Commentary

Twitter Becomes Search-able (Again)

  • by , Columnist, February 6, 2015

Twitter is about to get a huge boost in exposure for the network (and active accounts) by re-opening and enhancing its connection with the world's most visited property. Twitter content is available on Google today for searching, but the speed and experience is not optimal for real-time content discovery.

This is one of those deals where everyone wins. Users get access to real-time content in context of their searches, Google gets more content that fills the gap in the real-time content category, and Twitter -- the biggest winner of all -- gets a shot in the arm that it desperately needed to change the slowing growth trend.  

On balance, however, this is probably better news for Twitter than for Google. An increase in inbound traffic will hopefully lead to many new visitors to the site, and potentially new sign-ups -- which are critical now that the network’s growth is under scrutiny from the markets after its latest financial results.

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For marketers there are a number of potential consequences and opportunities, and both social and search teams should begin to determine how the change will impact their daily business:

1. There are huge implications for SEO. Brands now have a tool to momentarily capture first-page visibility on Google for timely content and demand. I believe this has the potential for a great direct “social impacts SEO” story, and consideration of this should regularly influence SEO planning.

2. A real use of social content published at the right time for the right topic has a way to capture significantly more eyeballs. News breaks, people search, and if you have a tweet on Google page 1, you can get a flood of traffic effectively for free. Imagine Arby’s ranking in all searches related to Grammys on Google following Pharrell’s unforgettable hat at last year’s show.

3. Twitter may escalate in both its performance and its priority within your social media planning. Your authority on Twitter (tweet frequency, retweets, followers, etc.) will now influence how searchable you are through Google -- meaning that long-term efforts to establish a dynamic Twitter following are important to capture real-time opportunities.

While the nature of the integration is still partly speculation (because Dick Costolo remains tight-lipped over the details), an array of interesting new advertising offerings could well arise. Imagine an enhanced Promoted Tweet model where Google gives a huge platform to promoters and takes a cut of the Twitter fee. This could create a two-tiered platform where brands pay a premium for promoting Tweets via the world’s largest media platform. I can see considerable benefits for brands in owning both the search intent and the conversation around their topic areas to maximize the benefits of real-time marketing.

However this pans out, SEO and social media agencies are likely to call with another strategy to discuss in the very near future.

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