Google this week confirmed the inevitable, that Tweets from Twitter will soon be shown in the main search engine results. Given the phenomenal growth Twitter, this move is hardly surprising, as Google will not want to lose the initiative when it comes to providing live search results.√Ç¬† The only other option would be hemorrhage visitors to Twitter’s own live search facility, and thus damage revenue streams. The details of the deal were not disclosed, but you can be sure Twitter would not agree to this without ensuring there are real benefits for themselves.√Ç¬† The fact that it has taken this long for Google to confirm the deal officially gives some indication over the complexity of the negotiation process.
This decision seems good for Google and good for Twitter.√Ç¬† Google, if they want to remain the world’s most popular search platform need to continue to produce the most relevant results, and with the growth in Twitter users, that means including real time tweets in the main search results. How they will show the results is unclear, recently a web developer created a user script that shows Twitter results in Google SERPS, which may be how Google choose to display the results. I imagine Google would place them close to where it places Google News results, that is near to, or at the top of the organic listings. I don’t imagine Google doing anything that would compromise their revenue from PPC with this.
For Twitter, it means millions of extra visitors, and crucially visitors who have never been on a Twitter page before, and there are plenty of them. Not only will they garner more traffic, they will also create more users, as new people sign up for accounts – this is their big advantage over other social network sites such as facebook. The number of page impressions on the site will increase substantially, making the whole company much more valuable.
For those who rely on Google for traffic, this probably means paying more attention to Twitter.√Ç¬† The danger is that orthodox organic listings may move down, with less of the results page available for these results. We have already seen how Universal search results are gobbling up room on the homepage, this will only shrink their percentage further. As with nearly all forms of online marketing opportunities, some people will undoubtedly try to abuse this new system. Some methods that could be used include spam Twitter accounts, paid for Tweets, paid for accounts, bribing Twitter followers, to name but a few. Companies with poor customer service levels, or a track record is negative online feedback should be particularly careful as negative Tweets could start to appear prominently for brand searches, creating a potential reputation management disaster. Contrastingly, rival companies could set up spurious accounts and Tweet negatively about other companies, the list of scenarios goes on.
How Twitter plan to regulate this, if they do at all, is anyone’s guess, they currently do verified accounts for major celebrities, but trying it decipher what is a genuine tweet would be almost impossible given the number of users they have amassed.