I recently tested a few tactics to determine the most effective methods of generating SEO juice using Twitter. Here are the top seven, in no particular order.

1. Choose a good Twitter handle
Choose a Twitter handle that is relevant to your company and is easy to remember. Your handle (also known as your User name) becomes part of your Twitter URL e.g. http://www.twitter.com/B_West. This creates a static URL for future search indexing. Of course the challenge is to find an available handle that matches your company or brand while keeping it as
short as possible so its easy to tweet and retweet.

2. Account names are important too
You will also want to optimize your Twitter account name to best reflect your company or brand. Your account name is what appears in your profile, next to your icon/image. This can be different than your Twitter handle. You will want to choose an account name that promotes your company or brand. Bonus tip: check your website’s natural search stats to see which variation of your brand name generates the most search activity.

3. Promote your Twitter account
Once your account is set-up the first thing you’ll want to do is build your list of followers and the link reputation of your Twitter account. An effective way to do this is to display your Twitter URL on your website
along with the Twitter icon encouraging users to “follow” you on Twitter. It’s also useful to put your Twitter link on the global footer of your website and in your email signature.

4. Choose your first 26 characters carefully
The first 26 characters of each tweet are important for SEO as they determine what appears in the tweet title tag and hence what shows up as a search result on most search engines. Approximately 40 characters are factored into the tweet’s title tag, including the account name and the initial characters of your tweet. However, the full tweet and all 140 characters are still indexed by the search engines.

5. Tweets rich in keywords
Wherever possible, start your tweet with a keyword phrase to theme the message e.g. Organic recipe of the day. Where appropriate use hashtags (#) to capitalize on timely searches for those terms e.g. #Organic #Recipe. Don’t be tempted to use hashtags to cheat the system though. According to
Twitter’s new Terms of Service, that is grounds for having your account suspended or terminated.

6. Make it easy to retweet
By limiting the number of characters in your tweets to about 120, you are increasing the likelihood that it will get retweeted. Keeping it under 120 characters enables your followers to easily add RT @YourHandle in front of the tweet. Of course, the exact number of characters needed will depend on the number of characters in your Twitter handle.

7. Link, link and then link some more
Whenever possible and appropriate, insert links in your tweets to direct users to content on your site. Twitter is a significant traffic driver for blogs and websites. If you do insert links, use a URL shortener like Is.gd or Bit.ly. In fact in some cases Twitter automatically shortens your URLs using bit.ly. I like using Hootsuite to tweet as it has a built in URL shortener and it also tracks click-throughs for the links so you can see which readers are most interested in.