Twitter just struck a deal with Google to make “tweets”—those 140-character-or-less messages—searchable online.
Within the next few months, tweets will start appearing in Google search results immediately after they’re sent out. What that means: Somebody could post a tweet about, say, pizza in Chicago and that tweet might could pop up quickly in Google search results for people looking up information on that topic.
The exact terms of the Twitter-Google deal and how it will work are still unclear, according to Re/code. For example, it’s not yet known how many tweets will appear in search results or how Google will determine which tweets to display.
Until now, Google has had to crawl Twitter—similar to how it crawls most web sites—to access information in tweets and generate normal search results. But that meant that Twitter results in Google were often outdated by the time they appeared in search results. Now that Twitter is giving Google access to its “firehose” of tweets, they will be searchable instantaneously.
The new deal is likely to make Twitter a more valuable tool for small businesses, because it will give their tweets more immediate exposure and allow tweets to reach non-Twitter users through Google.
Twitter already has a similar deal with search engines Bing and Yahoo, but the Google deal is more significant because Google handles 75 percent of all online search traffic. With Bing, users can specifically look up tweets by using a hashtag (the # sign) before their search phrase or find specific user accounts by putting an “@” symbol before a name, according to Mashable.
“The central idea behind the approach is that the most interesting content on Twitter can be determined by a combination of a tweet’s popularity, its freshness and the authority of the user tweeting it,” Bing wrote in a blog post last summer. “We look at a number of signals including tweet quality, retweet count, freshness of tweet, user profile info and verified status, among others. Placing these signals in our model, we serve what we hope are top quality tweets.”
Assuming Google uses a similar model to decide which tweets to show, businesses may want to think more strategically about how they use Twitter, such as including key words and phrases that are likely to be searched in their tweets. For example, if a retailer is tweeting about a sale it’s having, it may want to include more specifics—such as its city or what’s on sale—to improve the odds that the tweet will show up in relevant Google search results.
Businesses may also want to focus on growing their Twitter follower base in order to be viewed as a more reputable Twitter account by search engines, and raise the odds their tweets will get featured in relevant search results.
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