the UVP of the company lies.

#2. What is the importance of location targeting in this campaign?

A: As it was mentioned in the client detail document that this company is operating in 5 major cities in India, it is very important to target the campaign to the people who are living in these cities

#3. What is your plan for optimization of this account to improve ROI?

A: I am thinking to run the campaign for a month with the current strategy, which includes targeting specific keywords with competitive bids and remarketing website visitors on Google Display Network. After a month, I would look at various metrics like CTR, CPC, Conversion %, Revenue generation etc. Detailed reports based on the location (Pin code), Day & Time would be made. By thorough analysis of these reports, I would identify opportunities for improvements and pitch in my idea to test.

SEM Specialist Salary

SEM Specialists salary is an attractive perk of this job. As per the norm of the industry, the higher experience gets you higher package. Ms. Rashi has 2 years of experience in SEM with certifications of Google AdWords and Google Analytics. She has a bachelor’s degree and is currently working in Bangalore. When she tried to analyse her worth in the market with a tool Payscale, this is what the tool delivered;

SEM Specialist

Salary of SEM Specialist

Let’s wrap it up

With an illustrative example of Ms. Rashi, we understood the need of this industry in a simple manner. By now, you should be able to come to a conclusion if this is what you want to do for rest of your life. Just kidding! You take your time to decide, maybe try it for few years and decide. But never stop exploring your skill sets and apply them in various areas. One thing an SEM specialist must be good at is working around with numbers. If you have it, then go and grab the opportunity.

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