Google and Twitter recently closed a deal that will allow Google to include the body content of tweets in its search results. Previously, Google was able to crawl Twitter’s site for indexable information, but as a result of this partnership, this information will be immediately available to Google.
While the details of the plan are still under wraps, I expect that once live, this will mean we’ll see live and current tweets embedded near the top of search results for relevant queries. For example, if news of some major announcement breaks, anyone searching for information on that announcement will see real-time tweets from influential Twitter users in line with other, more conventional news search results.
This isn’t the first time Twitter’s material was made available to the search engine giant; in fact, there was a very similar partnership in place between 2009 and 2011. Twitter allowed the deal to lapse, rather than renewing it, in an effort to gain a tighter control over its own content. This new deal isn’t expected to go live until later on in the first half of 2015, but the partnership is significant for Google, Twitter, and the marketing world as a whole.
Google’s motivation is relatively simple. The company has always strived to give users the best, latest, and most accurate results for searches, and lately, they’ve been obsessed with integrating with other companies and services in order to give their users the best possible online experience. Integrating live tweets into search results would mean that users get more, better, more immediate information than they have before. For regular Twitter users, it also cuts out a step—users can get traditional information about a new event while simultaneously scanning for how that event is affecting the public. It also gives Google even more clout in the search world—the more partnerships it forms, the stronger it becomes.
The deal will also be beneficial for Twitter, though the social media platform will face some additional challenges as a result. Obviously, getting exposure in Google’s search engine is a good thing—that’s the entire reason why SEO exists. Users not currently on Twitter performing routine searches will get exposure to the brand and may be prompted to spend more time on the platform.
However, there are a few potential wrinkles to this setup. While users will see individual tweets, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually sign up as a user or use Twitter more. In fact, if users can see tweets just by searching for a given topic in Google, they may actually be less likely to use the platform. Since most of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising, if the majority of users rely on tweets from Google search, they may lose out on some significant revenue.
Google and Twitter each have their motivations and goals for this partnership, but what really matters about this deal is how it’s going to affect you. Since tweets will now be included in major Google searches, marketers will have to adapt their strategies to stay current with their audiences.
Real-Time Updates Will Become More Important
First, tweeting in real-time is going to become far more important. Concerning matters of breaking news or recent announcements, you’ll no longer have to write a press release or significant content in order to get recognized by searchers. Something as simple as a hashtag or a brief mention on a tweet, if timed correctly, could get your brand in front of hundreds, if not thousands of searches. The companies who spend the most time reading the news and staying actively involved with current events will stand to benefit most from this new partnership.
Mistakes Will Be Less Tolerated
There’s also a flip side to this increased visibility. It means your errors will hit the spotlight faster, and they’ll be harder to make up for if they end up going live. Countless companies, including major brands, have tweeted unintentionally offensive material or poorly worded entries that damage their overall reputation. Even when confined to Twitter, these types of mistakes were devastating. Now that they’re going to reach an even wider audience on Google, smart brands will take the extra time to proofread everything that reaches the public eye.
SEO and Social Marketing Will Be Closer Than Ever
Social media marketing and SEO have been closely related for some time now, and this partnership is only going to increase the power of that connection. The actions you take on social media, particularly Twitter, will give you a much greater chance at showing up in searches—and you might even get a boost in domain authority by proxy.
This partnership alone may not prove to be a revolutionary game-changer in the world of SEO or social media; companies will still need to put up a serious effort on both fronts, prioritizing user experience and accurate, valuable information like they always have. But this partnership will likely pave the way for others in the increasingly interconnected world of Internet and social companies; already, Google has made partnerships with companies like Uber and OpenTable to bring these services closer to the public and improve its own capabilities. This tight interconnectedness will only grow in the coming years, so marketers would be wise to pay attention to popular apps and platforms and get involved with as many of them as possible for greater visibility.