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Bing and Google Real Time Twitter Search Ranking Factors

Twitter Real Time SearchWe’ve spoken about Bing’s contract with Twitter in our previous post about Bing’s real time Twitter search. Google has been rolling out its own Social Search, which includes Twitter search, over the past few weeks.

Google Real Time Twitter Search

There are a few ways of triggering Twitter search on Google. If you specifically want to search through Tweets for a particular term, go to Google and search for your query. Then, click on “Search Options” at the top left hand corner and select “Latest” from the time range options.

You will see that Tweets now appear amongst the regular results on the page, and a line of text saying “New results will appear below as they become available.” can be seen at the top of the search results. You can see the results appearing live as Tweets come in. Test this by typing in “Haiti” and going through the steps above – you’ll several new Tweets appearing every minute or two.
Google Twitter Search

You can also view Google’s real time Twitter search without having to change your settings to the “Latest” date range in the options. When you search for big recent events that are currently happening, Google is likely to automatically insert Twitter results for that search term. For example, if you search for “Haiti earthquake” in Google.com right now, you’ll see a scrolling “Latest Results” box displaying Tweets about Haiti as well as articles as they’re posted live (we’ll delve deeper into Google’s real time article search in our next post). You can see that not every search term has live Twitter results appearing (for example, searching for “Haiti” on Google.com does not currently display real time search results).

Real time search is quickly becoming a more integral part of the online marketing landscape. More and more businesses are taking advantage of Twitter to gain exposure. Google and Bing Twitter search provides even more opportunity to promote your business with Twitter. To take advantage of Bing’s and Google’s new real time Twitter search features, it’s worthwhile to look into how these two search engines actually rank their Tweets.

Both Bing and Google have shed some light on how they rank Tweets in their new real time Twitter search features. Both search engines seem to have some big differences in how they rank Tweets. Bing has made some of its Twitter ranking strategy known before, and on Thursday WebProNews published an article where an interview with Amit Singhal of Google gave us some more insight into what Google finds important when ranking Tweets in its real time Twitter search.

Bing Twitter Ranking Factors

Bing ranks Tweets based on follower counts.

“If someone has a lot of followers, his/her Tweet may get ranked higher.” – Bing

Bing also takes into account the originality of Tweets for its real time Twitter search

“If a tweet is exactly the same as other Tweets, it will get ranked lower.” – Bing

Of course, Bing Twitter is still in Beta and these ranking factors certainly aren’t the only ones Bing would be using. These could also change as Bing improves the results for its users.

Google Twitter Search Ranking Factors

Google Fellow Amit Singhal has led the development of real time search for Google. He revealed that while Google also takes into account the number of followers a Tweeter has, it also ranks Tweets by how reputable those followers are.

So, much like link popularity in their regular organic search results, Google counts good followers as stronger “votes” than followers who don’t have as much authority in Google’s eyes.

“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.”

He didn’t reveal exactly what factors Google is taking into account to decide “established” users from the rest, but we can assume that the “content is King” philosophy would apply here as much as it does to organic search results with Google – produce great, useful, interesting content (as much as you can in 140 characters or less).

As well as giving some insight into what Google favours in its Twitter real time search results, Singhal also gave some insight into what not to do.

Hash tags, while potentially useful to gain some exposure on Twitter itself, can send off a red flag to Google when used frequently. According to Singhal, hash tags can be a signal of a lower quality Tweet. And you can see why – Twitter spammers take advantage of trending topics by coupling hash tags for that topic with their own unrelated advertising. Sure, not everybody does it – just enough to send a bad message to Google for the whole practice.

Because Google seems to be treating Tweets much like it would pages in its organic rankings, other possible but unconfirmed ranking factors include keywords in Tweets, age of the account, external links to the account, recency of Tweets, one way followers, and Twitter lists to which accounts belong.

The Bottom Line

If you’re Tweeting to promote yourself or your business keep in mind the following confirmed tips to rank well in both Bing and Google’s real time Twitter search:

  • Tweet useful, relevant content
  • Get more followers
  • Get more high profile followers and followers who, like you, Tweet useful and relevant content
  • Keep the hash tags to a minimum