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Optimizing Your Social Media Updates for Search

Any content that you want to be discovered has to be optimized for search, whether it is optimizing it for Google search or search on specific social networks. This content includes your social media status updates, wall posts, shares, and media. In this post, we’re going to look at the why and how of optimizing…

Any content that you want to be discovered has to be optimized for search, whether it is optimizing it for Google search or search on specific social networks. This content includes your social media status updates, wall posts, shares, and media. In this post, we’re going to look at the why and how of optimizing you social media status updates for search.

Social Media Updates in Google

Do your social media updates make it to Google? Some definitely do.

social-media-updates-in-google

The key thing to know about getting your updates to show up in Google search is that generally, it’s the first part of your status update that counts the most. On Twitter, it’s the first 30 characters of your status update along with Twitter / username that counts as the SEO title of the individual tweet page.

twitter-status-update-seo

On Facebook, it’s approximately the first 40 characters.

facebook-status-update-seo

On Google+, it’s approximately the first 50 characters.

google-plus-status-update-seo

Therefore, if you want to give any of your social media updates the chance to rank in Google, get your primary keyword within the first 30 characters of the main part of the update.

Across the Board Optimization

What three things help gain extra visibility for your status updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+? Here they are.

Hashtags

You’ve probably heard by now, but hashtags are no longer just for Twitter: Facebook just added the ability for users to add them to updates and Google+ is automatically adding them to some posts. In addition to adding your target keyword to the beginning of your status updates, consider adding it with a hashtag at the end of the update. This way, people who are checking out all of the updates belonging to a particular hashtag will discover yours as well.

Mentions

While you shouldn’t spam people with mentions, you should consider mentioning people in status updates when appropriate. For examples, don’t just say “Here are my thoughts on the latest Matt Cutts video.” Instead, say “Here are my thoughts on the latest @MattCutts video.” on Twitter (or tag on Facebook and Google+). If nothing else, you’ll get that person’s attention and maybe get to strike up a conversation!

Posting Often

Since most search results on social networks return the most recent updates, your goal is to make at least one post per day on each network with your target keyword. For popular search terms that are used in updates often, that quota should be higher if you want good visibility for your updates.

Social Media Updates on Individual Networks

Now, let’s look at some ways to get your messages on social media to rank well within a social network’s internal search.

Twitter

There are three areas you can rank a status update in Twitter search results: tweets, photos, and videos. Each are based on recency and having the target search term in the body of your tweet.

twitter-search-result-ranking

Depending on how often your target keyword is tweeted, the top photos and videos are usually no more than 24 hours old. Top tweets are usually minutes old. The top status updates are also ranked based on who the searcher is following on Twitter and the popularity (retweets, replies, and favorites) of the tweet itself.

So if you want to be discovered for a particular search term, your goal is to use it in your tweets often, daily if possible, and mix in different media types (photos and video). You may also want to consider using Promoted Tweets advertising on Twitter to get even more exposure of your updates. Promoted Tweets will show up at the top of Twitter search results and in other areas throughout Twitter to your target audience. They are even popping up in Twitter management tools, such as within the HootSuite streams.

Facebook

Having your wall posts rank well within Facebook search is tricky right now. In the older version of search, people could search for keywords within public posts, posts by friends, and posts in groups.

facebook-search-results

This was helpful as it meant you could get your updates discovered in three ways: optimize your updates with the target search term, have lots of connections, and post in lots of groups. With Graph Search, on the other hand, you can’t actually search for updates posted by others, not yet at least.

facebook-post-search

 

Right now, there are two types of updates that will come up in Graph Search: photos and videos. Let’s say that someone searched something random like marketing photos.

photos-of-marketing-graph-search

The results would be based on photos that were tagged as marketing or have the word marketing in the text portion of the update along with the photo. The same goes with videos.

The only question remains – how many people would search for images like this based on keywords? What they would potentially stumble upon in their searches are queries like photos my friends like and photos my friends commented on. Hence, if you want your photos and videos to be discovered in search, you would need to get some good engagement on them. If you don’t have a lot of engagement, consider using the Promoted Post / Boost Post option with your best updates to increase the activity level on them.

Google+

Google+ search results will return status updates with the search term in any portion of the update, including the title text of a shared link.

google-plus-search-results

The Best Of portion of search results will display the most popular updates from people you are connected with, where as the Most Recent will show the most recent public updates with a particular keyword. Hence, it’s important to use your target keyword in your updates and encourage interaction from your followers for more visibility.

How do you optimize your social media updates for search? Please share in the comments!