I have heard many people in business proffer the opinion that Twitter is a waste of time. Here is one very good reason why you should be using Twitter.
- Twitter posts get indexed by Google really really really quickly.
That in itself is not a compelling argument for Twitter. It is more of a nicety. Lets look at some of the objections people have about Twitter as a online marketing tool.
Objections to using Twitter for SEO
- Most people on Twitter are using automated tools. This is true. I hardly ever go into my Twitter account… but this blog post will be there!
- Most people who follow me are not relevant. We live in Ireland. We get followed by people all over the world. What good is that? Usually none at all. But there are also a huge number of sites scraping Twitter for the latest in any field. What we are looking at here is potential for links to be created as robots follow your shortened url and read your content. Mostly that ends up on spammy sites, but not always and sometimes the links can be helpful.
- Twitter uses nofollow attributes on the links. More than that they have to be shortened so that no keywords are visible in the link anyway. Well Shaun Anderson over at Hobo has noticed a quirk. Google are taking keywords from the original url before it is shortened. (or rather after it is shortened but before the nofollow is applied? Hold on this needs a section not a list number……
Google Is Reading Original URL’s from Twitter Posts!
That’s more like it! Shaun had set up Google alerts to look for “Hobo+Google”. The result he got back was a Twitter post that mentioned Google, but had no mention of Hobo in it. The only reference to Hobo was in the original url that had been shortened by bit.ly. Read the whole article here.
As I commented on Shauns blog post, it would not be the first time that Google has flirted with ignoring nofollow attributes on links. They have openly said that “link juice” will pass out off a site through a nofollow, but that it will not reach the link destination. More on that here.
What can Twitter do for my business?
I use Twitter as a tool to spread the content I create further. I do not like the idea of being on Twitter all day (I find that I get easily distracted by it and get nothing else done). As a business tool Twitter serves two purposes to my mind:
- Branding / Syndication: My message gets out further and with less effort. All those sites that repost Twitter tweets mean a VERY large audience if you have the right content. At worst it means some backlinks are created to your original content.
- Integration. Many services such as Linkedin allow you to use Twitter updates. It’s automated, so you don’t have to go dashing from one social media site to the next adding links every time you create some new content on your website. I worked for a recruitment agency. Every job got sent to Twitter (where there are services that allow you search for jobs), but also to every linkedin connection through status updates using Twitter. It makes sense.
Using “The Tweet Smell of Success” as a headline may have been overstating it a little. BUT. There is no hiding from the fact that Twitter is a very useful service for business – even if you don’t use Twitter in the way it was intended.