Quick tips for optimization
- Pick a good username. Your username, or handle, will likely affect if and where your Twitter profile appears on a search engine results page. Most of the time, the most appropriate username will be your brand name, but in certain cases a relevant keyword will be preferable.
- Choose a good account name, which is as, or more, important than the username. Search engines look at both the username and the account name to determine relevance for keyword searches. So if the name of your organization is Dwayne Johnson Fan Club, you'll likely want to choose that as your account name. This will increase the likelihood that your Twitter channel is returned as a result for the keyword search "Dwayne Johnson Fan Club."
- Add links and keywords to your profile. One of the reasons Twitter is so popular is because it is so damn easy to use. While this ease of use might be good for my mom, it's not the greatest thing in the world for your brand because it means that you have few opportunities to customize the page.
Write your bio carefully and include relevant keywords if appropriate. For the "web" URL, it would be best to link to a landing page created especially to convert social media users, but you also might consider linking to a Facebook or YouTube profile. Linking to your homepage is a perfectly acceptable option too.
- The initial characters of tweets are important for search engine listings. The first 40 or so characters of each Twitter update are the ones that will appear in the titles of the search engines' listings when an update, or tweet, is returned as a result. As such, this is an ideal place to include any relevant keywords that might define the content of the message. And as a general rule, try to include keywords in your tweets whenever it makes sense. It's always best to tell the search engines exactly what you mean rather than let them figure it out on their own.
- Tweets should include back links when appropriate. A big part of SEO is link-building, so when it makes sense to do so, include links back to content on your blog, Facebook, YouTube, or website. If you don't overdo it, and keep the tweets on-topic, Twitter can be a good way to build some links back to a page you want to promote.
- Optimize your background image. Even though none of the links will be live, you can customize Twitter's background image so that your profile shows links to your other social media destinations. If it's a personal twitter account, you can include a headshot and even a phone number. And by all means, take advantage of this opportunity to stay consistent with your branding so that it matches your corporate website, blog, etc.
Who did it great
The Coffee Bean
The Coffee Bean has chosen a corporate messaging persona for its Twitter account. Therefore, the background has been optimized to display contact information for customer relations, media and entertainment, and career opportunities. The company has also set aside a small space for current promotions in a graphic labeled "Happening Now at The Coffee Bean."
Best Buy's Twelpforce is a Twitter-based customer service forum. It has optimized its background image to both stay consistent with the branding and messaging of the Twelpforce campaign and also to provide instructions for how to use the Twelpforce service. The bio section clearly states the purpose of the profile, and it even lists a non-live link to an associated Facebook profile.
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