Twitter is a powerful communications and marketing tool, but it’s all too easy to get lost in the chatter. By applying these simple search engine optimization practices to your tweeting, people will be able to find you more easily, and you’ll gain more followers for it.
1. Choose a meaningful display name and username. These two elements are tied to your every tweet and are the No. 1 way for people to find your Twitter account in a Google search. Also, instead of keeping your username and display name the same, you can double up your keyword power by using your company name for one and your first and last name for the other.
2. Complete your profile. Though you only have 160 characters to describe who you are and what you do, be sure to use them. Your profile can contain supplemental keywords to help people get a feel for what you’re about, and it can also help improve your “findability” on the Twitter user search site, Twellow.
3. Include your location. Make sure to fill in the location field in your profile and update it as necessary. You can filter tweets by location from search.twitter.com, and there are Twitter search applications that focus specifically on local updates, such as Twuzzer and Nearby Tweets.
4. Tweet frequently. Search.twitter.com and other social media search engines, such as Social Mention, sort tweets by time, with the newest information up top. If you want people to find you by conversation topic, you’ll need to use relevant keywords in your tweets, and use them often.
5. Use hashtags. By tagging your posts with hashtags, which are basically keywords attached to a hash mark, such as #FollowFriday, you’re entering your message into an already established search channel with a one-click way to see everything on the subject. Just like a basic keyword search, hashtags are pulled chronologically.
6. Don’t over-abbreviate. Though some shortening can be necessary to fit your message into Twitter’s tiny character limit, consider whether your abbreviation will help or hurt people searching on your subject. Make sure to spell out anything important.
7. Engage in public conversations. The more you use @replies, and get replies back, the more links are pointing back to your account. This means if you’re discussing a particular topic with someone, you’ll appear in double the tweets for the subject you’re talking about, as long as the keyword is mentioned, once in your updates and again in the responding person’s.
8. List yourself in Twitter directories. You can make your Twitter account more searchable by listing yourself in relevant categories. Start with WeFollow and add yourself to existing or new categories. If you use Twitter for your brand, check out brand listings, such as Social Brand Index and Tracking Twitter. Also look into niche sites, such as ExecTweets for CEOs and Qapture for design and development professionals, and see if you can get on their rosters.
9. Build your follower list. In some searches, the more people following you on Twitter, the higher your authority. Twithority is one search engine that lets you sort terms by user popularity.
10. Link to your profile. Don’t expect people to find you if you’re not linking to your Twitter profile on your site, blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn account, and anywhere else you keep an online presence. The more ways people can find your Twitter account from any search that leads to you, the better off you’ll be.