The Many Roles of Internet Marketing Teams
Internet Marketers tend to throw a lot of acronyms around, and sometimes we forget that everyone else doesn't necessary know (or care!) what they mean. It's because they mean so much to us, and there are so many nuances within the field, that we like to be specific about how we define ourselves to others.
Therefore, I'm going to attempt and break down the different roles we play and the acronyms we use to describe them. And so we shall begin!
SEO – Stands for search engine optimization, and relates to the art and science of trying to rank a website for select keywords and keyword phrases in organic keyword results. Sometimes, however, people will refer to an "SEO" and mean all of the following roles. Confusing, huh?
SEM & PPC – Stands for search engine marketing and pay-per-click marketing/advertising. These cover a related (or sometimes the same) concept, and refer to online advertising. Pay-per-click refers specifically to search engine paid advertising on search result pages, most often Google AdWords and Microsoft Bing adCenter. Sometimes, a PPC specialist will do other forms of online advertising as well.
SEM is a bigger umbrella of paid online advertising, including display ads, remarketing (also called retargeting). These are usually also completed through AdWords or adCenter, but there are many online ad networks out there, big and small, that may be included as well.
Social Media & SMM & SMO – Social media marketing and social media optimization, respectively. Unlike Search Optimization vs Marketing, these concepts are basically the same thing – though, as social media usage grows, we might see that change. In any case, they refer to using social media sites for marketing purposes, whether they are paid (Facebook Paid Advertising) or free (posting to Twitter).
It also encompasses the process of setting up social networking accounts to work together, and creating your website in a way that looks optimal when users share your content on websites like Facebook and Google+. Facebook OpenGraph and different types of HTML5 markup are examples of social media optimization/marketing.
Community Manager – Closely related to social media marketing (SMM), a Community Manager is usually in charge of creating buzz around one or more social "communities" or networks, be it Yelp, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, or some combination thereof.
Copywriting & Content Writers – Because search engines value quality content, we do too. An SEO copywriter is a copywriter with SEO keyword skills. They write compelling content that includes the keywords that you are trying to rank your website for.
Inbound Marketer – A much more broad term, inbound marketing generally includes many marketing tactics (not just the online ones) in an attempt to drive traffic to a website. This can include SEO, PPC, going to events, public relations (real-life PR and the online variety) and more.
Link Builder – Link building is hard to do, and though it's a large part of SEO, many search engine optimizers don't do it. They will use a variety of means to garner quality, related links for a website (we hope). These guys are tricky because the results they can get can be pretty phenomenal. Or they could do nothing for you. Or they could get you kicked out of Google. And, it can be hard to tell the difference until it's too late and you're on Google's "Naughty List". Check out this post about how to build quality SEO links.
Affiliate Marketer – Much like the title would suggest, an affiliate marketer runs affiliate programs offered by other companies. Affiliate programs enable website owners to use copy and advertisements for products and services of different companies, and get a commission for either the traffic, sales or leads they send their way.
Email Marketer – Likely another intuitive role, these marketers use email to get users to your website, buy something, or do something else you want them to do. It also includes growing the email list to increase the reach of the email campaign. This often involves a large amount of testing over time to improve the rate of return on an ongoing basis.
Analytics – This person spends all day looking at, analyzing, reporting and making decisions based on the data they gather from an analytics program like Google Analytics, Omniture, etc.
Conversion Optimization – If you want more sales and/or leads, you want someone that can do this. A conversion optimizer is intimately familiar with conversion best practices, or how and why users do what they do on websites. They use that information, along with data from a/b and multivariate tests to try and get users to do more of what you want them to do once they are on your website. That can be buying something, buying more things, buying more quickly, giving you better leads, etc.
Public Relations (PR) – An SEO public relations professional is an asset that's hard to find. That's because SEO's don't typically have the media connections PR pros do, and PR pro's don't understand the complexities of SEO – probably because they’re busy maintaining their media connections.
In order to combine the two, an SEO PR pro needs to have both the connections and the technical (and content creation) know-how; not just how to be compelling to a reporter, but also how to be compelling to a search engine. These features are difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish within the same press release.
Online Lead Generation – One of my personal favorite fields of study, lead generation, combines sales knowledge, usability, best practices, testing and strategy to increase the amount of leads a business gets from a website.
Usability – Traditionally considered a web design role, usability is becoming more and more important to Internet marketing in general. Without a website that's easy to use, users just won't do what you want them to do, as often as you want them to do it. A usability expert will use best practices in combination with testing – a/b and multivariate testing and/or usability testing – to improve a website.
Local Optimization – A local optimizer specializes in the geographically targeted aspect of SEO and online marketing. This entails increasing website traffic and sales/leads from local listings like Google Places/Maps, map websites like Google or Bing Maps and Mapquest, review sites like Yelp and Angie's List, and directories like YellowPages.com or SuperPages.com.
Mobile Optimization – This is a person that lives & breathes their smartphone – and what happens on them from a marketing perspective. It can include a mobile website, a responsive website (read about the difference), web applications, smartphone applications, and the methods that drive people to them. Because mobile searches are often about local services and destinations, this job often involves elements of local optimization.
Account Manager – An SEO Account Manager either:
1.) Coordinates projects or client accounts and does actual Internet marketing work
2.) Handles the account/project management coordination and assigns tasks to other, internal Internet marketing folks to complete them.
Quality Assurance (QA) – Somebody has to check all that content and make sure we spelled "superfragilisticexpialidocious" corrrectly! And double check to see if Analytics code was properly implemented, and … the list goes on. An SEO QA, or quality assurance specialist, is the one who makes sure this happens smoothly and nobody sees our silly mistakes.
Digital Marketing Strategy – An Internet marketer in this role focuses on bringing all the separate tactics together in a cohesive manner, often in combination with off-line activities, in order to accomplish the goals of the project. They must understand the puzzle, where all the pieces fit, and help the Internet marketing team put them all together.
Analysts vs. Specialists vs. Managers, VPs & Directors vs. Ninjas vs. Rock Stars vs. Everything Else
These kinds of qualifiers can tell you more about the role that person is playing in their organization. And just like in those organizations, the accuracy of the definition to the role will vary dramatically.
Hopefully I have shed some light on some cryptic terms and helped you to understand some of the nuances of our industry. I believe I covered the important ones but if there is something I left out, please let us know in the comments below this entry.
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