What does Google’s renewed access to Twitter’s firehose of data mean for your brand’s social media strategy?
Earlier this year, Google and Twitter announced a partnership which would permit the search giant access to the social site’s “firehose” of data. Currently, the two companies are still testing the feature by limiting it to U.S. users who are searching in English within the Google iOS or Android app, or through the web on mobile devices. While there is no set date for a desktop release, the two companies mentioned in the May announcement that the functionality will be issued in the coming months.
This update is great news for social media brands since your brand’s Twitter feed will now display in Google search results…or will it?
Is Google really indexing every tweet?
As of July 8, Google has only been able to index 3.4% of Twitter’s reported 500 million daily tweets within the first seven days after posting. While this is a vast improvement from the 0.6% of tweets indexed prior to the agreement, Google has a long way to go before all tweets are indexed and searchable in real time. (Stone Temple Consulting)
If Google isn’t indexing everything, what tweets/accounts are they indexing?
While Google has not released specifics regarding how their algorithm decides which tweets and accounts to index, we are able to pull conclusions on how it works based on what is currently being indexed and show in search results.
There was a strong correlation between which Twitter accounts were being indexed and their follower counts based on reports from Stone Temple. It was also discovered that social authority, or the amount of engagement an account’s tweets receive, has a large impact on deciding if that profiles tweets are indexed. This means that if your brand doesn’t have a large, engaged following, chances are your profile won’t be pulled into Google’s search results.
[Source: Stone Temple Consulting]
Trending Topics & Hashtags
Trending topics and popular hashtags on Twitter are also given a higher index and are more likely to be pulled into Google’s search results. For these searches, Google is not as selective in the accounts they choose to display. For example, searching for a trending topic like Tom Watson, the 2015 British Open winner, will pull in tweets from a variety of profiles from Sports Illustrated to general users discussing the topic. Searching a popular hashtag, like SEO, will pull in tweet results even when the topic isn’t trending on Twitter. The type of tweets pulled into search results for popular hashtags are similar to that of trending topics.
What does all of this mean for your brand?
If your brand doesn’t currently have a large following and/or strong social authority, there isn’t much you can do to get your Twitter profile pulled into Google searches right away. As Google continues to update their algorithm and slowly increases their indexing abilities, you can expect more profiles to be pulled into search results. This doesn’t mean your brand is completely out of the picture. There are a number of ways your brand can leverage this new partnership to increase the reach of your tweets, and hopefully with time, your profile as well. We recommend:
- Keep a close eye on trending topics on Twitter and leverage any relevant topics in your tweets
- Optimize your Twitter account by using relevant keywords in your bio
- Create and execute a clear and strategic content plan where you tweet, on average 3-5 times a day leveraging relevant, popular hashtags
- Create optimized images for every tweet, as tweets with images can see 5x more engagement. (Source)
- Develop a community management and outreach protocol
Now that you know everything about this update, how will your brand adjust their social media strategy?