"While Google has ended its Realtime Search deal with Twitter, search engines are still using social media sites for ranking purposes," says Jillian Stira at the Scholes Marketing blog.

And Twitter remains a critical part of your search strategy, she notes: "Twitter has pulled ahead of many other social media platforms, becoming a critical source for search engine optimization (SEO)."

Stira offers specific advice for making your Twitter account an SEO machine. Here are some key takeaways:

Choose your names with search engines in mind. When setting up an account, Twitter will ask for two names. The first is a real name—of you or your company—and you're allowed up to 20 characters; it's important to choose the name people will most likely search. The second is a username preceded by the @ symbol. You're limited to 15 characters here, so you might have to do some trimming. "If your company name is long," suggests Sitra, "consider using abbreviations, keeping the most relevant word whole."

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