Twitter, SEO & Search

October 5, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hey, Hey! Still with me? I know, today’s a long day. But buck up, kiddo!  We’ve got some good information for you. And this time we’re talking about TWITTER! Yey! Who doesn’t love the Twitter? On stage speaking we have Rae Hoffman, Tamar Weinberg, and Dan Zarrella.  I didn’t get Rae’s presentation ahead of time which means I actually have to keep up with her talking. Hmm, let’s hope her recent dental surgery will slow her down. HI, RAE!

Matt McGee is moderating and fumbling trying to get Dan’s presentation to pop up on the screen. But it’s a Windows machine so he’s lost. Poor Mac users.  See, once you switch you lose your brain.  How sad. ;)

Up first is Dan. He gets things loaded properly and bails out Matt.

Dan hears a lot of unicorns and rainbow stuff about how you should hug your customers, engage your customers, etc.  And it’s hard to disagree with that because the alternative is to say to punch your customers in the face. No one’s going to advocate that (well, except the one guy in the room who screamed, YES!). Dan likes to get beyond the rainbows with actual numbers.

Unicorns & Rainbows Myth:

Myth 1: Don’t call yourself a guru:  According to Dan, people who use the word “guru” in their profile have 100 more followers than the average account.  So maybe that’s not true.

Myth 2:  Ideas spread because they’re good: No, they don’t. There’s tons of good content that is ignored and tons of crap content that gets pushed. There’s something else pushing it.  He took Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and turned it upside down.  You need to have exposure, awareness and motivation.

  • Exposure: To get exposure on Twitter you need to increase your number of followers.  That’s not the only way to do it, but it’s a big one.  He used a few linguistic tools and found that as people refer to themselves, they have less followers.  So while “be yourself” is a good piece of advice, it won’t automatically lead to followers if you’re just talking about yourself.  He also found that negative remarks also prevent people from following you. People want to hear cool things.
  • Awareness: Once people follow you on Twitter, how do you make sure they see your tweets?  He took a look at CTR based on how many times people tweet.  He found that the more links you tweet, the smaller the clickthrough rate on those links. He calls that link fatigue.  Based on that math, NO ONE is clicking on ANY of my links. :)  He says to avoid link fatigue by slowing down with your tweets and giving them time to sink in.  Spy Tip: If you take someone else’s link and add a+ sign, you can see how many clicks their link got.
  • Motivation: People like sharing links.  Include links in your tweets.  He talks about social proof.  As more people take an action, we think that action is correct. The restaurant with the line out of the door is always the better restaurant. Or is it?  He tried that out with a RT button, staging one button to have a lot of tweets and another to have zero tweets and he found that social proof did NOT take effect. In fact, more people RT’d the content that had zero RTs.  Interesting.  He thinks it’s because people got to believe they were the one who found the content. It played to their ego to be the person to share it first.

Most ReTweeted Words & Phrases

  1. You
  2. Twitter
  3. Please
  4. Retweet
  5. Post
  6. Blog
  7. Social
  8. Free
  9. Media
  10. Help
  11. Please retweet
  12. great
  13. social media
  14. 10
  15. follow
  16. how to
  17. top
  18. blog post
  19. check out
  20. new blog post

Asking for retweets works, even if it makes you feel like a loser and gets you made fun of. So try it.

Least Retweetable Words

  1. game
  2. going
  3. haha
  4. lol
  5. but
  6. watching
  7. work
  8. home
  9. night
  10. bed
  11. well
  12. sleep
  13. gonna
  14. hey
  15. tomorrow
  16. tired
  17. some
  18. back
  19. bored
  20. listening

These words are boring. They’re not going to get retweeted. Self-reference stuff is super non-retweetable. Stop talking about yourself! [I talk about myself all the time and get RT so…you can do it, you just have to be funny.]

The best time to tweet to get retweeted is 4pm, that’s when the volume really hits.  Avoid the clutter.  He also looked at punctuation to see which are most retweetable — basically, they’re all retweetable, except for semi-colons. But that’s because no one knows how to use a semi-colon.  #grammarsnob

Next up is Rae.

