[Originally published January 14, 2014.]
Almost every day I get asked, “What’s it like being a Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialist?” Everyone is dying to know, and let me tell you, it’s everything I ever dreamed it would be.
Some kids grow up wanting to be firefighters. Others grow up wanting to be athletes. Not me. I grew up dreaming of being an Online Marketing Specialist for a large enterprise technology company. The first words I ever spoke were in Exact Match, and as a toddler, I would spend hours alone in my room, pretending to change Cost Per Click bids on my imaginary bulk sheet. Every year at Halloween, I would put on my dad’s khakis and short-sleeved dress shirt, living out my private fantasy of being a senior level individual contributor. Even in 1987, decades before Search Engine Marketing developed into a viable business model, I knew that I wanted to spend my entire adult life writing 25-character ad-copy headlines, day after day after exhilarating day.
It’s easy to see what it is about the profession that I found so irresistible: the money, the fame, the prestige, it all comes with the territory of the privileged few who spend their days optimizing conversion rates. And don’t even get me started on the women. Since I was promoted from Specialist to Senior Specialist, beautiful women have been throwing themselves at me to the point where I have to barricade my cubicle with waste paper bins just to get some privacy. Women can’t resist a man who is proficient in both Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter.
When my friends tell me about how much they hate their jobs, I just shake my head in pity and remind myself how lucky I am to earn a living doing what I truly love: determining whether blue or green font leads to higher landing page bounce rates. We Search Engine Marketing Specialists wake up each day knowing that by making Google text ads more relevant to online consumers, we are truly making a difference in the world. Only people in similarly noble professions like doctors, humanitarian aid workers, or teachers of underprivileged children would understand what I mean. You could even say we are like members of the military, bravely risking our bodies in the ongoing war against poorly targeted internet advertisements. Just the other day, I got a cramp in my mouse hand deleting literally thousands of ads with poor Quality Score. Although being a Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialist is dangerous, I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie, and nothing makes me feel more alive than bidding on a competitor’s brand term and getting away with it.
Every day I learn something new. Just today, I learned that online users search for the plural keyword “widgets” twice as often as they search for the singular keyword “widget.” Can you imagine what I could do with this information? The possibilities are limitless (or at least twofold). Yesterday, I learned that Google Analytics Premium is a powerful and robust reporting solution that makes data accessible and useful for your whole team for a low annual fee of $150,000. I have been learning so much that my boss even called me a rock star. That made me feel really good about myself for days.
Now that I am living my lifelong dream of being a Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialist, what’s to stop me from dreaming even bigger? Maybe if I work hard and continue to be a rock star, I’ll get promoted to Search Engine Marketing Manager, and then who’s to say that I couldn’t get promoted to Senior Manager, or even Director of Search Engine Marketing? I’m shivering with happiness just thinking about it. Perhaps one day, I can be a role model for the next generation of Search Engine Marketing Specialists. I want Little Bobby or Amy or Gunther to see a picture of me on the homepage of TechCrunch and think, “Wow, I want to be a Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialist when I grow up.” I want to inspire kids to follow their passions, as long as they are passionate about pay per click advertising. That is my ultimate dream: to be an inspiration to kids all over the world, who grow up wanting to be Senior Search Engine Marketing Specialists just like me.