Google Counts Twitter in Some SERP Suggestions

Posted in SEO

Read it and weep. Google seems to be testing even deeper integration of real-time search in SERPs (search engine results pages). Either that or maybe it’s a bug.  Check out these suggestion results (found at the bottom of the SERP) for our KnowEm friend, Michael Streko.

strekoserp

Obviously, Google is now cruising real-time search and Twitter for SERPs suggestions. Here’s where that suggestion is derived from:

graywolf

As background, “Suggestions” are inserted by Google at the bottom of some results pages. There are few (if any) proven SEO tactics to place or predict suggestion links.

suggestions

Here’s Google’s suggestions for “aimClear.”

crap3

One suggestion seems to be derived from Google’s real-time search indexing of @seosnack’s multiple retweets of our stuff.

snak

It is unclear what types of searches Google will trigger these new suggestions. For instance a search for “@beebow,” the Twitter handle of aimClear’s Lauren Litwinka, does not trigger real-time search suggestions, nor does her name; no real-time search results, either. (But we still love her :) .)

beebow

The results are also intermittent from search to search for the same keyword and we’ve not found commercial results outside of the search industry as of yet. This may be a limited test.

Anyway, this is an interesting development as Google continues is foray into real-time search.

  • S3 Web Design

    The only problem I see from an SEO point of view is that Twitter etc want us to use one word usernames so for example I am @S3WebDesign however real time search based on Twitter does not really help or indeed appear in searches for S3 Web Design. Do you think that the social network sites like twitter will start to allow spaces or underscores. Most certainly didn’t when I signed up.

    • Marty Weintraub

      @S3, dude, don’t we wish every social community let us use dashes? :). Thanks for stopping by.

  • Kieron Hughes

    I guess it was only a matter of time before advanced integration of real-time search was explored by Google.

    I’m still not convinced that the real-time search integration in standard listings is a viable solution to deliver instant results, as it is just too spam prone. Unless there is better moderation that is set in stone, then how can you risk displaying any Twitter/social media updates at the top for popular search queries?

    In my opinion, moderating real time updates across the SERPs is completely out of the question – so it makes me wonder how long the integration can last.

    /rant over

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Kieron: Yup, we think it’s reasonable to assume that Google could impact organic rankings somehow. Chances are there are multiple variables which could or already do impact SEO. We appreciate you visiting today. Cheers!

  • Danny Sulivan

    You might be over assuming things here.

    Look, I often will enter the names of two different people into Google if I’m trying to find tweets they’ve done together. graywolf streko — that’s bringing back almost 2,000 matches. I think you’re just seeing people looking for those two together. And that wouldn’t surprise me that much, given that they are both known on Twitter and off by single words.

    I see this work for lisabarone and streko, also. But I think that has more to do with a correlation between searches that google sees where people search for streko and other words. IE, a relatively large number of people who look for streko also look for lisabarone.

    Now, Google could be trying to mine searches going into its real time results do to this but relatively few people seem to be going directly to real time. So I think that’s out. They could be mining real time data they now have for cooccurrence as they do for Hot Trends. But honestly, I think this is just normal Google related searches in action.

    • Marty Weintraub

      Danny, Could be, Could be. Do you think a large amount of people who look for aimClear also look for SEOSnack?

  • Marty Weintraub

    …or does Google know that SEOSnack is a rebroadcast engine or simply that it always rebroadcasts aimClear or that it always indexes aimClear associated with SEOSnack. Either way, is it still Google being influenced by Twitter in suggestions?

  • Streko

    @Danny – personally i think its a bug with the google.

    Because I would almost bet no one has ever searched for “streko smacfiltered” or “streko learninggeek” – last time I tweeted with learninggeek was in July.

    I have maybe tweeted back and forth with learninggeek 2 times since i have been on the twitter.

    I have a feeling we are going to see these results fade away. Maybe Mr Cutts will comment?

  • Danny Sulivan

    Well, have you done some aimclear seosnack queries?

    But that suggests you might be right. I mean for aimclear, to get “via aimclear” as a suggestion, yeah, that doesn’t make sense as something someone searched for. It feels more like it’s coming off of content itself. So, maybe you’re right!

