Last Updated: November 4, 2020

With over seven billion people in the world, you need strategies and plans to make your ideas stand out, even if it isn’t the most original idea. On the Internet, simply having a good idea isn’t enough to make it to the top of Google or Bing. Search engines employ complex algorithms and ranking patterns that companies must understand in order to thrive in the digital world.

Helping companies streamline online efforts are search engine marketing directors, strategists who understand the best ways to increase a web page’s visibility.

What do they do?

Location and Opportunity

According to, several locations are experiencing high demand for SEM directors. Some of these locations include:

  • New York, NY
  • Chicago, IL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Seattle, WA

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is an umbrella term for several different online marketing strategies, such as keyword generation, organic content creation, and paid search. SEM directors help companies plan out strategies that integrate these methods into web development, and lead teams of other SEM experts to implement and track them.

SEM directors are data-driven, able to look at the number of hits a certain page receives and break down why that page gets those hits. They then take this information to drive further marketing efforts on a site, implementing successful strategies and diverting attention from unsuccessful ones.

Companies receive reports from SEM directors to identify the potential financial risks and rewards for engaging in SEM strategies. The director details how much money companies should invest in paid search marketing, and also figures the potential return on investment for the company.

In order to increase page rankings for a website, SEM directors work with multiple professionals, including:


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Search engine marketing directors must be highly analytical, financially-minded, and able to break down complex numbers behind search results. They must be effective communicators, able to detail SEM strategies to multiple lower-level employees.

Most SEM directors earn at least bachelor’s degrees in marketing, computer science, or business administration before entering the position. Some companies prefer their directors to earn master’s degrees in business administration, though this changes on a case-by-case basis.

Become a Search Engine Marketing Director

Companies are coming to value the skills of SEM directors more and more, with many earning high salaries. SEM director salaries vary depending on the size of the company and experience, with most earning between $65,000 and $150,000.

If you’re interested in learning more about a career optimizing web page rankings for a company, contact schools offering degrees in marketing.