Don Crowther
Don Crowther

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

I hear it all the time: “Twitter links are useless from an SEO standpoint because Twitter nofollows everything.” (Remember that nofollow is a way of indicating to the search engines that a particular link shouldn’t pass “credit” from a search engine standpoint. It’s a way of discouraging spammers from abusing Twitter, blogs, and sites.)

If you believe that, you’re absolutely wrong!

TwitterNoFollow

While it is true that Twitter does place nofollow tags on all links within tweets, that doesn’t mean that everything you place in a tweet will be nofollowed.

What?

Let me explain.

There is a whole ecosphere that has grown up around Twitter posts.

  1. There are many sites that aggregate the Twitter posts of major thinkers in a particular marketplace into one place. Those sites can choose whether to nofollow the links in the twitter posts or not.
  2. Twitter feeds can be used as the foundation for RSS feeds. So you can add your Twitter feed to your blog or site, for example. Again, you have the choice whether you want to nofollow those links or not, in fact, if you’re doing it right now, you’re probably NOT nofollowing them! You can see my twitter feed archive here.
  3. Other services like Google Reader, Topsy, or Twitter search engines, may choose to not add nofollow tags to your links

I think you get the picture.

Here’s where this becomes important – the impact of these factors increases with your popularity. The higher the quality of your tweets, the higher the likelihood that you’re going to get picked up by others and your tweeted links getting SEO credit…

Literally making great tweeting an incredibly lucrative pass time. (Presuming the pages you link to can actually make you money!)

So, it makes sense to spend the time and effort to get popular on Twitter!

Remember however, that improved search engine rankings is a side benefit, a very nice side benefit, but still a SIDE benefit of social media. Social media, when used correctly, drives traffic and creates relationships. Those are the primary benefits (not bad ones at that), so if you’re using social media solely for links, you’re not doing it the right way, and your traffic is probably suffering.

One other tip – remember to use URL shorteners that use 301 redirects, NOT 302 redirects. (A 301 redirect tells the search engines that this is a permanent redirect, versus a temporary 302 redirect. Search engines pass link credit through 301 redirects, not 302’s.)

URL shorteners that pass 301 redirects include

  • BudURL (if you select the 301 redirect option)
  • bit.ly
  • tinyurl

Ow.ly, the tool used by hootsuite, unfortunately, does NOT use 301 redirects.

What conclusions can we gain from this?

  1. Recognize that the more popular you are on Twitter (not in terms of number of followers, in terms of number of people who read your posts, retweet them, aggregate them on other sites, etc.) the more likely you are to have your links pass search engine value. Spend time and effort to increase that popularity.
  2. Make sure that the posts that you really want to pass link value go through a service that passes 301 redirects, even if those you don’t care about passing link value use a different shortener.
  3. Take advantage of opportunities to embed your social feed stream on other locations, increasing the number of opportunities you have to get solid link credit for your pages.
  4. Add “Tweet this” links on pages on your blogs and sites, basically everyplace you can, so as to increase the links those pages receive.
  5. Say things that people want to tweet and retweet! The more other people tweet you, the more links you build!

How else have you used Twitter to add value to your business? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. We played around with Twitter for our clients quiet some time now – we have realized that a large number of people who use Twitter are marketers, bloggers, affiliates, or Public Figures. We also found that it did increase their site’sranking; particularly, the name of the Company used. We notice a large boost after the client reached 300+ followers (Twitter) or 300+ likes.

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  3. The reality is that between Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter, Google hardly cares about links from traditional sites anymore. I suppose they figured out that only 5-10% of all the links on the web are what they would define as “natural”. It was naive to ever suspect otherwise…

    1. Actually, I totally disagree. They care, deeply, but have put into place many tests to determine whether something is natural or not. It’s just that webmasters can no longer be in the business of “tricking” them (in quotes, because if you ever thought you were actually tricking them, you were sadly mistaken.) Real, natural links are more important now than ever.

  4. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization?

    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m
    not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share.
    Kudos!

  5. Interesting article, as an avid Twitter tweeter i cant help but throw into the equation the fact that some of my google results are from Twitter!! If they are all no follow then how can this be? Is Google making one rule for one website and another rule for a more influential site? Just typed in a popular website we run (the domain name) and fifth result was my twitter account, according to my browser all links on that page are nofollow!! Interesting.

    1. There are lots of things that make that true, including splogging (where other people reproduce your twitter posts without nofollowing the links) and the social graph. Twitter unquestionably does influence search engine rankings, it’s just harder to measure in the traditional ways.
      Don

  6. This clears up a lot of things. I’m actually writing an article right now about using URL shorteners on Twitter and their impact. I hope you don’t mind I use your insight. I’ll link and give you credit, of course.

  7. I have been reading this article with interest. I checked the page source of twitter and only found no follow on the main site link and other @twitternames I did not find a no follow on tweeted links or the extra bit in the profile that you can add links.