  • Lola

    [marty note: approved because it’s so crazy] @streko – What’s a google? :P

  • Marty Weintraub

    @DannySullivan: Hmmm, you may be right that we may be right. Of course, who the hell knows for sure, it’s Google and they won’t tell…unless you can ask a certain Matt to contribute to the dialog and clear things up :)

  • Jen Lopez

    If you do a search for “jennita” you see a pretty random suggestion of “matt cutts jennita ayup”. Matt responded to me months ago (August to be exact) with the simple response of “ayup” via tweet, and now it shows up as a suggestion. It’s not like streko and graywolf where they do chat often, Matt and I haven’t responded to each other in quite a while. Seems pretty random, and in this case, utterly useless.

  • Michael Martin

    Question is when will or IF Google/Bing/Twitter provides an opt out for Twitter users to NOT show up in search results.

    Perhaps a checkbox or disallow hashtag.

    ,Michael Martin

  • Kieron Hughes

    @Michael Martin

    If you set your updates to private on Twitter, they don’t (or shouldn’t, at least) show up in the Google real-time search results.

  • Michael Martin

    @Kieron Hughes

    Yup setting your Twitter account to private SHOULD work, but that may only take care of all your tweets going forward but what about historically while it was a public account?

    Perhaps there should be an option if you want your account public within Twitter ONLY but not in their pipes to Google/Bing/etc.

  • Kieron Hughes

    @Michael Martin

    That’s a good point, I’m not sure how it handles the historical data, but I presume it will remain indexed.

    Twitter is still very basic in terms of the settings (and certainly privacy options), so I’m sure they will be improving the way things are done in the near future. The option that you suggested would just work the same way as the current Twitter ‘private tweets’ function would work in theory, because search engines would still have the historical data indexed. They would have to notify the search engines when you turned the option on, so your data was excluded I presume. Will be interesting to see how it is handled.

  • James Morris

    On the record, it’s “SEO Snack” 2 words. Twitter account updated to reflect that. ;)

    “or does Google know that SEOSnack is a rebroadcast engine or simply that it always rebroadcasts aimClear or that it always indexes aimClear associated with SEOSnack. Either way, is it still Google being influenced by Twitter in suggestions?” ~Marty

    In this particular instance, I think so. There are several results on SEO Snack’s timeline for @aimclear. Also, I rebroadcast the twitter stream on the site. Granted, it’s js rendering, but… it’s pretty often that “via @aimclear” is in the account’s timeline and it’s indexed frequently.

    I do agree that suggest is still a bit buggy, though. I’ve seen some very odd suggestions. I’m doing some playing around now to try to find some patterns, but none so far. We’ll see…

    ~James

  • Marty Weintraub

    @James: Well, well, it’s nice to see you her my friend. How cool is it that? The Twitter rebroadcast engine model has turned out to have organic ramifications in Google SERPs!

    Google will come back and say that “it’s a result of this” or “result of that.” At the end of all the PR motivated chatter Twitter is “influencing” non-paid SERPs. I don’t much care what mashup of algorithmic stew caused this. It’s just a howl any way one thin-slices it :). Google made that decision when they placed that realtime junk at the top of some SERPs. Funny how the much vanuted “realtime web” isn’t allowed to be quite so real-time when the KW has lots of competition in adwords.

    I think placing tweets towards the top of most Google SERPs (I personally seek as a user) doesn’t do much for me. I wonder what the data says regarding who gives a rat. Suggestions at the bottom…well, OK. I could see laying tasty tidbits of ongoing conversations in the space, might provide insight…or at least entertainment to users. There might even be a separate way to monetize conversation-detail separately.

    Whether this is a temporary quirk, test, whatever…Google gets to be like the rest of us no matter how rich, mighty or powerful they’ve become: Sometimes throwing shit at the wall (on purpose or by accident) yields brilliant innovation or crap-ass walls.

    Thanks for stopping by James. Always good to see you because we know you lurk. I will say this: If Google keeps this up, tools like @SEOSnack will be at the forefront of affiliate-hacks (you know who you are) moving from sticky seam to shining seam, looking for holes in the algo to spooge.

  • Barb Chamberlain

    I’m not an SEO expert–just learning about it for purposes of the communications work I do at Washington State University Spokane.

