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As social signals continue to rise in prominence when it comes to search engine rankings, there has been a revival in the need for retweets. Google and Bing are assigning a certain level of importance on the sheer organic numbers that are gained when it comes to social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and Twitter is the easiest of the numbers for a business to be able to influence quickly. Research is showing that increased engagement on an individual page on a website through social media can improve rankings across the board for the domain.
As such, a day that many of us thought (hoped?) was behind us has gained in prominence again. Today, businesses who do not get a good amount of Twitter activity to their domain must ask for retweets since they are the easiest way to influence search rankings. As a result, it's time to dust off the old "Rules of Twitterquette" and recall how to make it happen without risking losing followers or effectiveness altogether.
There was a time when Twitter was a tremendous traffic generation tool. I recall several occasions when I received thousands of visitors to my various websites simply by tweeting a link and getting it retweeted by a handful of people. Back then, Twitter was only about 5% links. Today, it's gone in the other direction.
Over time, the need for the retweet faded and in many ways I was pleased by this. You see, I'm not crazy about asking people for anything on social media. If they find value, they'll retweet it, share it, comment on it, or otherwise engage with the content that I post. If they don't find value or simply don't want to interact, that's fine. Even when it was effective for traffic, I didn't like asking. It just didn't seem sincere.
Now, going into 2013, the need is back. We've tested the difference between content and entire websites that get very little social interaction versus similar sites that are able to get retweets, Facebook shares, and Google +1s. The differences are dramatic. Since most businesses are not in a position to generate a ton of social signals simply by posting it, the time has come to pull out the best tool in the bag - asking for it.
Here are five rules. They aren't technically rules - ask for retweets in whatever manner you like. I've just found these guiding best practices have shown to be effective.
In many ways, Twitter's role in business is changing. It's not longer as great at direct marketing as it is at communication with current and future customers and clients. The addition of social signals as a search ranking component has brought it back into the realm of internet marketing, but don't get caught up in the SEO value alone. Twitter still has value in other ways. You just have to be willing to put in the effort to find its value for you.