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Why Does Twitter Need SEO? – Here’s Why with Mark & Eric

In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric discuss Twitter and Google’s rocky past. The two companies used to have a tight relationship, but that came apart as times went on. As big a network as Twitter is, it’s not seeing the growth on new users that it would like. One method that they’ve employed to boost their numbers has been some simple, good-old-fashioned SEO.

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Full Transcript:

Mark: Hi! I’m Twitter.
Eric: Hi! I’m Google.
Mark: Google, can we be friends again?
Eric: You mean, you need me?
Mark:: I hate to admit it, but yeah.
Eric: In this episode of Here’s Why with Mark and Eric, I’m going to be asking Mark why even Twitter needs SEO.
Eric: So Mark, Twitter and Google have a rocky past?
Mark: You could say that. Actually, they used to be friends. Google had a contract with Twitter that gave Google access to what was called “The Twitter Fire hose.” Google could see every bit of data coming through Twitter and they used that to do a pretty incredible real-time search.
If something was trending or there was breaking news Google would show tweets scrolling by in real time, within the search results. In June of 2011, they broke that agreement and it hasn’t been such a good connection ever since.
Eric: So, what’s changed to make the breakup be reconsidered?
Mark: Recently Trevor O’Brien, who is the director of product management for Twitter, revealed that Twitter has set up 50,000 different landing pages based on trending tweets, some of them rotate and some are constant. These are designed to show up in Google search, they are particularly optimized for search.
So when people search for something they’ve heard, they see a hashtag on their television screen or they’ve heard something is trending, they search for it and these landing pages are coming up high in the rankings. This means that people who otherwise wouldn’t have seen these tweets, are beginning to see them.
Eric: That sounds really cool. Can you show us an example?
Mark: Just today Uber, the breakout transportation company, was trending on Twitter because they were in the news. So people who search Uber on Google will see, as you can see here, in the number 2 result it says “#Uber on Twitter.” If you click through to that you see this landing page.
Notice the landing page has up to the minute tweets and if you stay on it they update right in front of you. Also, I want you to notice in the upper right-hand corner, a very prominent sign-up form that we’re going to come back to in just a moment.
Eric: So why is Twitter doing this?
Mark: Well Twitter has a problem. Twitter is not getting new users at the extent it needs to and it is not growing fast enough, especially now that it’s a publicly traded company. So they had to do something and one of the things we would do if we wanted to grow and expand in this digital age is: we would do SEO.
We would optimize our site and get found on Google. That’s what Twitter has done here. The genius of this from Twitter’s standpoint is you don’t have to have a Twitter account to see these landing pages. That means that anyone, people who have never been exposed to Twitter before, can click on these results and see what Twitter is like. They may like what they see and that’s why that signup form is there, they can sign up for Twitter right there.
Twitter has told us since they implemented these their number of logged out views, that means views on Twitter by people not logged into a Twitter account, have increased tenfold. They haven’t told us how many of those people have converted to Twitter accounts, but that is still a lot of great traffic and new eyeballs on Twitter.
Eric: That’s great for them. It is really interesting that Twitter is doing this, but is there any takeaways for the rest of us?
Mark: I think the main takeaway is do what Twitter is doing. Decide what the main things are that you know people are searching for and you want them to come to your site for. Create dedicated landing pages for those queries that are optimized to rank well in search and when people come there they will see exactly what they are looking for.
First of all, that makes them happy and they don’t bounce right back to Google, which is a bad thing. Second, they get exposed to your content, brand and your site. The final takeaway is, like Twitter, have a great call to action. Have someplace where if people like what they see, they can do something to get more of it.
Eric: Great information Mark. We did reference one of Mark’s articles during this episode, so you can see that linked below. Thanks for watching this episode of Here’s Why.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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