Building quality links is an essential (and integral) part of any well-rounded SEO strategy that hopes to be successful.
However, link building has never been as challenging as it is today. Gone are the days of effortlessly amassing links. No longer do search engines view organized link building with the same kind of lenience they once reserved for it.
Building quality links – which are the only kind you should be focusing on – will take time, effort, and resources. But this certainly doesn’t mean that only those with deep pockets can build awesome and worthy links.
In this post, we will be looking at a link building avenue that might seem a bit unorthodox, but that can nevertheless boost your strategy significantly: working with influencers.
Let’s take a look.
What Kinds of Benefits to Expect
Before we dive into the actual logistics of the matter, let’s examine the ways in which influencers can actually help you acquire links.
Most of us think of influencer marketing as a way to raise brand awareness, increase traffic, or promote a specific product. Links aren’t usually the first thing that comes to our minds. Yet, working with an influencer can help your backlink portfolio in several ways:
- You will acquire social media links.
They’re not the kinds of links you are hoping to get; however, they can help out significantly. If you have chosen the right kind of influencer, these kinds of links will send some qualified traffic to your website. This traffic will signal search engines that you are a trustworthy and interesting resource.
- You can acquire links from their blogs.
Writing a guest post for an influencer’s blog or having them write the post and mention you organically is one of the best ways to grow your link portfolio. Establishing a relationship with the influencer will be key here.
- You can start acquiring organic links through exposure.
When one of your pages starts acquiring links organically, you know you’ve done your job well. By working with an influencer, you can expose your content to other bloggers in a similar space who might be more than ready to mention your quality writing as a reference in their own posts.
Now that you’re aware of the most link-relevant benefits you can expect, let’s look at the steps you need to take in order to harness the power of influencers for your link building purposes.
Create Link-Worthy Content
One of the mistakes many brands make when looking to build an exceptional link portfolio is neglecting to consider the quality of their content they are looking to acquire backlinks for.
The internet is home to literally an article about everything. If there is a better resource out there than yours, chances are, your page will be overlooked, and not many bloggers will want to link back to it.
To ensure your link building campaign has the most chance of success, start by creating content that people will want to link to.
Here are some of the key aspects of said content to keep in mind:
- Consider the audience you are pitching the link to.
You want the topic of the page you are building links for to match the interests of your campaign’s audience. If they have no interest in the subject you’re covering, they are not likely to agree to a link.
Naturally, the post also has to align with your brand. A good way to go about things is to define your topics first, and look for audiences to pitch them to later.
- Write it well.
Ideally, your content should be better than what’s already out there. Read the posts that rank well on Google for the topic and keywords you are targeting, and try to improve on them. This might mean you offer new stats, a new point of view, or compile various information into a more comprehensive post.
- Make it unique.
While you may be drawing inspiration from other posts, the content you create needs to be original. Quote and reference the information you use in the post, and stick to your own voice and wording.
- Consider how you will approach influencers.
For example, if you plan on pitching them on Twitter, you might want to add some ready-to-tweet sections to your post. If you want to be shared on Instagram, prepare the visuals that go with the post.
Even if you’re looking to build links for an ecommerce brand, you will still need to link back to blog posts and not just sales pages, so this strategy is equally applicable if your brand sells products as opposed to services.
Select Your Influencers
Once you’ve created the content you would like to work on promoting with influencers, you need to choose the people you will be pitching to.
You will want to consider two main metrics:
- Whether the influencer has a blog
- The size of their audience
If the influencer does not have a blog, all you can hope to achieve is a mention on social media. You shouldn’t write off this avenue of promotion, as it can send some valuable traffic to the pages you are working on promoting.
How much of a following an influencer has often plays a crucial role for brands trying to decide who to work with.
Consider the size of your own brand and website first. Do you have a following already, are you a household name, are you a niche brand, are you just starting out?
This will reveal the kinds of influencers that are most likely to be open for collaboration. If you are new in the business, the chances of a mega-influencer mentioning you are slim.
On the other hand, even if you already have a large following, you might want to consider working with micro-influencers. While someone whose posts will be seen by millions might seem the better option, in truth, you can expect better results when working with someone who has a more loyal and engaged following – even if it’s smaller.
Trust is a vital factor here. You want an influencer whose audience trusts their judgement and recommendations.
Finally, speaking in pure SEO terms, if you’re talking to an influencer who will link back to your website form their blog, consider the following metrics as well:
- Domain authority or domain rating of their website
- Organic monthly traffic to their website
- Keywords they rank for
- Their backlinks
If your website is not yet authoritative, you can start by working with smaller websites that have a lower DA or DR and not as much traffic. This will help you build up your own domain, allowing you to pitch to better established websites.
If you already have a certain authority, you will want to acquire backlinks from websites that have an authority higher than yours. Working with larger names will be your focus here.
Working with influencers can help you acquire links both from their social media channels and their blogs. If your post manages to accomplish a wider reach, it can even help you gain organic traffic and organic backlinks.
To make the most of influencer link building, though, you need to craft content that will appeal to your target audience and be well written.
Don’t forget to carefully select the influencers you want to work with on your link building campaigns. Consider what they can offer in terms of traffic and authority before reaching out to them (whether over email or social media).
Expect a fair bit of refusals, and work on establishing relationships as opposed to just getting a link back. Lastly, prepare yourself for the long haul. Long-term link building is what will yield the best results.
Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.