Five ways to become a ‘Search Sherpa’ for your own organization

Search is a specialty area that can be extremely difficult to learn, understand and stay up to speed with industry standard. Just when you get your footing, things rapidly change and require extreme flexibility and agility. A large amount of my success in this industry comes from my commitment to be a Search Sherpa.

Here are top 5 tips on becoming the proactive and supportive Search Sherpa for your own organization. 

Be a translator

My husband is bilingual and a Spanish teacher. I know vocabulary but am not fluent and cannot understand fully. I can typically follow his conversations because I’ve been hearing him speak Spanish for 15 years. Knowing his mannerisms, inflection and body language gives me additional contextual clues. Much like the different ‘dialects’ in language – SEO, Paid Search and e-commerce have varying nuances of the overall search language that need to be communicated appropriately.

Rescue brands from quicksand 

Search ‘quicksand’ is like the fire swamp lightning sand in the movie Princess Bride. As a brand owner, if you get sucked into the detailed, tactical aspects of Search you will not be able to tell which way is up, achieve success or emerge. You may fight your way to the top to catch a quick breath of oxygen but eventually you will work so hard to only sink deeper until you ultimately tire out.

Brand owners should rely heavily on their Search Sherpa to protect them, warn them, keep them safe and find a path to achieve the ultimate goals. To be a good search partner, channel your inner Wesley and guide brands through the fire swamp with calm confidence and strength anticipating every fire spurt, lightning sand pit and R.O.U.S. that stand between you and your goals.

Growth mindset

Embracing change is vital with the rapidly evolving search ecosystem, the breadth and depth of compatible categories/verticals, real time always on nature and potential global impact. Search marketers who have a thirst and curiosity to continually learn and grow are the ones that achieve excellence.

It’s exhilarating to know that what we learn five years from now may not even be invented or created yet. It’s a ripple effect – learn to grow, grow to evolve and evolve to stay relevant and stay relevant to succeed.

Build your hat collection and dress for the occasion

Search marketers can wear many different ‘hats’ ranging from marketing strategy to finance to creative to analytics to scientific testing and beyond. We also have variance in our communication frequencies and audiences – clients, agency, engine partners, sales, tech. You wear a different ‘hat’ when you’re talking with a CMO than you do a merchant or media planner. 

Some jobs require ‘hats’ with hard skills while others need soft skills. Lastly, layer on the variances between Paid, SEO, e-commerce aspects of ‘Search’ and many, many more. It’s important to understand what ‘hats’ you have in your wardrobe, when to wear each hat and which hat to put on in any given situation. 

What would happen if an MLB player walked up to the plate wearing a cowboy hat instead of a batting helmet? People would be confused and quickly assume he isn’t qualified to be a baseball player. Not only is it  awkward and ineffective, but it would also be dangerous to risk his safety and be ill-prepared for the job at hand.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable 

When you’re facing an engine-wide policy change, unknown aspects of a cookie-less future, taking on new business challenges and providing recommendations to brands amidst a global pandemic all in the middle of Q4 – you better get comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

This tip is highly customized to everyone – find what works for you! My personal favorite includes preparation + communication with the right ‘hat’ + strong team + fidget toy + lavender oil diffuser + lipstick = calm confidence elixir!

Encourage you to use any of these 5 tips ‘a la cart’ or own their own. Begin to transform into a Search Sherpa when you master each tip and tie them together in an ongoing behavior cycle.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Lisa Little is a Search Center of Excellence for Goodway Group, responsible for driving excellence through establishing best practices, providing industry thought leadership and navigating the complex search landscape. Her background is in digital marketing with heavy focus in paid search and e-commerce. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Lisa has held both in house and agency management positions delivering on her commitment to be a Search Sherpa for brands and peers.

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Channel: SEO – Search Engine Land

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