I sure had a bunch of surprises this morning as I performed my routine SERP checks for hundreds of keywords. Weve all seen Twitter results being pulled into the SERPs every now and then over the past few months as Google continues to try and fine tune its algorithm to somehow include real-time Tweets into the SERPs without hindering the classic search user experience. Early this morning may have been a breakthrough for them in that regard (at least on the Google.ca search engine) as Google is selective regarding which type of keywords they will show Twitter results for.
I searched for the term home improvement tips and was surprised to see the Twitter results back in action for the first time in a few weeks.
When I searched for just home improvement there were no Twitter results; instead it displayed the local places pack as well as regular Google News at the bottom of the first page:
Now this is all very interesting as the user doesnt have control in what information is being displayed, but when entering a term with tips it triggered the Twitter results to be displayed in the SERPs. Even weirder is that the Twitter results were at the very top of the SERPs for home improvement tips vs being in the middle of the first page for home diy tips:
So for whatever reason, Google recognizes the term home improvement tips as being a highly relevant keyword to show the Twitter results for and is trying to provide a better search experience for the user by providing the quickest route to the most relevant Tweet they want to check out.
Very interesting to see Google take this course of action; seen them trying to insert the Twitter results into the SERPs rather unsuccessfully over the past few months " half a year, (why would I want Twitter results for generic keywords anyways?) but by being selective in the terms they display the results for could be a happy medium for all search users.
What Does This Mean for You?
Whats new is that Twitter results are being pulled into the SERPs only for certain keywords and not for others. Google realizes not everyone wants to see the latest tweets when searching for a generic term.
The major takeaway here for businesses large and small is that Twitter isnt going away any time soon. Google understands the importance of Twitter and its massive following and is actively testing out how changes to its algorithm will affect how Twitter results get pulled into the SERPs.
If this mornings testing is any indication it shows Twitter results may be more relevant when looking for help, reviews, tips or other user generated content as opposed to generic terms or when shopping for certain products, local services, etc.
Maybe one day they will allow users to choose whether Twitter results (and other features such as Google news, local places) would be relevant for their specific search or their search habits - maybe they dont like Twitter?
Note: By the time this post was published the above test had stopped; be sure to keep your eye out (especially early in the mornings) for more Twitter testing on the SERPs over the upcoming weeks and months.