6 Crucial Steps to Prepare Yourself for the Twitter Facebook Real-Time Search Integration

October 29, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

clocksReal-time search is all the rage these days and it looks like it will only get bigger. Just last week, Microsoft Bing announced that it will be integrating both Facebook and Twitter status updates into its search results. Minutes later, Google followed suit and announced that it too will be adding Twitter updates (but not Facebook) into its SERPs. Even Yahoo is trying to get in the real-time search game.

The exact details on implementation aren’t yet clear, but it’s likely that real-time Twitter and/or Facebook updates will be added to the regular search results – particularly for breaking news and queries where articles and blog posts have not yet been written (hence “real time” search).

The services probably won’t go live until at least a couple of weeks, if not months, but you can see an example of what’s to come on the Bing Twitter Search page. Pretty cool stuff.

bing-twitter

So is this a game changer for SEO and Internet marketing? I vote yes. I’ve written before that Twitter is the future of search and this real-time search integration is clearly a step towards that direction. The addition of Twitter and Facebook updates in the search results will open up new opportunities to market yourself and your business.

What are the steps you need to take to prepare yourself for this Twitter and Facebook search integration? I’ve already gone over Twitter SEO and how to optimize your site for Twitter search, but this new development further adds to the strategy’s importance. Below is a list of ways you can get the most out Twitter/Facebook once the status updates hit the search engines.

1. Get on Twitter & Facebook and be active, duh
This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re not yet on Facebook and Twitter, what are you waiting for? You’re missing out on boatloads of opportunity. Set up branded accounts on both Twitter and Facebook and make your updates public so that the search engines can access them.

Integration of these tools into Google and Bing will further increase awareness of social media and usage should quickly become mainstream. What does this mean? You’ll be able to market to all kinds of people with different interests and demographics. No more complaining that Twitter’s audience is too tech-savvy blah blah blah. Same goes for Facebook.

2. Use your own branded URL shortener
URL shorteners like tinyurl and bit.ly are commonly used for Twitter and Facebook status updates to save space and track clicks. If you’re linking to your own site, however, this is less than ideal because you’re missing out on a great branding opportunity. How are people supposed to know what’s behind that bit.ly URL? This becomes even more important when status updates are integrated into the search results.

The solution? Use your own URL shortener hosted on your domain. Sure you might lose out on some characters, but in my opinion the branding exposure of having your full domain displayed is worth it. Check out this article for instructions on how to set it up for your blog: How To Easily Create Your Own URL Shortener With WordPress.

In Bing’s initial Twitter search demo, the source domain is shown in parentheses next to the shortened URL. Still, my guess is that having your own domain name in the clickable text of the URL is more effective for showing off your site.

For example, which of the links below do you think is better?

bing-twitter-links

3. Do extensive keyword research for your updates
Much like SEO for your web pages, keyword research will be integral for optimizing your tweets and status updates to get them to rank in the search results. Are you using the best variation of your keyword with the highest search frequency? What other related topics and keywords can you include to maximize the search visibility of your updates? You’ll find the answers to those questions in your keyword research.

Use the Google Keyword Tool to look into top keywords you’d like to rank for. Then use them often in your updates. This research might seem like overkill to write a 140 character message, but the subsequent exposure and visits to your site can make it worthwhile.

4. Write about hot topics and trends
In addition to keyword research, stay on top of the hottest trends related to your niche and write about them on Twitter and Facebook. If you have an authority account (more on this later) and your messages rank for hot topics, you could get a lot of exposure.

Google Trends is a great tool for this purpose. For even more, take a look at my post: The 3 Biggest Sources for Uncovering Hot Topics & Trends Online

5. Avoid duplicate content
Search engines tend to devalue duplicate content in the rankings (i.e. web pages that have the same or similar content to others on the web). That’s why as SEO’s we try to minimize duplicate content as much as possible. So why should status updates on Twitter and Facebook be any different?

In fact, the Twitter integration post on the Bing blog stated that “if a tweet is exactly the same as other Tweets, it will get ranked lower.” In other words, the ranking algorithms will favor the original source (by timestamp, or by account authority) when it encounters any duplicate messages.

So how do you avoid duplicate content with your Twitter and Facebook updates?

  • When re-tweeting updates, don’t just add “RT” to the beginning and repost. Instead, change it around a bit and add your own flavor. That way, your tweet or update is more likely to rank in the search engines (and avoid any duplicate content filters).
  • Don’t tie your Twitter account with your Facebook so that the same updates go to both (i.e. duplicate content). Instead, write unique messages on the two accounts so that they have the potential to rank in Bing.

6. Build up authority for your profiles so you can rank
How Google and Bing will rank the fire hose of information from Twitter and Facebook is still a question mark. However, it’s likely that the following factors will be heavily considered.

