It’s a love thing. Like thousands of ill-fated couples they tried to make it before but things soon fell apart. Now it looks like they’re together for good, with Google enjoying unlimited access to the Twitter feed.
Combining their considerable resources ought to benefit both organisations as well as the people who use them. So what’s going on, why, and what do you need to know about one of the most exciting and potentially perturbing partnerships in the current online landscape?
7 reasons why Google and Twitters’ collaboration matters
A couple of months ago Google announced they’d be allowed full access to Twitter’s feed. It means search, and social are linked more closely than ever. Here are 7 things you need to know about this very special deal.
Real-time marketing is a hot topic for Google, and Twitter is the ultimate real-time news feed. Twitter users spurt out 9000-ish Tweets a second, sometimes more. Before the deal, Google had to crawl Twitter to find Tweets that would deliver the real-time information it needed to keep the search results up to date and fresh. The trouble was, crawling Twitter in its entirety was imp[ossible since it would make the entire social network fall over. It was a technical nightmare. But now Google will get real-time data via a feed, so there’s no need for it to crawl Twitter. Problem solved.
The move raises even more speculation about G+, Google’s ailing social network, which never managed to go mainstream. Will this signal the death of Google Plus? Watch this space. A lot of experts wouldn’t be at all surprised.
Will Tweeting a link to a page help it get found in the search results? Possibly. Can Tweeting your content speed up the Google indexing process? Perhaps. Experiments are already afoot as SEOs and social gurus test the water to see if they can draw reliable conclusions. The word on the streets so far is this: there are hints that Google might just spring into indexing action when it encounters multiple Tweets talking about something new and exciting. So sharing your content on Twitter might support SEO much better than using Twitter for marketing has so far.
Twitter isn’t resting on its laurels. Like all social networks, as new members arrive bored or disaffected ones drop off the other end. Just look at what happened to Friends Reunited. In 2013, 46% of US Twitter users visited every day. By 2014, it was just 36%. Despite its size, Twitter’s market share is currently smaller than Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. The arrangement benefits Twitter because better exposure of Tweets in the SERPs means they make more money through advertising, attract more users and enjoy better user engagement. In a way, their partnership with Google is an exercise in future-proofing, a survival tactic. And much the same goes for Google.
Twitter is a huge moveable feast of user-generated information and insight. Feeding all this into Google’s gaping maw means their search results should be fresher, more up to date and current, given that Tweets are transient by nature.
How’s it going to work? The jury is still out. Some say Google will make Tweets visible in the main SERPs, others feel Google might feature Tweets separately from the SERPs, say in a specific column like the one where AdWords ads live
What about Big Data? Your Twitter content will be seen in the search results, which means Twitter won’t be a private network anymore. Your Tweets will be public and searchable. Will Twitter let users choose privacy settings or will it be a free-for-all? Those concerned with data privacy are hoping they’ll be allowed to choose whether or not the world at large sees their Twitter output in the SERPs.
If you haven’t noticed Tweets in your SERPs yet, it won’t be long before you do. The initiative is probably going to be rolled out gradually across the Google empire if previous algorithmic changes are anything to go by. So what will it mean for webmasters, site owners and marketers?
Google, Twitter and digital marketing
It looks like social, and search has joined forces. It means it’s no good restricting yourself to SEO at the expense of social media marketing, and the same goes the other way around. You will need to be equally fluent in both disciplines if you want to drive integrated results that represent more than the sum of the parts.
If you’re a search marketer, you’ll need to get in bed with SMM. If you’re into SMM, you’ll need to acquire a proper level of search marketing expertise. This is joined-up marketing, which means the digital marketing world has taken another vital step towards the maturity you get offline in traditional marketing.
It also means Twitter is a genuinely valuable marketing tool, more so than ever if you operate in the Googlescape as we do in Britain. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it. In other words, if you’re not on Twitter yet, it makes sense to dive in right now. As a business owner, it’s time to engage with Twitter, learn how it works, maximise your impact and make the most of your reach. Then you’ll be in a good position to react positively once we know what repercussions the deal will have on digital marketing, SEO, search marketing and social. Ultimately, the better you engage with Twitter, the better the chances are that Google will pay attention to your Tweets and, importantly, the links they contain.
For webmasters and designers, it also means adding passive and active social sharing buttons to site pages and blog posts, so people can easily follow you on Twitter and Tweet your stuff to their communities. Does your current website feature social buttons for following and sharing?
We keep our finger on the digital marketing pulse
If the web designers you’re talking to don’t know a thing about the Google Twitter love-in, come to us. We take great care to stay abreast of significant developments in the digital arena, and we bring them into account when designing and building the online presences we create for people like you.