Tweets In Google Search: 4 Ways Brands Can Increase Visibility

Should you re-exam­ine your strat­e­gy to gain more vis­i­bil­i­ty in search engines using Twit­ter?

Lisa Williams By Lisa Williams from Sustainable Digital Marketing. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Great mar­ket­ing is about reach­ing and engag­ing your audi­ence. That starts with great con­tent. There is no SEO short­cut for get­ting tweets indexed by Google. Whether your goal is to use Twit­ter to grow brand reach, grow your audi­ence, man­age your rep­u­ta­tion, or sell prod­ucts by get­ting tweets indexed, that result must be pre­ced­ed by a long-term invest­ment in brand con­tent and sto­ry­telling.


With the news last month that Google will once again have access to the Twit­ter API (fire­hose) for faster and more effi­cient index­ing of rel­e­vant tweets in search, mar­keters have been exam­in­ing how this change may impact organ­ic search and social strate­gies.

Google and Twit­ter had a sim­i­lar deal that began in 2009 and expired in 2011. Since that deal lapsed, Google has had to crawl Twitter’s site for tweets, which was slow, was time-con­sum­ing, and didn’t allow for the quick­er index­ing of time-sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion.

For Twit­ter, this new deal with Google gives more expo­sure and oppor­tu­ni­ty to mar­ket to logged out users.

What The Twitter-Google Deal Means For Your Brand

Should you re-exam­ine your strat­e­gy to gain more vis­i­bil­i­ty in search engines using Twit­ter?

A mar­ket­ing plan or cam­paign should nev­er start with tac­tics. The time hon­ored tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing process of “first goal, then strate­gies, and then tac­tics” is more rel­e­vant now than ever. Smart brands wor­ry less about get­ting their tweets indexed and more about the brand strat­e­gy that dri­ves that oppor­tu­ni­ty.

The say­ing, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” applies here. Though Google hav­ing access again to Twitter’s fire­hose of tweets should be con­sid­ered part of the over­all dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, it needs to be dri­ven by brand mar­ket­ing efforts of a clear content/communications strat­e­gy.

The oppor­tu­ni­ty for tweets to be indexed high­lights the con­tin­ued impor­tance of inte­grat­ing SEO into brand mar­ket­ing efforts.

Inte­gra­tion will be more impor­tant than ever. If SEO is left out of the process, the tech­ni­cal, rel­e­vance, and author­i­ty sig­nals that help brand tweets get indexed will be missed. Con­verse­ly, if SEO focus­es on tweet index­a­tion with­out brand immer­sion and access to brand con­tent strat­e­gy and assets, their efforts for index­a­tion will be less effec­tive.

Eric Enge, pres­i­dent of Stone Tem­ple Con­sult­ing and co-author of “The Art of SEO” did an in-depth study of Google’s index­a­tion of tweets. The analy­sis, which exam­ined 138,635 tweets, found that Google is cur­rent­ly index­ing just 7.4 per­cent of tweets. That per­cent­age will def­i­nite­ly increase and become more rel­e­vant to brands as Google gains full API access.

Is your brand poised to ben­e­fit from this organ­ic search and brand reach oppor­tu­ni­ty? Here are four ways brands can increase vis­i­bil­i­ty.

1. Focus On Strategic, Documented Content Strategies & Methodology

Whether it’s cau­sa­tion or cor­re­la­tion, brands that have a strong con­tent strat­e­gy upon which mul­ti­ple mar­ket­ing teams align will take the lion’s share of indexed tweets. Tweet index­a­tion also high­lights the need to have a strate­gic, doc­u­ment­ed con­tent strat­e­gy and guide­lines for those exe­cut­ing the strat­e­gy.

Some­times that con­tent strat­e­gy is so excep­tion­al that it dri­ves mul­ti­ple chan­nel rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the search results.

This exam­ple from “The Lego Movie” (inter­est­ing aside: this piece of brand sto­ry­telling nev­er includ­ed the word “Lego” in the movie) shows how a strong con­tent strat­e­gy dri­ves inclu­sion of the Twit­ter pro­file (note that Google is serv­ing video, local, and social results).

Once a strong content/communications strat­e­gy is cre­at­ed, then a chan­nel inte­gra­tion plan becomes the focus. Greater index­a­tion of tweets may tempt brands to push siloed focus on Twit­ter, but brands doing this well, as in the Lego exam­ple, are defin­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy first, then the chan­nel.

When doc­u­men­ta­tion, method­ol­o­gy, and process­es aren’t in place, an even larg­er audi­ence beyond just your fol­low­ers could see a dam­ag­ing brand tweet when Google index­es that con­tent.

Tweet­ing in align­ment with your goals and brand voice helps keep the brand sto­ry rel­e­vant. That focus may help your tweets inter­sect with Google’s goal of pro­vid­ing excep­tion­al search results.

2. Focus On Engagement

The read­ing, shar­ing, and link­ing to of con­tent has been, and will con­tin­ue to be, the bench­mark of great con­tent.

Though the word “engage­ment” means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent mar­keters, it can be agreed upon that adding images, hash­tags, and links make con­tent more engag­ing. Enge’s study showed that tweets with images, hash­tags and links are more like­ly to be indexed.

3. Focus On Audience Development

Audi­ence devel­op­ment, with a focus on qual­i­ty rather than just the quan­ti­ty of fol­low­ers, should be a ded­i­cat­ed, ongo­ing effort for brands. Mea­sur­ing this KPI should also be includ­ed when mea­sur­ing brand val­ue and reach.

Peo­ple with at least 10,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers gen­er­at­ed more than 40 per­cent of the tweets in Enge’s study. The shar­ing of and link­ing to of brand tweets that will sig­nal Google to index tweets will be improved with strong audi­ence devel­op­ment.

With lim­it­ed organ­ic reach in most social chan­nels, the launch of Twitter’s Part­ner Audi­ences last week makes it eas­i­er to grow an audi­ence once you under­stand your tar­get seg­ments.

4. Use Twitter Ads To Amplify Your Efforts

Though the num­ber of tweets indexed by Google may be viewed as an organ­ic search or social met­ric, paid social media should play a key part in your efforts to grow your Twit­ter reach.

Brands lever­age Twit­ter ads to achieve many mar­ket­ing objec­tives. In the fol­low­ing exam­ple, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing soft­ware provider Buz­zStream used Pro­mot­ed Tweets with @username tar­get­ing to reach peo­ple sim­i­lar to the fol­low­ers of nine dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing influ­encers. These influ­encers were either con­trib­u­tors to BuzzStream’s guide, or known for dis­cussing top­ics cov­ered in the book.

Buz­zStream achieved their down­load objec­tives and their tweets were also indexed. Buz­zStream is just one exam­ple of a cam­paign that requires con­tent strat­e­gy and plan­ning.


With more tweets show­ing in Google search, do you have a strat­e­gy to help increase your online vis­i­bil­i­ty?

Lisa Williams

Written by Lisa Williams

President, Sustainable Digital Marketing

Lisa Williams is the President of Sustainable Digital Marketing. She is a 19-year veteran of online marketing and has been featured in Kiplinger Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Boston Globe and The Oregonian. She recently authored her first book, "When Everybody Clicks: Sustainable Digital Marketing". Lisa is on the SEMpdx (Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland Oregon) Advisory Board. She speaks at regional, national and international conferences on the topics of digital strategy, marketing integration, team development and leadership. She is available for training and consulting.

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