twitter_1About a year ago, Twitter instituted a no follow policy for all of the links on the site. Every link on Twitter is prevented from passing along the SEO juice to the sites it links to. Whether you believe that Twitter did this to curb spam on the system, or that they just cowed to Google’s demands, the change effectively negated much of the SEO usefulness of twitter from a link building perspective. Having your tweet passed along to 100,000 followers no longer has the effect of drastically increasing search engine placement.
Is Twitter Still a Useful SEO Tool?
So that leaves us with an interesting dilemma, should we scrap Twitter altogether from our SEO tool bag, or is it still a useful part of the conversation?
The Power of the Pyramid
twitter_2The power of Twitter has always been in the pyramid effect of Twitter’s follower system. If I have 40 followers, and they each have 40 followers, and they each have 40 followers, the information quickly gets multiplied across 10’s of thousands of accounts. Even if this no longer has the effect of creating 64,000 incoming links to your site, it still puts your thoughts and articles in the hands of thousands of people.
Remember, the goal is to be a useful part of the conversation and SEO prominence rises out of that goal. If we publish good articles and people tweet them, they will find your site. Twitter still drives traffic, even if it doesn’t have the secondary effect of driving traffic through Google.
The Alternative Search Engine
twitter_3Twitter is starting to bill itself as an alternative search engine. The new Twitter home page features the most popular topics by the minute and a very prominent search bar. A Twitter search is different from a Google search. A Google search is about long term relevance: Who’s the closest chiropractor, or who sells inexpensive silver jewelry. People are searching Twitter for a very timely type of relevance i.e. is it hot now? Jay-Z, Neil Patrick Harris, and Mad Men crowd the front page.
twitter5For a certain kind of fashionable product or of-the-moment star, a #1 Twitter search ranking may be more valuable than a #1 Google rank. Twitter the search engine can drive real organic traffic to your site and you may find that traffic from Twitter converts at a higher rate than traffic from Google. Analytics may tell you to dump Google SEO altogether and spend your days on Twitter.

It’s a New Idea, So It Has to Be Good

twitter_4Twitter, like many new technologies, hasn’t found a final resting place yet. Most of us in the internet community recognize that Twitter is important because lots and lots of people are using it. Businesses are tweeting, grandmas are tweeting, Steven Colbert is … well, he’s doing it too. There’s a danger in jumping on the bandwagon of all new internet technologies, but we’re pretty sure this one is going to be around for some time. As it evolves, it’s more useful to be part of the conversation than start fresh from scratch. Set up a Twitter account. Make a new post for every article you write. Collect some followers and see what happens. The rest of us are waiting to see too.