  • Relevance to queries
  • Quantity and quality of followers (i.e. account authority)
  • Quantity and quality of re-tweets for a specific update
  • Links to Twitter profile

I suspect that re-tweets will be the currency of Twittersphere, much like links are the currency of the web. Google and Bing will look at who’s retweeting who to determine which updates are the most important. Your best chance at ranking? Build up a Twitter profile with lots of followers and retweets. See my post: How to Harness the Power of Twitter in 4 Easy Steps

What’s even more interesting is how Google and Bing will use the data from Twitter and Facebook to influence the organic search listings, if at all. For example, now that Google is easily able to index the entire Twitter stream, what’s stopping them from using the links on Twitter as a quality signal for web pages? More on that in my next post…

What do you think about the Twitter/Facebook integration into the search results? Big opportunity for online publishers and business owners? Leave a comment with your thoughts and any other notable strategies you have in mind!

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Comments

25 Responses to “6 Crucial Steps to Prepare Yourself for the Twitter Facebook Real-Time Search Integration”

Harsh Agrawal on October 29th, 2009

Tweeting using my own URL shortener is in my to-do list and it is great for branding purpose, but again my domain name is long and tweets are limited to 140 characters ((*sigh*))

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

It’s a trade off really. Sacrifice about 10 characters, but get some more brand exposure. Personally I think it’s a good trade as long as your domain isn’t ridiculously long.

 
 
Donny Gamble on October 29th, 2009

This is an ever growing trend that will continue to grow for a while. Since a lot of people have access to these social media sites on their mobile phone, it allows them to literally stay involved with daily conversations every where they go

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

That’s a good point. Mobile plays a big factor in social media – and as the world gets more and more connected through wireless tools and gadgets, we should see usage of social sites increase even more.

 
 
Seamus Anthony on October 29th, 2009

There’s no denying that this is going to make a lot of difference to SE results. I think the point about RTs being “the currency” is spot on. As ever before (on and offline) it’s all a popularity contest.

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

The loudest in the room gets all the attention – and it works the same in business. Those who can market and promote the best (even though they don’t have the BEST stuff) will usually come out on top.

 
 
medXcentral (Jim) on October 30th, 2009

So… what happens to the syndication tools such as Ping.fm? They create duplicate posts on your various profiles. Any advice?

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

Hey Jim, I think tools like Ping.fm are fine. In fact, they’re good because it easily gets your message out to your audiences on the various different social sites.

When I mentioned duplicate content in this post, I was mainly taking the perspective of search engines (e.g. they won’t show a re-tweet over the original).

 
 
Nathalie Lussier on October 30th, 2009

Thanks for the link on how to create your own shortener via wordpress. I was actually quite curious because I’ve seen other people do it with short-ish domain names as well.

It’s very interesting how real time search might be changing everything all over again. I was just having a really in depth discussion about the “value” of tweets and FB, but now it changes all over again. 😉

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

Nathalie, glad I could point you to the URL shortener trick – let me know how it works out for you. The value of tweets and Facebook as a marketing channel will go up even more once the integration happens in the search engines.

 
 
Elizabeth on October 30th, 2009

It’s about time a search engine finally incorporated Facebook and Twitter! Thanks for the advice on making tweets and Facebook more searchable.

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

Yep, should be interesting how it all pans out, and how the integration will affect the overall population. Will the masses start using social media?

 
 
Gerald Weber on October 31st, 2009

I’ve always thought Twitter search would in some way be the future of search as you mentioned. So it looks like we are starting to see the beginning of that unfold. Very interesting and exciting if you ask me.

Online Geld Lenen on November 5th, 2009

Really exiting, but sometimes I doubt that the mainstream crowd is willing to accept Twitter-results in the SERPs.

But we will see how things evolve.

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

I’m interested in seeing how the mainstream crowd reacts to the Twitter results as well. It’s second nature for online people like us, but how will grandma handle it?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Peter Davies on November 5th, 2009

Some intersting points in there.

I have noticed in the past my Tweets coming high in Google so there is some real validity here.

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

Twitter profiles and individual tweets do tend to rank pretty favorably in Google. Soon, they’ll have their own little section in the search results.

 
 
Samantha on November 7th, 2009

Arrrgh! Just when you think you have SEO figured out something else comes along. So frustrating. I have noticed that twitter is showing up in my search results. LAME!! *sigh* seriously though I use twitter but don’t really understand it

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

Welcome to the world of SEO and Internet marketing – where everything changes in a heartbeat without notice. 🙂

 
 
Robert Phillips on November 9th, 2009

I admit that Real-Time Search Integration is great news for internet marketers since all the major search engines are going to follow the same after Bing. I was shocked reading this news in my tweets. I have read the entire blog, it is very interesting and I like the idea of having own branded URL shortner. I look forward to use this strategy in the near future. Thank you very much for keeping me informed.

Gyutae Park on November 11th, 2009

Hey, no problem, Robert. Glad I can help. The real-time search integration should be a good thing for marketers. It just means more opportunities for exposure in the search results.

 
 
Chris Peterson on December 21st, 2009

Amazing technique, I am absolutely agreed with you. I think re tweet and sending direct message is one of the most important tips in Twitter.

 
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