Raise your hands if you want to be a Search Marketer! This session I attended on Day 3 of SES San Jose 2007 taught us how to better educate those who want to start in the SEM business, and how the rest of us already in it should continue learning.
First, Pradeep Chodra, co-founder of OMLogic, spoke on the highlights of working in SEM. Some of those highlights include an exciting and adventurous industry, flexibility of where and when you work because the internet is portable and global, the fact that you don’t need a professional degree to be good at SEM and that the salaries can turn out to be very attractive if you work hard and know what you’re doing as a search marketer.
Second, Dan Perry, SEO Producer at Cars.com, gave us all interviewing tips, when looking for our first job in SEM, looking for a new job in SEM or just plain looking for any job in general:
- Know what questions the interviewer will answer, such as “where do you see yourself in five years?” and “what are your strengths/weaknesses?”
- Never bring up salary. Let the interviewer bring it up. If you mention money first, it will look like you only want the job for the money and not the experience.
- Don’t ask for more vacation time. Again, it shows that you are not dedicated to the job, but only concerned with what you can get from it.
- When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” have one!
He emphasized the importance on being prepared, quoting Ben Franklin, “If you fail to prepare, you are preparing for failure.”
Up next was David Wallace, CEO and founder of SearchRank, saying that before we begin a career in search marketing, we should gain hands-on experience doing it ourself. He wants us to take all the information that is available out there and apply it to your own website.
Following David Wallace was Michael Gray, president of Atlas Web Service, speaking about common mistakes that are made, and how NOT to make those same mistakes that happen all too often. Michael says first of all to promise only what you can deliver. Do not promise your client you will get them as result number one on Google, because you have no control over Google and what they choose to put as number one.
Also, set reasonable time limits so you don’t burn out and also make sure your clients have a reasonable expectation of you. Make sure they don’t expect you to be at their beck and call every waking hour unless you are getting nicely compensated for this constant updating and reporting. Michael also says to manage your risks, and not to depend on only one client for your company’s success. If that one big client leaves you, have another source of revenue so you aren’t left in a lurch.
His final piece of advise was to use subcontractors to help with portions of the SEO work that aren’t your strengths. While you are learning a new technique, let someone else do it for you, because they know how to do it right.
Last but not least, Jessica Bowman from Business.com spoke, stating on her way to the microphone, “I may be last, but it’s not duplicate content, I swear.” Jessica spoke about how, from this session on, we are all students in the SEM and SEO fields. She suggests reading as much as we can about the industry, including reading SearchEngineWatch, SearchEngineLand, Search Engine Round Table and Sphinn every day. [Note from Lee: What? She left out Online Marketing Blog? I see how you are Jessica. ]
If there is anything new happening on the forums, you will learn about it from these sites as long as you stay on top of your studies. Jessica says to expect to spend at least two hours every day reading and continuing your education. She again emphasized the fact that most experience will happen by doing the work yourself.
With all these tips listed as a reference to finding out if you have what it takes to be a search marketer, it seems almost anyone could do it, as long as they have the characteristics Pradeep mentioned earlier in the session: Good communication skills, A deep interest in the internet, A good networker and A quick learner.