Yes Virginia, Tweeting is SEO – SMX Advanced
The social signals are brewing in Seattle with the session ‘Yes Virginia, Tweeting is SEO’ powered by an expert panel poised to reveal the secret SEO sauce of Twitter.
Danny Sullivan takes the Twitter stage expressing hopes this will be the last SMX session with this type of name. It seems by now, SEOs should have a group hug with the social media team and come to terms that the social signals of Twitter do have a direct SEO impact.
Yes, Google is picking up the social signals from Tweets and what does this all mean? For those who still think Twitter is a waste of time (and those who want to learn more SEO Tweet juice) let the SEO Tweeting begin.
Tweets are impacting how regular search results rank. What exactly is Good “Twitter Bait” and how can it be an easily gained source of relevant links? Let’s see.
First up is Michael Hayward, @ROI_labs CEO, ROI Labs who shared the process of making the decision to use Twitter at a global hotel Four Seasons. Some of the obvious (and not so obvious) challenges included developing a Twitter strategy and identifying what exactly a big brand like Four Seasons can accomplish by using Twitter.
The luxury hotel looked at Twitter for lead generation, customer service monitoring, reputation management and promotional messaging during the Twitter discovery period. All that seemed to deliver some results, but the ROI did not make sense notes Hayward.
The biggest challenge the hotel chain faced was trying to reach customers during the buying cycle and figuring out how to accomplish this. Another challenge came from an internal fight for home page space; all the department heads wanted to promote their new content (new menus, spa announcements, concierge news) on the hotel’s home page, which resulted in home page overload.
The timing of the Four Seasons launching a new online magazine with the search for a Twitter strategy resulted in a plan combining the best of both worlds: online magazine content and Social Media. Four Seasons created search friendly content combined with an editorial calendar of tweets to make every department happy and the ultimate bonus: increase traffic to Four Seasons’ website by 50% in volume.
SEO Twitter Tips to Follow shared by Four Seasons
- Create an online magazine designed with the search engines in mind
- Use an online magazine as part of the SEO strategy
- Develop optimized content/stories
- Use Twitter to point back to and promote these stories with links
- Create a branded eco-system of Twitter accounts that included 85 different Four Seasons’ accounts – all could follow, interact and RT each other
- Use a custom link shortener to achieve deep links into magazine content
- Create an editorial calendar planned out one year in advance that includes tweets on online magazine content, press releases, events, etc
- Focus on keyword rich words such as “concierge” to trigger interest in buying categories
- SEO Secret Sauce Tip for Twitter: ‘Did you know?’ category of Tweets generate the most RTs for the Four Seasons; Tweet example: Did you know the chef grows his own basil in our own herb garden.
The bottom line says Hayward; search came to the rescue in the form of Tweets driving social signals to Google via optimized magazine’s content. Creating an eco-system designed around search and using Twitter as part of it resulted in page one-search results for non-travel keywords. Last but not least the ROI was an increase of +50% in search volume. Not a bad number for a day in the life of an SEO.
Next up to bat is digital and social media strategist Elle Shelley @elleshelley, VP Social Media, Zog Media who underlines her agency motto: Search, powered by Social and opens the session with a reminder:
What search was in 1998, is what social is today.
Shelley is clear she may not be an SEO pro, but makes an expert connection between search marketing and the power of social media with a splash of SEO.
Three Tips on How Twitter Triggers SEO
Tip 1: Integrate SEO and Social into a strategy
- Be organized
- Work backwards with content
- Sprinkle short and long tail keywords into tweets
Shelley refers to the social media/SEO cycles behind the marketing process:
Awareness – Consideration – Decision – Transaction – Advocacy
One word of caution: Tweets are not a silver bullet for SEO.
Tip 2: Branded Links
- Use a branded link
- Drives to website
- Link shorteners
- Link juice
- Spammers – use redirects – people are more apt to click on branded links
- Goo.gl or bit.ly
Tip 3: Be Social! (Come out of the SEO shell)
- While yes, SEO fundamentals do translate to Twitter; marketers still need to discover their social side and BE SOCIAL.
- High clout = high rankings; studies show if you interact with authority users and those with social influence, this will translate into higher rankings.
- Contextually relevant tweets. Just like in SEO, quality content is king and so is relevant content. Keep the tweets contextual and relevant.
Things to remember about Twitter
Low barriers to entry – meaning anyone can be on Twitter
Cost effective – meaning anyone can afford it
Supplement to current strategy – meaning it is not the silver bullet.
Community Manager Calling! Jennifer Lopez, @jennita Community Manager, SEOmoz actually stopped Tweeting long enough to talk about Twitter. This accomplishment was noted by @dannysillivan so it probably was a Twitpic moment. I love the name @jennita so much that I will break AP style and refer to her as just ‘jennita’ from this point forward.
Jennita asks the audience:
Are you of the social mind or the SEO mind? Only four social minds raise their hands (Ok, I’m one of them) and the rest are SEO (or would not admit to being social).
Jennita starts with the example of how one powerful tweet resulted in gaining significant search result rankings for non-branded keywords for SEOmoz.
Ranks for ‘Beginners Guide’ – SEO Beginners Guide Tweet – #2 in search results
The more qualified results = the more qualified traffic.
Jennita’s Tweet SEO Tips
- SEO minds wake up, start thinking about social – optimize (need more help? See the SEO periodic table)
- Learn the Science of RT – studies show the best times and words to use in for RT. For example using the words: ‘New blog post” in a tweet garners a boost in RT.
- Show the social peeps the data- so they understand. Help them help you
- Look up hashtags
- Tweet using keywords
- Twubs is a cool tool to look up performing hashtag alternatives
- #socialmedia or #sm
- #seo or #SEOs
Jennita Secret SEO Sauce
1. Make sharing on the website easy
Buttons, widgets, sharing urls
2. Show them the data
Sharedcount.com – all data at glance
3. How can the Social and SEO minds meld
- Talk to each other
- Share data
- Exchange tools
Coming from a not-so-distant space, Sean Percival Vice President, Online Marketing at Myspace finishes the session strong talking about the advantages of social flow and celebrity authority.
- Publishing queue
- RSS publishing
- Timing optimization
- Keyword data
Percival reinforced that timing is everything, especially with Tweets. He suggested to look at timing of Tweets and adjust. Ask the question: When will you get the best results on the tweets? Take action.
- Working with talent
- Partnership vs paid
How to work with a celebrity? Easy: Show them the money!
Percival notes that a ‘celebrity’ could be just the authority in your field does not need to be Kim Kardashian
On a Social Flow side note: – @dannysullivan uses Social Flow for Search Engine Land and reminds us:
- If someone does not see your tweet in the first hour, it will not be seen.
- Putting out a second Tweet– gives the tweet a second chance.
- Tweeting a second time, a few hours later, 50% increase in twitter traffic.
Here’s the final SEO tweet, ending with the moderator:
Yes Virginia, Tweeting is SEO and SEO is Tweeting.