Any site that has a search facility, we should treat as a search engine, and identify how we can use it effectively for SEO.
I recently performed an analysis of Twitter for my Software Consultancy business to improve how I rank and match in Twitter search for keywords related to my business.
I didn’t put much stock in my Twitter profile description for SEO, but a few small experiments convinced me that I needed to do more. The tactics I used are explained in this post.
I ranked poorly
Like most people I had followed the common patterns naming and profile copy.
- My Name was… my name
- My profile had a value statement
I had done some work on my profile:
- I didn’t use hash tags because I didn’t want to ‘promote’ searches that weren’t core to me
- I did embed domain names because twitter converts those into clickable links (you should do this, if you don’t already)
But when I searched for terms that should match, I didn’t.
Why should I want it to match?
- Because Twitter has a ‘People’ tab, and it is a good way to be discovered by people who do not follow you, but want to learn about topic they have just searched on. If you don’t appear there then you need to have a ’top’ or ’latest’ tweet that matches the search.
- Because Twitter shows tweets from people that seem unrelated to the search term i.e. it isn’t in the Tweet, or hashtags in the tweet. This can help you ‘own’ a particular search term.
When I search on Twitter for a hashtag or a keyword or keyword phrase.
In the “Top” view there is a list of people.
How good would it be to appear there?
This seems to be based on the name, and the description.
There is also a people tab which ideally we want to be part of.
Which means - add one or two hashtags into your description, and the main keywords you want to rank for in your name.
We don’t have to go overboard with this because of the matching algorithm Twitter uses.
A word phrase search e.g. “digital marketing” will match:
- “digital marketing”
- “marketing digital”
- anywhere in the text e.g. “I like marketing, and collect digital watches”
Surprisingly, a hash tag search “#digitalmarketing” will match:
- “digital marketing”
Which means we don’t have to duplicate the text with the hashtags giving us more flexibility when we write the profile description copy - handy when we only have 160 characters to play with.
I noticed, on performing a search and looking through tweets returned that I was seeing tweets from people which did not match the search term I was looking for.
But some people were regularly appearing in my results.
And that was because their name had the the search term in it.
Clearly - this is a #1 tactic for SEO on twitter to get your tweets across regardless of the content.
Search terms will match hashtags in your name but to me that looks quite horrible.
For my software consultancy business the main keyword phrase I want to match is “Software Testing”.
On 4th September I changed my name from “Alan Richardson” to “Alan Richardson - Software Testing”.
And my profile text from:
- “I Help Teams Improve their Software Testing, Test Automation and Agile Development | EvilTester.com | CompendiumDev.co.uk | patreon.com/eviltester #consultant”
Which are much more keyword and search term heavy, but still human readable enough.
I thought I needed to match more search terms so changed it to
“I help people Improve how they test and develop software: Testing, Automation and Agile Development | EvilTester.com | CompendiumDev.co.uk #consultant #tester”
Which will match:
- test consultant
- testing consultant
- software test
- software testing
- software tester
- test automation
Results of Testing and Testing Methodology
Twitter took about a day and half to update the search index.
To check for this I used a different account and searched for a phrase in my old profile “develop better” and in my new profile “how they test”. When I appeared in the new search, then I knew it was re-indexed.
- 20190904 09:22 - no
- 20190905 09:12 - no “how they test”
- 20190905 21:00 - yes “how they test”, no for “Develop better”, indexes have been updated
Twitter say it may take a few days:
Unfortunately I can’t find any list of ‘popular’ search terms on twitter to know what search terms to really match for my niche. I’m working without data on which keywords to choose.
Iterate on the Copy
I personally think the copy should be readable English as much as possible and if you can sqeeze all the keywords you want into the copy without using hashtags you will be much better off.
I then adjusted it to remove any repeating words to allow me to match on more search terms.
“I can improve how you test and develop software: Testing, Automation & Agile Development | EvilTester.com | CompendiumDev.co.uk #tester #training #selenium”
Changed again to remove non-keywords:
“Consultancy & Training to Test and Develop Software Better: Testing, Automation & Agile Development. | EvilTester.com | CompendiumDev.co.uk #tester #selenium”
Changed to add another keyword
“Expert Consultancy & Training for Better Software Testing, Automation & Agile Development. EvilTester.com CompendiumDev.co.uk #tester #selenium #test #develop”
I wanted to remove some of the hash tags:
“Expert Consultancy & Training to boost Software Testing, Automation & Agile Development. I test & develop. EvilTester.com CompendiumDev.co.uk #tester #selenium”
If anyone searches for “Software Testing” then, regardless of the content of my tweets, it will be shown in their ’latest’ feed results, and if popular in their ’top’ results. NOTE: regardless of the content of the tweet and hashtags used which means I can use the copy and hashtags for different purposes.
Since it is so easy to change the name and profile. I suspect a monthly rewrite to target different keywords might be in order. Particularly if you are running an active campaign on a topic.
If so, then the ’name’ is probably the best thing to change because the keywords in the name will match and display tweets in the searchers feed, regardless of the copy in the actual tweet.
- Add the main keyword phrase you want to match in your Name
- Write copy that has a readable value statement loaded with the keywords you want to match for
- Avoid hashtags, unless it is branded, or unless you want to add a few keywords that you couldn’t fit into your copy
- Use the character length to your advantage, fill it out and match more keywords