How do you optimize Twitter with appropriate keywords so your tweets (and your company) can be found online? In many ways, it’s similar to the way you optimize the rest of your content – with one big difference.
But first things first. Let’s talk about search engine optimization (SEO) in general, with some do’s and don’ts.
If you’re like many people, your first inclination is to load up your content with keywords that relate to your services and products. That’s looking down the wrong end of the telescope.
Always remember that it’s not about you. As great as you, your company and your services and products are, people are rarely searching for those specific things. Otherwise they’d pick up the phone, drop you an email, order online or come by your shop to pick up whatever they need.
Fully 76% of people who go online are researching products and services and what they’re looking for are solutions to their problems. Let that drive your choice of keywords for Twitter – and any other type of online content. Know what your prospects want and need, the keywords that address those wants and needs, and the SEO will come.
Before you can understand your customers’ pain points, you need to know who your customers are. Pull up a new document on your computer, or get out paper and pen, and describe them. Make them as real in your mind as you possibly can, right down to how often they buy a new car, the type of shoes they buy, what movies appeal to them and what spiritual beliefs they may have. How old are they? Do they have kids? Do they rent or own their house? What’s their highest education level? What do they do for fun? What type of work do they do? What keeps them up at night?
The point of this exercise is to make your ideal client real in your own eyes. That, in turn, makes it much easier to understand their pain points – and how you can help solve them.
Once you have your ideal client in mind (and by the way, what’s their name? They are real, after all!), look at your product or service and ask yourself: How can I best serve these people? How can I save them time, money or aggravation? How can I make their lives easier, happier, more fulfilling?
For most of your SEO choice of keywords, it’s as easy as going to Google and start typing into the search bar: “How do I…” or “Tips to stop…” or “Where can I…” or other similar long-tail search terms. Google’s auto-fill function will show you common recent researches on that topic. Don’t be afraid to be as specific as you can as you hunt for appropriate keywords. Because while short (one or two) keywords will give you a gratifying number of search results on Google, that usually vast number will make it difficult for you to differentiate yourself from the crowd, let alone put you on the first page (or three) of Google. That’s where you want to be.
Now that you’ve described your ideal client in excruciating detail (what kind of toothpaste do they buy – generic or name brand?), aligned that client’s needs and pain points with the products and services you offer, it’s time to go back and review all your content to ensure that they all – your offerings, keywords, social media, blogs and website – work together seamlessly.
This is an excellent basis for your Twitter SEO as well – with one significant difference. When it comes to Twitter, long-tail, highly descriptive keyword phrases just won’t work on this micro-blogging platform. Twitter’s 140-character limit by necessity requires you to be short, sweet and to the point. If you do a search on Twitter for “SEO,” for instance, you’ll get thousands upon thousands of tweets that use that phrase in a variety of forms. Type in “how can I improve my SEO on Twitter,” and you’ll get one. Maybe two.
So here’s a nifty trick that could help you narrow down your Twitter keywords in a way that will help in your SEO on that platform.
- Go to the Twitter search window and type in a short (one or two words) keyword phrase that you’ve identified as being important to your ideal client.
- Cut and paste the results – as many as you can without causing your computer to crash – into a blank document.
- Go through and strip out all the images and unnecessary verbiage, such as the link text and any tweets that are not related to your search. If you’ve got time, go back and kill filler words like “a,” “and,” “the,” “we,” “you,” “I” and similar clutter words for reasons I’ll explain shortly. Don’t worry about the hashtags.
- Copy what’s left into a word-cloud creator, such as Wordle, click on “Create,” and watch the magic appear before your very eyes.
The words that were used most often in those tweets will be displayed in large type in the image that’s created. The fewer times words are used, the smaller they appear in the image. This is why you want to delete as many filler words as you can before creating the word cloud; the sheer mass of words used will render the smallest virtually invisible and, worst, distracting.
The word cloud you’ve created can be modified for the sake of art or just ease of reading, but the key point here is that you will be able to see the words that were used most often in tweets related to your chosen keyword.
Pick out the ones that appear in the largest type and voila! You have keywords that can boost your Twitter SEO. Start using them in your tweets for gaining maximum benefits for your efforts.
Another alternative is to go through your blog posts and look at the keywords you’ve used there. Use them in your tweets to promote those blogs. As those tweets are shared and commented on, the SEO value for that post will increase. And be sure your Twitter profile is also optimized for your keywords for maximum SEO benefit.
Finally, be sure your tweets are relevant, useful and engaging. Remember to follow up on comments made on your tweets, thank people for retweets and keep the conversation going.
How do you use SEO on Twitter to be found by your clients and prospects? Please leave your comments below!