Great News! It is possible to optimize your Twitter profile for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! For starters; you must think of why you are on Twitter in the 1st place, who you are trying to get to read your updates and what type of value you choose to bring to the table. So before you take time out of your day for this make sure you have those basic premises addressed first. A twitter profile is just a page on the web, and any page on the web can be optimized using all of the same tactics that standard SEO is based off of. There is on-page and off-page seo, for the most part, you are in control of them both. Your tweets are the content, your bio is your meta description and does show up in search results, your username is placed in your profile pages search engine friendly url and your profile has its own rss feed that you can optimize and re-publish as well. This is part one of three posts on how to optimize your Twitter profile so keep reading.
Twitter Username – This is one of the most important steps to building your profile and your online reputation. Make sure to choose your personal name, nick name, your brand or companies name or the way you would like to be found (example: @floridaphoto as this would show up [twitter.com/floridaphoto]). You are going to want to make it somewhat of a shortname for your company or brand, although some of you may just need every single one of those 15 characters that Twitter allows you to have, maybe you even would need more. This scenario is where I would make abbreviations for my company name or svs shortnames that are recognized by the average individual. Your Twitter name is just as important as the title tag in your own webpage, be sure to be picky over what text you use to fill this in with (example: Florida Photo NOT: Florida Photo Co). Usually it is best to treat the username just like you would choose a domain name, try not to place any dash’s (in twitter’s case an _underscore) in your username and make it as short as possible and easy to remember while retaining some search value in it. Remember: take your time and think this out, once you start building it. you are not going to want to turn around and have to do it over again from scratch with a different profile.
Twitter Url - Make sure to place your website’s main blog or website address here, do not place a link that has been shortened for tracking as with the proper site analytics set up on your website you should be able to tell how many unique visitors Twitter sends your way. It is also important to let people see your actual domain name, this can help people to remember your website, brand your company and build trust with your followers in what is on the other side of that link. Another hint; since twitter will only show the first 20 characters of your domain name on your profile you are definitely going to want to get rid of the www before your domain name (of course you want to make sure that your dns settings are set up properly so that everything works as intended and people are able to reach your website without the www in front of the domain name).
Twitter Bio – Here you have what will be used as your Twitter profile’s Google meta description and it is what will show up on the search engine results pages (SERP’s if you didn’t know!) of any search term that would list your Twitter profile as a result. With a total of 160 characters to fill out, you do not want to waste any characters on useless words (or symbols) that have no real search value. By placing something short, sweet and to the point while still using the main keywords in your area of expertise or industry. I personally like to make sure I have term. Do make sure that your bio is readable, makes sense, is upbeat and gives people a good idea of what your all about, maybe it even shows some character or personality, after all nobody is going to read into your tweets if your Twitter bio is boring!
Twitter Profile Photo – Yes folks, you can optimize your profile photo, although you do not have the ability to add any alt tags to your photo, you sure can rename the photo itself before you upload it. You will also want to make sure to keep the size of your photo down to under a 250 x 250 to help with faster load times. So as you can see in the image showing the pictures direct link that the name that I had renamed my photo before I uploaded it to my Twitter profile became the long tail end of the pictures ultimate url. Something to be cautious about is when renaming your photo DO NOT LEAVE ANY SPACES IN THE FILE NAME! This does not translate to a link very well and you will end up with some broken links for that image at times. it is better to use the – in between words.
Twitter Rss Feed – It is incredible what you can do with an rss feed now-a-days! You can move your content anywhere on the web, get email subscribers, place your own advertising in your Twitter feed, get traffic and reader statistics, click statistics, publish your feed in an html format, give subscribers the ability to share the items on your feed with their different social networks and lots more! In order to accomplish this I suggest using Feedburner to burn your Twitter feed, there are other services to use but since Google happens to own Feedburner you are able to sign up with your Gmail account.
Now before you get ahead of yourself there is a small step that you need to take before you will be able to burn your profile’s Rss Feed… Let me explain… Your Twitter RSS feed is a locked feed and cannot be unlocked without using your username and password in a certain format in front of your own Twitter RSS Feed. So go to your Twitter profile copy your RSS feed and make it look EXACTLY like the RSS feed below, adding your own username and password just as it shows here. After you have done this take your unlocked Twitter feed and burn it in your new Feedburner account.
Ok, so now you have a Feedburner address that displays your Twitter updates, what to do now? Well, there is a lot to do… First of all you are going to want to go through the entire Feedburner dashboard and pick and choose the important options for your particular use of this feed. You can set it up to ping the search engine’s when there are new RSS items, you can set up a nice title and description for the feed, add a picture, sharing widgets and a whole lot more. You can even set it to update other Twitter accounts right through Feedburner!
Of all the things that you will find you can do with your feed settings there is one that comes highly recomended by me; the “My Brand” option. If you own your own domain or have control of the DNS settings you will have the ability to turn your burned feeds address from a [feeds.feedburner.com] address to a feeds.yourdomain.com address, take my Twitter feed for example (feed.gohewitt.com). This is great for branding and building that trust in your domain.
Link Building – Your off-page seo is the most important part of your Twitter optimization project. You must make sure to list yourself in as many Twitter directories as possible while submitting your RSS feed to as many RSS feed directories as well. You can do your own social press releases linking to your various social media profiles and building quality one-way links pointing at your profiles. The more time and effort you spend on building quality links the more you will get out of it. So don’t be afraid to spend some time on it.
With Googles implementation of real-time search, it is becoming increasingly important to stay at the forefront of what is possible with social media sites such as Twitter. SEO Sport is dedicated to helping the community better understand how to maximize your web presence online using social media and search engine optimization.
This is the first post of a three part series going over some different ways to optimize your Twitter profile. Look for the second blog post 7 days from today about how to optimize your Twitter profile for Twitter search. Add something to the conversation; what have you done to optimize your profile? Would you have any suggestions for us?? Fill us in below in the comments…