Social media signsSocial media metrics (likes, shares, etc) do not typically show up in search engine results. However, in February this year, Google struck a deal with Twitter that allows tweets to appear in result listings.

Given the number of tweets posted on a daily basis, this is good news for marketers. It gives you the opportunity to raise visibility and longevity to your content.

The benefits are obvious and you should be taking advantage of this new feature, and we will explain why in a moment. However, you also need to be careful how you employ this tactic as it could pose you problems with Panda and Penguin.

Good news for tweeters

Since Google curbed the use of keywords, marketers have been limited to using one or two principle keywords rather than an assortment of related keywords in addition. This practice of “keyword stuffing” subsequently reduced the chances of content being found in search engine results.

Sassy marketers can overcome this problem by tweeting published content using alternative keywords that do not exactly match the title of principle keywords of their content.

Now Twitter feeds are appearing in search engine listings, this means that your content has more scope to be matched against a broader range of search terms other than those that closely relate to the title of your content.

That’s the good news, but here’s the caution!

Twitter is a link farm

Another punishment Google dished out several years ago was the use of link farms – sites short on content, but with loads of links pointing to third party sites.

Also called directories, these type of sites are deemed to be trying to manipulate search results and rankings and are heavily penalised. But Twitter is essentially one massive link farm. Very few tweets are posted without linking to a third party site.

So marketers are now left with something of a paradox. Google will show tweets and allow savvy marketers to raise visibility of their content by expanding their keyword search terms – but will the search engine giant also see fit to punish marketers abusing the privilege by using Twitter in the same manner link farms operated?

There is the potential for Google to turn round and say, “No sorry, you can’t do that, it’s not playing fair.” They have done it before and although they may have good intentions to improve search marketing when they launch new devices, these things do have a habit of blowing up in their face.

It is our view then that Twitter offers excellent opportunities to broaden your scope of keywords to attract search engine users, but at the same time, if you tweet the same piece of content using old “keyword stuffing” tactics you might get Penguin-slapped or bitten by Panda.