Building A Search Team

I did a panel about SEM Campaigns and Project Management at the Miami SES conference earlier this year and used the opportunity to compare the needs of multilingual search marketers and the essential core of any search team. A few people liked it and I have been asked to resurrect the presentation or at least what I remember of it.

Basically what I suggested is that multilingual search focuses you in the way every good search marketing campaign should be.

It requires a subtlety of mind – not a rocket scientist’s mind – but one that understands that language is fluid and will mean different things to different people. This is especially pertinent to people marketing into other countries with languages they do not know. But it is also true of local marketing.

Picking a Search Marketing Team

What you need to be aware of is that you can’t grab something that has been successful in one language and just translate it – or for that matter apply it to another niche or another skill set without testing and being aware of possible problems.

Picking a team is like picking the right keywords. There are pitfalls and some times you may need to try again, but with the right knowledge and a good methodology you can be a lot more successful than going it blind.

The elements that make up a good search team are:

  1. Knowledge of Organics
  2. PPC Expertise
  3. Copywriting Skills
  4. Solid Web Designing
  5. Advanced Analytics Experience
  6. Some Programming Knowledge
  7. The Five Senses

Obviously knowledge of the known elements of organic optimization is a major element. You need to be on top of both on-page and off-page elements – since they are always changing and have been listed in numerous places, I will not detail them. But be sure you can determine if the potential team member knows them.

PPC expertise requires a diverse skill set. There is ability to make keyword selections, AB testing and ROI measurement, as well as knowledge of the ever-changing engine rules. Experience with large and small engines is something I have a preference for, but is not essential.

I always look for copywriting skills, though they don’t have to be specific. Good writers can adapt, and in our space that is very necessary. One minute we are writing text for pages – content that sings and closes, yet contains the right repetitions of our chosen keywords – the next we are writing headlines, or Google ads (they seem the same to me). Using 25 characters and then two lines of 35 is not natural. Finding the person who can make them get your attention, hold it and push you to action is the “Holy Grail” of any good marketing team.

Solid web designing may seem something that search marketers can leave to other departments… Never happens. We have to know enough to make sure the design elements include the behind-the-scenes on-page elements. If you can’t look at source code and understand what is happening, you can miss a simple mistake that is costing you organic placement. Understanding the way elements of design change between different industries, languages, or cultures is important for success.

Analytics is the one area that you need to truly be on top of. It shows you what needs to be done to correct problems in all the other areas, and focuses marketing in the right ROI-positive direction. Yes, you can hire someone who shows they have a math- and analytical-focused mind and train them. Just make sure it is with a number of different programs so those little differences between programs are in the person’s head. They come in handy when developing advanced measurement methods and interpretation.

Some programming knowledge is really essential. I know successful marketers that leave it to others, but if you want to stay well ahead of the competition, you need to be developing new methods. Programming knowledge will help when working with your developers, and will also allow you to think of ways to use your other areas of knowledge for creating new tools.

Lastly there are the five senses – well, the ones we need for successful marketing.

  1. Sense of Humor
  2. Sense of Camaraderie
  3. Sense of Purpose
  4. Sense of Dedication
  5. Common Sense

Without all five, it is extraordinarily hard to build that stellar team. Most successful companies rely on them.

The skills can be combined into a team as small as two, but as the project grows, so should the team. Also remember to always reward creativity, and constantly be training.

It is not hard, but I have seen too many departments that did not grasp that we are generally odd-shaped pegs that never fit in neat holes.

Related reading

Search engine results: The ten year evolution
Five ways PPC customer support can help SMBs
#GoogleDoBetter The latest on internal issues at Google and Alphabet
Google Sandbox Is it still affecting new sites in 2019