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Using Twitter for SEO

Twitter is the talk of the town these days. Everyone is weighing in on Twitter’s business model and features like trends and search, and what they all mean for industry giants like Google and Facebook. In my opinion, there’s another important aspect to the Twitter question*: SEO.

Twitter is the next big thing in SEO techniques.

It’s actually very simple. Twitter is becoming a huge player on the web, and as such, it’s gaining more power and better ranking on SERPs. Anyone on Twitter can count on that to improve their own visibility.

Title Tags

With a relatively small change they made a few weeks ago, Twitter all but proved that they’re diving into the SEO game. Just a few weeks ago, Twitter’s <title> tags changed. Using my username as an example, the tags went from “Twitter / tjkelly” to “TJ Kelly Web Design (tjkelly) on Twitter.” Placing my “real name” and username first in the title scores big bonus points for my SEO efforts.

Analytics Evidence

I’ve already started to see evidence of this Twitter-victory (twitctory?) in my analytics. In the past few weeks, Twitter has jumped from near the bottom of my “Traffic Sources” list to the #4 spot (after “none”, behind Google and Facebook, interestingly enough) with about 10% of my visits coming in through Twitter.

A pretty substantial change, and it happened FAST. There could be any number of factors involved in this, but one of them is definitely Twitter’s search ranking success.

So what?

Users, businesses, organizations… whomever wants to capitalize on the Twitter-SEO opportunity, should take a few steps to improve their ‘Twitter-to-homepage’ conversion rates.

1) Include keywords in your “real name.”
I added “Web Design” after “TJ Kelly” so my keywords will appear with my name in the <title> tag. It also immediately tells visitors what your Twitter stream is likely to be about.

2) Make a “badge” or some other descriptive background for your Twitter profile.
Twitter won’t let you add CSS or HTML to your profile, but that doesn’t mean it can’t say anything about you. The one drawback: no clickable links. But, if your URL is listed along with some compelling info about you, the “Web” URL listed on your profile ought be just fine.

3) Add keywords to your “Bio.”
These probably won’t help searchers looking for “website design” find my Twitter profile. But it will tell visitors to my profile figure out what I do.

4) This one’s extra. Remove the “www” from your “More info URL” in Twitter’s “Settings” page.
Now visitors to my Twitter profile will see “http://tjkwebdesi…” Compare that to the alternative, “http://www.tjkweb…” For my money, the “www” is unnecessary anyway and removing it reveals more of my URL to the visitor. (Side note: I tried removing the “http://” too, but Twitter added it back in.)

Afterthoughts

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was recently fined by the NBA for using Twitter to criticize referees. In a response to the fine, Cuban twittered, “can’t say no one makes money from twitter now. the nba does.”

Twitter is awash in capital from a healthy pool of investors, to the tune of $20 million, according to Wired Magazine. Soon enough, they’ll storm the market with an ambitious business model and the user-base to support it.

* Not actually trademarked