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May 29, 2011

How To Use Twitter for SEO

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Links Tweeted on Twitter Matter for SEO

It’s official. Google and Bing include social signals – namely, links that get tweeted on Twitter – when determining rankings in their search results. This was confirmed by Danny Sullivan in his December 1, 2010 post on Search Engine Land, and it was likely a factor for a while before that.

To put this new factor in perspective, Google uses hundreds of signals to determine how it should rank a website. These include inbound links to the site, the title tag of a web page, and site speed.

Getting people to link to your site is really all about having great content that people want to share, whether on their blogs or websites, or on Twitter. As Google and other search engines increasingly take note of social activity and the links shared on sites like Twitter, having a good social media presence will become increasingly important for ranking well in search results.

Many companies have been employing social media as a part of their marketing strategy, and for good reason. Now that social activity has so much impact on search engine optimization (SEO), companies that take SEO seriously know they must use social media as part of their strategy for getting onto the first page of search results.

Note for those who are not familiar with Twitter: “tweets” are the 140-character (or less) messages that people post on Twitter. Twitter offers help for new users on its site.

How Can I Use Twitter To Help My SEO?

The ways of search engines are mysterious, and people are always trying to figure out which specific tactics will help more than others. But just as we know that other ranking factors are considered in light of giving searchers the best information for their queries, you can bet that search engines will elevate the best content on the social networks – especially the content that’s shared by real people who have influence.

Based on case studies, the more quantity and quality of tweets that link to your website, the more of a lift you can expect to see in your search engine rankings for the linked-to page or pages.

#1 Mind the Text

When you tweet a link, it’s likely that search engines use the text you enter to determine what your link is about. It’s very similar to the way that search engines regard anchor text on web pages – the text on which a link is built tells the engines what the linked page is about. This in turn can help the linked page rank better for the keywords contained in the anchor text.

#2 Who Says?

Who links to you on Twitter matters. You probably know already that it’s more beneficial if influential tweeple – “people” in Twitter-speak – tweet about you, or retweet your tweets, because they will reach a wider audience. The same is true for the SEO value of Twitter. Google and Bing both say they look at the author’s authority or quality when evaluating links that appear in tweets.

The search engines are mum on how they determine author quality, but here are some indicators of authority that SEO experts think search engines consider:

*Presence of an avatar or portrait. Spam accounts often don’t have one.

*Has the account been verified? Did the person confirm their email address? (People can’t see this, but Twitter has this information, and the search engines may be able to get it.)

*More followers.

*Quality followers. (This means people who follow someone for a good reason – NOT purchased followers!)

*Ratio of following to followers.

*It may be better if the URL in someone’s profile doesn’t match domain they’re tweeting about, because then it’s certain the person isn’t engaging in self-promotion.

*Twitter handles that don’t have numbers. (Many spam accounts on Twitter have user names like Name8765.)

*A bio with complete information.

*Engagement. (Accounts that never reply to other people certainly seem spam-y to me.)

*Included in lists created by quality tweeple.

*The PageRank of a Twitter profile

Think of it this way, who would you rather have link to your website?

The idea of author quality is much like PageRank for web pages. If a web page has 100 links, each from a different page with a PageRank of 0, they probably provide the same SEO value as a single link from a web page with a high PageRank. A link tweeted by a respected and well-followed person on Twitter will be worth more – both for your reputation and your SEO – than 100 tweets from spam-y bot accounts.

Something to keep in mind is that using bots or cheap labor to create a ton of Twitter accounts and tweet links to your site would be nothing but a spam-y waste of time and money. You won’t get any SEO value, and you could be identified as a cause of Twitter spam.

If you notice a spam-y Twitter account, click “report [username] for spam”.

What Can I Do To Encourage Tweets and Links?

1. This should be pretty obvious – I hope. Create great content that people will want to share.

2. Make it easy for people to tweet and share your content. Consider including a Twitter button, a call to action, or some simple way for people to share a link to your website.

