Is Twitter The Future of Search?

After reading the interviews BusinessWeek did this month with Google execs I started thinking a little more about search, where it’s headed and what effect it will have on SEOs and search marketers. You get the feeling that Twitter has search in turmoil. Both Microsoft and Google are trying to cut deals with Twitter to license Twitter feeds. In the Business Week interview Matt Cutts makes a comment that Google had crawled BusinessWeek 7 minutes before he visited it. Sadly he tried to imply that this was unique to using Google, going as far as saying other search engines could be 4 or 5 days. In my research Bing has been crawling news sites nonstop for a while. The point is that Bing and Google are very concerned with real time, Twitter has proved that real time is where it’s at.
When asked about an option to request Google results for the last 5 minutes Udi Manber, vice-president of engineering and head of the search quality group, responds “we already have that” but in the very next breath he says it’s 24 hours not 5 minutes. It’s obvious the reality of Twitter’s appeal is on his mind. tweety Does the fight for Twitter feeds mean we will see #1 and #2 results dominated by inane comments from Twitter in the future? Let’s hope not.
Amit Singhal runs the core ranking team at Google and in his interview with NewsWeek he does calm some of my fears but he also has Twitter on his mind. When answering the question “what about truly real-time search?” Amit includes in his answer “it’s not just Twitter”. Yes, it appears Twitter is on everyone’s mind. He does say that just because something is said right now doesn’t mean it should be put in front of the search results.
Who knows, maybe quality will remain the goal and we won’t see search dumbed down to reality TV.
What about Eric Schmidt? He has something to say about Twitter too. His concern is how to rank the data and include it in results. He makes the comment that “Twitter and Facebook aren’t the last things we’ll see”.
So what does all the chatter and concern about Twitter and Facebook mean for the SEO business? I can see a real issue if the search giants don’t have the resources for real-time. They might reduce the crawl on the small business sites to weeks or months so they can increase crawl times for popular sites to minutes. We might find it takes much longer to get a new site listed or a new design or content indexed. It could also be the next blow to quality. We saw what AdSense did to the web so I can imagine the SPAM tactics that will evolve once real time is indexed.

Time will tell, tweet on.

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