Twitter Still Matters For SEO (Including Google)

Like this post?  Vote for it on inbound.org.

Twitter and SEO

Tweet for link love.  Tweet for the world.  Maybe Google isn’t into Twitter, but Twitter is still a great marketing platform that you can’t ignore.  

Here are a few reasons why you should keep Twitter part of your daily iMarketing Mix:

  • Link prospecting / link negotiation
  • Content inspiration
  • Brand Exposure / Mindshare
  • Referral Traffic (remember, Twitter has a search engine)

Link Prospecting / Link Negotiation

If you’re a link builder, you probably have some tools that you use to find relevant link partners.  Maybe Blogdash or Ontolo?  Maybe it’s just Google.  But by following and watching on Twitter, you can find some other authoritative authors.  You don’t even need to dig for their email – you have their Twitter handle.  Use Twitter daily to make some friends.  Find and talk to the cool kids in your industry.  Share and CC them on the relevant information you curate through Twitter.  If you’re awesome at what you do, and they’re awesome at what you do, you two can become mutual friends through Twitter.  

Expand the full conversation thread and start following anyone in the conversation who you think might be good to know.  Try FollowerWonk to search by the content in their bio – a lot of time Tweeters will add their area of expertise in their bio.  Create lists to organize them so you can listen to them without noise.  

In SEO, I have a lot of virtual friends through Twitter, some of which are pretty authoritative authors.  I’ve interacted with them so many times that we feel like we know each other at conventions when we finally meet face to face.  At any time I believe I could reach out to a few of them and ask for some links, some public support on an SEO project, or even a recommendation.  If Google starts to really value authorship markup the way I believe they will, having these brilliant authors as friends may come in handy.  You should use Twitter to start building a portfolio of your own, in your industry.

Content Inspiration

Got writer’s block?  Ask the Twitterverse.  Get their feelings on a topic, and write a solution or summary of the issues.  Ask them what they’d be interested in (but provide the relevant parameters).  Polling has been a great way for marketers to learn about their products and the needs of the public.  There’s no difference here – in content marketing you’re looking to create an article that satisfies a need.  In this case, your product is text.  

Twitter is a great way to learn about a niche that you may not be an expert in.  Example time – by using Twitter I learned about Jorts (a nickname for jean shorts).  Not only did I learn they are completely out of style and I look like an ass wearing them, but it was language my apparel client wasn’t even familiar with.  This term has 18,000 estimated US searches, and low competition – a pretty damn good section for a website.  

Brand Exposure / Mindshare

Brand exposure is a big deal. If you’re an authority on Twitter, and you’re pulling your brand with you through all your updates, you’re bringing awareness to your company.  No – this is not always measurable for ROI  Welcome to the fluffy side of digital marketing, where not all things are measurable.  Yeah, I said it.  

But by putting your brand out there and tying a human face to it, you can have discussions.  You can answer people’s questions (whether you were directly asked or not), or maybe even start a controversy.  You can inspire people to write content where you will hopefully get a link or shout-out.  Google will see these links.

You can ask your new Twitter friends and followers to help push out your brand and content.  Hell, I’m going to do it myself as soon as I hit publish.  Asking people to RT – especially if they respect what you do – can have a big reach.  Just don’t be a menace. Remember folks – there’s nothing wrong with asking for shares not only in Twitter, but Facebook, G+, Inbound.org <<< Hint Hint.

(Bonus, non-Google item) Referral Traffic

SEO doesn’t have to just mean Google and Bing.  Twitter has a search engine, and a lot of third-party apps use it as well.  The terms people use to search in Google are often the terms they used to search through Twitter.  By using these keywords in your tweets you have the likelihood of being served.  Will you probably get huge referring traffic by SEO’ing Twitter?  Probably not, but if you distill it down to a niche, you might get a decent amount of qualified referral traffic.

Now, off to trademark “iMarketing Mix” if it’s still available.

Has The Fuse Been Lit For A Vertical / Social Search Explosion?

“The search landscape is evolving” – sure, we hear that everyday in this industry, but when you log on to Google, it’s hard to drink the Kool-Aid.  I have to admit, I think I’m finally starting to feel the “hype” thanks to some inspiriting things from the Yahoo camp.  When Yahoo said they were going to “Open Up”, I didn’t think they’d kick the barn doors open this wide, this fast.  This is exciting.  On the heels of SearchMonkey, Yahoo recently announced BOSS, another component of their “Y!OS”, or Yahoo Open Strategy.   I think vertical / social engines are finally going to get their 15 minutes, and I couldn’t be happier. [...]

SEO is a waste? Depends on who you ask (and their agenda).

Mahalo is search engine that is ‘social'; in this case meaning, community edited. These means real people compile the index and earn $$$ while they’re at it. The best thing about this model is a SPAM free index. However, most of the results are pretty top-level and predictable if you’re searching a topic you’ve explored before. The results feel similiar to the Yahoo directory or DMOZ. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on your needs. Personally, I think it has a value, but not very often. I’ll use Malhalo if I’m intentionally looking for thin results for a less urgent query; it’s just that this kind of search is usually satisfied quickly enough with Google, even with the extra fluff I would get. I may have only used Malhalo 10 times in my life.

Jason Calacanis, pseudo-SEO and affiliate marketing champion, was a keynote speaker at SMX on April 22. Mr. Calacanis consistently stirs up controversy, gets SEOs talking, gets lots of notoriety, and ‘flame links’. On Bruce Clay’s blog, they quote Calacanis:

SEO is a wasted industry. You’re wasting your time fighting off ranking problems instead of creating great content. You’re just spinning your wheels hoping the Google gods won’t kick you out. It’s a bad way to live your life. Using a human service is a better way to go about it.

Calacanis also goes to speak about how many sites who hire SEOs don’t deserve to be ranked.

Strong words. Wow. SEOs are mad right now – tweets are flying, forums are flaring, and blogs are, well, blogging. I’ll be honest, I’m not as angry. Just looking at the statement above, I can’t say I totally disagree. Let’s look at it line by line.

  1. SEO is a wasted industry.
    Um. Uhhhh…. why am I defending him again? Ok, I admit – this is asinine. This is probably an intentionally crafted, sensationalized comment to get our attention. It worked! Jason vantage point is slightly obstructed by Malhalo I think.
  2. You’re wasting your time fighting off ranking problems instead of creating great content.
    Wasting my time? If it works, it’s for the forces of good, and it’s creating a good experience, it’s not wasting, but I do agree that creating relevant, user friendly content is paramount. I would always recommend content creation before 98% of the other tactics. That doesn’t mean I dismiss the other tactics. See my point?
  3. You’re just spinning your wheels hoping the Google gods won’t kick you out.
    Another ‘baby with the bathwater’ scenario; if we’re spinning our wheels then our tactics aren’t working. Lots of tactics don’t. Lots of SEOs sell tactics they know don’t yield big results. Is that Jason’s thought? Would Google kick us out because tactics are bad, and NOT content? Or because tactics don’t tend to rank well for very long. Not sure about this line – too ambivalent, let’s move on.
  4. It’s a bad way to live your life.
    Sure, If you’re shady.
  5. Using a human service is a better way to go about it.
    And… here’s the Malhalo pitch! Could a human service be better? Sure – if it were 10,000x’s larger, and all the workers could promise diversity, relevancy, and user experience. If it would only reach a growth of 5,000x’s larger, then maybe it could be at least as good/bad as algorithms are today. I think I’m going to hang my hope on the algorithms for now.