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Influencer marketing & SEO: How they work together for evergreen campaigns

An image of author Crystal Ortiz, accompanied by various search-related iconography

SEO and influencer marketing teams typically sit far apart at the metaphorical lunch table. But, what might seem like an unlikely pair might just be an untapped opportunity for greater ROI for your brand.


Both channels seek to drive potential customers to your website and into your marketing funnel, and the teams that work on these initiatives possess data that often has implications for the entire business—not just their specific campaigns.


Let’s break down these silos to see how social and SEO teams can work in tandem to seize opportunities and add value across your customer journey.


Table of contents:



SEO and influencer marketing: Better together


SEO teams are fluent in complex data and analysis, while influencer teams are creative and work closely with target audience segments. Collaboration between the two teams can provide practical business benefits via:


  • Data-driven campaigns for influencer teams

  • Better reach for SEO Teams

  • More evergreen marketing campaigns

  • Complementary campaigns that lead to better website experiences


Data-driven campaigns for influencer teams

Influencer teams make daily decisions around the creativity of their campaigns, who to partner with, and what they’re looking for audiences to experience. 


SEO teams can aid influencer teams with these decisions via their ability to find data points about what their potential customers are interested in and searching for. 



This might include: 



These insights can be incredibly valuable for audience and interest segmentation (e.g., pet enthusiasts, travelers, booktok, etc.), trends and seasonal influxes, and overall understanding of consumer behavior and interests. 


For example, when we check beauty and hair trends, we can see that Google searches for [oval face haircuts male] are trending up by 127% YoY. This might be an interesting topic or angle that influencer teams can use to shape conversations or campaigns for clients in the hair and beauty industry.


A screenshot of the Glimpse “discover trending topics” output for the query [side part] showing 127% YoY growth in search volume.
Search trend data for terms related to [side part]. Source: Glimpse.

This data reveals that more people are trying to find the right hairstyle for their face shape, which could potentially inspire a series of videos, posts, and social media content, as well as SEO campaigns or products that help people find hairstyles and products according to their face shape. 


“Hair styles by face shape” could be an interesting SEO- and influencer marketing-aligned initiative, given that [oval face male haircuts] has a monthly US search volume of 720. The variations around those keywords add up to 11,600 searches per month (the largest being [short haircuts for oval faces male], at 5.4K monthly searches). 


A screenshot of the Semrush “keyword overview” output for the query [oval face haircuts men] showing monthly volume of 720 and 11.6K monthly volume across all keyword variations.
Search volume data for terms related to [oval face haircuts male]. Source: Semrush.

SEO teams can validate and plan for website support and architecture to align with influencer campaigns, help create messaging that includes relevant keywords, and even find unique selling points or hooks around widely searched topics (such as in the example above).


The influencer team could then align on the most common face shapes are and create content to help people find the right hairstyles for their face. This could lead to conversion content, like online quizzes, blog content, and email nurturing. Ultimately the goal would be to understand what problems consumers face when it comes to deciding on “style,” then building on that campaign to inspire purchases and pull people into the buying journey. 


Better reach for SEO teams

SEO teams like to focus on getting backlinks to their websites naturally. While social shares might not directly correlate with an influx of backlinks (or provide any real value in terms of SEO link equity), it’s possible to create campaign buzz via influencer marketing. This can be a great opportunity for influencer/social marketing and SEO teams to partner to align on what pages (if any) the campaign will need as brand or campaign mentions rise. 


For example, if a dog food company launched an influencer campaign about safe eating for pets, they could prepare pages in advance to share with influencers and on social media. 


Those pages would also serve as the primary SEO pages for capturing the influx of traffic from the campaign. Hopefully, with enough amplification, the pages could earn additional backlinks and generate more in the future. 


More evergreen marketing campaigns

The value of SEO typically increases over time, meaning that creating pages inspired by influencer partnerships can grow website traffic beyond the initial influencer campaign. 


If you create that campaign, you’ll have a destination to send visitors to during the launch, but you can continue to extract value from the campaign by keeping those pages on the website to gain additional traffic and backlinks over time. You can also revitalize and test campaigns that were previously successful, and you’ll be able to replicate those launches with high-converting pages. 


For example, if you create an influencer campaign to launch a set of cooking pans, you can probably create a complementary SEO strategy to send traffic from the products themselves to any additional pages you want customers to visit as they make their purchasing decisions (i.e., buying guides, comparisons, how-to, etc)


Complementary campaigns that lead to better website experiences

Many marketing teams tend to think about the website experience only through their own lens. But, when SEO and influencer marketing teams think collaboratively and strategically, your website experience improves and users benefit. After all, SEO teams need content to support their goals, while influencer teams need website resources to support theirs.


Here are some examples to illustrate my point:


  • Landing pages not only support conversion goals from influencer initiatives, but they can also rank for keywords that bring in search visibility and traffic. 

  • When influencers develop their product lines or collaborate with your company, you can publish creator pages that rank for their branded terms (Maddie & Kenzie Ziegler’s American Eagle line comes to mind).


