SEO and Twitter just don’t mix.

Is Twitter being optimized?

Earlier today I received a tweet in my timeline from Adrian Chan who posed an interesting thought. If Twitter went the way of Google and decided to find a way to optimize tweets so that they could be found easier, how would we SEO them?

Well I think that’s a wrong way for Twitter to go – and not just Twitter but everything relating to social media. There are many ways to optimize your site and web presence, but for social media, it’s not all about promotion. Rather, it’s about authenticity and conversation. The invention of this web 2.0 phenomenon is all about getting companies and individuals to open up and share what’s going on in the world. It’s user-generated content…raw and uncensored. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion in this social part of the World Wide Web and now for us to sanitize it through search engine optimization, that would defeat the whole purpose of making things…well…social.

Let’s look at it from a company or brand standpoint. In the old days of marketing, companies were always trying to pitch things to businesses or sell their wares to any customer. They would try and optimize their websites and have big call to action buttons that would just scream right of the page “BUY! BUY! BUY!“. When you looked at their site and emails, you just knew that you were being hunted for your money. But now enter in the world of Web 2.0/Social Media. Don’t let the marketers fool you any longer because this new generation of web technology has allowed you to fight back and spread the word on their pitches and unoriginality.

So now brands are starting to inflitrate these areas to make their case and show that they’re the cool guys that just want to talk and not pitch customers. They’ve supposedly “learned the error of their ways”. Right? Well if Twitter becomes more focused on SEO strategies, then I think that we’ve just taken a step back. Imagine that a company like Virgin Airways or Dell places more emphasis on promotional copy on Twitter than simply talking to their customers. So rather than having the public relations or marketing departments typing away as they normally should and showing that there is a human side to the company, they’re going to control what message they want to say? I think that’s outrageous and wrong. Do not constrain your brands thinking. The goal is free thinking and strike up a conversation.

Are you more interested in having your tweets found or influencing more of your followers? What’s the purpose of optimizing your tweets? All your information that you want to share, whether it’s your photo gallery, blog, website, email, etc. should all be optimized there not through a tweet. It’s just another means of getting your message out into the void. Stop worrying about tweaking everything out there that you’re creating just so you can get more promotion. I’m not saying that you should do any optimization with social media, but there are better ways that trying to further sanitize 140 characters just to have it show up on Google or Twitter Search. Besides, doesn’t Twitter Search rank things according to timestamp?

Stop trying to nit pick at everything you produce. If it’s in social media, focus on engagement and dialogue. SEO is better left for another strategy. There’s just some better ways than by through Twitter.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.