It’s been official for a while now. Tweets, likes, +1’s, and other social signal tidbits are now helping your website get found in the search results.
People, as the new buzz-phrase goes, are the new links. (If you don’t know why links are important for helping Google trust and promote your website, see our guest post on Jay Baer’s social media blog ConvinceandConvert.com).
But while social media and search are now becoming very close (see this article for a great overview of the evolution of search into social) there are still a few simple ways to make sure that every tweet helps to increase the visibility of your website in the search engines.
Here’s a checklist of 5 things that can really make your Twitter efforts work hard to spread the digital word about your business.
Yes, you hear right. That handy little service you use to shorten your links may in fact be robbing you of inbound links. Tweets, Google admitted, are now treated like mini-links. But there’s a problem. When most of us tweet using our URL shorteners (bit.ly, tinyurl.com, etc) our links are actually redirected giving the domain of the URL shortner the credit for your inbound link opposed to the source (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc).
So while Google might trust you, and the sites that you’re posting to, they might not trust your URL shortener. Matt Cutts, who is basically the Pope-like intermediary between the holy word of Google and us mortals, warned that if your URL shortener or 3rd party Twitter application is not ‘well-behaving,’ then Google will not count your tweets as links.
He never mentioned which ones (Google is secretive like that), but here is a list of some URL shorteners to use–and some to avoid:
URL shorteners services which likely Google DOES trust:
– TinyURL– frivilous– Is.gd– Goo.gl– cli.gs
URL shorteners services which likely Google DOES NOT trust:
– Tweetburner– Ht.ly– Fon.gs
Long story short? Don’t gamble on a new URL shortening service or 3rd party Twitter application as it probably hasn’t proven itself to Google yet. Our best advice is to stick with a major 3rd party Twitter application such as Bit.ly, HootSuite, and TweetDeck. These services have been around for a while now and have established trust with Google.
As your probably know, ‘anchor text’ is the descriptive text that you layer on top of your links. It helps search engines understand what your website or article is about. If you are given the chance, you want to have descriptive anchor text.
Let’s say I’m sending a tweet about my restaurant that was selected by the Tribune as one of the best dog-friendly restaurants in Chicago. I don’t want to say in the tweet: “Hey! We were mentioned in a blog post.” I want to give the search engines large unmistakable clues regarding the contents of my tweet. So be as descriptive as possible.
This makes it easier for search engines to figure out what your tweet is about, helping your website rank and come up for those keywords.
The moral? Integrate your tweets with your keyword strategy, using the anchor text of your tweets to reinforce the title keywords of the article or site you are trying to promote.
Before you can ever rank, Google needs to send one of its little search bots (spiders) to your site. These search bots analyze your new content and then assign a ranking. This is called getting your site ‘crawled.’ After ‘crawling’ your site, Google puts you into their vast library also referred to as an index.
A few studies have shown that tweets can help a page get crawled and put into the Google library faster. It goes without saying that the more powerful the Twitter account sending the tweets, the better. (Here’s an interesting study about how to use tweets to get your content indexed and ranked faster).
You don’t need to just promote your latest blog post via Twitter. Tweets can help push up a ton of other content as well.
Take videos, for example. Everyone is trying to get their blog posts pushed to the top of Google. But did you know that it’s much easier to get a high ranking for a video in Google?
Forrester conducted a study that showed it’s 53 times easier to get a video ranked in Google than a regular web page.
So the next time you think of spending 5 hours on a post that will sit at the bottom of the search results–why not spend 30 minutes creating a cool video?
Breaking industry news early in a blog post and then tweeting up a storm with the appropriate #hashtags is a great way to earn a traffic boost and easy ranking for your post.
Twitter is, and will continue to be, a force in real-time search results. That means, you should be vigilant on reporting breaking news in your industry as your tweets will be indexed fast and furious by Google. (‘index’ is the name Google has given to its library of results).
Building your online influence is becoming more and more important, especially when you can use that social clout on behalf of your blog and content marketing efforts.
Socialize, make new connections, and remember that the more digital buzz you can get going around your business–the better the chance that search engines will take note and promote your website to the top of the pile.
Don’t forget to follow One Net Marketing (@OneNetMarketing) for weekly posts and tips. One Net Marketing has generated over 180 million impressions from our search, social, and display campaigns for major clients.
If you are looking for help with a social media campaign, the One Net Marketing Social Media Team can set up with a free consultation.