2020-11-20

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Crowd Marketing: Fears, perks and a comprehensive Guide


“Crowd marketing is spam. It is dangerous. It does not really work. Is crowd marketing even SEO?” Erik Ivanov, a Co-Founder of Natural Links, shares his own experience in crowd marketing.

I’ve worked in SEO in highly-competitive niches for 15 years — 7 of those in link building and 5 in crowd marketing. In that time, I’ve seen plenty of praise for and prejudice against crowd marketing.  So I decided to gather all my practical experience and use cases and build a comprehensive guide on crowd marketing — with definitions, best practices and life examples. I’ll be totally open. Don’t expect the names of big brands (confidentiality above all here, right?), but do expect the raw truth on this unique promotion method.

Let’s start with the basics.


Crowd Marketing: What it is and what it is not

Crowd marketing is a methodology of promoting brands through direct contact with their target audience on forums and forum-like platforms. We, at Natural Links, prefer working with industry-specific forums. One needs to participate in organic discussions on topics associated with the brand’s value proposition. When done properly, crowd marketing raises the clients’ brand awareness and creates thousands of safe, natural backlinks that grow organic traffic.

Why do we at Natural Links call those links generated by crowd marketing activities “natural”? That is because crowd marketing content looks exactly like content from a real user who shares an opinion about the product or service, gives advice and wants to discuss it with peers.

At this stage, we can break the first and most common stereotype: “Crowd marketing is spam.” Numbers and images speak better than words, so let’s refer to images here.

This is a natural link as part of crowd marketing:

It is posted in a relevant discussion from a trusted account with traction, history and likes.

And this is spam you’ve heard all those rumors about:

This one is posted from an empty account, written in broken English, in a thread dedicated to a completely irrelevant topic.

So, to dot the i’s and cross the t’s: this article is about the first one — real crowd marketing and natural links.


How does crowd marketing work? 

Google updates such as BERT result in a high ranking of high-quality articles with natural language. The company’s public representatives keep stating that Google rewards great content above all. However, content alone is not enough, as links are still crucial for ranking. Search engines favor smooth growth, a structured anchor list and a natural-looking link profile. So, well-thought-out crowd marketing can help with many marketing and SEO tasks. 

Crowd marketing for general promotion: 

Crowd marketing for search engine optimization:  


Who needs crowd marketing?

I could say everyone who has a site needs crowd marketing — and that would not even be a lie. Still, that would be too easy. I especially focus on several business categories. 


How to choose web resources for crowd marketing 

If you got to this point in the article, you already understand that it’s important to do quality crowd marketing. So what stands behind this “quality”? First, the hygiene of resources selected for your crowd marketing – all the spammy and dirty items should be immediately washed out. Second, you can use only resources available for comments – websites, social networks, forums, and blogs.

There are several types of popular resources you can comment on: 

What about standalone blogs? Some crowd marketers use them for link posting, but I think it is a cheat. There are a few standalone blogs with strong moderation and live discussions in the comments. The rest 99% are dead. Not worth an effort for sure. 


Web resources for crowd marketing: Selection criteria


Bonus for those who read till the end: Real use cases for Crowd Marketing 

As a co-founder of Natural Links, I see examples of wise crowd marketing on a daily basis. So I could not miss a chance to furnish out this guide with some success stories. Alas! Our strict confidentiality policy does not allow us to disclose the names of our clients. However, we can still show you something of interest. 

Here is the traffic graph of our client in the finance (PDL) niche. We started cooperation from the very first day of the website release, bringing the client from zero to more than 13K visitors per month — all in just 1 year. Was it magic? No. Only a reasonable tech assignment and a smooth growth of the backlink profile from 20-50 crowd links a month to 500-1000 crowd links a month.

Here’s a graph from our other client in the dating category.

Which outcome did they get from 18 months of quality crowd marketing?

What was their secret? Nothing magical again. It was a strategy of 3 tiers for crowd marketing.


Conclusion

Crowd marketing deserves its place among the effective SEO and promotion practices and when it’s done thoughtfully it really works! It can be a secret sauce for your SEO strategy. Make the link profile natural and balanced, increase the website ranking, increase organic traffic and as a result bring new clients. There is no need to be afraid of crowd marketing — though you definitely need to do it right.



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