Searchability is an absolutely vital factor for any website trying to be found on the internet. After all, how can you hope to market yourself if your content doesn’t show on the SERP?
A long known exception to this rule has been the social networks. This is particularly true for industry leaders Twitter and Facebook, who have almost none of their dynamic content indexed by search engines.
But now Twitter has taken a big first step to rectify this by making a directory of all it user profiles available on its homepage. Well, actually it’s the second step they’ve taken but it might be the first to be sustainable with Google, given their troubled past.
Social Search Still Young
Social search still remains one of the most exciting concepts to emerge from SEO in the last few years. It’s been done on a lot of social media sites but social networks proved slightly more challenging.
Google attempted to resolve this issue with its release of Google Plus Your World which only really indexed the social content on the Google+ network, hinting that Facebook and Twitter weren’t very accommodating with Google’s indexing practices.
For SEO More Than Usability
The directory seems like a handy new tool for the user but when you consider there are over 500 million profiles on the Twitter network, it’s quite easy to see that this directory is exclusively for the search engine webcrawler’s benefit. The move will make all the profiles on Twitter searchable from a search engine’s query, which basically just means you can navigate Twitter from any search engine.
However, despite this feature being over two weeks old, it’s quite evident from a general Google and Bing search that they have yet to index even a respectable portion of the profiles. So far, only some of them are visible on the SERP, although this will probably improve over the weeks.
The War of Words Between Google and Twitter
The move came after Twitter’s much publicised dispute with Google following the release of Google+ Your World, where Twitter accused Google of purposely only indexing content on their own social network. Google hit back, saying that one of the reasons for tweets not being indexed in real time was that Twitter had ended its agreement and withheld Google’s access to their “firehose” API of tweets.
The unofficial war continued as developers from Twitter, Facebook and a range of other small social media sites created a simple add-on application called the ‘Don’t be Evil’ tool (a jab at Google’s famous informal corporate motto) to prove how easily their content could be indexed without ‘firehose’ access.
It’s still not clear if Google and Twitter’s relationship has been restored to its former closeness but it’s quite evident that both realise the need to cooperate, lest they lose out on the gigantic amount of additional business they can create for each other.