Links have had an increasing influence in improving your search engine ranking. However, it seems as the importance of a strong, yet diverse, backlink profile has grown, the ability to easily build one has dramatically declined. That’s where influencer marketing has stepped in to save the day, so to speak. If you’re not already harnessing the power of influencer marketing in your strategy, let’s take a look at three ways it can boost your SEO, along with a quick primer on how to get started.

Boosts Engagement and Brand Visibility

There’s an incredible amount of noise out there on the web today, and if you want your business to be seen and heard over it, you can’t just scream louder… you’ve got to stand out. Engagement and traffic are necessary for your business to survive, but they’re also necessary for good ranking.

The more you engage your target audience, the more traffic you will drive to your site. Influencers are already engaged with their audiences – and if you’re working with them, you have the same audience. They can push for that traffic and engagement to help you get a head start and stand out a bit easier than you would if you were trying to do everything on your own. Nielsen reviews 92% of people trust recommendations from other people more than they do brand advertisements – so reaching out to the people your audience knows (the people they follow on social media) can also help increase brand trust. One study even showed users generally trust influencers as much as they trust their personal friends.

Google looks at the quality of your link profile as a major part of how it determines where you rank. Your link profile is made up of the backlinks to your website, as well as the links you link to on your site. A study from Moz reveals the quality and authority of the sites that link to you are among the top ranking factors. As such, you’ll need to earn links from high-authority domains in your industry/niche, but this of course, isn’t an easy thing to do.

When you work with influencers, you increase your chances of building a better natural backlink profile for your website, which improves your ranking. If you work with bloggers and other influencers with their own website, they likely have a site they own, or access to several high-authority websites. When the influencers create content and link back to you, it generates high-quality backlinks to your site.

That said, many brands work with influencers for sales campaign purposes, to create “commercials” or advertisements for their brand. This means the links need to be disclosed as sponsored, which may affect their SEO value. Rather than encouraging influencers to break the rules and not disclose, you could instead create content-driven campaigns surrounding issues in your industry. When they create this content, they can cite your website as a resource – providing there’s quality content on your website. This bypasses the need for disclosure in most cases.

Keeps a Steady Stream of Fresh Content

Content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand. We’ve known for a long time that Google pays attention to the freshness of your content when ranking your website. If you haven’t updated your blog in three years, you’ll lose rank in favor of your competition that’s updating regularly. Influencers are pros at creating shareable content that catches attention, so when they are working with you, you’ll get a steady stream fresh content. You may not be able to use all of that content on your website/blog, but you’ll definitely have lots of stuff to include in your social media to keep it running smoothly. And that too, is important to Google. Social shares, in terms of both quality and quantity is one of the top nine ranking factors.

Getting Started with Influencer Marketing

Depending on the budget you have available for working with influencers, you may need to start small and work with micro influencers. These are people with smaller audiences, but the audiences are highly engaged. In fact, follower count alone shouldn’t be what you base your decisions on. If you work with an influencer with 1 million followers who aren’t highly engaged, you could see better results with a micro influencer who only has 20,000 highly engaged followers. That can help you earn the inbound links, which can push your ranking higher and send more traffic and conversions your way, thus giving you more money to invest in future influencer marketing campaigns.

Many platforms exist to help you find influencers, such as Traackr, and Buzzsumo. If you’d rather not approach the influencers directly, you can use agencies that work as the intermediary between you and the influencer. This approach can cost more, and take more time. In either case, it’s best to establish relationships with influencers prior to asking them to work on a campaign with you.