The end of 2009 saw the search engine world abuzz with talk of real time search. Microblogging platforms such as twitter the main driver behind the movement.
So as 2010 settles in, most of the major search players have started their real time search integration in one form or another, but it’s the Twitter integration that’s the prime focus at the moment.
Twitter’s meteoric rise in popularity has seen it emerge as a key source of news, content and links – all prime information for the likes of Google, Bing etc.
With Twitter content (aka Tweets) now featuring in all the major search engines, it was only a matter of time before search engine marketers started exploring ways to optimize for top rankings and maximum exposure.
Google have kindly weighed into the discussion by providing some guidelines on how they actually rank tweets in their search results. David Talbot from MIT’s Technology Review interviewed Google “Fellow” Amit Singhal, who has the led the development of Google’s real-time search.
According to Amit, Google also ranks tweets based on followers to an extent, but it’s not just a numbers game. The authority and influence of your followers is a key factor in their impact on your tweets rankings.
“One user following another in social media is analogous to one page linking to another on the Web. Both are a form of recommendation…As high-quality pages link to another page on the Web, the quality of the linked-to page goes up. Likewise, in social media, as established users follow another user, the quality of the followed user goes up as well.”
On the reverse, whilst having many authoritative followers might help your tweets rank higher in the search results, if you’re a user of the common hashtag tweet tagging practice, you could negatively impact your rankings. Hashtags are viewed as a common trend amongst lower quality tweets.
These factors are obviously only part of the complete ranking picture. It’s not like Google’s in the business of giving away all its ranking secrets.
The key learning is to build influence. Social media has always been about the conversations and networks. So for you to succeed in real time ranking, you need to start building your level of authority – and just like normal search; it takes an investment of time and good content creation to do it effectively.