GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 16 - May 2011

Twitter myth dispelled, and how to energize your tweets for SEO By Paul Reilly B efore you read this article, it’s important that I state right now that the following claims are based on my own observations of Google’s output based on applied inputs. Google is indeed a black box; anyone outside of Google who claims to know precisely how the ranking algorithms work is a charlatan and should be regarded as such. Furthermore, the ranking algorithms are subject to change without notice and should be treated as a moving target. A few months ago, I made a controversial claim on an SEO panel regarding the impact of social media on rankings specifically within Google. I claimed that tweets provide no ranking benefit whatsoever. This claimwas contested, and in the absence of a spare microphone, I was unable to expand on, or further qualify, this claim. So please allowme to restate the claimwith a little more detail. It is my belief that other than the raw link equity gained from a tweet there appears to be no ranking benefit. Obviously, if there is a link within the tweet, there will be a benefit; in fact, I have every belief that those links carry a great deal of weight for several reasons which I will cover later in this article. However, unlinked brand citations which could be used as a measurement of brand buzz are without question not taken into consideration when Google calculates your ranking. A bold claim, perhaps. . . PR disaster or brilliant algorithm test A few months ago I had the opportunity and privilege to observe a completely unique event, one which led to my forming the belief that unlinked brand citations have zero impact on rankings. This also piqued my interest as to why linked tweets have such a significant impact on rankings. A PR/link-bait initiative which a member of my team had launched for a major U.K. retail brand went on to become the number-one Tweetmeme tech story, the number-six 12 Twitter myth dispelled, and how to energize your tweets for SEO