What are the implications of the recent Google/Twitter deal?

George Cathcart, Digital Engagement Manager at MEC UK, explores the latest deal between Twitter and Google, subsequent hygiene tips for brands and the impact that this agreement will have on users.

This May you have seen that tweets are poping up in Google searches due to a recent deal between Google and Twitter. This deal sees Google getting access to the Twitter firehose for the first time since July 2011.

The motivations for this new arrangement haven’t been explicitly stated, but Twitter’s growth has been stagnating lately, and the move is seen by some as an attempt to expand the Twitter audience and increase engagement on the platform. Likewise, Google indexing live twitter content places them in a great position to differentiate themselves from other search engines as the battle for search continues.

tw g

The implications for brands, given that we don’t know what the outcome of the test will be, are hazy, but regardless of the future of this specific integration, there are important hygiene factors to check up on:

  • Get your (Twitter) house in order – Twitter is representing your brand online. Make sure your information is up to date.
  • Tighten up your customer service – consumers are increasingly turning to social channels to complain or seek assistance. Make sure you’re tightening up your processes. The last thing you want is an irate customer’s tweet ranking highly against your company name in a SERP devoid of a response.
  • Stay active – less important than the first two, but the less active you are the less chance you have to take advantage of this space in search results.

Implications for users are clearer. If you use Google search you can expect Twitter content to play a larger role in your search results, which given that breaking news often lands on Twitter first and news sites second, could actually be a pretty good thing. The flip side of that is your tweets can now be indexed, so that’s worth extra consideration when you’re tweeting.

Obviously at this stage we don’t know how Google will rank tweets, but it’s likely to take a number of factors into consideration; engagement rates, authority, follower numbers, activity, time since posting are potential elements to consider here.

We might also be seeing the beginning of a situation where social, paid search and organic performance all need to get together and collaborate in order to achieve results, and actually the possibilities are really exciting.