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Twitter sorting out search, Google loving Twitter…

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
26 May 2010

There have been a couple of developments in the world of Twitter recently which I thought would be worth documenting here on the blog – both have links to search too, making them doubly relevant in my opinion!

First up is the fairly recent change to Twitter search that demonstrates that it is getting a lot more intelligent – presumably in an effort to ready themselves for a full-on roll-out of their ‘Sponsored Tweet’ functionality. You can see the change quite nicely when you do a search through their search tool – often you will notice that you get results returned that don’t actually feature the keyword you’re looking for. But what you might *not* realise is that the keyword you’ve search for is actually included as part of a shortened URL…

Here’s an example – notice in the top result that the word “Tamar” doesn’t actually appear in the body of the Tweet – but it DOES appear in the shortened URL:

twitter-search

This is a nice little addition to their already-capable search functionality – if only Facebook search worked half as intelligently! The fact that Twitter actually query short-urls to find their destinations is also a good sign for security, paving the way perhaps for Twitter to notify users (as Google does) if the site they are being directed to has any nasties or gremlins on it?

The second change is over at Google, or inside Google’s Webmaster Tools suite to be precise. Up until fairly recently, Google didn’t report any links from Twitter in their “Links to your site” section – presumably indicating that Google didn’t use Twitter links when calculating the rankings of your site. However, anybody who has logged in recently may have noticed that this has changed – again, displayed in the screenshot below (taken from the backlink list of this very blog):

gwt-twitter

The bad news is, the only links that seem to be getting factored in at this stage are those that are featured in Twitter users’ bio sections – not links coming from actual tweets themselves, or through shortened URLs. So unless you have a way of getting scores of links inside valid Twitter users’ bios, this isn’t going to help you massively at this stage. But what it does show is that Google is taking Twitter more seriously, so it must surely be a good sign for future changes?

Or maybe I’m just eternally optimistic?

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