    I have specific content/identity goals for the @WSUSpokane account I manage that are reflected in the words I use in the tweets.

    Running an incognito Google search on the words sleep performance research (because we have one of the top research centers on sleep and human performance, particularly how fatigue affects human decision making in regular folks who don’t have some kind of sleep disorder), I get one of our tweets in the first page of results. It’s at the bottom of the page, but still in the top 10. Our research center is the #1 result. Another tweet shows up on page 2.

    I don’t know what this means–just thought I’d share since it’s content that is outside the SEO world.

    Since tweet streams are more and more often being fed to web pages that are themselves cached and available, I see tweet content driving search results one way or another.

  • @udeme

    IMVHO, I suspect that merely mining real-time data in search results will yield very little meaningful data, the “recency vs. relevance” problem that both Google and Twitter execs are pondering still hasn’t been resolved.

    More value will be derived, I think, from the things that will be build atop real-time streams. Goetagged earthquake data that I came across today is a good example.

    Plain ol’ data mining, is sure to fizzle out

    • Marty Weintraub

      @udeme: I partially agree. Mining realtime data where users LOOK for realtime data yields appropriate results. Stuffing tweets in Google SERPs is of questionable value, at least to me. Thanks for the comment.

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Barb Chamberlain: First, welcome and thanks for jumping into the conversation. I am not seeing the tweets but there could be several reasons for this. First question is, are you disabling personalized search? We’re not quite clear how Google’s storied personalization algorithm might affect indexed real-time search in the SERPs. I do get the feeling that you are looking at personalized results. Let me know. I have links for you to study if I’m correct.

    I’m taking the time to do a bit of research here because you offered that you’re learning. The good news is that what I’m about to describe can be fixed with good ol’ fashioned demographic research and SEO.

    In that spirit I do have one question, from one SEO person to another. Ranking #1 for “sleep performance research” is cool. However the query has statistically insignificant search worldwide, with no exact match searches. Only approximately 16 searches from around the world occurred at broad match and none from the USA.

    I understand that this combination of words is highly focused to the institution’s mission, and therefore very valuable, with little or no associated volume (in the form of actual traffic to your site) and probably a high conversion rate for the few folks that show up on the site for this KW. Ranking for “sleep performance research” is also a very easy SEO thing to do, because nobody uses these words. There is little algorithmic competition. The #3 result (again make sure you’re searching with personalized search turned off) is from is from 2005. Users just don’t search much for “sleep performance research center” or even “sleep performance research.”

    Many more folks search for terms like “sleep research,” over 12K in the US alone last December in just Google, or “sleep study,” 8100 in the USA last month. “sleep disorder research” clocked 140 USA searches. Since few searchers know to add the word “performance” to their queries, it is reasonable to assume that the “performance” variable is embodied in these slightly more general searches.

    Washington State University Spokane does not rank, unpersonalized, for these higher-inventory searches, as your site is up against semi-formidable SEO competition like http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sleep. HOWEVER your site SHOULD have the authority to rank well and drive traffic for some of these more competitive terms and would do so with some basic SEO fixes.

    Washington State, especially given that it’s part of a trusted .edu, should be an 800 LB gorilla in the sleep research space, using the words that searchers actually levy, and the site has not claimed its birthright for un-targeted SEO. Again, this would be easy to remedy.

    Thank you again for stopping by. I could not help myself as we have experience in the medical industry KW space, and we’ve seen a number of instances where the institution, to the chagrin of the SEO team, chose words to represent their mission which are not advised by how users really search.

  • Josef Slerka

    @Marty Weintraub: I think that this article confirm my results from Czech Twitter data minig (Twitter as a data mining source http://www.slideshare.net/Ataxo/twitter-as-a-data-mining-source). Twitter conversations predict Google searches and that is reason why Google give Twittter topics to Google Suggestions. (I apologize, my english is not so good)

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Josef Slerka: Thanks for the slideshare presentation. it’s an interesting snapshot of Twitter usage in “old” Eastern Europe.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    I think it will be a while before the search engines nail down the correct algorithm changes to populate all the real time search items. I’m sure Google and Bing racing each other on how well they display this information right now has something to do with it.