Google and Twitter struck an agreement last week that means more tweets could potentially reappear in Google search results. The deal provides a wealth of new content (i.e. a live stream of every tweet) for Google and a ton of promotion for Twitter, but what might it mean for SEO? This could be an opportunity to get more search engine exposure, but how do you make sure your tweets show up? It’s too early to tell for sure, but SEOs haven’t been working with Google algorithms all these years for nothing. Get a jump start on the action by applying solid SEO-based content rules to your tweets, and boosting your Twitter authority.
It remains to be seen how tweets may appear in search results as a result of this deal, but it stands to reason that Google isn’t going to throw out decades of algorithm updates and big data insights for Twitter. Here are three SEO rules for content that can still apply to 140 characters: 1 – Use Keywords for Google AND Users Make sure a primary keyword appears in your tweet, but just once — twice if you have to. (With only 140 characters to work with, “stuffing” keywords takes on new meaning!) Use synonyms and related keywords as much as possible. As you’re conducting and refining user intent research for your other content, scale it down into bite-sized tweets as well. Draft and schedule tweets that answer informational and transactional queries, that speak to your different personas at different stages of their buying journey. (But never, ever at the expense of your audience’s user experience. Ever.)
You’re probably already using links in your tweets, right? And curating more content than you are self-promoting, right? Good. Moving on …
Yes, it cuts into the precious character count, but users like images, which means Google likes images. Twitter’s own research found that images encourage retweets — providing a 35% boost — more than any other tweet element (like videos, hashtags, or numbers). Assuming Google will display the images on their SERPs, it will also help your tweet stand out from others on Google’s page.
Matt Cutts and the Google team have previously denied that social signals — like the size of a user’s Twitter profile — have any bearing in search results, but that was post Google+. Back in 2010, when Google was looking at tweets as content, social signals did contribute to authority and rank, so with Twitter primed as a content provider for Google again, authority may be back. How do you improve your authority on Twitter? Engage and promote.
If you’re not already, it’s time to dedicate a small chunk of your daily routine to actually participating in the community on Twitter. Follow new users, retweet good content, ask and answer questions, thank new followers and users who retweet your stuff. Hang out and develop relationships.
If you tweet and no one sees it, are you actually a thought-leader? Post that little bird icon and/or a text link everywhere — your website, your personal landing page, your email footer, etc. Tell people why they should follow you. What kind of content do you share on Twitter, and why do they need to see it? Boosting your Twitter authority is well worth the effort even if Google has a strategy for selecting tweets that doesn’t involve some kind of Twitter clout rating. First, your brand deserves a better audience anyway. Secondly, if tweets start appearing near the top of a Google SERP, those organic rankings are going to be pushed even further down — one more reason to be building your own audience now.
Time will tell how tweets will show up on Google SERPs, or how Google will choose from the roughly 350,000 tweets that are sent every minute. Get a jump start on the competition and the updates by making sure your Twitter profile is complete and active, and that your 140-character content is strategically designed for Google and users.