Why The Google-Twitter Partnership Matters to You


Earlier this year, Google announced a partnership with Twitter in which tweets will be indexed in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). The deal rekindled a previous relationship the two companies had in which Google’s search engine crawled through Twitter but only posted a fraction of total content on Twitter. Google/Twitter 2.0 will feature the search engine capturing the entire “firehose” of tweets, estimated to be pumped out at a rate of 9,000 per second. When the deal was revealed in February, indexing was said to begin during the first half of this year. An announcement by Twitter on May 19 shared that relevant tweets were now appearing in Google search results on Android and iOS devices for U.S. users with the desktop version to follow soon.

What’s the Big Deal?

The return of tweets to Google’s search results is a win for Twitter in that it boosts the relevance of the social network. According to Search Engine Land, the percentage of Twitter users visiting the site daily dropped from 46% in 2013 to 36% in 2013. Brands seeking greater exposure might be enticed to intensify their Twitter efforts for the potential payoff of appearing in Google search results. An implication of this motive for brands to be more active on Twitter is that they should be more intentional about the content of their tweets. An SEO mindset will be beneficial to Twitter content strategy , with tweets being optimized to consider consumer search and intent. In effect, the organic reach of tweets is enhanced when relevant content posted on Twitter shows up on SERPs.

Making Your Twitter Presence Google-Friendly

If your Twitter activity has been stuck in a rut or lacking in focus, the indexing of tweets on Google’s search engine should prompt you to rethink Twitter’s role in your marketing communications strategy. Here are three tips for taking advantage of the Google-Twitter partnership and making your Twitter activity work for you in Google’s search engine:

  1. Be Relevant– As mentioned earlier, the Google-Twitter partnership should cause a shift in how content creation is viewed. Tweets act more like a landing page than short, pithy statements or merely linking to other content. What you post on Twitter will need to be optimized to make it appealing to audiences. That approach should have always been used; greater incentive now exists to make content more relevant to users rather than focusing a brand’s talking points.
  2. Be Active– The benefit of Google indexing Twitter content is also proportional to the activity level to which a brand commits. The first step to take is post consistently to your account. A study conducted by VentureBeat of 1,600 brands over a nine-day period found 47 percent of the brands had no activity during that period. Conversely, a study by Simply Measured of brands with 100,000 or more Twitter followers found that a vast majority of them (92%) posted 12 times or more daily. Your tweets won’t be seen if there are none to be seen! But, don’t forget point #1- content must be relevant to be indexed as well as to be valued by searchers.
  3. Be Engaging– The stakes for engaging with followers rise under the Google-Twitter partnership. The more interactive the communication is with your community, it could in turn be shared and favorited, extending its reach on Twitter. These actions could be interpreted by Google as signals that the content is useful or interesting , increasing chances that a brand’s tweets will be seen by more searchers on Google.

Do You Have a Twitter Strategy?

The Google-Twitter partnership means that it is more important than ever to have a strategy for using Twitter. Vanity metrics like number of followers take a back seat to relevance metrics such as retweets, favorites, and user engagement. Despite the promise of impact from tweets appearing in Google search results, some aspects of using Twitter are unchanged.

The main consideration still is whether Twitter is a useful channel for reaching your target market. If your customers and other stakeholders are not Twitter users, then the changes brought about by the Google-Twitter partnership will do little to help your brand. But, if Twitter is already a part of your social media strategy it would be worthwhile to revisit how it is being used and how can the Google-Twitter deal can become a good deal for your business.

Being Late Can be Offset by Being Great

Google playing catch up? An odd statement to make about a company that has been lauded consistently over the past decade as one of the most innovative firms in the world. However, that is exactly what Google is doing when it comes to its new Google Play Music service. The monthly subscription service gives users access to millions of songs. Custom playlists and stations, unlimited skipping, and use across multiple devices are features of the service. Sound familiar? Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, Rdio, and Rhapsody are in the game already. Google has to convince music listeners that its new service beats the status quo and that they should modify their listening behaviors and adopt Google Play Music.

It’s OK to be Fashionably Late
Can late-to-market firms succeed in hyper-competitive categories like online music services? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Being first or early to market only assures you notoriety to say you were a pioneer. It certainly does not guarantee success. Otherwise, I would be writing this post on my Commodore 64 computer. Late entrants often benefit by being able to learn from the missteps of pioneers. And, for newer product categories the task of building consumer demand for the product has been borne by competitors that entered earlier. In the case of Google Play Music, the aforementioned competitors along with Apple have transformed how people consume music. Google does not have to convince people that they should listen to music online, only that they should develop a preference for Google’s service.

Answer the Ultimate Question
The failure rate for new products is very high, with estimates being that 80 to 90 percent of all new products do not make it in the marketplace. Thus, the odds are stacked against a new entrant like Google Play Music. This enormous risk is mitigated by Google’s brand equity. If you or I were launching a start-up music service we would likely be prime candidates to be added to the failure rate statistic. However, the launch of Google Play Music as a brand extension in the Google Play platform (which is itself an extension of the Google brand) gives it a level of credibility that most new products must work for years to attain.

For Google Play Music or any other product to succeed, the ultimate question of “what’s in it for me?” must be answered. Customers have to understand how they will benefit from using a product or service. In this case, it is the seamless experience of using Google Play Music along with the suite of Google products. Personally, I am an avid music streamer- I love listening to music while I work. I am giving Google Play Music a try as I write this post (Craig Chaquico’s Acoustic Planet being the album of choice). In the end, I will adopt Google Music Play if I perceive the benefits of the service being superior to Spotify or Pandora. Is it more convenient to access? Is the user interface experience preferred?

Google is a great brand but not a perfect one. It has had its share of product failures over the years, and there is no assurance Google Play Music will succeed. But, if it should fail it will not be due to the order in which it appeared on the market. Similarly, if you are exploring a business opportunity do not automatically be dissuaded if established competitors are present. They exist because no better alternatives have been introduced to the market. That could all change if your offering successfully answers the WIIFM question among your target market.

Forbes.com – “Google Continues to Play Catch-Up with ‘All Access’ Music Service as Critics Sound Off”