SEO and the role of influencers, guest bloggers and journalists

Influencers and SEO

Once upon a time, brand endorsements were limited to celebrities, who sang the praises of services and products to us on TV or the pages of magazines. Today, the rise of social media has spawned a new type of endorser – the influencers. In this article we look at the role of influencers, guest bloggers and journalists for businesses running an SEO strategy.

What is an influencer?

Remember when Nanette Newman told us that “hands that do dishes can feel as soft as your face with mild green Fairy Liquid”? And did you know that Gary Lineker has starred in over 150 TV commercials for Walkers promoting their range of crisps?

Here is Gary’s favourite of the 150…

Gary Lineker is one of the most high profile endorsers / influencers.

Celebrities have been endorsing brands for decades, getting well paid for what appears to be just a few seconds work. Nanette and Gary along with thousands of other celebrities are quite simply, influencers. Businesses carefully identify a well known celebrity whose personality and credentials align with their own brand, and use the celebrity’s high profile to promote products and services to influence target audiences.

Today, influencers are more diverse, and the most successful are individuals on social media who have a large following upon which they can exercise their influence – specifically on their audience’s buying habits. Whether you love them or hate them, it seems that they’re here to stay with a growing number of brands and businesses, both large and small, utilising influencer marketing to some degree.

High profile influencers are typically YouTubers who have acquired hundreds of thousands of followers who tune in regularly for an update. But influencers come in many forms, and for many businesses its essential to understand that using an 18year old vlogger to wax lyrical about a product or service is probably not well aligned to their brand or even their target audience. Influencers who can be used to promote and influence the buying decisions of others could be respected individuals with high authority and credibility within a sector. They could be a high achiever who others want to learn from, or someone highly qualified on topics and subjects where they regularly communicate to influence others on new trends, better practices, products and services.

Influencers and SEO

Identifying influencers who complement or align with a business’ brand, can be highly rewarding when they use their high profile status to name drop or share information about the business’ products and services. When their video, webinar, article or social update is published, the potential for extending brand messages to new audiences can be huge.

For SEO this has multiple benefits.

  1. When the influencer publishes content it is essential that backlinks are established back to the business’ website and into the most appropriate section or page on that website. The value of the backlink should not be underestimated – Google will interpret the keywords used within the anchor of the backlink and use it within its algorithms to determine the relevance of the business to those keywords. The more ‘keyword-rich’ backlinks accumulated from other sites, and in this case from influencers to specific content on the business’ website, will eventually grow the authority of the business for those keywords.
  2. The authority of the influencer in the eyes of their followers will be high. Google will also recognise this authority. Receiving backlinks from a high authority source will transfer some of that authority to the business and in turn, its own domain authority. Domain authority is one of the biggest influences on Googles’ algorithms, and positively impact ranking position in search results.

Guest bloggers have a direct influence on SEO campaigns

Using an influencer to promote or publish a message can be done in many ways. An obvious route for a business with deep pockets, is to hand over large sums of money in return for lots of mentions and endorsements. But for most, a better route is identifying multiple influencers who can be used as guest bloggers who can promote the business on their own high authority website or social platform where backlinks steer users towards the business’ website.

Some of the best guest bloggers, particularly those well recognised with influence in a subject will want to write their own content in their own style. This is perfect for the business as long as the anchor text in the backlinks are set up correctly. Other guest bloggers prefer to be spoon-fed the skeleton of an article to adjust or edit in their own style. Or in some cases, the lazy guest bloggers are happy to simply publish a supplied article on their website or social platform. All of them can be a benefit to SEO, but the aim of the game is to keep identifying relevant individuals who can keep creating those all important backlinks.

It’s not just about working with one guest blogger. It’s all about building relationships with as many as possible to ultimately establish greater reach for the businesses priority messages, and harnessing the authority of the backlinks to grow their own domain authority.

It’s not just about working with one guest blogger. It’s all about building relationships with as many as possible to ultimately establish greater reach for the businesses priority messages, and harnessing the authority of the backlinks to grow their own domain authority.

Digital PR Infographic - The importance of backlinks
The importance of backlinks to an SEO campaign

Are journalists the ultimate guest blogger?

For a business, growing domain authority and their own credibility for priority keywords and subject areas is important. But extending the reach of their messages to a wider and relevant audience is going to have a direct impact on the number of visitors landing on their website and entering their sales funnels. For most businesses it is all about growing sales, and as long as they are achieving a return on investment, their priority will be to spread their message through as many influencers or guest bloggers as possible.

Locating these influencers can be time consuming, and historically businesses have turned to PR agencies to help create content, and forge relationships with willing influencers. These influencers in many cases are established journalists who are looking for great stories which are well aligned for the publications they are associated with.

For an SEO campaign this is important because a well timed press release or killer-article which lands in a journalists in-box, can potentially become a significant source of high authority backlinks. If the journalist uses the article or publishes content which contain backlinks to the business, there is a high chance these backlinks will come from established high authority websites, niche sector sites and media sites which will regularly attract high volumes of traffic.

Journalists inboxes are going to be full of emails from businesses looking to catch their attention. Instead of simply shouting louder, in most cases a business needs to be clever in their approach. The key to creating a relationship with journalists, is to identify the journalists who are more closely associated with the business’ subject area or industry. There’s no point targeting a financial services journalist to promote a new technology to an automotive audience.

In the same way that businesses identify their own Nanette Newman or Gary Lineker to endorse their products to influence wider audiences, they need to be equally savvy in their selection of the most appropriate journalists – and specifically a journalist who is relevant to them and their sector. Find the right journalist, and the business may find themselves using the ‘ultimate guest blogger’ who has huge influence and credibility; and who publishes or distributes regularly on high authority websites.

Using Influencers in your SEO strategy

If you haven’t got pockets deep enough to engage with Nanette Newman or Gary Lineker, there are better ways of using influencer marketing which can achieve a good ROI. At SEO Results we combine our knowledge and experience with effective SEO campaigns with digital PR. We can create relevant and original content for your website and for guest bloggers and influencers to edit, style and publish to establish high quality backlinks from websites or social media accounts with high authority.

To see how using influencers or digital PR can benefit you, speak with our team to find out how we can get you and your brand noticed on the world stage.

By John Anderson, SEO Results

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