How To Use Twitter To Boost Your Google Rankings

Get An Active Twitter Account

This is clearly the first step and sounds very obvious – but many people will be disappointed to discover that simply opening an account and tweeting their own content doesn’t miraculously fire their pages up the rankings! Your Twitter account cannot exist in isolation if it’s going to achieve anything – so you need to connect with relevant friends and industry peers.

That means doing more than posting links to your own website. You need to enter conversations, respond to questions and queries, talk to customers who mention your brand, and interact.

It’s a social platform, it only works if you use it socially. On top of that, if you want other people to retweet your content, you’ll have more success if you’re being followed by relevant people – so make the effort in building those relationships.

Use Twitter Tools To Help With Promotion

I don’t mean the automated follow/unfollow tools – but look for the type of tools and ideas which can help to leverage your profile.

Examples of tools which have worked very well are those such as Twtpoll or Paywithatweet, where you are naturally generating retweets and @ mentions by adding value to your followers.

Connect With Contacts From Other Social Media Sites

There are so many social media websites available that it’s almost impossible to keep up-to-date with the different sets of connections we all have. Obviously, these each have different types of target audiences and you’re unlikely to want to become Facebook friends with everyone you talk to on Twitter – but what about LinkedIn, Foursquare, FriendFeed, Quora etc?

In my experience, most people are happy to share the same/very similar contacts across different social sites, it’s just not always that easy in practice. There are two ways which I’ve found are effective at managing this:

  1. Sometimes it’s just a simple job of importing LinkedIn contacts via Twitter, and then looking to export your other social media contacts into Gmail and importing from there.
  2. If you want to dig a bit deeper, I find that tools such as Flowtown are a great way of grouping shared connections across social sites and then you can make sure you are connected with all of those key influencers in the same place.

By doing this, you are connecting with people who you already know from other sites, so they are likely to be valuable followers on Twitter who can help to connect with when building your profile.

Run Twitter Competitions

One potentially valuable way of leveraging Twitter to help your SEO efforts is to run retweet competitions. This is where people retweet a comment – usually including a link to your website, in the hopes of winning a prize you’re offering.

It can be an effective way to build a high number of links and increase followers, so many companies, including national newspapers, are leaping on the bandwagon. But this may not work for long. Google moves fast and it will be developing techniques to assess the value of tweets rather than something as simple as just the number.

So, make use of Twitter competitions for now, but don’t rely on this as a long-term strategy, because it probably isn’t.

Create Quality Content, Conversations Follow

This is the simplest rule for most SEO strategies, but it’s also one of the hardest to pull off. If you want people to retweet your content and enhance your importance in Google’s eyes, then create valuable articles and tools that will make them want to link to it and share it with their own followers.

While shortcuts like competitions will provide a quick boost, the best way to use Twitter for SEO is to fill your site with quality content, whether it’s blog posts, widgets, fantastic discount vouchers or whatever attraction you can create. Of course, that works in the wider web too. SEO shortcuts aren’t the answer, quality content is.

Posting quality content will also encourage people to follow you. Building high numbers of followers will enhance your authority in Google’s eyes, meaning, any links you post will carry more weight.

Also, have a look at the top stories featured on the homepage of Tweetmeme to get an idea of the type of content which generally performs well on Twitter in terms of getting shared – and ask yourself if your content is something that you would retweet if it was someone else’s work?

Use Your Targeted Keywords

Just as you optimise your own website with the keywords you want to rank for, make sure your Twitter account is also optimised this way to add context around your tweets.

Add keywords and phrases to your Twitter bio and use them (naturally, mind!) in your tweets. Without that, Google may not know how relevant your tweets and retweets are.

Make Your Tweets Retweetable

This is a very simple Twitter rule that gets completely missed by so many corporate accounts. Aim to leave enough space for people to retweet your comments and links, and to leave comments of their own.

There are only 140 characters to play with, so it’s not that easy – but it is essential.

