Michelle Corsano recently published Test Tube Twitter (1) (2). In her blog she wrote about the three essential ingredients: strategy, content, and resources. In my first blog on Search Engine People I want to elaborate on using Twitter for your SEO strategy.

Indexing no-follow

Traffic Cop by Thomas Hawk.
Although Google explicitly states in their support centre that they do not follow no-follow links there has been a large debate on the internet if this is true. In 2007 Loren Baker made a nice post about how search engines treat no-follow links. In his blog you can see that Ask.com and Yahoo.com are less strict about no-follow links than Google is. Google claims not to index anything. This has been debated by Joseph Alvini who experienced with a sub domain page whether it got ranked or not only using the no-follow tag. The results were contradicting the argument of the Google support centre since the site got indexed after a short period in the Google search results. Even so, it is important to notice that no-follow links have power for several reasons:

  • No-follow links make your SEO campaign more natural;
  • No-follow links  contribute to the traffic of your website;
  • Other search engines make use of no-follow links.

Twitter and no-follow
Twitter has all its links attributed with a no-follow tag. However, the strength of Twitter is to reach an large audience by making use of micro-blogging. Through these micro-blogging everything can be shared, from movies, pictures, blogs, feelings, movements et cetera. For companies this means they can provide content, handle customer complaints and the like via Twitter. I think its important to deliver content via Twitter and also to join the interaction on Twitter, else you should see the movie Twouble with Twitter which depicts the negative effect of Twitter, namely that nobody is reading your tweets and people only tweet to tweet: I dont care what other people are doing every second of the day " no, neither do I, but we do want other people to know what we are doing, right?. The purpose of Twitter in order to contribute to your SEO campaign is that other people do watch your tweets and actually click on the link provided (and preferable retweet your  link to their followers).

Short urls and statistics

Important Statistics by johnbullas.
Recently many new sites provide short URLs with statistics. Google also launched its http://goo.gl/, and http://youtu.be.  Although I think the latter is not that short.. By making use of these short URLs you can add more text next to your micro-blog to make it more appealing for the followers to click on your link.

Links to tweet
Nowadays its easier to integrate all kind of activities with Twitter, e.g. Twitter synced with blogs via tweetmeme, Twitter synced with Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, Linkedin et cetera. The integration with other social media like Facebook and Linkedin is even more interesting for SEO campaigns because now their strategy can be integrated with twitter. The usage of twitter is more easy and its important to deliver content. Blogs, Youtube videos, pictures and the like are content that people are willing to share. By integrating Twitter with Facebook and Linkedin its even possible to get a greater audience to click on your links (and you also have more link locations). Ann Smartey recently published a blog stating blogging is a effective way to promote your brand.

Getting an audience

Audience by stijnbokhove.
The key ingredient for getting an audience is to deliver content and to enter the conversation. Interaction is important, however this is not the goal of SEO. Delivering content on the other hand can be the goal of SEO because this drives visitors to come and revisit your website. You need to get the content to the right people. Ways to do this is to start following influencing people and hope they follow you back. What also can be done is how Shurgard Self Storage started its twitter competition. More of these initiatives are take place lately on Twitter, like #fridayfreegift and the like. The key is to attract people that could be interested in your services and attract them with a free gift. Most people stay following you after the campaign and as a result you have your audience! Now all they need to do is click your links that you tweeted and preferable share your tweets by retweeting them.

Twitter can be integrated in your SEO campaign when your SEO strategy involves blogging and social media, i.e. delivering content. Twitter makes sure your SEO company gets more attention and increases the chance for word-of-mouth and thus extra attention (retweets and the like). The effect can improve by interacting more active on Twitter, but is not a necessary thing to do.