3. Engage with your followers and attract new, quality ones. See our Twitter Marketing 101 article for guidance.

4. Keep tabs on who has mentioned or linked to you and thank them. You can also ask them to link to the newest thing you’ve created.

What Do We Know About Twitter and SEO?

Case Studies

The people at one website noticed the site suddenly ranked on the first page for a particular keyword right after the site was linked to by a prominent Twitter account – one with more than 350,000 followers – and that tweet was retweeted more than 100 times.

In a recent experiment, people were asked to link to one page from their website, or tweet a link to another page. The results so far? The page that was linked in 522 tweets outranked the page that was linked 646 times across 36 different websites. It showed up as the first result for a specific
keyword search.

Points of Order

*Search engines take note of public Twitter accounts only. If you see the lock symbol, and you have to request to follow someone, their tweets won’t help anyone’s SEO.

*Websites still matter. You must continue to build good backlinks to your website to guide more people to your site and rank well in search. Links from Twitter are a new tool to help your SEO, but they can only do so much.

*Links from Twitter are still NoFollow. That’s because Twitter can’t possibly monitor them all, and judge which ones should be followed – that is, confer some link juice. However, when search engines look at the entire stream of public tweets to evaluate what’s being discussed, there are no rel=nofollow tags present on those links. Search expert Danny Sullivan believes that means links in Twitter do carry some weight, and help the links rank.

*Google and Bing look at links on Facebook, but they can only do so in profiles that have their status updates set as public. Most people have their Facebook accounts set to be private (the opposite is true of Twitter), so search engines see mostly just the information that’s on public business pages.

What We Don’t Know

*How long will the SEO boost from Twitter links last? Most SEO experts believe the boost in rankings from a tweeted link diminishes over time. That’s because tweets are constantly replaced with new tweets, unlike a web page. So tweeted links don’t have the persistent presence of a link on a web page.

*If you’re going to get X amount of tweets linking to a given page, is it better if they’re retweets of the same content, or uniquely written tweets? Not enough is known about this yet, but people can certainly get tired of looking at the same tweet over and over again in Twitter feed. That’s not going to help you get more clicks.

I expect that we’ll know more about Twitter for SEO as more information is gained from experiments and studies.

Taking note of social activity makes SEO and search engine algorithms more complicated than before, and hopefully better equipped to produce search results that really matter to people.

For website owners, it makes sense to think about earning links in the social networks, as well as on websites and blogs. Don’t leave the benefits of sharing on the social Web on the table.


Check out how your home page looks to search engines and people with the free Home Page Analysis. Want a deeper look at all your site’s pages? Try an AboutUs Site Report.

This article, originally published on AboutUs.org, was contributed by Kristina Weis of
AboutUs.org
.

Kristina is a community manager for AboutUs.org who talks with a lot of website owners who are trying to promote their business online. Have a question? Contact me. @KristinaWeis

33 Responses to “How To Use Twitter for SEO

    Good to know this! Thanx for that.

    avatar Shadab-document translation says:

    although i have been learning about how to do SEO through twitter and other social networks. they more the read the more i puzzle all these issue

    avatar Mike Beeson says:

    Great article. It’s been reported for some time that the search engines have been factoring-in Twitter activity for ranking purposes. As with so many elements of algorithms, these things all go into the pot – or so we’re told – to influence page rankings. Non-SEO specialists have to take it on trust – and hearsay – that these things are true. It makes sense in a social media world that sites and blogs that are tweeted-about frequently must have some kind of ‘authority’ among the online fraternity and so deserve their just rewards.

    avatar drupal web developer says:

    hi it is very good information about the twitter for the SEO because it try to increase the rank level link to the website thank you given more information

    avatar David says:

    Thanks for this great information. It’s especially good to know that the tweet comment tells the engines what the target link is about.

    Thanks so much for this information. I will do a trial myself and see how it changes my clients websites.

