Post by Dan Malachowski, Marketing Director and Nonie Carson, Marketing Specialist, with insights from Meghan Ryan, SEO Analyst
Updated May 2015: Tweets are now appearing in Google’s search engine results page (SERP) in real-time. This update is the result of an agreement between the world’s largest search engine and the micro-blogging site, which grants Google access to Twitter’s Firehose data stream.
The deal comes as Twitter seeks to expand its reach, increase new users and grow revenue. Twitter provides the same data to Bing and Yahoo!, but with a larger share of the search market, a deal with Google allows Twitter to greatly expand its visibility. Google also looks to benefit from the partnership by gaining access to time sensitive information and providing more compelling search results. In 2009, the companies struck a similar deal called Google Realtime Search, which expired in 2011 and was not renewed.
Below is an example of real-time tweets appearing for a “Blackhawks” search during the NHL Playoffs on a mobile device. Tweets are also appearing for many brand name searches.
WHY IT’S a GAME CHANGER
This update has implications around content strategy—delivering the best Google and Twitter experiences to people interested in your brand. Brands now have a new opportunity to amplify Twitter content across a much larger audience base (Google) than Twitter’s current 284 million users. Google’s effort to socialize search will result in organic search listings that now contain content that is influenced by people taking about brands on Twitter. This gives brand owners less control over how their brands are portrayed in the search results. Earned Twitter content—opinions, reviews, social chatter—will be front-and-center amongst paid and owned content in the organic search results. This earned content could be good; or it could be bad. The key for brands is now influencing participation at the source of the chatter, on Twitter.
3 CONSIDERATIONS for BRANDS
1) Reputation Management for Content: Imagine a person searching Google for “Coke.” With this update, that person will now see organic search results that include tweets about Coke. To influence these earned results, Coke will have to focus on the source: Twitter. This may require social listening capability to monitor what people are saying about Coke, respond to complaints and encourage positive feedback. Whatever happens on Twitter is now magnified on the SERP. This means that your SEO strategy should include Twitter content management. This will help you gain positive visibility on the SERP (including more organic search real estate). Best practices include:
- Create Sharable Content: Coupons, deals, contests, polls, humorous videos or informative articles will gain more retweets and will be more likely to appear on the search page
- Organize Participants: Leverage paid Twitter opportunities like Sponsored Tweets to gain fans and increase the chances that they’ll engage with your content
- Focus on Influencers/Advocates: While you may garner thousands of fans, only a few will be influencers. Pay special attention to them. The more personal attention they get, the more likely they’ll be to create positive Twitter content that will bubble up to the SERP.
- Fix Issues Fast: Employ social listening to uncover customer issues and respond/correct quickly before something spirals out of control not only on Twitter, but also (now) on the SERP. With additional visibility, brands now need to ensure that Twitter conversations are positive in order to maintain a strong presence on Google.
2) More Data for Optimization: Beyond increasing the need for social listening analytics, this update may also result in future analytics opportunities. Google is now indexing and analyzing tons of tweets. In the future, Google may make this data available to advertisers for targeting or optimization purposes. Google could also do things like feed live tweets into paid search or display ads. Google is currently using Google+ to do this, but Google+ never gained scale close to Twitter.
3) Twitter Growth: What’s in this for Twitter? Well, Twitter will likely see user growth. As tweets become more visible on the SERP, searchers may click on those tweets. They’ll then be prompted to log-in or sign-up for Twitter to learn more. If they’re on a mobile device (but haven’t yet downloaded the Twitter mobile app), Twitter may have an opportunity to encourage the app download. As Twitter gains more users, brands will have more opportunity to engage them with organic and paid Twitter opportunities.
For more information on tweets appearing in Google’s search results, please contact your performance account team today.