The Future of Twitter Search and SEO

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Anyone sick of Twitter yet?  Well, don’t be, because this thing isn’t going away.  I’ve written here about how Twitter is not currently great for SEO given its insistence on using nofollow.  I’ve also written about ways to make money on Twitter – but these techniques usually amount to spamming other users.

In that respect Twitter is in potential danger of being overtaken by marketers.  Issues such as reply spam, in which a marketer replies at the beginning of a post to a spam’s list of Tweeters with a potential offer, is a pressing problem and will probably be here before we know it.  The same goes for direct message spam and add-spam.  Currently, Twitter is pretty clean of these spammers, but if spammers can find a way, they will.

But that’s more of a nuisance than something that will be a Twitter-killer.  The word in SEO circles now is that Twitter can become a new focal point for search, and so search marketers need to look to Twitter as they look to Google.  We’re not there yet, but Twitter has great prospects in the search arena.  Google’s already likened to a brain, but many of the search results you get from Google could be years old.  So let’s say you’re looking for a review of a dentist – that review could be two years old, or you might have to sift through a litany of review sites.

With Twitter, you get more real time results of people’s reactions to a particular product or search.  Of course, Twitter is no where near this capacity yet – so the vast majority of products or services are not yet being talked about.  We’re talking about the future here and what Twitter could become, and all evidence shows that Twitter is becoming as vital a part of the culture as Google and Youtube.

With Twitter you get real-time search results.  In a world of “what have you done for me lately” this will be an important addition to the search pile, and a major boon for marketers.  Again, this could come to corrupt what Twitter is now, as marketers will be looking for ways to add quality Twitter content.  That dentist who’s not currently listed will then hire a Twitter/SEO firm to Tweet about his services so he ends up in search results.  So someone typing into Twitter search: a good dentist in Los Angeles will find a Tweets saying, “A good dentist in L.A. is Dr. so-and-so.”

The trouble with real-time results, however, is that they get replaced very quickly, especially for hot topics.  That dentist might not be in a bad position, as people won’t be Tweeting an inordinate amount about L.A. dental appointments, but there will be a push to get a large number of Tweets for high-valued phrases.  This is in many ways a greater challenge with Tweeter than it is with Google – because with Google if you make it to the top results, you basically stay there (if it’s a well-established site that isn’t getting an instant bump-up that will fall off).

However, because Twitter can narrow down users by location, this is a way to filter results so it caters to each user individually.  But marketers are going to look for ways to be Tweeted as much as possible, which could lead to much spam-Tweeting.  And SEO’s are going to conduct keyword research in Twitter, just as they do for Google.  Given the 140-character limit, keywords can have different characteristics.

No, we’re not there yet, but given how Twitter has exploded recently, it’s not far off and budding site owners should look to how Twitter can be a marketing bonanza – especially before it gets diluted by every marketer and their mother trying to get into the game.

Follow me @selfpubreview.

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