Twitter announced yesterday that it’s going to start including selected tweets over a week old in search results. The following is from their post:
“As we roll this out over the coming days, the Tweets that youâ€™ll see in search results represent a fairly small percentage of total Tweets ever sent. We look at a variety of types of engagement, like favorites, retweets and clicks, to determine which Tweets to show. We’ll be steadily increasing this percentage over time, and ultimately, aim to surface the best content for your query. For now, enjoy your trip down memory lane!”
If I understand this right it means that when someone searches for a term in Twitter the “Top” results will include tweets that could go back months, even years.
Now I may be jumping the gun here, but doesn’t this have potentially significant implications for reputation management?
When Google was indexing tweets a couple of years ago there was discussion about the SEO implications of real time results from Twitter, that ended when Google stopped indexing the Twitter firehose in the summer of 2011. But that was never about old tweets appearing, just current ones.
At the moment if you’re a brand and someone tweets something negative about you then your worst case in Twitter search terms is it appears in the results for a few days. It’s the impact of the conversation itself that you have to deal with, both online and off, and any resulting posts and articles that might rank highly in Google searches in the future.
But with this change to the Twitter search approach, a brand could find that the top search result is a particularly negative tweet that received a significant response at the time. This tweet may or may not have been part of a wider conversation that appeared elsewhere in the online and offline worlds, but one things for sure, replaying it back months later to new people again and again isn’t something you are going to want.
But then how do you respond to this? With SEO if you have a negative blog post or article ranking highly you might seek to produce content and engage in PR that results in other pages pushing this awkward one down the SERPs hierarchy.
How do you achieve this with a highly ranked tweet? Twitter’s post indicates the factors that they are taking account of in ranking older tweets – RTs, favorites and clicks etc. Does that mean a brand will need to try and generate competing tweets that rank higher by these measures? If so here are a few questions:
Will Twitter rank tweets by a brand about that brand highly, or will it filter these out automatically, wishing to show the wider community’s view?
Where will promoted tweets appear in search results? Can I buy my way above the offending tweet ala Google Adwords?
Will this mean that a paid tweet by a celebrity that potentially receives significant levels of RTs and @mentions starts to accrue more value than the generally “here today gone tomorrow” nature of one now?
This is all top of the head stuff, and we obviously need to see what these new results look like, what happens to the levels of Twitter search activity and how users respond.
But could this be the start of Twitter Search SEO?