Twitter SEO – How to Optimize Your Website For Twitter Search

March 15, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

twitter seoA couple days ago I wrote about the 6 reasons why Twitter is the future of search. With social media and search fusing together, what does this mean for SEO? In other words, how do you optimize a site to perform well on a social “search engine” like Twitter?

In this article, my goal is to describe to you how the SEO game is changing and how you can most effectively take advantage of Twitter and its social conversation search features to increase your traffic and build your brand.

But before we dive into the tips, take a quick look at this article by Patrick Altoft entitled If Google did Twitter search. It does a great job of explaining how Twitter can improve its search algorithm and mimic the factors used by Google to determine the relevancy and authority of a page. Twitter has a tough road ahead, but with the right people and technology it definitely has the potential to be the “next big thing” and gain enough market share for certain social queries to put a dent in Google’s search business.

So SEO’s, how do you prepare for the social search revolution and optimize for Twitter? Below are some of the best things you can do now.

6 Tips to Optimize for Twitter Search

1. Keyword research is still important
As long as search engine optimization exists, keyword research will always be important. In optimizing anything for search online, understanding the language of your potential customers and audience is crucial. It will help you not only to improve your search traffic but also to tweak your marketing message and better relate to the people you are selling to.

That being said, tweeps (people on Twitter) are no different than searchers on Google. They use the language that they’re used to, both in their Twitter conversations and in search queries. Use tools like the Google Keyword Tool and Keyword Discovery to better understand the most common keywords and incorporate them into your own tweets and page copy.

The great thing about Twitter is that you can easily use it as a market research tool to better understand the people you’re targeting. Use the wealth of knowledge existing on the site to look into popular keywords and market needs. Then work to fulfill those needs, both on Twitter and on your own sites (i.e. look at the questions people in your target market are asking on Twitter).

2. Brand yourself and your Twitter profile
Branding is extremely important, in SEO and in social media. If you’re using Twitter as a business tool to reach out to more potential customers and increase your traffic, then you absolutely need to have a strong brand presence. Rather than using the same Twitter account to target various audiences, set up multiple identities and use them to cater to specific audiences. For example, don’t use the same account to tweet about both SEO and gardening. It just doesn’t work. Brand yourself and stand for something. Twitter search will eventually give more weight in the search results to Twitter users who talk mainly about the specific niche being searched for.

Being focused will also help you to stay consistent with your marketing message and get the attention of your target audience. This in turn will increase the chances of people following you and paying more attention to what you have to offer (more on this in the next section) – which means you get better rankings in Twitter search.

It also helps to customize your Twitter profile to be consistent with your brand image. Use a catchy background with all of your contact information and write a descriptive bio that includes your name, location, and website. For examples, check out the list top Twitter users.

3. Build relationships and get more followers
Google uses factors such as domain age and the quantity and quality of inbound links to determine the authority of a site. In the same way, Twitter will probably do something similar and give more trust to users who have been using the service longer and have more followers. Tweets of trusted users will likely receive a boost in the Twitter search results.

So what does that mean for you, a Twitter SEO? You need to build relationships with other people in your industry and build your Twitter audience by collecting more followers. Make connections with other people, online and off, through whatever channels you have access to (e.g. other social media sites, blogs, conferences, etc). SEO is quickly becoming more and more social and it’s not necessarily what you know anymore – it’s who you know. The people who are most-connected will rise to the top and get the majority of the attention.

If you want to build your Twitter audience fast you can start some sort of contest or promotion (like John Chow, Shoemoney, and even Namecheap). Just be aware that whenever you run these types of campaigns your followers won’t be very engaged with you because of you. A lot of them want the benefits and prizes but don’t care about you or what you have to say, at least in the beginning. The best way to do it is organically through real connections but promotions do give a good jolt to your numbers.

4. Add to the conversation and be engaging
As you may know, Twitter is a giant online conversation where millions of users exchange ideas and information. Since Twitter search pulls information from this enormous pool, it’s important that you add relevant content and links where appropriate using the keyword research insights you learned in step one. Sure, you only get 140 characters of space but that doesn’t mean you can’t pack a punch and gain attention. Spark up debate and conversation in your niche, answer questions, and add relevant content and advice whenever possible. Be an expert and an authority and engage with anyone and everyone. It will pay off.

5. Start viral marketing campaigns
Whereas inbound links represent “votes” for a page in Google Search, Twitter is likely to incorporate re-tweets (another Twitter user broadcasting your message to their own audience) into their algorithm to better understand the popularity of content. As a Twitter SEO, this means that you need to maximize the number of re-tweets of your content. Viral marketing becomes extremely important and in order to do well in Twitter search you need to have people talking about you and sharing your stuff on a regular basis.

Write interesting tweets and link to exceptional related articles to share with your audience. It might be a good idea to use other social sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon to find good articles you can easily share. Build up your profile and get re-tweets to your content, especially when you’re linking to your own site.

