Free SEO with Twitter - Google Indexes Twitter Links
WRITTEN by: Bill Sterzenbach |
URL shorteners are great. They allow us to maximize our tiny Twitter space more effectively, and they make cleaner URL's in general. Until recently, there were no draw-backs to using them. In the past few months search engines have begun to treat Twitter posts much differently, and opportunities abound. Today we are going to discuss when it makes sense to use a URL shortening service and when it's better to direct-link.
To start our discussion, we first have to define a few terms.
- URL Text: This is the text that folks click on in a link (usually blue and underlined)
- Anchor Text: This is the text that folks click on a link (usually blue and underlined)
- Backlink: this is any link that resides on some site that points directly to your site
- Parameters: These are added to URL's and are not part of the 'real' address. For example, goupward.com/marketing/ is a 'standard' URL, while goupward.com/?marketing is a 'parameterized' URL. Google tends to look at parameters as less valuable than page names or directory names.
- LinkPOP: A somewhat outdated term for Link Popularity. This once played very heavily into Google's ranking algorithm. Inbound links are still important, but now we just refer to 'links' as folks don't talk about Link Pop and PageRank much anymore.
The importance of links
Google looks at links to your site as 'votes of confidence' by other sites. More links = better (within reason). Google generally only counts ONE link from each unique domain for link popularity, but Google pays attention to ALL links for anchor text, location, etc.
Are links from Twitter good?
Yes. Most importantly, the text within the link is apparently used by Google. In the past, we've learned that keywords in links found on Twitter have a positive impact on your ranking WITHIN Twitter results from Google. Now, Google appears to use Twitter links for overall ranking as well.
Recently I did a test where I created a link on Twitter (through my bsterzenbach account) with a nonsense term in it (a nonsense word, that I won't post because it could change the test results) just to see if Google would 'pay attention to it'. Before the test, there were no results for the term when searching on Google. I placed the link in a Twitter post and after about 3 weeks, the Upward Brand Interactions site started showing up for the term. What is important is not that we are going to go out trying to rank for this term, but that Google paid attention to the term and ranked us for it.
When linking to YOUR site - use direct URLs, and put important keywords in the URL. When linking to other peoples sites - who cares - use URL shorteners :)