Links Tweeted on Twitter Matter for SEO
It’s official. Google and Bing include social signals – namely, links that get tweeted on Twitter – when determining rankings in their search results. This was confirmed by Danny Sullivan in his December 1, 2010 post on Search Engine Land, and it was likely a factor for a while before that.
Getting people to link to your site is really all about having great content that people want to share, whether on their blogs or websites, or on Twitter. As Google and other search engines increasingly take note of social activity and the links shared on sites like Twitter, having a good social media presence will become increasingly important for ranking well in search results.
Many companies have been employing social media as a part of their marketing strategy, and for good reason. Now that social activity has so much impact on search engine optimization (SEO), companies that take SEO seriously know they must use social media as part of their strategy for getting onto the first page of search results.
Note for those who are not familiar with Twitter: “tweets” are the 140-character (or less) messages that people post on Twitter. Twitter offers help for new users on its site.
How Can I Use Twitter To Help My SEO?
The ways of search engines are mysterious, and people are always trying to figure out which specific tactics will help more than others. But just as we know that other ranking factors are considered in light of giving searchers the best information for their queries, you can bet that search engines will elevate the best content on the social networks – especially the content that’s shared by real people who have influence.
Based on case studies, the more quantity and quality of tweets that link to your website, the more of a lift you can expect to see in your search engine rankings for the linked-to page or pages.
#1 Mind the Text
When you tweet a link, it’s likely that search engines use the text you enter to determine what your link is about. It’s very similar to the way that search engines regard anchor text on web pages – the text on which a link is built tells the engines what the linked page is about. This in turn can help the linked page rank better for the keywords contained in the anchor text.
#2 Who Says?
Who links to you on Twitter matters. You probably know already that it’s more beneficial if influential tweeple – “people” in Twitter-speak – tweet about you, or retweet your tweets, because they will reach a wider audience. The same is true for the SEO value of Twitter. Google and Bing both say they look at the author’s authority or quality when evaluating links that appear in tweets.
The search engines are mum on how they determine author quality, but here are some indicators of authority that SEO experts think search engines consider:
*Presence of an avatar or portrait. Spam accounts often don’t have one.
*Has the account been verified? Did the person confirm their email address? (People can’t see this, but Twitter has this information, and the search engines may be able to get it.)
*Quality followers. (This means people who follow someone for a good reason – NOT purchased followers!)
*Ratio of following to followers.
*It may be better if the URL in someone’s profile doesn’t match domain they’re tweeting about, because then it’s certain the person isn’t engaging in self-promotíon.
*Twitter handles that don’t have numbers. (Many spam accounts on Twitter have user names like Name8765.)
*A bio with complete information.
*Engagement. (Accounts that don’t ever reply to other people certainly seem spam-y to me.)
*Included in lists created by quality tweeple.
*The PageRank of a Twitter profile.
Think of it this way, who would you rather have link to your website?
The idea of author quality is much like PageRank for web pages. If a web page has 100 links, each from a different page with a PageRank of 0, they probably provide the same SEO value as a single link from a web page with a high PageRank. A link tweeted by a respected and well-followed person on Twitter will be worth more – both for your reputation and your SEO – than 100 tweets from spam-y bot accounts.
Something to keep in mind is that using bots or cheap labor to create a ton of Twitter accounts and tweet links to your site would be nothing but a spam-y waste of time and money. You won’t get any SEO value, and you could be identified as a cause of Twitter spam.
If you notice a spam-y Twitter account, click “report [username] for spam”.
What Can I Do To Encourage Tweets and Links?
1. This should be pretty obvious – I hope. Create great content that people will want to share.
2. Make it easy for people to tweet and share your content. Consider including a Twitter button, a call to action, or some simple way for people to share a link to your website.
3. Engage with your followers and attract new, quality ones. See our Twitter Marketing 101 article for guidance.
4. Keep tabs on who has mentioned or linked to you and thank them. You can also ask them to link to the newest thing you’ve created.