SEM Strategist Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does an SEM Strategist Do?

An SEM strategist, or a search engine marketing strategist, identifies trends and insights for growing a company’s website traffic by collecting and analyzing the performance data from search initiatives and digital marketing campaigns. They formulate and maintain budgets and create comprehensive tests and reports to analyze web analytics, PPC campaigns, and more.

SEM Strategists optimize landing pages and existing copy for SEO purposes, perform keyword discovery and optimization and analyze competitors’ advertising. By conducting tests and compiling reports from traffic and competitors, these experts can achieve maximum ROI for online ad campaigns.

These strategists need to have an eye for detail and be able to find trends and key insights to develop clear and engaging content tailored to the target audience. These professionals will also need strong interpersonal skills, as they’ll work with data scientists, marketing team members, and customers to help develop brand marketing strategies.

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National Average Salary

SEM strategist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for an SEM Strategist is:


SEM Strategist Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great SEM strategist is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

Are you knowledgeable in search engine optimization? Can you take a company’s ranking to new heights? If so, [Your Company Name] is in search of a search engine marketing (SEM) strategist. This candidate will be responsible for making recommendations on how to grow brand awareness, increase engagement, and drive sales online after tracking how consumers find the company webpage. Duties include working closely with the marketing team to create content strategy and achieve set goals, analyzing key performance indicators of websites, determining target demographics, and identifying real-time search trends and social media topics. The ideal candidate will be able to work well with a team, multitask, be organized, self-motivated, and a critical thinker. Attention to detail is a must, and knowledge of search engine trends is essential. This candidate must have one or more years of experience as an SEM strategist, or similar role, and the ability to understand SEO, search engine algorithms, and web traffic data.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Determine target demographics and campaign goals
  • Establish and report KPIs throughout digital campaigns
  • Collaborate with web developers to optimize the user experience and interface for search engine visibility
  • Develop an online content strategy to increase brand awareness and consumer engagement
  • Work closely with marketing staff to develop engaging, relevant content
  • Identify real-time search trends and social media topics
  • Research emerging industry trends and analytics tools to improve search engine

Education and experience

The position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, digital marketing, integrated marketing communication, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to identify KPIs for campaigns
  • Strong knowledge of web analytics tools
  • Expertise in search engine optimization
  • Excellent problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Expertise in traditional and digital marketing channels
  • Solid communication skills

Preferred qualifications

  • 3-4 years in experience working in paid search
  • Certifications within Google Ads and Bing 
  • Knowledge of 3rd party bid-management tools

Example 2


As ABC Company’s Digital Marketing Strategist and a member of the Spectrum family, you will:

  • Formulate fundamental online marketing programs for our clients
  • Conduct accurate keyword analysis and ensure copy/keyword best practices
  • Evaluate key metrics and create reports on campaign performance
  • Follow all webmaster guidelines to deliver quality results using white hat techniques
  • Implement quality link building strategies
  • Collaborate with senior level account managers for advice, insights, and important client projects
  • Utilize reports and data to create relevant and engaging client presentations
  • Conduct client presentations with senior level account managers and business owners
  • Act as a mentor and senior team member to other growing digital media strategists


As a Digital Marketing Strategist for ABC Company, you will wear many different hats in order to properly manage our clients’ needs and grow their businesses.

  • Hungry. As a member of our Client Development team, you have to be willing and excited to learn new things and take on unfamiliar tasks. Our goal is to grow you into a senior level account manager and we want that to be your goal as well
  • Organized. You will be in charge of a few small to medium sized accounts as well as many different projects within those accounts and other senior level accounts. In order to yield the best results for those accounts, you need to keep those projects organized
  • People person. You live to make your clients smile, and understand how to handle them properly when you don’t
  • Patient. Although we love our clients, they can be challenging and so can their projects. You’re going to have to be patient and up for that challenge
  • Digital Marketing Strategist. A big factor in the success that ABC Company brings its clients is its search engine optimization strategy. Luckily, we’ve got you to help us guide our clients to the top of the search engines
  • Social Media Manager. Social is just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to SEO, and you know just the way to vamp up your client’s social media entities
  • Reputation Manager. Reviews are critical for our clients’ success, so at ABC Company you will work to manage and improve different clients’ online reputation