6. Add links and multimedia where appropriate & use Twitter as a marketing channel
A Twitter search returns tweets, so you may be asking what benefit you get from ranking highly with a 140 character message. The answer to that question is that by getting exposure in Twitter you add a big marketing channel to drive traffic back to your own site and increase conversions. You not only drive traffic to your site through links but you also establish your brand and develop relationships with potential customers – which means a big boost in your bottom line.

Twitter SEO is a lot like email marketing. Your first priority is to develop a solid relationship with
your followers by offering interesting and useful content. Once you have that in place you can add your own links and promotional marketing to drive sales.

What are you doing now to prepare for the social shift in search engines like Twitter? Anything else you can come up with to optimize your sites and brands in Twitter?  Leave a comment below and let us know!  And oh yeah, be sure to follow me on Twitter @gyutae.  🙂

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75 Responses to “Twitter SEO – How to Optimize Your Website For Twitter Search”

Franck Silvestre on March 16th, 2009

Thanks for a wonderful post, tips and insights on how to optimize a website for twitter search friendliness. 🙂 I have bookmarked these for future reference.

Gyutae Park on March 16th, 2009

Thanks Franck! Glad you found the post useful. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed as well for future articles.

 
 
Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach on March 16th, 2009

Very excellent points indeed! Don’t forget to build a Twelcome page as well to your site and use that as your homepage in your Twitter profile – giving Twitter visitors a personal welcome is a very friendly thing indeed.

Data points, Barbara

Gyutae Park on March 16th, 2009

Hey Barbara,
I didn’t think of using a custom welcome page for Twitter users. Good tip! Great for tracking purposes as well. Have you had good success with it?

 
 
Steve SEO UK on March 16th, 2009

Just to confirm in 1. Keyword research. Yes, this does work well. Using the most popular search terms (keyword phrases), I found, has created a far better response to my tweets.

Many thanks for a very well written and informative article.

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

Nice one, Steve. Although keyword research is the foundation of SEO, it’s still applicable to everything related to writing marketing copy and even tweets.

 
 
Make Money Online on March 16th, 2009

The twitter viral contest worked really well for shoemoney and JC. have witnessed their followers almost tripled since the contest!

Ben

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

Yeah, I saw that as well. Contests are definitely very effective. The only issue with something like that is that it’s very superficial. People aren’t necessarily following you because of you, they’re following because of the prizes. Of course, it’s a good hook to get people interested but you can’t expect a 100% retention rate of engaged followers.

 
 
Patricia on March 16th, 2009

Excellent points thank you – Twitter is the way forward let’s embrace it!

 
Are Morch on March 16th, 2009

Thanks for some awesome nuts & bolts tips here on how to optimize your blog/website better for Twitter search.

Some handy info here that I will adapt.

Article is bookmarked and will be tweeted 😉

Cheers…

 
Nick Stamoulis on March 16th, 2009

All those elements are very important and they will continue to be important as time moves forward. It takes a little of everything for things to work correctly in any of the social landscapes.

 
Sarah on March 16th, 2009

I am a Twitter addict. I started off for personal using my name but when I started a blog, I changed the name to my blog name.

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to use your personal account for business/blogging. It makes you more personable and better able to connect with your readers and followers.

 
 
JasonR on March 16th, 2009

Take a look at http://www.tweetizen.com – they seem to have integrated search and keywords #tags very neatly to filter tweets and create groups using twitter… what are your thoughts?

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

Pretty cool. I’ve never heard of Tweetizen but it looks promising. I use TweetDeck and I think it has a similar function for grouping using keyword tags.

 
 
Brent Nau on March 16th, 2009

Nice set of tips. Social search engines are the future of search.

 
Traffic Geyser on March 17th, 2009

Thanks for the great information about twitter, I have a twitter account but the problem is I don’t really know how to use it properly, but good thing I stumbled on your blog, you gave me a lot of ideas on how to use twitter.. thanks again buddy.

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

Glad I can help. The more you use it, the more ideas you’ll come up with for utilizing it as a marketing tool.

 
 
Mike Huang on March 17th, 2009

I guess the great thing about Twitter is the limited character cap, so it would have more keyword specific results.

 
manu on March 18th, 2009

good article, I also gave my opinion on this on my blog (http://manu-seo.com/2009/03/16/how-to-use-twitter/). I think we now need to go further into the use of twitter apps such as twitterfeed or twhirl.

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

Hey Manu,
I checked out your article and you have some pretty good tips on there as well. It’s crazy that Twitter now gets more traffic than most of the established news sites online.

One of the things that makes Twitter great is its API. Tools and apps can be built to extend functionality and customize for personal preferences and convenience.

 
 
Cleo Morgause on March 18th, 2009

Hi Gyutae Park, great article!
Can I to use your article in my blog? Its about twitter and some social medias and events in Belo Horizonte – Brazil.
Just referece, traduction is a duplicated content.. =/
Thanks a lot and congratulations!

Gyutae Park on March 18th, 2009

Thanks Cleo. You can reference the article on your own blog as long as you link back to this one.

Cleo Morgause on March 18th, 2009

Sure Park. Thanks a lot!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
seo companies on March 19th, 2009

You have suggest nice tips and tricks.thanks for sharing such a nice post.

