How SEO & Keyword Research Affects Influencer Campaigns

February 7, 2017

Kirsten Thompson

Sr. Content Creator
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Influencer campaigns are powerful marketing tools for brands, but one common pain point is the inability to gain “Google Juice”, or page ranking, through links in influencer posts. (source) However, SEO and keyword research do have their place in influencer campaigns.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is something any good influencer pays attention to, whether promoting a brand or not. Search bots crawl blog posts and pages looking for keywords, as well as how and where those keywords are used, and assign each post and page a ranking in search engines.

Those same search bots also look for links, both follow & no-follow links. When an influencer is paid by a brand, whether with product, cash, or both, they are required to only use no-follow links back to the brand’s website. Readers can still click those links and visit the brand, but the brand doesn’t receive a boost in SEO.

ARE NO-FOLLOW LINKS BAD FOR BRANDS?

Not necessarily! While brands don’t receive the magic Google juice from no-follow links, those links do serve a purpose.

#1 – Foster brand awareness.

When influencers share your content and encourage clicks to your brand’s website, it creates brand awareness, even if your brand doesn’t receive a boost in SEO. Influencer content reaches potential consumers who are a brand’s target audience and show creative ways to use products, putting brands and their products on the radar of many shoppers who may not have known about the brand otherwise.

#2 – Send readers to targeted pages.

Just because search bots aren’t following the links, readers will be. Brands should take the time to create specific, targeted pages for each influencer campaign in order to deliver the message they want new shoppers to see. These targeted pages should be directly in line with the overall message of the influencer campaign.

No-follow links don't help brands improve SEO but do foster brand awareness. Click To Tweet

For example, if the message of an influencer campaign is to demonstrate creative recipes for a simple ingredient, a targeted page for shoppers would include things like printable recipe cards, or coupons for that specific product.

#3 – Grow an email list.

Brands can also take advantage of the added traffic an influencer campaign will inevitably bring by capturing email addresses to use for future campaigns. Shoppers might sign up to receive exclusive coupons or discount codes, or gain access to a resource library. Once a brand has the ability to contact shoppers via email, they can control the message they send to those shoppers.

WHAT DO KEYWORDS HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

Keywords are important in any blog post, but brands need to pay extra attention to keywords when hiring influencers to promote their brand.

#1 – Good keywords help influencer content get found.

And when influencer content gets found, that means more eyes on your brand. Brands should take the time to do some keyword research prior to launching an influencer campaign. In the guidelines for their campaign, brands can specify which keywords or keyword phrases they want influencers to use in their blog posts and marketing efforts.

When a few hundred influencers are publishing content around the same or similar keywords, search bots are bound to take notice. When shoppers search for those particular keywords, they will see a multitude of content related to those keywords, and that content will be talking about your brand.

Proper use of keywords in #influencercampaigns help brands get found in search. Click To Tweet

#2 – Keywords used in the right places improve overall SEO.

The choice of keywords is important, but equally important is how and where influencers use those keywords in a blog post. For example, the main keyword should always appear in the post title, the URL of the post, the first paragraph, and in the meta description.

Other ways to boost the use of keywords are:

  • Make the keyword appear in bold to show search bots that this keyword is more important than the text surrounding it.
  • Use keywords in headings, like H1, H2, and H3 tags. The main keyword should always appear in the H1 tag, while secondary & tertiary keywords should be used in H2 and H3 tags when necessary.
  • Keywords should be used in image names and alt text. Just like standard text, images are searchable on Google and other search engines, so it’s important that influencers use keywords when naming their images to increase their ranking.

#3 – Keywords should be used in anchor text.

When brands provide guidelines for their influencers, they provide a few links that they want the influencer to include in the blog post. Some of these links might be custom URLs for tracking purposes so brands can gauge the overall success of influencer content.

What brands don’t do is provide the anchor text they want influencers to use when adding these links. Anchor text is the actual text that is linked to a URL. When an influencers simply adds, “Click here to connect with the brand,” they aren’t doing much to incentivize the reader to click through. Instead, the anchor text should be more specific.

For example, if a pet food brand pays an influencer, the influencer could create anchor text that says something like, “To learn more about improving your pet’s health with all-natural, organic pet food, visit Brand X, plus download a free coupon!” Keywords like “pet’s health” & “organic pet food” help the overall SEO of the post, but also serve as a way to increase brand awareness and give the readers a reason to click through to the brand’s website.

While brands may not get the benefit of added “Google juice”, or SEO, from influencer campaigns, they can take small steps to improve the overall SEO of the influencer content itself. Keyword research and more specific guidelines for influencer campaigns will go a long way to help boost the page ranking of influencer posts, thereby improving overall brand awareness.

PIN IT

When brands set guidelines for influencer campaigns, keywords & SEO are typically not mentioned. But that's a mistake. Keyword research should be part of the planning process for influencer campaigns, & brands should encourage influencers to use specific keywords in their content. A simple "click for more info" doesn't do much for brands in an influencer post, but a solid line of anchor text that includes keywords helps those influencer posts get found in search, & improves brand awareness, even when following the no-follow rule. http://cbi.as/75rmc

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Kirsten Thompson

Sr. Content Creator

Kirsten Thompson has been blogging since 2010, sharing her passion for home decor, organization, and crafts with her ever-growing audience. Her blog has become her business, Sweet Tea LLC. She educates bloggers on the power of email marketing & blog strategy through webinars, digital products and coaching.