While Twitter has remained a staple of the online community, its influence is beginning to transfer to other domains and industries. Entertainers have taken over the website, an event hinted at by the literal eruption in promotional tweets and media-based messages. Marketers have also used the service extensively, communicating with customers and solving problems.
Alongside thousands of other uses, Twitter has immense potential for building links and generating traffic, particularly as a result of its tendency to grow virally. Below are four tips for running your own SEO-focused competition on Twitter, covering everything from technical choices to prize selection.
Use a 301-based link shortener
Some short links on Twitter pass PageRank, and others pass little more than a trickle of traffic. Before using a link shortening tool, check that is passes a full quota of PageRank to your website. Some tools, particularly those from websites with less stringent ethics, may instead siphon the PageRank to their own domain.
Incentives are worthwhile, provided you understand them.
Give users a reason to spread the word and they will, provided you understand why they’re doing so. In competitions, the most obvious incentive is the prize itself – there just aren’t any other reasons to participate. If you give extra incentives to spread your competition over a greater amount of pages, ensure that they’re something your audience will gain value from.
Suggest anchor texts, not just URLs.
PageRank is only half the SEO battle. The other half is relavency, particularly those offered by links with a strict anchor text. If your website is built around keywords, ensure that those keywords are featured as your recommended text for any inbound links. It won’t generate more PageRank, but it will generate more relavency.
Don’t spam – just influence.
There’s a big difference between spam and advertising. Advertisers understand the value that their competition is giving to its participants, offering incentives and building something valuable. The value of their efforts is evident in the fact that people like to participate, generating links for their websites and supporting their competition.
Before you launch a competition, promotion, or incentive-based linking effort, think about how you can respond to the community involved. An effort to maintaining quality will go a long way, particularly in the eyes of social media moderators that could otherwise view your ‘promotion’ as cleverly disguised spam.