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Old 04-14-2005   #1
webconnoisseur
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What title do you use on your business card?

I've joined a firm to be their SEO/SEM/Web Analytics resident expert. I've been doing this work for a long time but only as part of my job so I held titles like "Online Marketing Manger".

Now that I am focused on SEO & Stats, I need to come up with a title that makes sense. What title(s) do you use and what suggestions do you have for a high-level SEO, SEM and Web Analtyics worker?

Some that I've seen elsewhere include:
Dir. of Search
Dir. of Web Analytics
SEO Specialist
Web Analyst
Internet Strategist
Web Strategist
SEM Manager
Ecommerce Manager
Chief Traffic Officer
Chief Search Officer

Last edited by webconnoisseur : 04-14-2005 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Changed title so the subject is clear
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Old 04-14-2005   #2
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Obviously, this may depend to some extent on the company you're involved with: will it fit in with their common titling conventions, etc.?

Assuming that "Sublime Web Wizard" will probably not cut the mustard , I'd say that "SEM Manager" is probably your best choice.

Because you'll also want to think of the future - if you're ever to job cast for another company, you'd better have a job title they can grasp and won't find too exotic. Of course, if you're up level enough, I guess the head hunters won't care too much either way ...
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Old 04-15-2005   #3
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Personally, we don't put titles on cards - most people just don't get the subtle nuances between SEO/ SEM/ Log analysis etc. We just put employees names on cards - they can explain what they do when they hand over the card.

But I agree with Ralph - keep it simple.

What about:

Director, Search Marketing or Manager, Search Marketing
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Old 04-15-2005   #4
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I once had a very unusual position in a company. Due to the fact that I could not make up my mind as to what I wanted to be when I grew up ( ) I've managed to collect a large number of diverse and unrelated skill sets.

One day I was hired at a small public company and told it was my job to "help out". I ended up running a patent portfolio, engaging in shareholder communications, designing and promoting a website, contract negotiations, and managing a team of engineers, among other things. Naturally, although these are important things to do, there was no title for them as a group. I was also fairly low on the totem pole as the new guy.

When it came time to order my business cards, no one knew what to put on them, so we just put on my name with no title. This had a totally unexpected result when I went to Asia on a bit of a whirlwind tour of China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Turns out that not having your title on the business card in the far east has a very special meaning, especially if others in your company do have titles. It means that you are so important that everyone knows you! It's normally reserved only for the Chairman or founders of companies - never for peons. This had some interesting results during contract negotiations...

I would like to offer a couple of thoughts, and they are only from my own experience, not any sort of rules.

1. A title should be descriptive and appropriate for the position - "Fuel transport engineer" instead of "gas station attendant" is going too far. Err on the side of boring, rather than cute.

2. As I discovered in Asia, it's not a good idea to just have a name on a card - people like to know who you are and how you fit in a company. Many times you get cards (like at a conference or meeting) and afterward have no recollection of who these people are - it's nice to know if it's a sales rep or a technician, for example - I need to know how to file you and who to call for specific problems (and who in MY company to pass your card on to, for that matter!).

3. If you have a position of signing authority in a company you should put your official (legal) title down. For example, if you are the CFO and also the bookkeeper, you should put down CFO.

If you don't manage people, you should not be a "manager" - this is a pet peeve of mine, and purely personal opinion.

Additionally, unless you are responsible for setting budgets, making purchase decsions, hiring and firing, and other high end duties not directly related to the technical job at hand, you should not be a "Chief" anything. Especially if you have no managers under you!

And "Officer" or "Director" is a legal designation that makes you liable for company decisions. Unless that is your role, it's not your title - there have been cases involving lawsuits over this. "Officer" or "Director" usually means liable under company law. A third party is entitled to assume that the Chief Traffic Officer is a legitimate target to sue PERSONALLY in addition to tthe company if they don't get the traffic they think they have been promised. Although you may be able to weedle your way out of it, they would be entitled to sue prima facie based on your title. Company law is not a game, and it's not an ego trip. It's real, with real responsibilities and obligations.

In short, if you are not covered under your companies officers and directors insurance plan, you have no business calling yourself an officer or director.

My card says that I'm the CEO of my company because that's my legal designation - I'm also the janitor and most other positions. But people dealing with me are entitled to know that I can bind my company legally.

