The following is a guest contributed post by Kim Westwood, Founder & Managing Director of Shopping Links
Although more than 86% of marketers now use influencer marketing to boost brand awareness and increase engagement, many are just starting to recognize the value that influencers can add to their SEO.
Although Google considers more than 200 factors when determining search rankings, one of its senior strategists recently verified that inbound links and on-site content quality, the two factors that have historically had the greatest impact, will continue to matter most. What do influencers have to do with this? It turns out quite a lot. By driving traffic from a high domain authority (even when links are “no follow”), sending readers from social channels, and creating content directly for brands use in their own marketing efforts, influencers can directly affect both of these factors. Here are four ways top brands are collaborating their way to higher search results:
High-quality inbound links
Most marketers know that high-quality inbound links can dramatically boost their SEO, but many do not realize that this also includes “no follow” links from sponsored content. Here’s how it works. With organic content, Google crawls every link to your site, even if no one has clicked it yet. With paid content, Google only follows traffic from readers. So even when your content is sponsored, Google recognizes the organic interest of readers and rewards you for every click through to your site.
Collaborating with influencers not only puts your brand directly in front of a relevant audience, but it also gives you some control over how you will be featured, which can further increase the likelihood that readers will click to learn more. If you’re a retailer, for example, you can negotiate to have each featured product click through to your eCommerce store. Or you might ask the influencer to link to content on your own website with more ideas for how to use or try your product, enticing readers to click. Finally, influencers also give you high-quality inbound links from their social channels such as Instagram or Facebook, giving you an even bigger SEO boost.
Aside from generating more inbound traffic, influencers can help your on-site SEO as well. Content is expensive to create, and many brands simply don’t have the time to keep up with production. Collaborating with an influencer in your industry to guest blog for your website allows you to publish fresh, high-quality content that will naturally contain your desired keywords. An influencer, after all, is already familiar with the topics that matter most to your customers. For fashion and lifestyle brands, marketers also have the benefit of receiving influencer imagery, which they can then use across other campaigns, including from social media to their EDMs. Our research has shown that marketers who use influencer content in their email newsletters, rather than brand imagery or stock photography, see higher click-through rates, click-to-order rates and even revenues. A final benefit of collaborating with influencers to create content for your website is their ability to promote their contribution to your website across a wide audience. When creating your collaboration brief, consider making promotion across certain channels, such as Instagram or LinkedIn, depending on your industry, part of your requirements.
One final SEO benefit of influencer collaborations is the increase in overall traffic that comes from sparking online conversations about your brand. If an influencer’s followers are unfamiliar with your brand, chances are good that they’ll want to know more once they see it in a blog article or Instagram post. The direct visits to your website URL and organic search traffic for your brand help to boost your domain authority, since these visitors are likely to spend some time on your site. It can be a little more difficult to trace this traffic to your influencer campaign, but Google Analytics can help you match surges in traffic to the timing of your campaign. Free social monitoring sites like HootSuite and SocialMention can give you further insights.
Understanding how influencers impact your SEO can help you think more strategically about your optimization efforts and how you can get more value from each collaboration. Whether through inbound links, high-quality content or relevant online conversations, influencers can be a secret weapon for brands across all industries.
Kim Westwood is the Founder and Managing Director of Shopping Links, an influencer marketplace designed to make it easier for brands of all sizes to connect with fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers for the purposes of relationship-focused marketing collaborations. Since the company’s inception, more than 1,200 brands, including Fortune 500 retailers, have utilized the service to access a network of 14,000+ vetted influencers from 117 countries, leading to thousands of transactions within the platform. Shopping Links was the winner of the Business Services category at the 2016 Governor of Victoria Export Award and has been named to Anthill Magazine’s SMART100 Index of most innovative Australian companies.