Influencer marketing is the least effective way to boost SEO, study says
- Social influencer marketing isn't as effective as other promotional methods for search engine optimization (SEO), according to a study of campaigns in the travel industry by content marketing agency Kaizen shared with Mobile Marketer. Influencers are the worst way to spend a marketing budget if the goal is to rank higher in search results, the study found.
- Influencers ranked last among SEO content categories that included interactive, non-influencer, video and infographics. Influencer posts gained an average of 152 social shares, compared to 4,136 for interactive content, 1,385 for non-influencer posts and 1,222 for videos, per the study.
- Influencers can best help SEO by helping to create collaborative content that adds value to viewers, Kaizen suggests. The firm studied 2,000 pieces of travel content to rank them by URL rating, number of referring domains and total social shares.
Influencer marketing has become majorly popular in the past few years alongside the growth of social media that lets consumers easily like, share or pin content. While these content creators are most powerful when they provide genuine recommendations or integrate a product placement seamlessly with other content, Kaizen's study suggests that influencers don't help with SEO ranking because their posts don't function like outlets for traditional link-building.
As Kaizen suggests, influencer marketing is likely being misused if a marketer's goal is to get a high search engine ranking. The strategy, however, is more effective in reaching niche target audiences who express their enthusiasm for a specific topic — travel, fashion or cooking, for example — by following an online creator who continuously produces content on the subject and promotes related products.
For brands, the best influencer strategy is to work directly with a single creator who can help with content development through collaboration rather than gathering many influencers to provide backlinks to a brand's website, per Kaizen. Collaboration between a brand and an influencer when creating content is more likely to resonate with consumers because that content tends to come across as more authentic, meaningful and shareable than traditional product advertisements.
While influencer marketing has become a booming strategy in the marketing world, and has been adopted by major global brands that wish to nurture deeper connections with consumers, Kaizen's finding is in line with a separate survey that showed that influencers' affinity with a brand must be authentic for it to be effective. Nine out of 10 social influencers said they must genuinely like a brand to accept its sponsorship, and that the connection they have with a brand is more important than money.