If you are not in a position to manage people and do not intend to be legally liable for the companies actions, but you still have a position of responsibity and authority, there are several choices. I like "specialist", "technician", analyst and "consultant" combined with "SEO" "Search Marketing", "Website Promotion", and similar words.

For managment positions, "Manager" combined with "SEM", "Search" "Online Marketing" and so forth would be good.

Just my opinions

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Last edited by mcanerin : 04-15-2005 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 04-15-2005   #5
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Desperately Seeking Search Title

Thanks for the feedback. Great stuff, mcanerin. Looking around the company at titles, I notice many people have "Manager" in their titles, even though they manage only themselves.

It's highly likely that I will manage people, but it will probably be 6 months to a year before that happens. I'm leaning towards SEM Manager, but I've seen SEM used in a lot of ways, usually for people who pay for search engine listings, which we will be doing very little of. Do you feel SEM encompasses SEO or does it imply I mainly manage Overture and Adword listings?
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Old 04-15-2005   #6
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my take

when I came on board with Instant Position, "Search Engine Strategist" was a perfect title, however I have since added "Director of Online Marketing" to use with our parent company, G3 Group. I would personally avoid using SEM in the title, because most people do not know what it stands for. And yes, SEM does encompass SEO, in my opinion.
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Old 04-15-2005   #7
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>SEM does encompass SEO, in my opinion.

I don't think so.

>SEO/SEM/Web Analytics

I think you need to pick a primary, hard to span all those with one title.

If SEO I would suggest "His Royal Highness"

If SEM [PPC] "Monkey" would suffice.

Can't help with Web Analytics, sorry.
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Old 04-15-2005   #8
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ok I'll bite NFFC, why doesn't SEM encompass SEO? Isn't SEO a form of search engine marketing?
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Old 04-15-2005   #9
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>why doesn't SEM encompass SEO? Isn't SEO a form of search engine marketing?

I don't think you are wrong, just looking at the wrong angle.

Closest analogy I can think of is the legal profession [this may well be UK specific]. An SEO is like a trial lawyer, each case is different and is weighed on its pros and cons, from a client point of view the difference between a good trial lawyer and a bad one can be a matter of life and death.

In the same field [and practice in the UK] you have the conveyancing lawyer, thats the monkey who helps you buy your house, the guy/gal who crosses t's and dots i's, thats SEM [PPC]. The difference between a good conveyancing lawyer and a bad one is a few dots.

Now its prolly me, I equate SEM with PPC and SEO with real thinking, I may be wrong. What I do know is this, if I had a SEO firm the SEM guys would be the ones making the tea.
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Old 04-15-2005   #10
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We had an interesting discussion about this awhile ago and the general consensus in that particular thread (not official, of course - just that thread) was similar to (I've expanded it a bit):

Marketing
>Television, Radio, Magazines, etc
>Internet Marketing
-->SEM
---->SEO
------->PFI
---->Banner Ads on SEs
---->PPC
-->Email Campaigns
-->Affiliate Marketing
-->Banner / Text Ads on websites
-->etc etc etc

http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=1356

I agree with NFFC that the people who are often called SEM's are in reality PPC/PFI specialists. Although there is a lot of stuff to know there and it's very important, I personally tend to put PPC lower on the totem pole in terms of required skill set than SEO, myself.

This doesn't mean it's not important or profitable, it's just a much more controlled environment than SEO, IMO.

I'm not sure where buying text ads would fit in, since done properly it kind of bridges the SEO (link pop) and banner ad (PPC/click through) areas.

I most often call myself an SEO, though I consider myself to be an SEM in the sense meant in the above list. I don't use it because I don't want to be confused with a pure PPC type...

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Last edited by mcanerin : 04-15-2005 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 04-15-2005   #11
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thanks NFFC for the candid response. I disagree, however...a good PPC campaign takes plenty of thinking, as well as follow up analysis. oh well we are getting off topic...sorry moderators
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Old 04-15-2005   #12
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So far I think that as long as we stick with titles and their use in the industry this thread is on track.

Besides, it's more interesting and useful this way. Let's focus on actual industry job titles though.

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Old 04-15-2005   #13
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That reminds me. As most of you know I'm involved with the SMA and other industry groups, and I think it would be a good idea if we considered setting out some standard job descriptions and duties.

The government does this all the time, especially with regard to hiring and immigration. It's not a constraint to having whatever job title you want or are qualified for, but it does help non-industry people figure out your payscale, duties, etc.

This usually doesn't affect independants at all - it's usually only internal positions it's an issue with. At the same time, it's very helpful.

