Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on June 25th, 2009

How To Optimize Tweets

By now you have either drank the Twitter kool-aid or spit it out. Whether you had a giant bird burst through a wall or not, you know about hash tags. If you don’t, hash tags are used in Twitter by being placed in front a word or phrase to help create a trending topic or chat room feel. If you were to reference LeBron James, you would put #lebron, and your tweet will be added to a chat room-like conversation that includes all #lebron tweets. This brings tweeters together, and helps marketers get awesome quantitative research by delving into the psyche of people’s experiences with products, services and trends.

Hash tags can also serve other purposes. There was an event in March in Austin called PubCon South 2009, where SEO and SEM industry folk came together for mind meld for three days. I could sit in one seminar and follow the speakers in the other seminars by the streaming tweets from #PubCon, which was established during the opening keynote as the conference’s trending topic.

Keep in mind, generally hash tags will only provide significant value if it has the opportunity to be a trending topic. Breaking news stories will always work, or a questions that almost everyone has a burning desire to answer. For example:

1. Your best drunk text: #DrunkText
2. Breaking up in three words or less: #2Breakup Words
3. What is your favorite drink?: #FavDrink

Most great trends have a motivating factor behind it and evoke a sense of urgency for the responder. Keep in mind, one of the main draws to Twitter is the fact that it is in real-time. This makes most tweets and trending topics time-sensitive. Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night and currently a trending topic on Twitter. Will he be a trending topic in two weeks? Most likely, the answer is “NO”, especially with the NBA Draft tonight.

There are time-insensitive information on Twitter, but that is mainly opportunities for researchers to access information that can influence and inform their campaign decisions. Researching tweets for marketing opportunities are still in its early stages of development, but it is no secret that indexing tweets and providing SERPs is a huge opportunity. As websites start to index and organize trending tweets, expect more accurate SERPs to emerge with more relevance to SEO.

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