By Vanessa Carlsson •

Why Influencers are Key to a Successful SEO Strategy

For digital marketers launching a brand new SEO strategy, a lot needs to be taken into consideration. After first meeting all the technical requirements, you need to make sure you have a tightly-knit action plan, ready to go. And as part of that plan, ‘influencer marketing’ should always be an essential component. Here’s why.

1. You’ll open a gateway to new audiences

You may have a brand spanking new business with a niche audience. Or you could be heading up a historic brand and launching a new product, requiring you to connect with a new group of people. Working with influencers to help get your message across will make it easier to reach a new demographic through a voice they already trust.

When you collaborate with people to endorse your brand, product or service, not only do you maximise reach, you’ll also engage and get feedback from an active audience. Once you’ve established conversation with their followers, you’ll start seeing new ambassadors for your brand organically directing their friends and followers to your site.

Key takeaway: If you’re tapping into a new industry and looking for influential ambassadors for your brand, start by carrying out an extensive hashtag search using relevant keywords to find the best representatives for your brand, product or service.

2. You’ll learn how to perfect your content

Influencers have been building a solid connection between their own brand and audience for a long time. They didn’t just set up their social media account and then — ‘boom’ — 1 million followers! They’re proud of their hard work and know exactly how to keep their accounts growing and the user traffic flowing.

Essentially, this means they know exactly what type of content works best for their visitors and why most of them hold a daily dialogue with their fans. Working with influencers can help you create truly bespoke content that really works and is perfectly suited to your target audience.

Key takeaway: Invite your influencers to the brainstorming phase of any content marketing strategy to get their insight from day one. Ask them about the audience you’re targeting and what they think will work best. Make sure to check in with them throughout every phase of the strategy.

3. You’ll benefit from their consistency

We know Google is partial to great content and topic relevancy. Another crucial condition for content – it needs to be dished out regularly. Great influencers are clued up on SEO rules and understand the value of publishing topical content on time, all the time.

So if your brand or business is featured and linked on a top influencer site — one who spends time caring about the rules — then you’re bound to reap mighty benefits from Google.

You won’t see an impact over night. But, given time, if you develop real relationships with top influencers who share similar brand values, they’ll start to shout about your business on their channels more frequently. Eventually, you’ll see a steady increase in your own site’s performance.

Key takeaway: For effective outreach research, it’s important to use the right tools to find those great influencers conducting ethical SEO practices. MOZ and Buzzstream are great platforms for collecting website statistics. Also, the Google Chrome plugin “NoFollow” identifies no-follow links on websites.

4. Your loyalty will go a long way

Depending on the industry, bloggers and influencers are often approached by local press, national media, aspiring bloggers, or even some of your own competitors.

If you’ve managed to build a solid and mutually beneficial relationship with your own influencer network, then they’ll likely name-drop you the next time they’re asked about clients they work with. And when they give an interview or are hired to write a blog post for a business in your industry, you might even benefit from some “dofollow-linking” to your site, which means more credible link clicks and genuine web traffic heading your way.

Key takeaway: Start by talking about the influencer you work with to your own press contacts. Write your own blog post about bringing them on board to represent your brand. If you have a database of contacts, send out a press release or a newsletter with a big announcement. The more you talk about them the more they’ll start to mention you as well.

5. You’ll double your exposure

Working with influencers not only gives you exposure on their site, but also significantly increases the chances of your branded content getting picked up by other high-traffic websites. The bigger the blogger or influencer, the more media sites will want to feature them and the brands they support. This gives you extra exposure from an authoritative site, without the added cost of an overpriced editorial.

Key takeaway: Use Twitter lists to easily monitor high-end publications that already engage with the influencers you’re working with. Join conversations that are relevant to your industry, brand or product and start building relationships with your influencer’s media friends. Building these relationships by way of the influencer gives your brand credibility and makes it easier for you to directly ask them to feature your content on their site in future.

Image: Fitness influencers Twice the Health.

Summary

Working with a single influencer on just one occasion probably won’t generate much of an impact on your site or affect your overall SEO strategy. The key is to integrate influencer initiatives into each and every SEO plan — the results will be gradual, but extremely valuable nonetheless.

People make the majority of their product choices based on recommendations from friends or people they look up to. When you work with influencers, you’re able to enter conversations you wouldn’t normally have access to. For example, when brands attempt to jump on a hashtag all by themselves, there’s a huge risk of a misfire; with as little as one badly-worded tweet you could jeopardise your entire reputation.

A sphere of active influencers orbiting your business adds credibility and humanises your business. If the partnerships are genuine and all parties are transparent about the relationship, customers will be more open to your messaging, leading to greater overall brand awareness.

Companies should identify their target market, pick their influencers wisely and offer high quality content and products that meet their customers needs. At least one mutually beneficial alliance of this nature should be the cornerstone of any SEO strategy worth it’s salt.

This post is also available on Medium.