If you’ve been paying attention to the online marketing news lately, you may have heard that Twitter and Google have inked a deal to present Twitter information in Google’s search results. This article should hopefully answer some of those burning questions you may still have about the deal.
Why Would Google Partner with Twitter, Can’t It Crawl the Site Now?
Since Googlebot can return more than 240 million results within 0.48 seconds for my "Justin Bieber" search, it can surely handle the data produced by one of the world’s largest sources of user generated content, right? Truthfully, Google is very agile and adept at crawling web documents, but with 600+ million people potentially making a new piece of content every few seconds — well, the amount of data Google has to crawl becomes exponentially huge. With this new deal, Google will tap into the data directly from Twitter, gaining access to all the content available on Twitter.
Will Twitter Content Now Rank on Page 1?
To be honest, no one knows what Google will do with the data it is gathering from Twitter. We do know that it will be several months before Google has the ability to let their developers go wild on the data. And, once Google has its access to the data, there’s no telling how it will integrate within the search results.
Hold on, this Sounds Familiar ...
What this new deal means is that Google now has faster, easier access to the content created by the 600+ million users. In 2009, Google had a partnership with Twitter to access some of its data; now they’ve upped the ante and are cashing in on the whole hog. Speculation assumed that the 2009 deal ended because of the rise of Google+, and Twitter wanted to keep its proprietary nature secret. Perhaps this new agreement is a signal to how important the 600-pound gorilla is to driving new traffic to the site.
What Does This Mean for Other Engines?
So now that Twitter and Google are back together again, what does this mean for other engines like Yahoo and Bing? Both of those engines have had their respective deals to access Twitter data for years now. Bing inked a deal just before the original Google-Twitter partnership and Yahoo made arrangements for content sharing in early 2010. Google’s only had restricted access since 2011, meaning now is the time for them to take what they’ve learned from other social forays and integrate Twitter in a meaningful, useful way for its searchers. Whether that is a Page 1 result, a Knowledge Graph blurb, or something entirely different, we’ll have to wait and see.
What Should I Do?
Twitter signing on to share information with Google again will only help both brands in their advertising initiatives. It’s likely that Sponsored Tweets will have the potential to be boosted to Google searchers. And, as it is with Google+ posts, brands may be able to reach a wider organic search audience with an active Twitter account due to more long-tail keyword matches available.
For Google searchers, this data connection is likely to lead to greater organic visibility of Twitter tweets and profiles. In the original 2009 deal, Google confirmed that Twitter authenticity, or TwitterRank, counts within their organic algorithm. In a Q&A with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, Google confirmed that the frequency of a profile’s tweets as well as the frequency of retweets do count toward ranking in organic search results as well as their “in the news” and “sitelinks” boxes. If Google continues to use the authenticity metric, then it is likely that retweets will continue to be a valuable signal to determine authenticity and popularity. Google’s recent move from a “news” box to an “in the news” results box suggests tweets may be mined initially for breaking news information.
For brands with multiple Twitter accounts, it may be a good time to review engagement rates and quality levels of each of those accounts in order to gauge their effectiveness for future advertising. For example, if Scotia Bank wanted to develop a strategy for promoting their individual branches on Twitter, they may want to reconsider which profile(s) they’d put advertising dollars behind. If Google weighs one profile more than others, significant savings could be had by a thorough social SEO audit that can eliminate the noise:
Brands that receive significant traffic from Twitter (or t.co) may want to gather and review traffic metrics from Twitter and Google organic results to gauge potential impact from this update. As more Twitter content is available via Google results, brand sites might even see a drop in Twitter referral traffic and a rise in their organic search traffic as more links from tweets are displayed in results.