The field of search marketing is still evolving rapidly.
Search marketing talents are in high demand, especially for those with expertise in subject areas.
It’s something I hear from colleagues and recruiters all the time: “There aren’t enough people that really know what they’re doing.”
Is this really true?
How do you become a subject matter expert in your field?
What does it mean to be a subject matter specialist?
An expert in a subject area, also known as a SME or Subject Matter Expert, is someone who understands and has special knowledge about a topic.
Through years of experience, continuing education and professional development, SMEs can develop their competence.
What does this mean for search engine marketing? This is what I believe there are three parts to it:
- Many years of experience.
A subject matter expert can be defined by the combination of all three (not one). Let’s take a closer look at each.
Many years of experience
It is the most difficult to recognize from far and easiest to use. This simply means, how many years have you been practicing this skill?
No matter what line of work, you will become better at your chosen field the more you practice it. Chefs, search marketers, chefs and carpenters all know this.
The advantage is that you can see more situations and know how to react.
How do you respond if the CPC of your account starts to rise overnight or your ranking drops?
You will be able to experience these scenarios with more work experience.
You will need to experience the same scenario multiple times in order to learn how to get the best outcome.
There are many search marketing platforms that offer certification in a particular skill, platform or topic matter.
It is an excellent way to show that you are proficient in the skill.
Although a certification does not necessarily mean that you are able to solve a problem in real life, it is something I believe search marketers should have.
These platforms and tools change so rapidly. To validate your knowledge and keep it fresh, earning and maintaining certifications are one way.
These certifications can be presented to potential employers or clients to prove that you are certified in the field.
These certifications are well worth looking at:
It is one of the most difficult things to recognize in an interview, but it is also the most crucial. Certain people were made to do one thing.
LeBron could be sent to any high school, college, or training camp and still remain LeBron. He is built for elite basketball.
The same applies to all other skills. Talent cannot be taught.
Sometimes, you can tell if someone is talented by how they respond to your questions.
These details give insight into how well a person knows that particular area.
Experts can spot a problem and suggest ways of linking business goals to strategies and tactics in the platform.
The most gray areas in talent are also the largest. Talent is not a binary choice. Every possible combination is possible.
With hard work, mentorship and support you can grow and optimize your talents. People who weren’t as gifted as their colleagues have outworked their peers and been more successful at their jobs.
Although you can argue that this is part of one’s talent, the work ethic it displays is essential. To improve your knowledge of a subject, you can make use of the resources available to help. You can use the online resources you have and any network you create to improve your subject matter expertise.
Remember that not everyone who becomes a subject matter expert is an expert in their field. Support systems are available to help someone locate the right resources and get the best opportunities. They can also push them towards their goals.
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Are you an expert in a particular subject?
Perhaps you are asking yourself “Am I subject matter experts?” Or, “How do I find a subject matter specialist?”
You should look at the combined areas of years of experience, certificates, and talent in relation to what you’re looking for or where you are currently in your career.
You need certifications to make up for the lack of experience if you’re just beginning and want to break into a particular area.
You can still be called a subject matter expert if you’re more experienced in your profession and your certifications have expired because of your experience.
It is not necessary to have a Google Ads certificate, have been performing paid search for 10+ years and were dropped from this planet in order to improve a keyword list.
In every situation, budgets and team structure are not required. Sometimes, just being certified suffices.
What can you do to increase your business in search marketing?
As they advance in their careers, subject matter experts change.
Given the speed of innovation and change in search marketing, it is essential that you continue your practice as a professional and read up on the most recent blogs.
These elements should be kept in place and your knowledge of the subject will help you grow your career as a search marketer.
However, before you can establish a level or expertise in a particular domain and gain technical proficiency in that area, the real challenge is to go and what options to explore.
It is also possible to be typecast if your SME only covers one skill.
However, it is possible to lose the expertise that got you here if your focus shifts to broader areas.
This decision is not easy. There are no correct or wrong answers. As you consider these kinds of decisions, the image below can be helpful.
It may appear that you are closing some of your opportunities. But there are many others.
These are some tips that will help you as an expert in search marketing.
- Based on your role, define what expertise in subject matter is.
- Consider what drives you every day.
- Determine the top business requirements.
- Do not feel pressured to conform.
- Continue to learn.
Based on your role, define what expertise in subject matter is.
The role will determine the subject matter expertise.
If you’re speaking to someone who is unfamiliar with PPC, then explaining its operation can count as subject matter expertise.
Let’s suppose you speak to someone who is new to paid search. Sharing such information does not constitute subject matter expert. It is crucial to understand this because it can cause you to lose your perspective in the course of your career.
You could once log in to Google Ads, knowing exactly which levers and knobs were there. However, the interface has changed since your last login.
You don’t feel as expert suddenly, but you will have subject expertise in paid search and how it impacts web traffic or merchandising.
When you think about your job and level of knowledge, this is something that is crucial to understand. It is impossible to become an expert in every discipline.
Consider what drives you every day.
You most likely already know the answer.
If you are a data visualiser or a spreadsheet enthusiast, then this is the place for you.
It doesn’t matter if you are interested in learning a lot about several topics but only a few things.
It is a long time that you spend at work. You will do better at what you love. Although it sounds cliché, this is still true.
This subject-matter expertise journey requires you to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and motivate yourself.
Determine the top business requirements
The opportunities for growth will depend on which company you work in. This can be an indicator of how much knowledge and skills are required.
Some companies have an SEO or PPC department.
Some will seperate PPC from any other paid media. Others will combine it as one “paid media unit.”
You can gauge the depth of your skills in each discipline by looking at how they are organized.
Do not feel pressured to conform
Many team members felt the need to be more involved in their careers. I’ve had numerous conversations.
They felt unhappy in their role after they had done that. The subject matter knowledge was not something they enjoyed. They had no appreciation of what motivates them.
Instead, they were chasing what they thought they desired. It is difficult to avoid this and it might be worthwhile to try to understand your interests.
You can learn a lot by taking a chance and trying new things. You will grow and learn even if you fail.
Continue to learn
Another thing you should remember is that .
The world is changing fast. The field of search marketing is still young.
Although it is difficult to recall that text ads used a set number of characters in headlines and bids, this was not the case with text ads. These things are always changing.
Even if your job covers many different areas, it is important to continue learning and evolving.
You can do this by keeping your base certifications up-to-date, attending a webinar or simply reading the newsletter of a publication such as Search Engine Land.
All these are ways you can keep current with the latest in the field and to refresh your knowledge.
To be aware of their existence, you don’t have to be able adjust the dials. You will continue to learn and be given new knowledge and opportunities that will help you in your future planning.
Expertise in subject matter: What’s next?
It is difficult to be an expert in any field. People are trying to catch up with others and learn a bit more about the subject they’re talking about.
You can grow your career by being open to learning and continuing your search for information.
It is a privilege to be able to work in such an exciting space, which is constantly growing and changing.
We all have to do our part in helping the industry grow, regardless of your expertise.
These opinions are not necessarily those of Search Engine Land, but they do reflect the views of the guest author. Here are the names of staff authors.
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