The Google search results for [Maddie & Kenzie Ziegler] showing American Eagle’s page, with the title link “AE x Maddie & Kenzie Ziegler Collab” in the top 10 results.
American Eagle’s category page is one of the top-ranking results for their influencers’ branded terms.

Regardless of campaign timing, people can search and find their collection on the AE website. As you can see from the Semrush data below, this influencer collection page generates an estimated 1300 visits per month across its 164 ranking keywords. 


A screenshot of the Semrush organic research overview for the web page “AE X Maddie Kenzie Ziegler Sisters“ showing 1.3K in estimated monthly search traffic across 164 keywords.
Traffic data for “AE X Maddie Kenzie Ziegler Sisters". Source: Semrush.

SEO teams should keep influencer initiatives top of mind, especially considering how those pages fit into the overall site structure and where internal linking opportunities might exist. 


How SEO can add value to influencer marketing campaigns


If you’re on an SEO team (or if you’ve focused solely on SEO to this point), the first thing to do is check in with the social team to sync on their priorities (and yours).


Using your SEO skills to complement influencer marketing goals while improving your website’s search visibility requires some creative thinking, so ask the right questions when you meet with the influencer team. Here are examples and tips to help you start the collaboration smoothly:


  • Ask which campaigns you should familiarize yourself with to help you understand your audience and gain insights from the team.

  • Get a sense of what your customers respond to best, their comments and questions, and any inside knowledge about the community. Social media teams are often the closest to customers, hearing directly from them on a daily basis.

  • Find out what influencer categories work best for your business type, industry, and social media channels. 


  • Follow social media trends and use the social platforms your company or clients are active on. Stay active on these platforms to make your conversations with the social teams more productive.

  • Identify relevant, trending searches and evergreen keywords to provide to your social media team for consideration. Researching and positioning opportunities this way can help you bring in more traffic/conversions, which are generally KPIs for both teams.

  • Influencer and social media teams should also know about SEO, how it works, and what they can look for or think about so you can validate ideas with research and data to help the team make better decisions. Consider educating the team with basic principles on this topic.


Remember, the point here is to learn all about the social team’s plans and goals, especially surrounding overarching themes or topics that can seamlessly integrate with your SEO efforts. Communication between teams is really what you’re after, since this collaboration can play out quite differently depending on your business model and team structure, so prioritize transparency and trust if you want to reap the combined benefits of both influencer marketing and SEO.


How influencer marketing can help SEO campaigns


If you’re on a social media or influencer team and you’re curious about what a path to SEO collaboration looks like, here are some first-step suggestions to consider:


  • Learn more about SEO, how it works, and how it relates to social media. SEO is becoming closely associated with social media as people are starting to use social platforms to search, plan, and get inspired. Similarly, search engines are integrating more social media signals into their results, so understanding how SEO and social media are intertwined will serve you well. 


  • Ask which SEO campaigns are in the works and at which stages. Take a look at some of the data around how your audience searches to spark ideas for creative collaborations, social campaigns, or conversations within your community. Some social platforms, like Facebook and TikTok, offer tools to help you monitor trending search terms that can inform your content in real-time, which can give you a headstart on the competition as traditional keyword research tools may not update as quickly.

  • Ask the SEO team how they approach the website architecture, categories, traffic flow, and SEO tools.

  • Educate and train the SEO team on social media best practices, your point of view, and insights into your customer activity. Your insights into customer pain points and interests are considerably valuable.


  • Keep the SEO team informed about social media trends so they can help you put together data that helps validate search visibility opportunities for new topics.


Finally, think about the areas of your business that need support and how influencers might be able to drive links or traffic to support those SEO goals. As I mentioned previously, communication between teams will always be the foundation of your success, so ensure you’re communicating regularly and often.


Ways to align SEO and influencer marketing


There’s no right or wrong way to approach collaboration. Most people think of influencer marketing as sending influencers products and trying to get people to buy from sponsored posts. But, that’s the last stage of the funnel. 


You also need to think about SEO and influencer collaborations at the top of the funnel and amplify pages, search terms, products, and brand—not just the product. The ultimate goal should be to get people from one stage of your marketing funnel to the next, so use these channels to generate awareness and align on messaging. That way, when you do get your product in front of customers (whether organically or via influencer marketing), it’ll be a brand they’re familiar with and are therefore more likely to buy from.


Starting with an SEO idea

In SEO, you often see groups of keywords that then turn into more extensive SEO campaigns. 


For example, perhaps you want to create a cluster of pages surrounding a topic, and you think it’d be great to have influencer marketing support. 


SEO product ideas (such as the release of new product libraries, templates, and educational resources) are another potential campaign that would pair nicely with influencer marketing. Once you’ve identified or developed a new SEO product, you could present your case to the partnerships team and discuss potential creative ideas and planning.


If you’re further down on the communication chain (or if you prefer to present projects that are further in the pipeline), regular check-in meetings are a great way to update colleagues on the status of upcoming or existing products so social media teams have time to decide if those products align with their immediate goals. 


Starting with an influencer marketing idea

Starting with an influencer campaign can be equally beneficial to both teams. 


