Jun 11 Twitter Search Integration on Google: Should Tweets be SEO friendly?
In late May, Twitter and Google solidified a partnership to begin embedding tweets in Google search results. Now that we’re starting to see what this integration looks like in the wild, let’s dive into this a little further and reveal what this means for brands moving forward.
How Twitter Search Integration Works
Let’s get a few things straight. First, these embedded tweets have only rolled out to the Google search app for iOS and Android and aren’t available yet on desktop search. This may exclude many iPhone users from ever seeing the integration if they continue to search through Safari.
In this roll-out, relevant tweets are served in a carousel format that is right under the search. As you can see from the screenshot below, Google is serving multiple tweets that utilize the hashtag being searched.
What Tweets Does Google Pull In?
The natural question you may be asking is how does Google choose which Tweets to serve? While the carousel card says “Popular on Twitter”, it appears Google is pulling the most recent tweets using the hashtag being searched. When I searched “#nationalbestfriendsday”, I was served up the most recent tweet from a Twitter user with only 74 followers. In all my tests, recency of the tweet won over true influence or popularity of the content.
Should Brands Optimize Tweets for Search?
Are other types of organic searches without hashtags pulling in tweets? This is tricky. I did a quick test of “social media agency” to see if we should be writing more tweets with those search terms. As you can see, there are no tweets pulled into this view, just the typical Google paid ads and organic search results.
This being said, the Google announcement blog post gave examples that served tweets being served to a search term without a hashtag, like “NASA Twitter”, or “Malcom X” (being searched around the timing of the actual birthday of Malcom X). These example use cases signal that Google may broaden the experience beyond hashtag searches and into key events or popular searches, but right now these are still few and far between in the wild.
Best Practices for Brands Using Twitter for SEO
Obviously, any chance for a brand’s content or message to show up on the first page of search results is attractive. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the following are a few best practices to increase the likelihood of this happening.
1. Research and utilize hashtags on Twitter that would be searched naturally
This is an obvious one, but important not to overlook. Brands should not only research popular hashtags on Twitter, but then also consider which hashtags have a higher likelihood to be searched on Google. Brands should also not forget the role branded hashtags may play in the event of announcements, crisis communication and other key times where their brand hashtag (or an iteration of) may be discussed AND searched.
2. Leverage celebrity tweets
It does appear that some major celebrity tweets are being pulled into search pages of celebrity searches. In this example, I searched “Taylor Swift”. Though I had to scroll down further, her most recent tweets were pulling into the first search result page. Brands with celebrity connections or partnerships should consider this real-estate when asking celebrities to tweet or be involved in larger branded programs.
3. Leverage influencer tweets strategically
Since recency is one way for your brand to be discovered within search results, influencers are another great opportunity to increase the likelihood of a user seeing a tweet with your brand message or hashtag in it.
4. Consider the search experience
When crafting tweets that may be integrated into search, consider the user experience of the embedded tweet. If you know your audience is excited about a new product announcement, perhaps craft tweets to include a popular hashtag and a link to read more. This doesn’t mean every tweet should be crafted with search in mind, but strategic tweets that are likely to be searched should consider this.
5. Re-post Trending Content
Given most recent tweets are being pulled into the search page by the minute, brands who are hoping to see value from this integration will need to re-post trending content for it to remain visible.
Should this integration signal a major shift in your Twitter strategy? In our opinion, not yet. In many cases the integration is still fairly limited to hashtag searches with the recency element making the brand visibility somewhat fleeting. All of this said, it is one aspect that should be considered in times of key events and trending conversations, large announcements or crisis communication, and celebrity partnerships.