With Twitter claiming to handle around 18 billion searches a month, it has overtaken Yahoo! as the world’s number two search engine – but how can marketers harness the power of the Tweet to boost their company’s profile?

Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan said that in many respects, the principles for becoming a "Twitter authority" mirror those of search engine marketing.

For example, as Twitter searches are increasingly moving away from listing the most recent entries first to rewarding relevancy or importance, content is once again king.

"Being fresh will likely stay very important, but having good content, being a good authority – that’s going to pay off," he commented.

Companies will also benefit if they can engage with "existing authorities" on the site and have them Retweet their posts, as this could make their own content more visible in search rankings and add to their own credibility with Twitter users.

Mr Sullivan said that according to comScore figures from December 2009, Google handles around 88 billion searches a month worldwide, while Yahoo! processes 9.4 billion and Bing 4.1 billion.

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