Twitter and Link Building

Directs vs indirect link development: Twitter nofollows all their profile links and there’s no juice given to links that are tweeted. A direct link is obvious. When you email someone to link to your content and  they do, that’s an obvious link. Twitter is all about indirect links. You don’t know the  journalists/bloggers who follow you on Twitter.

Custom URL shorteners: Ensures links are 301 redirects – not 302s. Gives you full control over shortened links. What happens if the URL shortener you’re using suddenly gets out of business? You’ll lose all your links. It also helps to prevent/minimizes tweetjacking. You can create your own URL shortener.

How do you get indirect links? Find the media on Twitter.

Finding Journalists:

  • Directories like
  • [best of the three, says Rae]  You can click “follow all” to follow all the reporters from a particularly category.
  • Author profile/bio pages

How do you engage with journalists? Converse, don’t spam. Do NOT just send them your links. Treat it like a local networking event.  Being helpful means being remember.  If they tweet out a story, tell them why you found it interesting. Become a name that they recognize.   These strategies do take work, but they also work.  She has links from CNET, Engadget, etc.  You have to create a repertoire with people.

How Twitter Can Indirectly Help Your Rankings

Quality Signals

  • Query Deserves Freshness [Fresh from SMX:]
  • Toolbar data: You need the traffic to back up what your links are showing.
  • Additional traffic may help lower quality links have more “effect” overall.

Helpful in Indexing

  • Helps Google find new sites and pages faster
  • Quality Signals can help increase crawl volume and depth – You don’t need SEO to rank in Google

Capitalizing on Real Time Search

Real Time Search

  • Launched in December of 2009
  • Can appear for both generic keywords and brand keywords
  • Links are converted to anchor text [page title] when real time search shows in Google
  • Heed potential ORM implications (if they matter to you)

Chicken or the Egg?

  • Having your links spread on Twitter gives quality signals to Google that the content is important
  • Google shows the link in real time results on its specified topic
  • You get more traffic from Google, that feeds Google additional quality signals which can help rankings in “regular” search.

Is Twitter Worth The Effort?

Yes if you want more links, authority links, media attention, faster and deeper indexing, branding control, etc.    Basically, the answer is just a big yes.

Next up is Tamar to share some case studies about companies using Twitter successfully.

Benefits of Twitter

Link all other social media platforms:

  • Traffic
  • Links
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Conversation
  • Conversions
  • Thought Leadership

Companies that have done it right:

Case Study 1 – MoonFruit: Gave away 10 MacBook Pros for the most creative tweets of @moonfruit followers whose tweets included the #moonfruit hashtag.  They really encouraged creativity.  There were thousands of submissions.  It started on Twitter and percolated (good word) to the rest of the Web. There are more than 2,000 video entries submitted to the content.  Even full Web sites were submitted.  That’s how desperate people were for a MacBook.  Dude, just buy one. Really.  She shows that moonfruit eclipsed Wimbeldeon in people talking about it.

Engagement Stats

  • There were 55 tweets per minute, 55,000 tweets a week.
  • 60 hours in the trending topics, beat out Michael Jackson when he passed away
  • People want to know a little more about MoonFruit…to the tune of 400,000 new visits to their Web site.
  • US traffic up 1,000 percent, peaking at 1300 percent

Campaign Outcome

  • 3.5x increase in product usage
  • 20 percent increase in subscribers that month
  • Page 4 to Page 1 SEO benefit
  • Brand and non-brand search visits up 100 percent
  • Thousands of $$ of PR benefits with huge coverage
  • Huge global reach
  • And copycat campaigns from Dell, Bing and TechCrunch, among others

Case Study 2 – Oh! Nuts

  • Retweet with a product name + URL in the form of a contest with giveaways.
  • 2,000 clicks to the link used for sharing
  • Search ranking increased from 5 to 2
  • Google traffic increased 22 percent

You can do something small and just target your niche comment. It will still move your results.  Small business owners can get involved here.

Case Study 3 – Namecheap

  • They have ongoing trivia contests
  • Over 2000 percent increase in Twitter followers
  • 20 percent increase in new domain name registrations – recurring!
  • More than 100 links per contest pointing to the Web page


  • Creativity rules the space
  • Share content of value
  • Build momentum among other community players
  • Big freebies almost beg for participation


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