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Peanut butter and jelly.
Milk and cookies.
Steak and potatoes.
Wine and cheese.
Bread and butter.
SEO and influencer marketing.
All of these exceptional pairings have something special in common: They work together.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. And I get it. From red or white to pungent or salty, there are several incredibly important variables to consider when crafting the perfect wine and cheese combo.
For real, though. Integration is key for B2B content marketing success. But some tactics and strategies seem like natural fits, while others seem a bit mismatched. If you feel like SEO and influencer marketing fall into the latter category, it might be time to flip your thinking.
SEO is one of the oldest digital marketing tactics, defined by consistency, commitment, and agility over the long-term to see results. And despite the fact that most peg influencer marketing as a campaign-based, social media amplification tactic, influencer success is also tied to that always-on approach.
But how exactly can SEO and influence intersect and support each other? Let’s dive in.
What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Pairing SEO & Influencer Marketing
#1 – Influencers can be an incredible keyword and topical research tool.
Your influencers are experts who are embedded in your niche or industry. They have relevant expertise that can help educate and inspire your audience. They have perspectives and experiences your audience can relate to. They are engaged with their followings and industry happenings. And … they are your audience in many cases.
This means, when you work with the right influencers, there’s an incredible opportunity to gain deeper insights about who your audience is, what they care about, and what they’re struggling with so you can create content they’re searching for and need.
“Working with B2B influencers allows our brand to have a constant pulse check with purchase decision makers. Informed influencers who share our vision of the future based on their own experience and expertise provide for independent, third party validation.
“Strategic partnerships with influencers provide for an outside in view when creating content for our customers. We need to constantly ensure that, as a brand, we don’t start talking to ourselves, but keep a keen focus on the evolving challenges our customers have and on language they use to express these challenges.”
With insights gained straight from a reputable source, you can then turn to your traditional SEO tools to validate topics, uncover related queries and opportunities, and refine your integrated content marketing strategy for maximum impact.
#2 – Influencers can help you create the best answer content that your audience and search engines crave.
Search engines are answer engines. They’re built to satisfy searchers’ needs by delivering the most relevant, helpful, and accurate information possible. They’re built to deliver the best content. This is why we believe B2B brands need to strive to be the best answer whenever and wherever their audience is searching.
By collaborating with influencers to contribute original content or co-created content, they can help you put SEO insights into action by providing the answers your audience and search engines are looking for. As Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing’s CEO and resident industry influencer, said on why B2b marketers need optimized and influencer activated content:
“B2B brands that integrate both SEO and influence into their content marketing create a compelling opportunity to be found when it matters most and to be trusted when it matters more.
“With an understanding of keyword demand, B2B marketers can tap into the opportunity to be the best answer for buyers with content at the very moment of need. Even better is that influencer contributions to that optimized content will give it the credibility and engagement needed to inspire action.”
#B2B brands that integrate both #SEO and influence into their #contentmarketing create a compelling opportunity to be found when it matters most and to be trusted when it matters more. – @leeodden Click To Tweet
#3 – Influencers can help you send the right signals to search engines.
Search engine algorithms are complex, elusive creatures. For the last decade or so, most marketers have been operating under the assumption that Google’s algorithm considers roughly 200 variables when ranking content.
But as Search Engine Journal points out, a lot has changed in the last 10 years—including RankBrain, mobile-first indexing, and the HTTPS boost—so, it’s pretty likely that number has ballooned. Of course, the rise of influencer marketing has undoubtedly made an impact, too. (More on that in a minute.)
Thanks to some confirmations straight from the source, as well as in-depth research and analysis, there are several known ranking factors—including a handful that can be reinforced with the help of an influencer marketing strategy. A couple of those opportunities include:
Content & Search Intent
A couple years ago, it was revealed that content is one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors. While “content” as a ranking factor is pretty damn broad, marketers know the nuance.
We know it’s all about creating quality, relevant content that resonates with our audience and signals search engines. In addition, thanks to RankBrain, Google is getting increasingly better at handling never-before-seen queries and making correlations with other queries to serve up content that best matches search intent. And influencers, with their unique expertise and knowledge, can help us hit the best-answer, intent-match quality mark.
This insight from my talented colleague Josh Nite captures the essence of all this:
“Quality content demonstrates to your audience that you’re listening to them and you care … When content is useful, valuable, and meaningful, it’s not part of the deluge of content that surrounds us. It’s signal, not noise.”
Plus, when you commit to building mutually beneficial, long-term relationships, you have the opportunity to consistently create fresh quality content, which is also critical for increasing search visibility and domain authority.
Getting backlinks from reputable, relevant, authoritative websites is a ranking factor that has stood the test of time. It’s simple: When you create comprehensive, insightful, quality content you give others something to “link about”—and search engines see that as a sign of relevance and authority.
Unsurprisingly, influencers can play a massive role in the creation of that link-worthy content. From original research featuring reactions and commentary to a thoughtful listicle featuring top industry influencers to follow on social media, the possibilities are seemingly endless here.
In addition, influencers can be the source of those quality backlinks.
For example, if you partner with an influencer to co-create an article for their blog or another relevant industry publication, there’s likely a natural opportunity to include a link back to your site through optimized anchor text.
But an important thing to note here: If you’re exchanging any sort of payment (e.g. straight cash or free goods and services) that not only needs to be noted in the content, but it’s also recommended that a “nofollow” link be implemented. (You may forfeit the baseline SEO advantages here, but you don’t lose the ability to direct traffic to your site through the link.)
However, if you’ve partnered without payment beyond recognition, thought leadership, or forming an organic partnership, you’re probably safe.
SEO + Influence = The Perfect Pair
Integration is absolutely essential for driving digital and content marketing success in the crowded, competitive B2B landscape. By pairing an old favorite and a rising star, B2B marketers have the opportunity to design a long-term strategy for maximum impact.
For more insights on the intersection of SEO and influencer marketing, check out:
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