Everyone wants to search for the terms they want in all search engines.
At some point in the evolution of Google Search it became apparent that the natural acquisition of links (e.g. from bloggers) contributed to this goal.
However, the algorithms are changing. So is it still worth working with bloggers?
Bloggers are worth far more than their links when it comes to SEO
As a digital marketer, you will likely be tasked with a range of KPIs – from rankings and traffic to conversion rates and earnings.
Is it possible for bloggers to help with all of these goals?
The trick is to stop thinking of websites and blogs as just places to get links for now. Bloggers are influencers and need to be addressed as such.
As a brief introduction to influencers, the full version of which you can read in the Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing, various components must be considered:
- The main goal that you focus on.
- The buyer personality that you want to target in order to achieve that goal.
- The type of influencer needed that best fits the buyer personality.
- Which medium is best for this type of influencer?
Influencer marketing is a profound topic that we try in presentations to “let someone tell your story for you”.
However, given the publication of this thought piece, we can make some assumptions about online and offline intentions.
What is your main goal?
Hopefully you didn't say any links.
Even if your into SEO, even if you focus a good percentage of your time on it, that isn't really the goal. SEO pros aren't just there to deliver vanity rankings either, at least not in the long run.
As with most online marketing functions, the end goal is usually high margin sales.
How do you maximize high margin income? By focusing on increasing the volume of relevant traffic.
Search engines are just a convenient source of this traffic.
Who is your buyer personality?
The specific end buyer for your product or service will be unique to your specific situation. You can delve deeper into cultural, social, personal, and psychological factors here, but in the interests of brevity, make some assumptions about your technical ability.
With this abbreviated approach, your primary concern is categorical focus and fit. What kind of information is your buyer consuming that is at least tangentially relevant to what you are selling? This is the category of content that you need to be consistently linked to.
Which Influencer Type Works Best?
In the guide above, a lot of attention is paid to the distinction between aspirational, authoritative, and peer influencers and the different situations you may need to use each type.
When it comes to raw traffic, ambitious influencers offer the greatest volume, but are not always categorically focused unless you are selling a product with broad mass appeal. Conversely, peer influencers can be acquired with exceptional categorical customization, but without generating much less traffic.
Authoritative influencers are a fortunate compromise for the digital marketer use case keeping an eye on the search.
They are subject matter experts and therefore extreme category adjustments, provided you only target relevant influencers and can generate more traffic than lesser known industry colleagues.
Which medium suits the relevant influencer type best?
There are several media that work well within the confines of a search focus and can be used before and after the primary traffic drivers are created.
However, the title of this article does not bury the lede: for search purposes, blogs are the primary medium for working with relevant influencers, of whom there are several ways to approach.
Let's discuss why and what signals blogs address and how such a strategy can be implemented.
For the sake of brevity, it can be helpful to look at modern search algorithms in such a way that they work in three general buckets – signals that are connected to:
- Content / architecture.
- User experience.
With the right influencers, all three buckets can be satisfied.
Before links can be created, there should be at least some meaningful content that can be referenced. One method for this meaningful content is to hire a reasonably well-known authoritative influencer in your industry to write a number of deep and engaging pieces.
The creation of this content can fulfill a multitude of content signals, not least of which is to link the entity of this author to your domain and destroy their extensive expertise.
This is not about accepting a guest post! It is about recruiting an exceptional writer in your niche to create something meaningful in your domain space.
With all of the recent E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) conversations, there is one hurdle you can overcome by hiring an expert who can impart authority and relate the trust you have built up.
You already know bloggers provide links, but the links that should interest you have far less to do with DR, DA, or the metric you are using. Reach out to influencers for links that provide relevant, converting traffic.
As your focus shifts more to acquiring links that pass through conversion traffic, your mental model moves closer to what your primary goal of a digital marketer should be: high margin income that happens to be search engine safe.
This mental shift means you can worry less about whether the influencer wants to use "nofollow" and more about how closely the blog's audience is themed with the buyer personality you are targeting.
The bonus point in capturing relevant converting traffic is that it also satisfies a variety of user signals.
The inbound traffic is relevant enough to dwell and linger, navigate to key sections, and enter some aspect of your conversion funnel.
Also, if the traffic is really relevant, there is also a chance that secondary brand searches will be done to find deeper content in the future, which increases the likelihood of reaching a higher percentage of repeat users. According to many top SEO professionals, this is a particularly important signal.