Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
How can Twitter affect your SEO, and how can you use Twitter to improve your SEO? And how does the creation of Gab, a rival to Twitter, affect your Twitter SEO strategy?
The most obvious way to use Twitter to improve your SEO is to send out links to your content to your Twitter followers. Those who read it will improve its rankings with the search engine, and social media sharing via re-Tweets could expand the readers beyond your immediate following. Make sure you make your Tweets retweetable to ensure this.
One of the benefits of Twitter is the ease with which you can reach your audience. For many, it is a way to build customer engagement and brand recognition. When people can send the CEO questions that are viewed by all, it is empowering and personal, all at once. When the CEO answers, they are seen by the public as being engaged with the user community.
One of the downsides of Twitter is the ease with which an argument spirals into a public feud viewed by thousands or more. So do use Twitter for customer engagement, but only if you can keep the brand’s image and the fact that it is all public in mind.
You need to claim your company name and/or brand name as a hash tag if only to prevent its use by others as a way to create negative associations with the company, brand and content related to it. Then you need to send things out with positive references to the company’s brand or name so that searches on the branded hash tag are positive.
You can improve the searchability of content on the company brand by adding the hash tag for the company or brand to the tags for the webpage and referencing it in the content, too.
Note that hash tags have the same role on Twitter as key words in SEO. And you should consider using key search terms in Tweets to improve their search results and targeting with users, aside from your branded hash tag.
You should consider setting up special hash tags for events and special product lines aside from the company and product branded hash tags. This lets you use just those hash tags for the special events or product lines without affecting the SEO of Tweets and content for your primary content.
Using the same user name and handle consistent across all social media profiles serves several purposes. First, it improves the ease by which someone finds your social media profiles on any platform where you have one. Second, the consistency helps identify pretenders. This is not as important as the verification badge on Twitter, but it does matter. Third, it improves the SEO of the social media accounts. Fourth, it improves the weight search engines give the brand because of this consistent branding across social media platforms.
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The artificial intelligences behind the search engines use repetition as confirmation that something is true, so using the same user name and handle gives all of them greater weight and authority in search results, and when the company name or brad name is part of the user name and handle, it increases the brand’s legitimacy with search engines, too.
In 2015, Google made many of the top Tweets searchable, and they are one of the most likely search results to come up in the top few lines of an instant answers query. You can improve the SEO of your Tweets and content by using targeted keywords in the Tweets with links to the content in the same messages.
You should also add key words and key search phrases to your Twitter bio, and then use them periodically. This helps Google know how relevant your Tweets are to specific queries.
Backlinks a la Twitter
We’ve already addressed using Twitter to share links to content and ideally create backlinks. Another location you should add backlinks is a link to social media profiles or company homepages in the Twitter profiles for the company and company leaders.
You should also use @mentions to reference people who gave you good press and show appreciation for those who forwarded your Tweets. It is a literal shout out when done on Twitter, versus a comment mentioning and/or thanking a user name on your Facebook page.
Don’t forget to add website links on your company’s social media accounts and home page to your Twitter profile. This improves the backlinking profile of the sites, and it gives the Twitter profile more credibility in the eyes of the search engine AI.
Looking at Twitter’s Potential for Brand Recognition
One often neglected opportunity for brand building is putting a great picture with the company logo or even an employee in a company uniform in the Twitter profile photo. You can also send out bity links to pictures of your employee at a new location, images of your new products or images submitted by customers of their newest purchase of your products.
Does Gab Force Me to Change My Twitter SEO Strategy?
Gab is a new social media platform that aims to take on Twitter. Its main benefits are the lack of censorship and novelty. And Twitter has seen its membership and profits decline since it doubled down on the liberally biased Trust and Safety Council censorship of conservatives and libertarians by nearly purging Twitter of conservatives after Trump’s election.
Yet Gab’s existence doesn’t negate the value of Twitter for SEO. First is the fact that Gab’s membership is a fraction of that of Twitter. Second is the near censorship of the Gab app, such as the Apple App Store rejecting it, though the Gab app is available on the Google Play store as of this writing. This means that Gab has very limited reach compared to Twitter and isn’t likely to grow very fast, though its adoption by groups censored by Twitter will be as fast as they can sign up. Gab’s long wait times for new user signups slows down its adoption.
Another factor to consider is the fact that Gab isn’t that different from Twitter. It allows longer “tweets” and more rich media. If you do adopt Gab, it should be in addition to your Twitter feed (unless you’ve been banned), not as a replacement for it. And if you do use the Gab app and want to use it to improve your SEO and brand recognition, all the advice above on hash tags, customer engagement and backlinks remain relevant.
If you use both social media platforms at the same time, reserve and dominate hash tags on Twitter before using them on Gab. Send links and Tweets out via Twitter to reach the broadest audience, then re-send or share via Gab. You can send links to your Tweets or direct links to the content via Gab and add rich media or longer snippets on Gab to maximize the potential of that tool. However, Gab is not in and of itself big enough to either rival Twitter or have much impact on your SEO unless you truly dominate that platform and lack any other channels to reach your audience.
At worst, you've doubled the number of references of your brand names and links. At best, you'll see wildfire sharing of your content to other sites by the Gab audience that feels neglected, reinforcing the mentions of your Tweets as they post links to your work or share your messages via other social media sites with similar impact on your SEO as a viral Tweet (and your Tweet can still go viral, too).