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How to Improve the SEO Value of Your Twitter Account [Slide Show]

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Slide 2 of
110708-01. Find your target demographic

We have known for some time now, thanks to Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan's interview with Google and Bing, that they use Twitter as a ranking factor.

So, if you're wondering how to make a better Twitter profile and influence search-engine rankings, you have to make sure you keep your account in good shape.

Here are seven ways to improve the SEO value of your Twitter account and tweets.

1. Find your target demographic

If you don't target a specific demographic from which you hope to gain followers, your social connections will seem random and unfocused, which harms how your tweets rank when you post about certain subjects.

When you tweet about a subject unrelated to ones you usually post about, those tweets appear lower down on the list of recent tweets, hurting your influence (I rank much better for #SEO than #celebrity, for example).

By following and being followed by relevant Twitter accounts, you increase your account's influence, ranking, and SEO power.

110708-02. Write a bio to attract the right followers

2. Write a bio to attract the right followers

Once you have your demographic in mind, write your bio to appeal to that target audience; doing so increases the chance that the right type of people will follow you.

I've often clicked on Twitter's suggestions of whom to follow (those deemed similar to me), only to see an off-target bio that makes me question the user's relevance; ultimately, I don't follow that person. Had the user had a description that was in line with my target demographic, I would have been more likely to follow him or her (in hopes of a reciprocal follow, of course).

When you include some keywords in your bio that people can search for, they can find you and they can determine whether to follow you. So, if you want people to find and follow you for being an SEO and social media professional, for example, include those keywords in your bio.

If you want them to find and follow you for loving beer, or living in Houston, or for knowing "How to make money online," include the relevant phrase in your profile.

110708-03. Use Twitter lists

3. Use Twitter lists

People who know how to use Twitter want to be on lists; after all, lists help them gain Twitter influence and SEO potential. By creating lists, you show people they have the opportunity to be on your lists, and they will sometimes follow you in hopes of being included (sometimes they even ask directly).

The lists you make should be a product of your target demographic. For example, I have an "SEO" and a "Social Media" list because those are my industries and target audiences. I suggest naming your lists simply by using the keywords you want to rank for.

Updating those lists as you go along, or every week or so, is a good way to go. You don't want your lists to look outdated or unused.

110708-04. Do an audit of the people you follow

4. Do an audit of the people you follow

If you follow many more people than are following you, you'll harm your account's potential because most people will be less likely to follow you if they see lopsided numbers.

Also, lopsided numbers hurt the SEO potential of your account because to the search engines it looks like you benefit from others more than they benefit from you. Search engines "trust" someone who helps others more than they trust people who need the help.

In any event, why follow major Twitter users who have many more followers than follows? Many of them rarely post useful information and they tend to use Twitter mostly as a networking tool (and they are not networking with you or me).

Furthermore, it'll just add to your following list without getting you a reciprocal follow and could also clutter your timeline (stream of tweets by those you follow) with irrelevant posts.

110708-05. Follow accounts that everyone in your industry follows

5. Follow accounts that everyone in your industry follows

Twitter's suggestions are in part based on whom you follow and who they in turn follow. If you want your suggestions to work better, you need to follow some of the big-name accounts in your industry (for me, it's Google, seland, SEOmoz, Matt Cutts, etc.).

Though getting follows from those accounts can be difficult, they can be good sources of content and they make your social graph look more legitimate. Just make sure you do not overdo it by following too many who won't follow you back.

110708-06. Eliminate the Twitter spam following you

6. Eliminate the Twitter spam following you

Twitter spam hurts your follower list and can undermine your aspirations of having a high-powered Twitter account. Sure, the lofty follower numbers look nice (and the account pictures might look nice, too), but having spam accounts following you yields more bad than good. It clouds your social network and hurts your SEO and influence potential.

Watch out for people with no bio, picture, or tweets, or people who are following many more people than are following them.

Also, Twitter accounts that are tweeting only (or mostly) about their company's products and services are unhelpful to you (unless, perhaps, they are relevant to your industry).

110708-07. Shorten your links yourself

7. Shorten your links yourself

There is nothing like seeing the power you have by viewing how many clicks your links get. Signing up for link shortening is free, and bitly.com comes with free basic metrics.

If you ever need to show numeric evidence of your influence (beyond followers), click data can be a great metric to show a client or to present on an interview. And considering it takes only a second to shorten a link, it is time worth taking.

* * *

Those are my tips for running a better Twitter account; did I miss something big? If so, list your strategies in the comments section. And if you found this article valuable, share it, especially on Twitter.