    Thanks again

    Jeff IMS

    avatar krunal dave says:

    yes jeff i also need to try for all clients

    avatar Asuradech says:

    I like this information. in detail is very good.
    Thank you.
    Twitter is good for my SEO.

    avatar Steve says:

    Great.
    I need to spend some time on using Twitter more for linking effort. I had planned to move away a bit from article marketing, so will spend the tiem on Twitter.

    Regards
    Steve

    avatar Yuichi says:

    I liked your article so I translated it into Japanese without your permission. This is the page of the translation.
    http://www.american-search-engine.com/TwitterSEO.html

    If you do not like my doing so, please let me know. I will take it down immediately.
    I do appreciate your understanding. Regards

    avatar Karan Dave says:

    really helpful information you can boost your web traffic enormously by using twitter and this techniques helps

    avatar Manoj says:

    Yup! It’s very informative; I like it’s so much. Thanks for sharing..

    Yes Twitter links matter in SEO. Thanks for posting a valuable article

    Hi,
    Yes, Twitter is such a powerful tool for SEO point of view. I have even heard that running a social media campaign on Twitter requires most qualified knowledge and tricks than any other media does and the results you get are really striking.

    Regards,
    Bliss

    avatar TV WATCHER says:

    O yes, I think Twitter can help to upgrade your site. SEO for your web project it is most important thing!

    This is the greatest post I have come across so far.I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog .I love your blog by the way, I am gonna have to add you to my list of watched blogs .Thank you for this very useful information. stored it.Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    avatar Lucian says:

    I will try to implement some ideas from this article altho I’m new to twitter. Thanks for the information.

    avatar Ozio Media says:

    This is some valuable information, some of which may be confusing to someone that is new to social media and SEO. The quality of the content you post means everything. Providing valuable content on your webpages or blog attracts visitors that are more likely to share the information you have put out there. Always post content that is up to date and relevant to your target audience.

    Great article, Google realy puts allot of weight on social mentions and tweets at this point so this is a very immportant elemt of SEO campaigns.

    avatar windows vps says:

    Twitter is a social networking website.
    There are millions of user profiles out there without avatars… Are they spammers?
    I don’t think.

    When we link our website with a profile with the intent of backlinking, SEs certainly consider its relevancy with your niche (as it does in regular cases).

    Bio with complete information contains target keywords and certainly mirror of your company which is important in your social network and it is unlikely to impact your rankings.

    Twitter is powerful. I am just beginning to embrace the power of this tool. SEO techniques keep changing and you have to stay on your toes to remain in the game.
    I enjoyed reading your perspective.

    Twitter mobile does not add nofollow on links. Is this true? If it is, this could be a good SEO opportunity.

    avatar isabellaeee88 says:

    This is super-cool. If you want to see what the most popular tweets about a subject are, take a look at http://labs.windward.net/ It provides avisual graph of the tweet trends against a word or phrase.

    avatar Vj says:

    really thanks man..before few mintutes In was searching about how to use twitter for SEO and many publishers have negative views for twitter…but after reading ur article I came to know about the importance of my twitter account and also some very useful points my you,I’m definetly going to follow them…
    a great thanks from my side…

    avatar Eric says:

    This is super-cool. If you want to see what the most popular tweets about a subject are, take a look at http://labs.windward.net/ It provides avisual graph of the tweet trends against a word or phrase.

    Use twitter is a useful tips.Good information about the use of effective twitter account. Video added a clear understanding that how to get a better ranking in twitter using the twitter.

    avatar Russ says:

    really helpful stuff Kristina. I think its time for me to get social!!

    avatar keresooptimalizalas kiskapu says:

    It’s very informative. Thanks for sharing..

    avatar SEO says:

    Great thanks for writing.

    avatar Cris Monde says:

    It’s been a year since you posted this, but still helpful and full of knowledge.

    I never before considered Twitter to help with SEO! I was always surprised when some of my tweets show up in my Google Alerts but now I know better.

    I guess I need to start tweeting more!

    Twitters been the last of the social media after facebook, linkedin – that I have considered I will have to get onto it.

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