Read my previous part to my interview with Rand here - The Future of SEO
Twitter has obviously made a splash in the last 12 months or so, and many people are finding it a really useful means for find high quality, up to date content – Michael Jacksons death represented how quickly Twitter can spread information about current events before the search engines really have time to react. How much is Twitter currently used by the search engines and how do you think the search engines will utilize services like Twitter to increase the quality of their results.
So I think right now it's very likely that Google and possible Yahoo and Microsoft, or I guess Bing now, is doing things around Twitter probably sucking down the full pipe and looking at links and references to, first off, make sure they are indexing interesting content really fast. So someone tweets something, it's a new site, Google's never seen it before because no one has ever linked to it before. It's probably going to be tweeted, if it's a really good site, 500 times before any link pops up to it. It's in Google's best interest to have that site in it's engine. If 500 people are tweeting about, it probably means that 5000 people are searching for it. Google needs to know about those things. So I think it's very unlikely that that sort of temporal data and that Twitter graph data doesn't make its way into Google's engine. If it doesn't, I'd say that's a big missed opportunity for them.
I think there's probably some reputation/recommendation things, although I think Google's far more conservative about making Twitter data go into its ranking algorithm. So it's like, ok 500 people tweeted this URL, well that must mean we should rank it higher. Well, I'd be careful about that right? Because until you see the link graph sort of catch up which it will, which it does, it can be dangerous because Twitter can be the kind of place where a) very temporal information does very well, b) very, I'm not sure what you want to call it, sort of grab-ya, gotcha kind of stuff, it might be tweeted by all kinds of interesting people and get talked about, but it might be complete crap right? And I also think that they're concerned that, I know plenty of spammers who are watching Twitter very carefully to try and see if there's a correlation between if something gets tweeted and it ranks well in Google. If they ever see that correlation, bam! I'm mean you can bet that the next day...
There'll be a million new Twitter accounts
Well, not just a million new Twitter accounts but the 50,000 accounts that they already control, that they've already built up and have authority and reputation inside Twitter - maybe not 50,000 but maybe 500. And they're all going to start tweeting stuff. So, dangerous for Google to start using it in the ranking algorithm, but very dangerous for them to ignore it as a temporal content analysis platform.
That's the end of my interview with Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. You can download the entire series in PDF here.
Check out SEOmoz here - I recommend it as one of the best SEO resources on the web.