Contrary to what you might think, there aren’t many direct technical SEO benefits from using Twitter:
- Last year (2008) Twitter changed their policy and now all outbound links from Twitter posts and profiles are nofollowed, so no more direct link equity benefits.
- If you have Twitter followers who happen to be following anymore than say 50 people, your tweets effectively become buried in updates from everyone else on their list in a matter of hours. Probably a fraction of your followers actually consume your tweets on any given update.
- if you are pushing a marketing message via Twitter and the conversation doesn’t ever get beyond the twitter-sphere, then the search benefit is pretty close to nothing
- What’s worse… people who might have blogged about you are now twittering instead 🙁
Does this mean twitter is a completely useless marketing tool? No.
Twitter’s Online Marketing Benefits
Twitter’s main benefit is that it lets you jump right into the conversation and start interacting very quickly, participate and receive user/market feedback without much barrier to entry – there is no website or complex technology to setup (such as a blog CMS), just signup and you’re ready to roll.
Remember that as the web becomes more and more social your customers will want to see a conversation associated with your product and Twitter can be just the tool to help you achieve that goal.
When building a Twitter following, you’ll want to:
- Discuss the value of what you’re selling vs trying to sell directly. People are generally interested in what benefits they can receive vs that you are selling something. Try tweeting your blog posts or other content you want eyeballs focused at.
- Try following as few people as possible while still taking away as much value from their tweets as you can. I don’t follow many twitter users on my personal twitter account but I do read my list several times a day and as a result it’s hard for me to miss a lot of the conversation I am really interested in.
- Interact with your the followers. Try replying to tweets once in a while or even re-tweeting when you find something of interest (you might find the same people begin re-tweeting your messages). Crowdsourcing can also be a very useful tool if you’ve built up a following and feel like outsourcing questions to the crowd/cloud.
- Use automation where appropriate.
- For example, auto-tweet your blog to twitter
- Twittley.com allows you to have your bookmarked web pages show up as tweets, vs having to tweet it directly, saving some time.
- You can also utilize twitter services that auto-find users with similar interests.
- Twitter profiles are currently being indexed by the engines, so you’re still going to be able to use the engines to help build your following