When we do SEO (Search Engine Optimization), most of the time we think about optimizing web pages and images for the Google search results. After all, we really can get traffic and sales for ranking well in the Google search results pages. But, what about Twitter? Twitter has a search box, and people really do use it. Have you thought about doing SEO for the Twitter search results page?
One of the benefits of ranking well in Twitter’s search results is that you may gain more followers. Another is that you may get more retweets of something you’ve tweeted. Or, if you post photos, ranking well in Twitter’s search results for a photo may, in fact, get the photo retweeted as well.
There’s a little-known feature that you can turn on in your Twitter settings that will help you optimize your images for the Twitter search results. Here’s how to turn that feature on.
- First, on Twitter.com, click on your profile image. There will be a drop-down list. Click on “Settings and privacy”.
- Next, look on the left side and scroll all the way down. Click on “Accessibility”.
- On the Accessibility page, there are really only two options: Image descriptions and Video Tweets. Turn the Image descriptions feature ON, click the checkbox.
- Click the Save button and you’re all set. You can now Tweet.
- Next, you’ll want to test the feature to make sure it’s turned on. Go compose a tweet.
- When you compose a tweet and add an image, you’ll see a place to add an image description, as shown below:
- Once you have uploaded the image to your tweet, click on the image in order to add a description to the photo:
- You’ll then see a popup where you can add a description to the image, as shown below:
At the bottom of the popup, you’ll see a place that says “Describe this photo for the visually impaired.”. That’s where you need to describe the photo. Think of this as the “image alt attribute” for the photo. You can put in keywords there, and you really should use keywords that describe the photo. It’s not a place to put “photo of cat” when it’s really a photo of a dog.
- Once you’ve added your description or keywords, then click Apply. Finish composing your tweet and click “Tweet”.
If you’ve optimized the image successfully, then you should be able to immediately go to the Twitter search and search for the keyword. It should, in fact, show up right away the keyword you’re optimizing for. In the following example, I tweeted a photo about the image description feature, and I immediately rank in Twitter search for “image descriptions”, as shown below:
There are several options or “tabs” that make up the Twitter search results:
- Top – this lists the most important tweets about the keyword. You’ll stick around in the #1 position if you get there–until someone else has a more important tweet about the keyword.
- Latest – this lists the latest, the last tweets about the keyword. Tweet again and you’ll be on top of the list here. But if someone else tweets about the keyword, you’ll fall down the list.
- People – lists the people who have tweeted the most about the keyword. If you are in a particular industry and tweet a lot about a subject, then there’s a good chance you’ll be there.
- Photos – shows the photos about the keyword. Pretty much instant gratification if you tweet about a keyword and you use that keyword in the image description, as I described above.
- Videos – this lists videos about the keyword you searched for. Unfortunately, there is no accessibility option for videos right now. So, you’re pretty much left to only naming the video (the filename) with your keyword and using your keywords in the tweet.
- News – shows news items about the keyword you searched for. Limited to real news outlets at this time, so it’s going to be difficult to get listed on that page if you’re not a news outlet or the media.
- Broadcasts – shows recent broadcasts from news outlets or the media about the keyword you searched for. Limited to real news outlets at this time, so it’s going to be difficult to get listed on that page if you’re not a news outlet or the media.
At this point, the best options for optimizing for the Twitter search results are, of course, tweeting about the keyword, but also including an image and turning on (and using) the image description feature for accessibility. What I do recommend is that every time you tweet about something, especially if you include a link to your website or blog post, include an image. Make sure you take advantage of this little-known image description feature for accessibility.
If this has helped you, and you’ve tested it out (and it works), then tweet me the search result URL (like this: https://twitter.com/search?q=image%20descriptions&src=typd) and show me. My Twitter ID is @bhartzer.