I was recently asked by the Government of Canada (through the Software Human Resources Council) to participate in a series of discussions on job titles in the IT industry. To my regret, it didn't include SEO/SEM at all, but we did hammer out the rules for the differences between web designer and web developer, for example.

As an example. this is the official Software Occupational Skills Profile Model for Web Design:

Grouping: Informatics Techical

Stream: Web Design

Sample Job Titles: Web Master, Web developer, Web Co-Ordinator, Technical Architect, Web Manager, Web Consultant, Web Metrics Analyst, User Interface Developer, Usability Analyst, Usability Consultant

Description:
  • Produce practical designs and outline specifications for website construction
  • Equal emphasis on technical and creative aspects
  • Consider concepts of quality, accessibility and useability.
  • Understand technology and delivery mechanisms

Typical Background: University degree or college diploma with up to 2 years experience in the IT industry and specific job experience in this stream

Development Levels: Entry Level, Full Working, Intermediate, Senior

The specification goes on to outline the accountabilities and skills required at each development level. It's about 10 pages long in point form.

With this in hand, a hiring director with no knowledge of web design will compare the resumes in front of her against this checklist, and usually set salary accordingly, as well.

It's actually a really interesting process - is there any support for trying to do this for our own industry before someone shoves one down our throats? I doubt HR departments will continue to use these lists for everyone but the SEM industry much longer.

Comments?

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Old 04-18-2005   #14
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Exclamation I'm a name not a number...

Ian I like your idea. Please propose what you would feel the "Grouping" would be for SEM/SEO...

Ok so I was thinking...bear with me...

I wonder if we can compare this to Scientific Classification ...would they be in the same "Kingdom" or perhaps "Phylum?"

"Stream" I would assume would be "Website Marketing," but if stream could be considered equivalent to the "Phylum," perhaps a "class" or "order" would have to further define the skillsets of SEO/SEM, before you jumped to sample job titles, or in my view, "species."

So:

Kingdom: Marketing
Phylum: Internet Marketing
Class: SEO or SEM
Order: Black/White Hat or Passive/Aggressive PPC
Family: Content Spammers/Link Spammers/Cloakers///Content Creators/text link specialists(other white hat techniques) or Set monthly budget and leave it/daily management and A-B Testing...etc...
Genus: SEW Member Cliques/Sempo/Sempo Haters...etc...
Species: Director of Online Marketing (but have I defined clearly enough the above classifications?)

OK this might seem like a completely absurd analogy but anyone else see what I am getting at? It will be very hard to classify any one SEM specialist into a specific "Species" because we all do so many things slightly differently to achieve mostly the same results, in the long run. So Ian I feel your proposed "standard job decription" would need lots of choices as far as "description" and "background" sections. It might even be as confusing as Scientific Classification!

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 04-18-2005 at 08:47 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-18-2005   #15
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Quote:
SEM does encompass SEO, in my opinion.
The trouble with 'SEM' is that when most of us say 'Search Engine Marketing - SEM' we actually mean 'Search Engine Advertising (SEA)' i.e. Pay Per Click.

So - a major naming convention change would have to occur. SEM could encompass SEO - but only if the industry started referring to PPC as SEA (rather than SEM) - because, after all, it is text based advertising. Then SEM could become the broader term to encompass both SEO and SEA.

But I don't think thats going to happen.....
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Old 04-18-2005   #16
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With my latest batch of business cards, I opted for 'Internet Marketing Consultant', I was going to use Search Marketing, but with the people in my local area that I would be in contact with, they are familar with the term 'internet marketing', but not so much with 'Search Marketing'.

I just want to keep it as easy as possible for those that are not yet too familar with the search marketing industry, to better understand what I offer.

Last edited by Gerardism : 04-18-2005 at 11:40 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-18-2005   #17
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..

personally, I like what Google has their engineers put on business cards:

Technical Evangelist

... but mine is:

Sr. Manager of Search



Scott
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Old 04-18-2005   #18
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I was 'given' the title of Search Marketing Analyst by my company.
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Old 04-19-2005   #19
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I was dubbed the "Online Marketing Manager"

of course, I hate this title, because my role is purely to deal with SEO and any pay-for-performance marketing, and I get tons of calls from people needing unrelated things.

of course, i never say no...in the travel industry, it's nice to have friends managing condos, in case you ever need a place to sleep

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Old 04-19-2005   #20
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Talking

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