    By the way I am preey big on twitter 330,00+ followers and I get a lot of action 500+ tweets on virtually every tweet. I do feel it is the place to be as Don said, people put your tweets on their website, so you will gain in many ways from that.. If I google my twitter name it goes into the hundreds of thousands, try yours! Also I started a tumblr some months ago, and the ranking of that has shot up fast for a new site name, not by chance it has thousands of followers, all due to twitter followers, following the tumblr as well. Creating links here there and everywhere.. By the way my twitter page has a page authority of 77, that must be worth something. So my tip is to persevere, do not give in too easily.. Don’t just be a link merchant mix it up. For one twitter will block you from searches if that is what you do.. My tip is to keep the ratio of 4 to 1, never put a link on more than every 4 tweets.. People will not follow you if you are just a load of links, these same people will help you in the long run if you give them a bit of respect. You don’t get hundreds of thousands of genuine followers, willing to help share your stuff, if you act with no care for them.

  8. What a timely post! If anyone doubts what Don is saying here, I’m the guy with the proof. Today I was reviewing my Webmaster Tools account and one of my sites had 44 links from a subdomain on WordPress.org. I went to check it out and it turned out they recorded a link from every page on that subdomain because it had an embedded Twitter feed in the sidebar, and the WordPress event I had spoken at sent a couple tweets with links to my site.

    By the time I visited these pages, the tweets were long out of view in the feed of course, but Webmaster Tools was still giving me full credit (they were dofollow, bit.ly links).

    I was curious if anyone had discovered/written about this great advantage and found this post through Google. Great insights indeed!

    David

  9. Excellent article, Don. I have continuously been frustrated by the fact that I always hear how Facebook and Twitter increases your SEO and page rank but was always confused that those sites never show as a source of backlinks.

    I had never heard the part about the 301 redirects, so that’s excellent new information for me; thank you for a very pertinent post and an explanation that actually makes sense!!

  10. I agree with you Don, Twitter is a great tool for SEO but you really have to think deeper about how it works and what possibilities exist to promote your website rankings. You have obviously looked at this closely, well done and thanks for sharing.

  11. Haven’t found this excellent post before! My Bad!
    Just found a post on Twitter and got reference
    Glad I got on T today and found this new theory.
    Cheers

    1. Not necessarily. Don’t set up a twitter account unless you plan to be active on it. But Twitter posts to any account can help drive traffic and creates some search engine effect.

  12. If I read correctly and it’s a little ambiguous as is most social media benefits articles, I’m assuming that IF you’re popular you MIGHT get some seo benefit but only as a SIDE benefit at best…It would seem to me that instead of spending countless hours trying to obtain the thousands of followers needed to gain any benefit, especially minimal benefit at that, it would be more beneficial to spend that time with proven seo techniques and building links through anchor text laced article submissions and blog posts…But hey at least it’s a great RSS feed.

    1. Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should go out and spend all of your time trying to get a good enough Twitter audience going to get some link traffic.

      My point is that there is some benefit, but the real benefit comes from properly using Twitter as a traffic-driving tool.

      Don

  13. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Twitter only benefits Twitter. Who in his right mind would waste their time submitting feeds that not only get nofollow tags, but get bit.ly urls as well. Stupid, dumb, mediocre, mainstream garbage Twitter is.

  14. Great point on making sure that the URL shortener does a 301 (permanent) redirect instead of a 302.

    One correction though, is that the Ow.ly url shortener used by HootSuite actually does a 301 redirect, but only for search engine crawlers. When Google and other search engine bots visit Ow.ly links, they are taken to the destination url via 301 redirect, and your site will be correctly indexed.

    A more detailed post on url shorteners and redirects can be found here:
    http://digiphile.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/framing-problems-with-ow-ly-why-i-won%E2%80%99t-click-rt-or-use-your-links/

  15. Excellent post, Don.

    Here’s how this worked this morning:

    Someone I follow retweeted YOU. Your compelling headline read: “Does Twitter help with SEO? Absolutely!”

    I clicked. I read. I learned. I commented.

    1. Now, I’m going to retweet the tweet that got me here. (You were the original tweeter, by the way.)
    2. I’m leaving the headline, since it worked for me AND that’s good Twitter etiquette.
    3. I’ll give credit to the person who retweeted YOU, using “via @” at the end of the retweet instead of another “RT,” to clean up the tweet.
    4. I’m leaving the original link (a BudURL) intact, AGAIN because that’s good Twitter etiquette. This serves especially to give you any SEO. It was your tweet in the first place, and in this case, your blog post.

    And now your Tweet will be picked up by my followers — hopefully — who will click on the link and come to your blog post here.

    SEO technique in action.

    Michelle Quillin for New England Multimedia and Q Web Consulting

    1. Great points, and great etiquette too. Thank you for your tweet, and for your comment!

      This really is how all of this SEO stuff works everyone, create a good piece of content and things builds on their own.

      Don

      1. Michelle’s 4-steps are a great social networking example, but have no direct impact on search engine rankings. I think when most people say SEO they mean search engine traffic, and not so much the referring site traffic.

        If the referral spins in to Michelle writting a post her blog and link to your post, then Twitter lead to a link, but still didn’t give you a link.

  16. I’ve been on Twitter since the beginning,
    have seen all the changes, and know a lot about how things work.

    But it’s educational and reassuring to get these posts from a top web
    developer/entrepreneur/consultant.
    Thanks much, Don!

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