Otherwise, you risk people cutting off the link in order to make their comments, or even deciding not to make the effort to edit it down and not retweeting at all. That’s not much use to you and your website’s SEO in the long run.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | How To: Social Media Marketing | How To: Twitter | Search & Social

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About The Author: is founder and Managing Director of UK content marketing agency Quaturo. A highly respected blogger on search and social media, Kevin also speaks frequently at leading industry events. He can also be found on Twitter @kevgibbo.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://tjcrosetto.com John Crosetto

    “Add keywords and phrases to your Titter bio”
    hah, titter.

  • http://searchengineland.com Columns@

    ^fixed typo, John, thanks for catching!

  • http://tjcrosetto.com John Crosetto

    no prob, if you guys need an editor or anything…hahaha

  • http://mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    “One potentially valuable way of leveraging Twitter to help your SEO efforts is to run retweet competitions.”

    This doesn’t strike me as especially wise. If you’re trying to look like a real Twitter user, I would say: try using Twitter for real. Running a competition isn’t something that a normal Twitter user would do.

  • http://www.samsunmonu.wordpress.com Samuel Sunmonu

    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!

  • http://www.adventuresinsearch.com Elisabeth Osmeloski

    Matt, I respectfully (and slightly) disagree with you on that point.

    Perhaps it’s not as clear as it should be, but I think Kevin’s point is that if you’re new and trying to build an ‘authority following’, then a RT contest is potentially an effective way to do that quickly, but in addition to the other tweets you do as “a real Twitter user” – but I think he made it clear it’s also not the only strategy to employ.

    That said, here is an interesting article on how “Retweet To Win” Contests can damage a brand:
    http://memeburn.com/2010/09/retweet-to-win-and-how-it-damages-a-brand/

    But plenty of other legit Twitter contests and giveaways end up getting RT’s naturally too, for example, @Bing is running the Sundance Q&A giveaway to win a snowboard –

    Any contest, at a large enough scale, could generate links (not direct from twitter, but maybe in a write up about the contest on a 3rd party site) – that could affect SERPs in a positive manner.

  • http://www.JohnWEllis.com John Ellis

    Some good points here, but it’s walking a real fine line.

    “Add keywords and phrases to your Twitter bio and use them (naturally, mind!) in your tweets. Without that, Google may not know how relevant your tweets and retweets are.”
    – I hope Google is not judging quality, but quantity. If that’s the case, we just opened up a Pandora ’s Box of SEO “spammers”.

    I am also not a fan of tweet competitions and contest, especially multiple times. At minimal, it’s a desperate attempt to get noticed. At worst, it’s abusing the conversation space. It may not be against Google “rules” or Twitter “rules”, but it will be if it continues.

    Real people have conversations. Those conversations are not keyword-driven or contest-driven, they are conversational driven. Let’s not abuse Twitter like we have other tools in the past, until it dies a slow death.

  • http://www.adventuresinsearch.com Elisabeth Osmeloski

    @JohnWEllis – I understand where you’re coming from – and of course no one wants this abused –

    But if Google, Bing, or any other engine for that matter are going to seriously use social signals, then they’ve got to put some context around that right? “keywords” may appear in conversational context within tweets naturally as well as being seeded by marketers.

    And while this article is mostly focused on google rankings, let’s not totally ignore Twitter’s potential effect in Bing, from Danny’s original piece:

    ” In that firehose, links do not carry nofollow attributes — so there is some link credit that counts, in some cases. Bing tells me:

    We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.

    Google tells me:

    We use the data only in limited situations, not for all of general websearch.

    ##
    But do note that Google is downplaying the relevance of twittered links in this context.

  • Matt McGee

    Matt – there are lots of retweet competitions on Twitter from very “real” sites/sources. Major airlines, pro sports teams, Apple-related sites giving away Ipads, other media-type accounts looking for exposure — I think I just tried to win a free RT airfare from Orbitz by RTing them. Asking for retweets doesn’t equate to looking like a spammer … or it shouldn’t. :)

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    @mattcutts I agree with @mattmcgee. I have seen and participated in many “retweet” campaigns that had no commercial or marketing incentives (just “fannish” stuff).

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    @kevingibbons — You got some attention for this article but you may have killed another golden goose for people who were not abusing the privilege.

    This is the problem that pervades the SEO community: so many of you focus on and obsess over links you’ll throw anyone and anything under the bus in order to grab those links.

    And then you blog about it.

 

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