David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

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Twitter for SEO

Can Twitter help your SEO efforts? Yes, it can. This is the story of how we boosted rankings for a client page. Twitter was a big part of it.

A client wanted one page on its big, institutional website to rank better for a specific search term. The page was one of several hundred similar pages. Like the others, it was well-optimized on the page:

  • H1
  • H2
  • title tag
  • image captions
  • image file names
  • the text on the page

The page was ranking in the 21-23 range on Google. The client wanted to boost it to the first page – quickly!

We did an analysis:

The content was bang-on accurate. It was the most authoritative. But it was thin compared to related content on Wikipedia and a few other websites. We recommended reviewing the other sites to make the client`s page the most complete, as well as the most authoritative. But that is a long-term strategy, as big institutions don’t revamp content overnight.

We did two reviews for inbound link opportunities: one for internal links, one for external links. We provided a list of each to the client. Some of the internal links were not possible. We quickly implemented those that we could.

The external links were more problematic, partly because of client culture. We might have pushed, but the page was not complete enough to be the obvious linking choice for potential linkers. So, we left the client with a list for future action (after a content revamp).

Twitter tips for SEO

We looked for social media opportunities. A related anniversary was coming up.  We wrote a tweet designed to place the page in the context of the upcoming date.

We researched hashtags that were being used by the kind of Twitter accounts that we wanted to retweet it.  We checked on Hashtags.org and on All Hashtag. But mostly, we used Twitter. Here’ how we did it:

  • We looked for accounts tweeting similar information
  • We looked at the hashtags they were using for those tweets
  • We checked to see how many people used those hashtags in the previous 24 hours
  • We took note of what other hashtags they used on those tweets
  • We did this three different days, just to make sure that the most-used hashtags one day were actually the most-used.

We set up a Twitter card. This was critical to making our link look professional on Twitter, which we believe led to more click-throughs and more retweets. A Twitter card makes your web page look just like a publication in people’s tweet streams. It looks more authoritative

You can use a plugin in WordPress, or you can place the Twitter card code in the body of your HTML. I like JM Twitter Cards.  Here is how the tweet will look:

Tweet-with-Twitter-card

Here is the code to use:

<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary_large_image”>
<meta name=”twitter:title” content=””>
<meta name=”twitter:description” content=””>
<meta name=”twitter:image” content=””>

Note that the link URL disappears. The entire card is clickable.

  • The image is the one you included in the last line of the code above. Just place the full image URL in the “”.
  • The bold text is the title you place in the “”.
  • The plain text is the description you place in the “”.
  • The domain name appears automatically.

Here are a few tips for a top-notch Twitter card:

  • Use a title that tells people what they will find if they click.
  • Use a description that will make people want to click for more.
  • Use the large size, as in the code above. What’s the point even of using the small card with a tiny thumbnail?
  • Use an image with a 2:1 aspect ratio. That means it should be twice as wide as it is tall. You can use PickMonkey or BeFunky to crop the image the way you want. Otherwise, Twitter will just take the midsection of your image.

We also made a list of allied Twitter accounts who might be interested in retweeting, so that the client could nudge them.

Meanwhile, rankings for the page jumped in response to our internal link-building. What had been 21-23 had jumped to 18-21.

The tweet went out, as well as a Facebook post. We retweeted it. Some of the allied accounts retweeted it. Some of the client’s followers retweeted it. And some other people tweeted the page, presumably after finding it through Twitter or Facebook. That’s the power of hashtags.

All those tweets looked professional, due to the Twitter card. We presume that some of them got retweeted, as well.

The Twitter and Facebook posts gave the ptwitterage a huge blip. Several days after the posts went out, traffic was still higher than the pre-tweet levels. Best of all, the page settled in at 8-9 in Google searches for the main keyword. Ahead of it were three Wikipedia pages, a couple news articles and a couple highly-complete amateur interest pages.

The client was happy. The temporary boost the page got from social media posts gave a permanent boost in search engine rankings.

A major content upgrade, followed by an outreach campaign, could make the page ready to challenge Wikipedia. And then…another social media campaign. We have a roadmap to follow!

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3 Responses to “Twitter for SEO”

  1. Enstine Muki (1 comments) Says:

    Hey David,
    How is weekend going?
    Nice success story here.
    Did you track and measure the traffic from the social media campaigns. OnPage user behaviors like dwell time, Bounce rates, etc help in ranking boost. My reasoning is that the campaign generate a massive visit from social media and most of these readers leveraged the content and engaged on the page.

    Happy weekend

  2. David Leonhardt (161 comments) Says:

    Hi Enstine.

    The short answer is “yes”, we did see some of that data. The long answer is that I don’t recall. The client was most concerned about findability. They really have to beef up the content a lot more to get long engagement on those pages, so that metric is sort of a mute point at this time. Hopefully they will be able to turn their attention to that phase before the year is out.

  3. Jess Pacheco (1 comments) Says:

    Hi David, thank you for such a descriptive how to regarding twitter engagement. I have taken these measures myself and have seen a rise in engagement and traction with my reader community, but you are right that beefing up original and high quality content is king over anything else. I have been blogging now for two years and only since January of this year did I start to see my blog really take off. Sometimes it’s not just consistency but quality and other times is consistency with being able to wiggle with some of the quality. It’s a tricky but very fun business. Thanks again!

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