Slide 2 of 7

Daniel Rosenhaus is an Internet marketing professional with expertise in SEO and social media. He works for Flying Point Media, a search marketing agency in New York City.

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  • by Robin Bertelsen Fri Jul 8, 2011 via web

    Daniel, Thanks for the slide show. Now that Twitter's agreement with Google has ended there's no more "LiveStream" (http://mashable.com/2011/07/04/google-realtime-search-suspended/). Do you think that will impact Twitter's SEO influence?

  • by Barb Chamberlain Fri Jul 8, 2011 via web

    What do you think about the value of good #FF tweets that include keywords as well as account names? A tweet that explains why you should follow someone is better than the strings of account names anyway, so it's of more actual value to your followers, and it associates your Twitter handle with the keywords.

    @BarbChamberlain

  • by Ramiro Rodriguez Fri Jul 8, 2011 via web

    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I always feel smarter when I read MarketingProfs articles. I'm glad you're in my inbox! Now I have to go fix my Twitter account.

  • by @Jzbrm Sun Jul 10, 2011 via web

    Some random thoughts:
    1. Twitter is for me or I am for twitter?
    2. Should I really focus and 'engineer' increase in my followship?
    3. Should I manipulate my thinking to ensure healthy number of followers i.e. not writing what I like but which would be liked by my followers. Shoud I become enslaved by my followers?
    3. What is my intent of using twitter? strictly business, leisure, social chit chat, community networking, book marking, promotion
    4. Have i started living my life on twitter or FB ignoring my family, friends out of twitterverse? Are they still tools or have become goals?

  • by Daniel Rosenhaus Sun Jul 10, 2011 via web

    Sorry for taking a while to get back to you guys.
    @ Robin, Even though there is no live stream, Twitter is still used for indexing URL's and it still does seem to be affecting rankings, so a good Twitter account still and will continue to have SEO benefit.

    @Barb, If you are providing value to your followers and gaining more targeted followers, I say, keep it going.

    @Ramiro, Glad to help. I'd love to hear about the changes you made.

  • by Michael Sun Jul 10, 2011 via web

    Thanks for sharing. I love the presentation for Twitter best practices. Using third party programs like Twellow are great resources for finding folks interested in your content and manage your followers including the "spam" accounts.

  • by Daniel | Propaganda House Sun Jul 10, 2011 via web

    Hey Dan, great piece there mate. I wasn't aware that having spam accounts following you affected your account - so you're saying that even if you're not following back, you should actively block these accounts from following you?

  • by Daniel Rosenhaus Mon Jul 11, 2011 via web

    @Michael, thanks for the compliment, I appreciate it.

    @Daniel, I can't say for sure that having spam following you is bad, even if you're not following back. But what I will say is, you want your followers to be focused and targeted and spam certainly is not. Plus, it isn't like they are going to click your links, Retweet or mention you anyway.

  • by David Ricketts Mon Jul 11, 2011 via web

    Hi Dan, great post mate. There are some facts posted that i didn't know. cheers.

  • by Barb Chamberlain Mon Jul 11, 2011 via web

    Some of the third-party ranking systems that evaluated your online/social media influence used to weigh the spam followers against you, it appeared. I don't whether they do for sure and they don't want to tell you what's in the secret sauce.

    I just automatically block any follower that spams because if we all did that, it would discourage them. Accounts that tweet nothing but @ messages w/a link & no text--particularly those with avatars showing impossibly attractive people--are an automatic block for me.

  • by Daniel Rosenhaus Mon Jul 11, 2011 via web

    @ David Ricketts, Thanks man! Glad to help.

    @Barb, I don't think anything online is hated as much as spam (except may be getting Rick Roll'd multiple times in one day). Therefore, it makes sense to weigh spam against you. And those "impossibly attractive people" are auto-blocks for me too. Though if one of those "mention only" Tweeters follow me, as long as it is targeted, I leave them be.

  • by Cathy Burrell Thu Jul 14, 2011 via web

    1st, I really do enjoy the format of these 'slideshow' articles. 2nd, You answered a lot of my questions about twitter...such as: "Why would someone be following me who hasn't tweeted even once?" I updated my profile the other day...glad I did!

  • by Daniel Rosenhaus Thu Jul 14, 2011 via web

    @ Cathy, Glad I could be of value to you and thank you for saying what you found most valuable.

  • by @iiiiiSAMiiiii Sun Dec 22, 2013 via web

    It's very helpfull instruction really!..
    Thank you

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