As of May 19th, the first tweets in Google search results since the new agreement between Twitter and the search giant began displaying in mobile searches. The first iteration of the roll-out is only for mobile and is currently limited to the US. Google indicates that Twitter content will eventually be available in desktop searches and worldwide as the year continues.
In an article for this publication back in late April, I highlighted how digital marketers might take advantage of these ongoing developments. While most of the strategies and tactics still hold, I need to address one item and take a look at what the opportunities provided by the current display of Tweets in the Google SERPs.
Since we weren’t certain at the time of publication about how Google might present tweets, I suggested the following:
There are several things to consider in order to optimize branded tweets showing up in results for search queries. First, your branded avatar may or may not show up as part of the search results. Don’t count on brand recognition based on the visual. Make sure that your Twitter handle is clearly identifiable. This is sometimes a challenge given the character limits of Twitter usernames, but it’s incredibly important that you find a way to easily identify your brand by your handle alone. This not only impacts your brand’s tweets, but also any relevant tweets that mention your brand’s handle. Make sure that when others tweet about you that anyone viewing that tweet will know it was your brand mentioned.
The rationale behind an easily identifiable Twitter handle is still important, but we can now delve into how avatars, photos, and other rich media play a roll in Twitter search results.The primo search placement is Tweets in the media rich carousel near the top of mobile search results. Like this result for a search on my Android phone for Matt Cutts.
As you can see, we get Matt’s name, his Twitter handle, his avatar, and a feature of an image he had recently shared at the time of this search query. Not all searches trigger a rich media result like this, however. Nor do they show up in the same ranking position for every search.
While searches for Danny Sullivan and Marty Weintraub both triggered carousel results, we got Danny’s personal account and Marty’s company account. Neither of the results ranking at the very top of the SERPs. The only top of the list result I could trigger for people in our industry was for myself. Please note here the importance of a clearly identifiable twitter handle, since the featured tweet in this result mentions @authoritylabs.
As you can see, I did these searches while logged into my Google account. I suspect that the sorting of results has something to do with that. But that continues to make your Google+ connections to your community an important factor, especially in mobile search results. Searches for publications also resulted in a mixed bag for me.
Here AuthorityLabs and Search Engine Journal did NOT trigger the carousel, just a mention of the branded twitter accounts. Here I can point out that we do get the proper name and the Twitter handle but no avatar or actual tweets. The search for Search Engine Land did trigger the carousel, but there were no photos in their twitter stream at the time of my query.
As you can see, the images generated in the higher ranking G+ results are more eye-catching than the Tweets featured in the carousel.
Depending on the popularity of a topic a hashtag search might trigger the carousel, but for the industry hashtags I tried, Google mobile search gave me a basic link to tweets about the #LocalSEO and #MobileSEO tags.
Although these results are only available in mobile search and are difficult to predict how exactly your brand’s Twitter content might show up in a Google search, it is still in your brand’s best interest to keep the possible variations in mind when posting to Twitter. Branding of both your account name and handle are still important, especially if the search does not trigger the media rich carousel.Making use of native Twitter images and video certainly makes carousel results stand out from the rest of the mobile results on the page. The eye-catching images are likely to lead to more clicks and engagement.
Although markups within your site that generate automatic media rich Twitter cards in Twitter are extremely valuable to engagement on Twitter, I did not see any signs of Google pulling the additional media all the way through to the carousel results. This means that you might have to adjust how often you share an image along with a link, rather than relying on the Twitter cards generated by the markups on your site. Some testing will be in order to determine when and how often to forego some clickthrough on tweets linking to your site in order to draw in a new audience from Google search.
Labels: Mobile Search, Tweets