Required skills and experience

We’re looking for Digital Marketing Strategists who have:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in marketing, business, or a related field
  • Knowledge and firsthand experience with the search marketing industry
  • Some professional SEO/SEM experience
  • Experience in dealing directly with clients, ideally B2C clients
  • Company branding and messaging experience
  • Familiarity with website architecture/build in regards to digital marketing best practices
  • An ability to understand and develop performance reports using Google Analytics Data
  • Exceptional communication skills, both verbal and written

Example 3


This role will be the connection between our customers and our internal marketers who want to serve them. By collaborating with our internal writers, content strategists, designers and marketing specialist, you’ll help create digital marketing campaigns. You’ll also be reviewing data/dashboards and building out reports to communicate the gaps in our marketing campaigns to other team members and leaders. You will speak into various channels, such as: paid search, social media, email marketing, and organic search.


  • Lead logistical planning for email marketing campaigns
  • Provide regular analytics reports, observations, and recommendations and leverage that data to evaluate and drive initiatives
  • Collaborate on new product launches and product updates
  • Assist with business development and retention initiatives as needed


  • 2+ years of experience in digital and/or e-commerce marketing
  • Organized and able to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Experience in lead generation, brand strategy, and marketing analytics
  • Ability to quickly develop processes and documentation to scale effort

Example 4

Essential duties

  • Grow and optimize paid search program through standard and innovative testing, including structure, bidding, ad creative, landing page tests, etc
  • Grow and optimize affiliate marketing DR program through standard and innovative testing, including partner acquisition, ad creative/media type, payout structures, etc.
  • Grow SEO visibility and traffic by executing on-site testing, technical implementation, local page optimization, etc.
  • Manage and execute SEO, paid search and affiliate testing roadmaps
  • Main point of contact for day-to-day activities media agency channel teams
  • Proactively look for expansion and optimization opportunities on a regular basis and stay current in the channel’s landscapes and make innovative recommendations
  • Partner with internal and external analytics teams to assess channel success and impact on business. Identify and report against identified key performance indicators
  • Other duties assigned by management


  • 3-5 years experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • Self-motivated individual who thrives on finding ways to constantly improve programs by looking for new ways to enhance performance
  • Excellent attention to detail, organizational skills and the ability to juggle, multitask, and prioritize responsibilities
  • Knowledge and experience with relevant media tools such as web analytics, Google search, and affiliate marketing partners, etc
  • Experience in driving sales/leads for websites with high traffic volumes and large media budgets
  • Knowledge of organic search, paid search and affiliate channel best practices and a track-record of delivering qualified conversion traffic
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to drive meaningful action from large data sets
  • Exceptional quantitative skills and aptitude including MS office proficiency. Advanced Excel skills a plus
  • Strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to articulate clearly and effectively in person and in writing.
  • Proficient with Google Adwords, Bing AdCenter, Yahoo ads, DoubleClick, Google Analytics, Advertising analytics/attribution platforms. Certification preferred but not required

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Search Engine Marketing Course Online. This course through Brain Station offers a professional certificate in Search Engine Marketing, in an online classroom while teaching candidates to leverage industry tools to implement organic and paid search strategies, drive traffic, improve brand presence and support business growth. 
  • Digital Marketing Bootcamp. This course is offered by the University of Denver through a virtual classroom experience. In the Digital Marketing Bootcamp candidates will learn how to create and execute successful marketing strategies, gain real-world experience using tools and technologies such as Google Analytics and WordPress, and benefit from a wide range of career services to help equip them for success.

Sample Interview Questions

  • How do you decide which keywords you would like to target? 
  • Do you have experience with SEO? 
  • Which analytical tools do you use? 
  • What is the relationship between content and SEO 
  • What are the most common issues for on-page SEO ranking? 
  • Is our website search-friendly? What would you do to improve SEO?
  • How much time per week do you invest in planning your strategy? 
  • How well do you work with content creators? 
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
  • Why did you want to be an SEM strategist? 
  • In your own words, describe the role of an SEM strategist 
  • How has your previous experience prepared you for this role? 
  • Describe your most successful marketing campaign.
  • Describe a campaign that fell short of expectations. What did you learn from that experience?
  • Describe your experience with SEM campaign budgeting.
  • How would you respond to a conflict with a co-worker regarding a disagreement about your SEM strategy? 
  • What interests you most about this position? 
  • What, according to you, are the qualities an SEM strategist should possess?

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