strategic partnerships

How to Build a Strategic Partnership that Drives SEO Value

RJ Licata, Sr. Director of Marketing

Key Points

  • Brands of all sizes benefit from partnering with third-party companies, publications, influencers, etc.
  • Strategic partnerships allow you to take advantage of others’ audiences to expand your reach, generate buzz and gain backlinks.
  • Through strategic partnerships, you can create many kinds of unique, shareable and creative content your audience loves.
  • For maximum effectiveness, partner with those who are related to but not in direct competition with your brand.

Let’s talk about creating strategic partnerships that help expand your reach and drive massive SEO value.

Whether you’re a brand giant like Red Bull or a mid-sized organization, strategic partners can be a powerful tailwind for your enterprise SEO program. Team up with other companies, brands, websites, publications, and influencers to exponentially increase your SEO results and expand your reach.

I realize that may seem counterintuitive. After all, you worked hard to establish your brand. You built a website that reinforces your brand’s reputation and you painstakingly created engaging content that benefits your audience.

So, why do businesses form strategic partnerships with other companies, groups, and organizations?

In this article, I’m going to break down both the value of partnerships and how they can significantly improve your SEO results.

What is a strategic partnership?


Strategic Partnership

A strategic partnership is a mutually beneficial alliance between brands, organizations, groups or individuals.

But don’t let that simple definition fool you. Strategic partnerships are an excellent example of brand awareness marketing that also drive SEO performance. Here’s why…

Benefits of strategic partnerships

From media attention to backlinks, here’s a rundown of the biggest advantages of strategic partnerships.

Expand your audience

Over the years, you’ve cultivated a unique audience that knows you and trusts you. They look to you as an authority in the industry. When you produce content, they eat it up and share it with others. When you release new products, they’re the first ones in line.

The same goes for your partners. They, too, have built a unique following who looks to them for products, services, advice, recommendations, and insights.

Strategic partnerships give you access to another brand’s audience and vice versa. As a result, you’ll have access to a vast pool of potential new customers.

Want a perfect example of a strategic partnership? Look no further than GoPro and Redbull. Both companies built their brands around an adventurous lifestyle, and they’ve teamed up numerous times to create memorable marketing campaigns.

Perhaps their best strategic brand partnerships was when Felix Baumgartner jumped from a platform more than 24 miles above Earth’s surface wearing a GoPro. Needless to say, with over 100 million video views across a number of accounts, it got a lot of attention.

Gain media mentions

That type of buzz not only helps put your brand in front of more people, it generates countless media mentions and links that contribute to better SEO results. Those backlinks are invaluable, but there’s much more to it than that…

Based on US Patent 8,682,892, invented by Navneet Panda and Vladimir Ofitserov, Google treats credible media mentions as “implied links,” meaning that even by the mere mention of your brand, even without a link itself, you gain trust and authority (note: a patent doesn’t indicate usage).

What this patent means is that not only inbound links but also mere brand mentions carry weight in helping Google to determine authority.

Yes, dropping out of a plane 24 miles above the planet is newsworthy, but you don’t necessarily need to do something that extreme. Just identify the best strategic brand partnerships, put your PR hat on, and come up with something that creates excitement.

When you team up with another brand or influencer to generate content ideas, it can result in an influx in traffic as well as a large number of valuable backlinks.

Google has explicitly stated that backlinks from credible sources are one of the top factors in determining where a page ranks for particular searches. In Google’s eyes, a link from another site to your site is an indicator of trustworthiness and value.

When it comes to backlinks, authority plays a huge role. Google places more value on high-quality backlinks from trusted and authoritative websites. Examples of sites with high domain authority include Forbes, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, etc. In Google’s eyes, links from high authority websites are much more valuable than those from low authority sites.

Strategic partnership examples

In a surprising strategic partnership development, LucasFilm and CoverGirl teamed up to create limited edition Star Wars makeup in conjunction with the release of The Force Awakens. As you can imagine, images like the following generated a huge amount of buzz, social shares, and links.

strategic partnership example

In our increasingly collaborative world, it’s a dangerous thing to isolate yourself, no matter how big or well-established your brand is. Savvy Fortune 1000 brands are recognizing the value of partnerships and are harnessing that potential.

The collaboration between Apple and Mastercard is another perfect example of strategic partnerships. When Apple released the ApplePay app, they knew they needed credit card companies to get on board if it was going to work.

Mastercard saw an opportunity to jump ahead of the competition by being the first credit card to work with ApplePay. The end result was that both companies attracted new audiences they wouldn’t have otherwise.

How to find strategic partnerships

What makes a good strategic partnership? For starters, it’s important to partner with companies and individuals who are related to your business. And, as planable points out in their sports marketing guide, remember that partnerships are two-way streets.

For example, imagine you manage marketing for a sporting goods retailer. You could partner with sports bloggers, sports publications, sports documentarians, athletes, retired athletes, coaches, fitness influencers, health influencers, gyms, yoga studios, weight loss services, peak performance organizations, vitamin brands, etc.

The best strategic partnerships have a mutual exchange of value. You provide something for them and vice versa.

Due to the variation within each sector, your industry will shape your approach to building strategic partnerships. That said, possible angles include:

  • Events
  • Joint Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews
  • Guest Posts and Articles
  • Surveys and Special Research
  • Video Series

If you’re in sales consulting, you could create a blog post where you bring together crucial advice from numerous individuals who have generated huge amounts of sales. Then those “sales influencers” could share the post with their audiences.

If you’re a big data SaaS company, guest post on tech blogs that cover your industry.

Or, as in the case of LucasFilm and CoverGirl, you can get really creative and team up with an organization completely unrelated to your industry.

You’re only limited by your creativity. Can you add value to another brand or influencer and can they add value to you? That’s a partnership in the making.

Two are better than one

Even well-established brands can no longer rely on their online reputations alone to stay ahead of the competition.

Companies that implement strategic partnerships are much more likely to grow their audience rapidly, generate media mentions and inbound links, see their organic search traffic bloom, and stay ahead of competitors.

Look outward in order to achieve compounded results. Create the kind of strategic partnerships that can take your online visibility to the next level.

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