Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twitter SEO

Yesterday, Microsoft incorporated tweets into the search results on Bing using an API from Twitter. You can see it in action at Bing.com/Twitter. (Not to be outdone, Google quickly announced that it had struck a similar deal.)

Being the search geek that I am, my first thought when I heard about this was, "How can I get myself on the homepage?" After striking out on getting my picture on the Bing homepage, I was determined to reign victorious on this effort.

So I went to the Bing Twitter homepage and saw the trending topics at that time.

Twitter Search


















Paranormal Activity was the first one under the tag cloud so I tried using that as a keyword in my tweet... to no avail.

Twitter SEO












Then I noticed that the signal Bing seemed to be using was the link because the heading for the section is "Shared Links About Hottest Topics." So I tried again and included the specific link that appeared to be the trigger for which tweets it pulled through to the homepage. Again, no luck.

Bing Twitter SEO














So I decided to try another hot topic...

Microsoft Twitter SEO












And voila! See me there at the bottom?

Twitter Bing SEO






















Here's a closeup...

Twitter Microsoft SEO







Do I get a medal?

Twitter SEO #1













Implications for marketers:

Don't get all crazy with your Twitter SEO just yet. I can't imagine this Bing Twitter mash-up is getting significant query volume. For that to happen, Twitter would need to start defaulting it's search functionality to Bing. And that's unlikely, given the similar deals Twitter has struck with Google (and apparently Yahoo.)

The other option would be for Bing (and/or Google) to start including tweets in the main search results and not at a custom URL. At the very least, Bing should integrate a Twitter drill-down option on the left-rail alongside images, video, etc.

If/when the query volume is there, it will be the wild wild west with SEO's trying to reverse engineer the algorithm and the engines continually refining it to defeat black hat tactics. Today, it's apparently as easy as including a link about a popular topic in your tweet. I suspect that will change quickly though.

Other signals the engines can/should/will use include:
  • Authority of the Twitter account -- based on number of followers, tweets and amount of time account has been active
  • Relevancy to the topic -- based on keyword (character?) density and/or hashtags
  • Number of retweets
  • Categorization of Twitter account -- perhaps tapping We Follow or other directories (eg, an account tagged as Chicago will have a better chance at coming up for Chicago-related Twitter queries)
SEO's, start your engines! But no need to floor it until there's more people in the stands.

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