For example, perhaps you’re looking to reach a new audience and you’ve developed a social media strategy in which influencers help you increase your visibility to this new audience (this is a very common strategy for TikTok creators—just think about how many times you’ve seen a sponsored placement for a pajama set, water bottle, or ring light — in your feed). 


SEO can help provide research on the topics that an audience segment is interested in, enabling you to better shape the ideas and messaging around the campaign. If your new audience consists of pet parents, for example, you could provide a list of topics you’ve identified as potential starting points for the SEO team. These ideas can turn into keyword research and a search intent assessment, allowing you to provide a business case to stakeholders. 


You would then have the SEO team support you in creating SEO-focused content to help move customers down your funnel. 


An example of the customer funnel, showing the awareness, interest, decision, and conversion stages, with associated content types for each stage.
Generally speaking, certain types of content correspond to particular stages of the customer funnel.

Potential challenges to consider


While a partnership might sound lucrative, both teams will naturally focus on individual initiatives that don’t necessarily overlap. Separation between the channels can make it hard to justify spending company resources on a joint campaign. 


That said, settling into silos will put you at a disadvantage against competitors that can align their teams for collaborative campaigns that make a larger splash.


Additionally, there may be external factors to consider, such as regulations, legal compliance, and advertising disclosures. Given the potential of SEO and influencer marketing to extend your brand’s reach, however, these challenges are worth addressing.


Here are some potential challenges to think about when running SEO and influencer marketing campaigns in tandem.


“Important” means different things to different teams

Teams may have differing opinions on the importance of a particular aspect of a campaign. This may sound obvious, but it’s important to align with all stakeholders before taking action.


While each team needs to have a firm understanding of their audience, SEOs might prioritize data and research, whereas social teams might prioritize creativity and customer connection. Whatever the case may be, you should let the customer data dictate your priorities over trying to be right based on your narrow own experience and viewpoint.


Business goals should be top-of-mind

Social media and SEO efforts should ultimately support revenue goals over short-term gains. 


Remember, influencer marketing can be pricey, and SEO and development costs are expensive as well. The activities you support with influencer marketing and SEO should ultimately tee up the larger objectives of the business. 


Consider whether you would execute a given campaign if the other channel wasn’t involved. “Is this campaign a strong enough idea on its own, that I’d be proud to present as a channel effort if the other channel wasn’t involved?” 


Additionally, you might have a good idea, but not the right idea to support what your business/audience needs at the moment. Focus on the ideas you strongly believe in; there’s nothing wrong with working through an idea only to put a stop to it if there are signs it might not be a worthy investment (or even worse, potentially result in wasted resources while moving you away from your goals). 


For example, you may have developed an idea but it’s not aligned with the overall messaging your customers respond to on social media, or you ran a small test that doesn’t provide a strong enough case to roll out on a larger campaign (like with more influential creators or across multiple platforms). 


ROI projections may look different

Putting together a business case (as you would when obtaining buy-in at the individual channel level) has similar importance and weight in a joint effort. But unlike a singular effort, there are added benefits to combining influencer initiatives and SEO. 


For example, you could present an SEO business case where you share the total volume, potential, traffic share, and expected business impact (such as revenue over a specific time period). If you’re adding an influencer campaign into the mix, you can add successful campaign ideas and data surrounding those campaigns to help illustrate how these two channels can propel one another. 


For an influencer campaign, you can create your business case as you normally would, citing the overall promotion, creative direction, audience, potential reach, and ideal influencers. You could then add SEO data as an additional selling point to stakeholders. By demonstrating an added growth benefit, you can demonstrate how your campaign will progress beyond the initial launch. 


Be aware that ROI in influencer marketing campaigns is measured differently than in SEO, which makes aligning on the business benefit that much more important. 


In influencer marketing, you’ll generally look at the impressions, engagement (likes, comments, saves, and DMs), and revenue generated. However, conversions aren’t always clearly measured. For example, a consumer might be shown an influencer campaign once, twice, or three times before converting (and there are many definitions of conversions). 


Similarly, ROI for SEO can be a little ambiguous, especially considering the length of time it takes from launch to visibility and traffic generation. Thankfully, an influencer campaign can provide amplification for SEO initiatives. 


Legal compliance

Social media and legal teams will have more familiarity with legal compliance, such as FTC rules. SEOs should consider turning to those teams for understanding and education in this area. 


Influencers are also considered brands of their own and may require legal language for using their image or likeness in certain areas beyond social media posts. Again, this is something for SEO teams to be aware of while working on influencer campaigns.


Combine SEO and influencer marketing to minimize risk and maximize ROI


Digital marketing is constantly evolving with consumer preferences, technology, and regulation. The businesses that worry the most about how to recover from an algorithm update or losing visibility in social media feeds are the ones that tend to rely on a single channel to reach their potential customers. 


By going multi-channel, you insulate your brand from overreliance on a single platform. And, by focusing on SEO and influencer marketing together, you can even go beyond simply avoiding risk to create campaigns that add ROI at every stage of your funnel. 


 

crystal ortiz

Crystal Ortiz is an SEO consultant with experience across fashion, health, travel, automotive, and fitness. She teaches digital marketing classes at various universities across the US. Crystal lives in Indiana with her husband, son, and dog.


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