What's up with Twitter and Google?

20 February 2015

After many months of speculation, Twitter and Google have reached a deal where tweets will be shown as part of Google search results.

I have always been curious about search and social's symbiotic relationship. SEOs are always obsessed with the next Google algorithm update, but in 2015, it seems obvious that the next step for Google was to cement its' search algorithms with social. Twitter, with its 284 million users, was the most logical - and lucrative - step. Twitter already has done deals with Bing and Yahoo, but with Google cornering the lion's share of the search market, this really is the point where anyone working in digital would say search and social have really come together.

Are SEO and Social uneasy bedfellows?

SEOs and search agencies can often be sceptical of social. What is the worth of a link to a tweet or status update that has a life-span of 1 hour or less, and has no tangible link or page metric quality? The truth is: social is where everything on the web gets shared and communicated. We don't just comment underneath posts and email our friends with a funny link, we are more likely to share via Twitter, Facebook, and messenger services such as WhatsApp. These are the platforms where clicks come from, many eyeballs are focussed on, and where the potentiality for a large and targeted audience can be utilised. If SEO is all about hosting content, and improving page authority, then Social is there to expand these horizons, capitalise on sharing, track sentiment around clicks and engagement, and allow brands to develop a real community.

How will Tweets affect Google search results and what should you be doing?

Tweets you have sent will appear in Google search results. If the tweet is a 'high authority tweet' i.e. you are Kim Kardashian and have 'broken the internet', or you have a high follower/high profile twitter account, these tweets may stay in search results alongside other links. Google has set up its own Tweet search engine, where you can also find tweets sent. If you are looking to grow your online presence, it is safe to assume (although we will never precisely know), that being active on Twitter may result in better search results for your brand or persona. That is, regular and incisive tweeting may well affect your standing in Google search in general! Good news if you are churning out great content on your web page, but also sharing and being active socially!

What's in it for Google and Twitter?

We all know that Twitter is one of the most important social channels. News is often broken on Twitter before it hits mainstream press, and the sheer amount of real-time news and users is a powerful asset. Google, we all know, rules 75% (at least!) of total searches. However, Google needs to remain relevant, and despite being able to crawl webpages, it hasn't been given access to Twitter. Google has lacked 'real-time' results, so by utilising tweets, and delivering them in their search results, Google will be staying ahead of search trends. Twitter will benefit by their tweets appearing in search, thus being exposed to a huge new audience, and their advertising reach and revenue will be boosted dramatically.

All in all, this is an exciting time for anyone working in digital, and brands too. Social is now an intrinsic part of search. If you are a brand who is not on Twitter, reassess!