Using Twitter To Learn SEO

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Twitter isn’t just an interactive platform where everyone and their mother can go to speak their mind in 140-character chunks—it’s a powerful, dynamic tool that can be used for a variety of functions: as a communication tool, real-time news feed, trolling, you name it! For the sake of today’s piece, I’ll give some basic tips on how to use Twitter as a vehicle to learn about SEO. This 101 is for anyone who has either never used Twitter or is simply a dabbler.


At the time this post was written, Twitter reported 284 million monthly active users with more than 500 million Tweets being sent per day (unfortunately we have no real stat on how many accounts are fake or abandoned, but I digress). There’s a staggering amount of content and information being passed through that firehose. But, like most things in life, it’s not about consuming all the content, but the best content. The bigger the “signal” the higher likelihood there is for “noise.”

The Second Largest Search Engine Is Twitter (and you still don’t get it?)

Twitter Search Queries Up 33%, 24 Billion Searches Per Month (SearchEngineLand) – that’s pretty huge!  Just a few months ago they were up to 11 billion.  What a leap.  Why?  Well because Twitter isn’t going away; Google’s bringing it a lot more visibility, and it’s so easy when you give it a chance.  It’s a human run search engine.  Whether you go to, or search through any one of Twitter API powered apps or sites, you’re going to quickly find fresh results.

Last week at a friend’s party, a drunkard mumbled, “Twitter is for idiots.  Nobody cares what you’re doing!”  Well, I don’t get offended that easily.  But I wasn’t about to bother explaining – he clearly enjoyed his obstinance.  But what I could have told him is Twitter is only what you make of it.  It’s a connecting tool between friends (like a status update on Facebook), or a news aggregator (follow those who post nothing but up to the minute news).  Maybe it’s an entertainment tool?  I know I like to follow people that make me laugh every day.  Maybe it’s a customer service tool (@ComcastCares).  I practically IM my coworkers with DMs using ChromeBird.

Granted, the 24 billion searches are probably from Twitter power users, of which I am one.   I routinely search for content and links via Twitter.  I think Twitter is one of the most useful social properties on the web, hands down.  You get used to the 120 (oops – 140… thanks Jack… I was asleep at the wheel there) characters, I promise.  Besides, we all have short attention spans anyway.

Are you a power user too?  Follow me @bill_sebald

So the word now is that these searches are inflated.  Apparently sporadic API calls from all the apps (like my ChromeBird) that ping the search command are included in this announced total.  Well, yeah… technically that’s a search, but really Twitter?  A little deceptive to put the number out there without that caveat.  You still have an incredible achievement to be proud of.

Related: Small Business SEO Services

Real Time Search via Twitter… on Google?

Update: Since this post was written, many things have changed.  You don’t need this Greasemonkey script to see Tweets in Google’s search engine result pages.  It’s now baked in as a Google feature.  Here’s what Google’s Twitter powered real time search looks like.  Pretty smart move since Twitter is now the second largest search engine.


Oh Twitter, I love thee more than bourbon for breakfast (what?!?!).  Thanks to a cool new Greasemonkey script, I love you even more.  What is Greasemonkey?  Only the coolest Firefox plugin ever built by human hands.

I always like talking about the value of vertical and social searches.  There’s also a concept of ‘real time search‘ that I really like.  Twitter is essentially that – information is available to find immediately after it’s been posted, and the usual Google delay is history.  Is Twitter going to show the same results as our trusted friend Google?  No, certainly not.  But with thousands and thousands of Tweeters out there, you’re sure to find something pretty cutting edge for many of your queries.

So this new script for Greasemonkey creates a block for Twitter results, and I couldn’t be happier.  Best of both worlds if you ask me.

Pick up the script at

Real Time Search via Twitter… on Google?


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