 
Mrugesh on March 19th, 2009

Thanks for the great article. keep it up.

 
Listorbit on March 19th, 2009

Twitter is the best place to make your recent post popular and to get good hits.

 
Denver SEO - HighPoint on March 19th, 2009

Great article that touches all of the major points of using Twitter successfully. I think branding on Twitter is one of the most important aspects for business.

One additional point that I would recommend is using your Twitter followers to spark the viral push that is so desired. We’ve been experimenting with some different ways of getting re-tweets to see the effects on traffic.

What has worked really well is having a post re-tweeted multiple times throughout the day, rather than all at once. It seems to drive a more sustained traffic flow than an immediate push that hits all at once. Contacting your tweeps and letting them know that you have an important tweet coming and ask them to retweet it at intervals throughout. This of course requires followers whom you know and interact with, but it’s well worth the effort.

Got a couple more experiments in the works and I’ll let you know the results if interested.
Chris

Gyutae Park on March 23rd, 2009

Hey Chris,
Thanks for the tips. I followed a similar retweeting strategy and got pretty good results. Made it on the Delicious popular list a week after I published a post. It really goes to show you the power of Twitter, not only as a driver of SEO, but a viral marketing tool.

I’m definitely interested in the results of your experiments. Please drop me a line.

 
 
Joshua Milane on March 22nd, 2009

If this does go as stated, how long until the big G figures out that people with multiple accounts are retweeting themselves? Might not be as simple as it looks, but then again, at first… it might be. Best practice in SEO is always (IMO) to be standards compliant with your content and to be useful. Armies of retweeting companies wont be far behind, and it has a lot of potential for abuse, which I am sure G is already aware of. Nice article, though. You got me here. 🙂

Josh

Gyutae Park on March 23rd, 2009

Thanks Josh. Anything worthwhile or profitable will attract spammers and hackers who want to find loopholes and manipulate the system. That will always be true. We can only hope for better technology that will sort through these kinds of things.

 
 
Chris on March 29th, 2009

Thanks for this–twitter is pretty much all you see now on delicious and digg and other bookmark places. I’m starting to utilize it, but still haven’t really gotten the twitter bug.

 
Minnesota MLS on April 4th, 2009

I agree that Twitter can be a great platform to build my web exposure and I am very excited to see what the future holds. I have so much to learn. Thanks for sharing your knwoledge.

 

nice tips, be really I aspired after reads article about seo at this blog

 
Justin Brooke on April 12th, 2009

Thanks for sharing this post. With Twitter growing and growing, the challenge is for publishers to take advantage of the site.

 
diabetes on April 14th, 2009

there are many top bloogers success using twitter…include john,shoe…..that’s great sharing

 
Stop Dreaming Start Action on June 25th, 2009

I found that twitter username get index by google also, get index based on keyword at username.

 
Swanton F Fleming on July 4th, 2009

hey buddy.i m also trying to optimize my site for the twitter search.For this gathered more information over twitter applications.

 
John K on August 8th, 2009

it shouldn’t be too hard selling putting your keywords in a descrete manner. However SERP algorithm in most serach engines are sophisticated enough that over doing anything pretty much will be penalized these days. So beware not to just repeat the same keyword over and over again.

 
Janessa on August 24th, 2009
 
plumber inner west on September 10th, 2009

Cool! Wouldn’t mind reading more of this. You got some nice resources here – going to bookmark some of your pages. Thanks!

 
Ferdinand Felix Casantusan on September 15th, 2009

Excellent Tips. Anybody who’s on twitter got endless possibilities in reaching their audiences. Following these tips make a lot of difference, positively.

 
Peter on September 22nd, 2009

Useful tips and excellent context, I will both use and share this information. Thanks
I think you should also check for Twitter followers.

 
Motorbike club on October 1st, 2009

his is very nice!!! I’ve got it working in my “test” application! I do have one question tho…you mentioned on Maarten’s blog that you were having a problem with the MvcHandler returning a null everytime in the IsAccessibleToUser method…did you ever figure that out? I’m having the same issue. Thx for the great security utility, I don’t think I’d be as interested in MVC without it…

 
Torben Rick on October 15th, 2009

Thanks

Why is Twitter using rel”me”?

 
Tasha Palmer on October 21st, 2009

This is the first time I have been on your blog and I have to say this is a really good post. Thanks.

 
Alexsi on November 11th, 2009

Thanks Franck! Subscribe to the RSS feed, nice topic.

 
gerald | link company on December 15th, 2009

Thanks for the useful points. I really noticed that more than anything else, keyword is very powerful. It’s ability to make visitors notice and keep coming back for more makes it unique and necessary.

 
neha on December 21st, 2009

Really a great article to make us familiar about twitter. i’ll try this for my site:
http://www.moogle.in

 
fish on May 1st, 2010

I like what you had to say on Tips to Optimize for Twitter Search. I’ve haven’t yet tried to get traffic from targeted twitter searches.

 
Canton Homes on May 12th, 2010

Does anyone ever think you will rank on Twitter due to your Friend/Follw ratio? Maybe similiar to a page rank system?

 
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