The Link — SEO.com's August Newsletter

Businesses Must Finely Tune Twitter Campaigns

Twitter serves up fantastic ways for businesses to provide customer service, promote sales and manage their reputations online. But when composed correctly your tweets might even improve your company’s rankings in the search engines.

“If you are tweeting regularly and you’ve got a good reputation, then sometimes if there is enough chatter, Google will actually show your tweets at the top of the results,” said Albert Mitchell, an SEO director at SEO.com. “We want to have as many shots as possible to be on the front page and Twitter is one of those things.”

But your company’s tweets won’t rank on the first page until you finely tune your Twitter campaign. Mitchell can’t tell you exactly what to tweet, but had these tips for best optimizing 140 characters:

 

1. Have a plan

You should have an understanding of your audience and know what you want to tweet about before promoting your company on Twitter.

“You need to have a purpose and know what your purpose is,” Mitchell said.

Whether providing customer service or monitoring complaints, many companies use multiple Twitter accounts, each tailored to a specific need.

“Segment out your Twitter accounts,” Mitchell advised.

Then when somebody online gripes about your product or service you respond with your Twitter handle that is dedicated to customer service.

 

2. Tweet regularly; respond quickly

Tweeting regularly is key. But quickly responding to feedback is critical if you’re trying to forge a reputable online persona.

Mitchell said he complained to his telecommunications provider via Twitter when the Internet service at his home recently crashed. The company replied to Mitchell the next morning after he sent the tweet the night before.

“They’re listening. It took them a little while, but they actually got back to me,” Mitchell said. “If you have a Twitter account, you need to stay on top of it. You need to address these concerns because I expected them to respond to me.”

 

3. Use keywords to brand tweets

Branding your tweets may help boost their influence in the search engines.

Create a custom link shortener so your tweets are quickly recognized. Both Google and bitly offer link-shortening tools. Include the name of your company with your custom link.

“For SEO purposes you want something that is established and can be used forever,” Mitchell said.

Some people won’t click a generic shortened link. Customized links boost your brand’s credibility.

“They look at it quickly and know it’s good and reputable,” Mitchell said.

And it’s best to link your anchor text to pages deep within your website.

“Link to the page that is most relevant to your tweet,” Mitchell said. “I don’t want to have to dig through the whole entire site to find the one piece of information that I need.”

Targeting a set of broad keywords with tweets might also help propel your posts to better rankings. The keywords should be high volume and relevant to your industry. Continually associate your brand with those keywords and include one or two with your tweets.

“You’ve got a very limited number of characters, so you’ve got to be very accurate and composed with these tweets,” Mitchell said. “It is not an easy thing.”

Few outside the Googleplex know exactly how the search giant’s algorithm weighs tweets when providing universal search results.

“It depends on the chatter … I think it’s due partly to how people interact,” Mitchell said. “If you are talking about it enough and there are other people tweeting about it then it’s likely you will see it.”

Always tweet when items in the news are relevant to your industry.

“Look to see what people are talking about right now and if it’s relevant, use it in your tweet,” Mitchell said. “If it’s trending on Twitter, there might be enough time for it to show up on the (Google) news results.”

 

Client Spotlight: Spectrum Climbs to the Top of its Industry

Corey Hyer grew up rock climbing in Utah, where he has stood atop some of the finest routes in the world.

Spectrum SportsBut today Hyer works around a different type of crag. He is a spokesman for Utah-based Spectrum Sports, which builds artificial climbing walls and patented auto belay devices that make it easy for beginners to experience the thrill of climbing.

“We developed the first hands-free auto belay device,” Hyer explained in a telephone interview. “Our device takes care of everything.”

“Belaying” describes the process of taking up slack from a rope as a climber ascends, and safely lowering the climber when they fall or wish to come down. In the woods, climbers have traditionally needed belay partners to climb safely – someone who operates a device that helps catch climbers when they fall.

But you don’t need a partner when climbing a wall designed by Spectrum Sports. Using hydraulics, the auto belay system attached to the wall safely collects slack as the climber ascends. When finished, the climber is safely lowered as oil flowing through the device restricts the rope.

Some indoor climbing gyms used to have to turn away novices when instructors were not available to help belay beginners.

“Most gyms are struggling to end’s meet,” Hyer said.

The auto belay system has allowed climbing gyms to capitalize on thousands of dollars in walk-in business.

“We were the first company to offer an auto belay device to climbing gyms,” Hyer explained. “It really did expand the amount of people who had the opportunity to participate in the climbing experience. It really opened up the experience to people in the middle of America.”

Spectrum Sports opened in the 1990s, manufacturing accessories for trampolines.

“It transitioned from those amusement devices to rock climbing,” Hyer said.

He described the staff at Spectrum Sports as “a very adventurous group.”

“We like to have fun and we like to share that with people,” Hyer said.

All Spectrum products are manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Cache Valley, Utah. Spectrum belay devices are used on portable walls and in climbing gyms throughout the country.

Though not many companies manufacture artificial walls and auto belay devices, Hyer said the industry is extremely competitive. Spectrum Sports hired SEO.com after traditional marketing methods started producing fewer leads.

“People in our industry used to come to trade shows to see what is new, now they’re going online to see what is new in the industry,” Hyer said. “In the past we have had a marketing mix that relied heavily on paid advertisements and trade shows.”

Thanks to SEO.com, the company’s website now appears on the first page of Google when people search for several competitive keywords.

And the professional SEO efforts will likely continue as Spectrum Sports attempts to corner a new market The company expects to unveil its first portable zipline later this year.

“There is a strong demand for the zipline experience right now. But the only way to experience it currently is to travel to a remote location. People who live elsewhere can’t experience it,” Hyer said. “We’re all about taking that to the mass public.”

 

SEO Tip of the Month

Not only do schemas help search engines more accurately determine what your site is about, but in 2012 they are going to be a factor in your actual ranking.

What:

Incorporate schemas (think metadata or “HTML tags”) into your HTML coding.

Why:

Search engines more accurately understand your website through schemas. When they parse your data, they look for schemas, or html tags, which tell them what your content is.

Bing has officially announced that schemas will affect search results starting in 2012. It’s safe to assume the same for Google and Yahoo. Additionally, adding schemas to your html will help you rank for more accurate search terms.

How:

You can learn to write schemas yourself or find generators online that write them for you. A good generator is http://schema-creator.org.

Whether your write them or get them generated, make sure to insert them into your HTML.

 

Industry Events

SES San Francisco: San Francisco; Aug. 15-19

PubCon: Las Vegas; Nov. 7-10

#SEOchat: Thursdays at 7 p.m. MDT. Ash Buckles and Greg Shuey operate this chat where all things SEO are discussed.

 

SEO.com Events

Webinar: Google Local Search – Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. MDT

 

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