Why is the 'human touch' important for people looking to work in search engine marketing?

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Make sure your SEO and SEM are ready for peak seasons and early shoppers
Make sure your SEO and SEM are ready for peak seasons and early shoppers

When thinking about skills to look for in search hires, a few traits are obvious. Search marketers must be analytically-minded to get the most from metrics and testing, must think flexibly as this industry changes every week, and can't be afraid of hard work. But one SEM trait that's often overlooked — and is absolutely critical — is the ability to connect on a human level, and to translate that connection into better business.

Let me illustrate the point with a story. One of our client's products regularly appeared on national TV. As is typical, the TV presence would drive huge spikes in search traffic.

While the increased search traffic could translate into scores of conversions, there was also a potential risk. If searchers had trouble finding the client's Web site in search, they could have abandoned the brand or even defected to the client's competitors, who were waiting in the search results pages.

Aware of this challenge, our team set up a system with the client: the client's PR team would alert our team to upcoming press coverage on a weekly basis. With more time to prepare, our team was able to translate the client's PR into more search conversions.

We were able to make those arrangements because we had a strong relationship with the client. That strong relationship let us take the SEM campaign beyond just the keyword list, and into guidance on how the client's broader organization does business.

SEM transposes your business into the highly technical, extremely complicated arena of real-time automated advertising. Doing that right takes the ability to listen, explain, and develop the right relationship between the search team and the rest of the business. That takes the human touch. Be sure to watch for that touch when you're looking for your next SEM hire.

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