Twitter just became more relevant in the search world. Twitter announced last week that Google would have access to its tweets. Gradually, during the first half of 2015, you should start seeing tweets show up in Google search results.
I can remember the first mentions of Twitter toward the end of 2006. By 2007, Twitter had effectively gone mainstream, with talking heads on news shows throwing out Twitter handles with no clue about what they were talking about. My initial reaction was that someone must have paid a boatload of money to get this new app off the ground … it will never last.
Wow, was I wrong. Eight years later, the company boasts revenues nearing a billion dollars per year and 6,000 tweets per minute. I actively use Twitter as many of you do. We have our Twitterfests and we use it to help get the word out about what we are hawking and help others do the same. Now Tweeting has a completely new meaning.
This is not the first time that the two companies have shared information. The first run at this occurred from 2009 to 2011, but Twitter backed out. For years, Twitter has provided this service to Bing and Yahoo, but those are minor players in the search world compared to Google.
Why would Google want tweets? Twitter has become the first line of communication in breaking events. If an event occurs on the other side of the world, tweets are relaying that information in nearly real time. If Google has access to that information (called the Twitter Firehose) then it can include it in search results immediately and it doesn’t have to rely on crawlers to acquire info.
What does this mean for us? Well, first off, it’s probably a good idea to get on Twitter if you are not already. Does this mean that if you tweet about your book fifty times a day, people will start to see you book show up on Google? No. However, if you are active on Twitter, and you can align yourself with good content, there is a better chance that Google will lend credibility to your tweets.
Another consideration is current events. If you write spy novels that involve stolen information from the government and today a rogue agent is busted for that in real life, then start tweeting. The more you connect your writing to current events (if possible) the better chance you’ll get visibility. The other day I saw an article about human trafficking in our region and thought of DV Berkom and her book Bad Traffick. With a few tweets and a link to the article, bam, you’ve just brought awareness to this tragic scourge on society and linked yourself to the cause. Meanwhile, you just might end up in a search as people turn to Google for more information.
I’m not suggesting spamming Twitter with tons of promos for your books. I’m suggesting that you now have a chance to connect yourself to issues that are important to you through means that might not have been available before. Please don’t take this as a holy grail.
We struggle every day as authors to get the word out about what we do. It’s important to be firing on all cylinders. The agreement between Google and Twitter might help us in that endeavor. So, if you aren’t active on Twitter, maybe now is the time to reconsider. It will take a few months before the effect is noticed on Google, as the best estimate of the functionality taking place is sometime in the first half of the year. Happy tweeting!