A search engine marketing specialist is a marketing professional who focuses on creating websites that place highly in search results lists. Keyword identification and placement are the specialist's key competency. In addition to optimizing search engine results for a website, a search engine marketing specialist may also develop keywords and ads for search engine advertising, the advertising that sometimes appears to the right or top of a computer screen alongside search results.
All major search engines use algorithms designed to identify the most appropriate websites for a particular keyword search. These algorithms are based on the theory that a website that uses the keyword — and other associated keywords — frequently is a better match than one that rarely uses those words. A search engine marketing specialist understands these algorithms and attempts to create applicable, useful website text that uses necessary keywords frequently enough to rank highly in particular searches. This makes it more likely that a customer or potential customer seeking such a business will click on the company's website on the results screen.
Optimizing search engine effectiveness is not quite so simple, however. Companies began taking advantage of the frequency model by randomly repeating particular words in order to artificially boost their rankings. As a result, major search engines modified their algorithms to detect this type of activity. A good search engine marketing specialist is able to balance the use of keywords with creating truly usable content that keeps visitors on the site once they get there.
Such specialists usually write and structure the content of websites, monitor reports to determine success, and make modifications as needed. While a large company might employ a dedicated search engine marketing specialist, the job could also be held by an employee who also has other marketing duties. Such specialists are often self-employed freelancers who work with multiple clients on a freelance basis as well.
Search engine marketing specialists can increase their value to employers and clients by developing proficiency in keyword advertising. This involves determining the best keywords under which to advertise and developing ads that encourage viewers to visit, or "click through," to the company's website. Creating successful ad campaigns of this nature is challenging because the ads only allow a small amount of text. Ad writers must make efficient use of a limited number of characters to create a message so compelling that the viewer clicks the ad to learn more. The difficulty of effective ad creation puts good search engine ad writers in high demand.